Whether you’re having the gang over for a Halloween party or sending the little ghosts and superheroes out for trick-or-treating, give them a nourishing and fun start to the night.
For a protein kick, wrap hot dogs in strips of refrigerator Crescent Roll dough to look like mummies, and bake. No need for perfection on these; the messier the more mummy-like they look.
Ingredients: Hot dogs • Crescent Roll sheets (or Crescent Rolls dough) • Candy eyes
- Unroll the Crescent Roll sheet, and use a pizza cutter or knife to cut 1/3 inch strips (strips do not need to be exact). If using the Crescent Rolls dough, unroll the dough and go over it a couple times with a rolling pin to eliminate the perforated areas in the dough. Then cut strips as explained above.
- Wrap one strip around a hot dog multiple times to look like a mummy. Leave a gap in the wrapping near the top of one end (this is where the eyes will go).
- Place the wrapped hot dogs on a baking sheet and bake according to the Crescent Rolls package directions.
- Remove from the oven. Place candy eyes in the gap in the wrapping just before serving.
Citrus Pumpkins and Sweet Potato Chips
Fruit and veggies just might go down a little easier if they come to the table with a Halloween twist. Make fruity pumpkins by peeling mandarin oranges and stuffing a little piece of celery in the top as a stem. Make jack-o’-lantern “chips” by cutting faces into thin slices of sweet potato. Next, give the slices a light drizzle of olive oil and salt, and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees, turning once, for 25 minutes or until crispy to your liking.
Quesadillas and Cheese Tray
A set of Halloween-themed cookie cutters make it easy to cut quesadillas and cheese into festive shapes like ghosts, candy corn, and a witch’s hat, broom, and cat.
Ingredients: various sandwich-sliced cheeses (we used cheddar, mozzarella, and Colby Jack) • Halloween-themed cookie cutters • flour tortillas
- Cut cheese using cookie cutters and arrange on a platter. The kids can easily and safely take care of this part of the meal and will enjoy cutting all the fun shapes. For the candy-corn cheese design, we cut one full candy corn from mozzarella slice. Next, we positioned about 2/3 of the candy corn cookie cutter on a slice of colby jack and cut, then layered that on the mozzarella. Next we positioned the bottom third of the cookie cutter on a piece of cheddar and cut, then placed that on top of the Colby Jack.
- For quesadillas, use cookie cutters to cut two of the same shape from a tortilla. Cut a slice of cheese using the same cookie cutter and sandwich the cheese between the two tortillas. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, place the sandwiched pieces in the pan. Heat until cheese is melty and surface of quesadilla is toasted. Tip: You could also use the scraps of cheese left from cutting out the shapes to fill the quesadillas.
Alternatives: Make full-size grilled cheese sandwiches or quesadillas and cut shapes with the cookie cutters once they are grilled.
Offer a festive veggie tray filled with kid-approved veggies like carrots, snap peas, and cauliflower, and dip.
Ingredients: baby carrots • snap peas • raw cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces • black olives • dip of choice (ranch or blue cheese dressing, etc) • large platter
- Arrange carrots into a pumpkin shape. There is no exact pattern needed for this, just move the veggies around a bit until you see a general pumpkin shape forming.
- For the eyes, outline two triangle-shaped openings with carrots and place a couple black olives in the openings. Place one or two black olives in the center of the pumpkin shape for a nose. Make a little space in the shape of a smile and fill with black olives for the mouth.
- Add snap peas around the bottom of the pumpkin to create “grass”, and place a couple at the top of the pumpkin for a stem. Arrange the cauliflower around the top half of the pumpkin. Serve with dip on the side.
Tip: You can get creative with all the colorful veggies to make the arrangement your own. If the kids aren’t snap-pea fans, try celery or broccoli instead.
Candy Corn Bark
This bark is easy to customize with your family’s favorite chocolate chips and toppings.
Ingredients: 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (could also use milk, dark, or white chocolate chips) • 3 or 4 toppings (We used chopped dried apricots, roasted pumpkin seeds, and candy-corn colored chocolate candies.)
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Pour chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds and stir. Continue to heat in 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth. Do not overcook.
- Pour melted chocolate on parchment paper, using a spatula to spread around. You can spread the chocolate to your desired thickness, but it should be no less than 1/4 inch thick to hold toppings. Sprinkle on the toppings. Let cool and harden. Brake apart the hardened bark into smaller pieces for sharing.
When deciding on toppings, it’s nice to combine various flavors and textures for looks and taste. For example, pick one crunchy, one fruity or chewy, and one salty topping, rather than all chewy or all crunchy toppings. But you can really customize this to your family’s liking.
Other topping ideas: dried cranberries, chopped gum drops, chopped nuts, gummy candies, peanuts, chopped pretzels, candy-coated chocolates, raisins, potato chip pieces, roasted sunflower seeds, chopped dried mango, flaked coconut – toasted.