A Friendly Fiends Feast
Gather around this enticing table filled with fanciful pumpkins and irresistible fare.
This menu offers sausage links in cranberry sauce, sticks-and-stones snack mix, cookie wreaths crawling with edible spiders, delicious sandwiches, and a spritzed fruit drink that keeps cold with wiggle worm ice. For dessert try a shrunken head -- a caramel apple trimmed with nuts and candies.
Spritzed Fruit Drink with Wiggle Worm Ice
Candy worms make the punch just a little scary.
1. For ice, prepare one 6-ounce can frozen pineapple-orange juice concentrate. Arrange chewy fruit worms in the bottom of a 4-cup ring mold. Pour juice into mold to almost cover worms. Do not allow the worms to float. Cover and place in freezer for 1 hour or until frozen. Add any remaining juice to mold. Cover and freeze until firm.
2. In a small punch bowl, prepare the 12-ounce can pineapple-orange juice concentrate according to package directions, using cold water. Stir in the apricot nectar. Add the carbonated beverage, stirring gently to mix. Unmold the ice ring by running cool water over outside of mold; carefully add ring to punch. Makes 10 (8-ounce) servings.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare ice ring and store in freezer up to 2 weeks before using.
Sticks and Stones Snack Mix
The pretzels look like sticks and the cereal and nuts resemble stones in this lightly spiced snack mix that will appeal to kids of all ages.
- 3 cups puffed corn cereal
- 2 cups crispy corn and rice cereal
- 2-1/2 cups tiny pretzel sticks
- 1-1/2 cups salted mixed nuts or shelled pumpkin seeds
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder or barbecue spice
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 cups crunchy cheese-flavor snacks
1. In a 15x11x2-inch baking pan, combine the corn cereal, corn and rice cereal, pretzel sticks, and mixed nuts or pumpkin seeds.
2. In a small saucepan, heat butter or margarine, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder or barbecue spice, and garlic powder over low heat until butter melts. Drizzle over cereal mixture, tossing to coat.
3. Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add cheese-flavored snacks, tossing to mix. Spread on foil; cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Makes about 11 cups (22 1/2-cup servings).
Nutrition facts per serving: 151 calories, 9 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 204 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein, 4% vitamin A, 4% vitamin C, 2% calcium, 8% iron.
Bubbling Cranberry-Sauced Links
These appetizers take just 20 minutes to prepare but if you prefer, start them 2 hours ahead and heat in a crockery cooker.
- 1 8-ounce can jellied cranberry sauce
- 1/3 cup catsup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1 5.3-ounce package small fully cooked smoked sausage links
1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the cranberry sauce, catsup, lemon juice, dry mustard, and allspice. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly.
2. Add the sausage links. Cover and cook over medium-low heat about 10 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Makes 8 servings.
Crockery Cooker Directions: Combine cranberry sauce, catsup, lemon juice, dry mustard, and allspice in a 1-quart crockery cooker. Stir in the smoked sausage links. Cover and cook for about 2 hours or until heated through.
Nutrition facts per serving: 119 calories, 6 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 304 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein, 2% vitamin A, 5% vitamin C, 1% calcium, 2% iron.
These apples coated with caramel and candy coating resemble shrunken heads. You add the candy faces.
- 8 medium apples
- 8 wooden craft sticks
- 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, or peanuts
- 21 ounces (about 75) vanilla caramels or chocolate
- caramels, unwrapped
- 3 tablespoons water
- 6 ounces vanilla-flavor candy coating
- 2 teaspoons shortening
- Desired candies for decoration, such as licorice, candy
- corn, gumdrops, candy-coated chocolate pieces, optional
- Tubes of writing gel decorating icing
- Canned frosting
1. Wash and dry apples. Remove stems. Insert one wood stick into the stem end of each apple. Place apples on a buttered baking sheet. Place chopped nuts in a shallow dish; set aside.
2. In a heavy medium saucepan, heat and stir the caramels and water over medium-low heat just until caramels are melted.
3. Dip each apple into hot caramel mixture, spooning caramel evenly over apple. Allow excess caramel to drip off. Briefly set bottoms of apples in chopped nuts. Set apples on prepared baking sheet and let stand about 30 minutes or until firm.
