Halloween is around the corner, and it’s time to have fun with your food. Unleash your imagination and create cute or creepy eats. Whether you’re hosting a party or just cooking for your family, these spooky goodies aren’t just festive, they are delicious. Enjoy!
1 (4-oz.) jar pimento, drained
1 (8-oz.) container chive and onion cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 loaves of white bread
Pretzel sticks for decorating
1 jar Spanish green olives
Thoroughly drain the pimentos.
To make the pimento cheese, combine cream cheese, cumin, black pepper, mayonnaise and drained pimento in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Remove and stir in cheddar cheese.
To make the sandwiches, use a circular cookie cutter or biscuit cutter. Cut out the bread, spread a generous amount of pimento between two pieces. Tuck two green olives in one end for eyes and add eight pretzel sticks for legs. Serve immediately so the bread doesn’t dry out.
Alternative serving options: These sandwiches are amazing grilled like a grilled cheese. If you do this, you will need to add the spider legs and eyes at the end. This is more time-consuming if you are serving a crowd, but perfect for a family.
Note: An easy serving alternative is to make the pimento cheese a dip by placing it in a baking dish and baking for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Serve with toasted French bread. The dish is orange so you could easily make a pumpkin face out of green onions to make it more festive. It’s amazing served warm.
Tip: You do not have to waste the hollowed-out bread. You can use it to make egg baskets with fried eggs the next morning, freeze some slices for the same use, and then turn the rest into bread crumbs in the food processor.
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2cup pesto sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1 piece of white toast
1 baby carrot
Black olive slices
One slice sun-dried tomato (optional)
Plastic bats or spiders to decorate
Buttery crackers for serving
In a large bowl, stir together cream cheese, pesto, Parmesan and shredded Italian cheese blend. Form into a ball the shape of a face. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.Remove from the refrigerator and add black olive slices for eyes (make a slight indentation with your baby finger so the eyes stick), then add a baby carrot nose and a slice of sun-dried tomato for the mouth or another black olive. Lay parsley over her head to create hair.
Toast a piece of bread and then cut it into a triangle to resemble a witch hat. Use a butter knife to make an indentation in the top of her head so you can press the hat into the cream cheese to serve. Decorate with additional spiders or bats. Serve with crackers. This can be served immediately or made a day in advance.
Banana Chocolate Spider Cupcakes
3 extremely ripe bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 cup canola oil
Your favorite chocolate icing
2 large tubes white decorating gel
Assorted plastic spiders
Heat oven to 350.
For the most intense flavor, select very ripe bananas for this recipe. Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork until mostly smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and pinch of salt. Next, add bananas, vanilla, milk and canola oil, and beat until well-combined.
Place muffin wrappers in a cupcake tin and spray with cooking spray. Add banana batter, filling each ¾ full.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool completely before frosting. Use your favorite chocolate frosting (I used store-bought) and then make a spider web on each cupcake.
To make the web, draw a straight line across the cupcake from one side to another, then cross in half and make another. You want six lines total so the design resembles a snowflake. Then start near the intersection of all the lines and connect each to make a circle. Repeat this process closer to the edge and the web should be complete. Decorate each cupcake with a fake spider.
Note: If you cannot find decorating gel, you can use plain white icing. Just place it in a piping bag or plastic baggie with the tip cut off.
Makes 20 cupcakes.
Potato Eyeballs with Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Dip
2 pounds fresh creamer potatoes (assorted colors)
1 jar green Spanish olives
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 head roasted garlic (see recipe)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 large head of garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 350.
Take a sharp knife and cut the tip of the garlic head off so you slightly expose the cloves inside. Place in a large piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Wrap the foil up around the garlic, place it in a baking dish and bake 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and then squeeze out the garlic cloves.
In a small bowl, combine the roasted garlic, mayonnaise, sour cream, onion powder, garlic salt, black pepper and dried rosemary. Stir. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight for best results.
For the potatoes, fill a large pot with water and 1 tablespoon salt. When the water is boiling, add potatoes. Cook 15 minutes or until fork-tender.
Drain and lightly salt the potatoes. Then skewer a green olive and place it on top of the potato. Serve with the garlic dip.
Notes: You can also use microwave-in the-bag potatoes. When serving the dish, you can add plastic eyeballs to the plate to increase the creepy factor.
Juliana Goodwin is a food columnist, cookbook author and avid traveler.
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