4. In a heavy, small saucepan, heat and stir the vanilla-flavor candy coating and shortening over low heat just until mixture is melted. Holding apples over the saucepan, spoon the melted candy coating evenly over the tops of the caramel-coated apples. Return to baking sheet and let stand about 30 minutes or until firm.
5. Decorate the apples to resemble faces or monsters using desired candies and writing gel. Use writing gel or canned frosting to attach candies to dipped apples. Makes 8 medium apples.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare apples as directed. Cover and chill for up to two days.
Nutrition facts per serving: 691 calories, 26 g total fat, 10 g saturated fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 242 mg sodium, 111 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 5 g protein, 2% vitamin A, 13% vitamin C, 17% calcium, 5% iron.
Wrapped Mummy Sandwich Loaf
Serve your ghouls this hearty vegetable-and-Canadian-bacon-filled bread loaf.
- 3/4 cup chopped green or red sweet pepper (1 medium)
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 3 ounce package cream cheese or cream cheese with chives
- 1/2 of a 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
- 2 ounces thinly sliced Canadian-style bacon, cooked ham, or pepperoni, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
- 1 16-ounce loaf frozen white bread dough, thawed
- Sesame seeds or grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. In a large skillet, cook and stir sweet pepper and carrot in hot butter or margarine for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook and stir about 2 minutes more or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Stir in cream cheese, spinach, meat, bread crumbs, and Italian seasoning.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12x9-inch rectangle. Carefully transfer to a greased baking sheet. Spread the filling lengthwise in a 3-inch-wide strip down the center of rectangle to within 1 inch of the ends.
3. On both long sides, make 3-inch cuts from the edges toward the center at 1-inch intervals. Moisten the end of each dough strip. Starting at one end, alternately fold opposite strips of dough at an angle across filling. Slightly press moistened ends together in center to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place unitl nearly double (about 30 minutes).
4. Lightly brush loaf with milk. If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds or Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Using a serrated knife, cut into slices. Makes 12 slices.
Spidery Cookie Wreaths
Add icing and candy spiders to these orange-flavored cookies for a spooky good time.
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-3/4 cups flour
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or almonds
- 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1/4 teaspoon orange paste food coloring
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- Red cinnamon candies or miniature candy-coated semisweet
- chocolate pieces, optional
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or until softened. Add the sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in remaining flour.
2. Place half of the dough in a small mixing bowl. Stir in the pecans or almonds; set aside. To the remaining dough, knead in the orange peel and food coloring. Cover and chill both portions of dough about 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
3. On a lightly floured surface, shape each dough portion into a 12-inch-long log. Cut each log into twenty-four 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-inch-long rope. If necessary, cover and chill ropes for 10 to 15 minutes if soft and difficult to work with. Place a white and an orange rope side by side and twist together 5 or 6 times. Shape into a circle, gently pinching together the ends. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, leving 2 inches between cookies. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on cookie sheet about 1 minute, then remove and cool thoroughly on a wire rack.
4. In a small mixing bowl, stir together sifted powdered sugar and enough milk to make an icing of piping consistency. Tint with desired colors of paste or liquid food coloring.
5. Using a decorating bag and writing tip #2, pipe icing into various-size spiders randomly on cookies. If desired, use red cinnamon candies, or candy-coated chocolate pieces for the body of the spider. Use a dab of icing to hold body on cookies. Let cookies stand until icing is set. Makes 24 cookies.
These easy pumpkins will make any table more tempting.
1. Make a face for your pumpkin. Using your imagination and our photo for ideas, decide arrangement of buttons and gems. Rest the pumpkin on a towel so the side you wish to decorate is facing up. Glue the trims in place. Let the glue dry.
2. Measure the ribbon. Cut a length of ribbon to fit around hat plus 2 inches. Weave one end through a belt buckle. Glue above brim. Let dry. Place hat on pumpkin. Glue in place if desired.