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What's a Halloween party with a big bowl of punch with floating eyeballs in it?


1 (32 fluid ounce) bottle apple juice, chilled
1 (12 fluid ounce) can frozen cranberry juice concentrate
1 cup orange juice
1 1/2 liters ginger ale
1 apple (optional)
Eyeball candies (optional)


Get a large punch bowl or other container to serve your punch from. 
Combine the apple juice, cranberry concentrate, and orange juice. Stir until any frozen parts are dissolved. Slowly mix in the ginger ale. Slice the apple in whole slices to float on top as brain slices among the floating eyeballs.

FALL TWICE BAKED POTATOES (or aka scrambled brains)


3 medium sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage


Stab your scrubbed, clean potatoes with a fork and toss them in the oven to bake at 400 degrees F until soft. Usually this takes about an hour depending on size. Let them cool off until you're able to handle them without burning your hands. In a skillet heat olive oil over medium heat, add shallots and cook those until softened and just slightly browned. This takes about 10 minutes on average. Cut the cooled off sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out most of the potato pulp leaving a nice boat like shell for you to fill. Blend the pulp, with a mixer, in a blender, in a food processor, with a hand masher, however you wish to scramble your brains is perfectly acceptable. Once they start to get smooth blend in the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, ginger and sugar and continue until very smooth. Lightly stir in shallots, parmesan cheese and sage. Scoop into the boat like shells you made earlier. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes until heated through and lightly browned across the top. 



3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, cubed


Bring cider to a boil. Toss the cheeses with cornstarch and pepper and then stir into hot cider. Cook stirring constantly for about 4 or 5 minutes until melted and smooth. Transfer to fondue pot or slow cooker to keep warm for dipping. Serve with bread cubes and crackers.



1 lb ground turkey
1 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning mix 
1 cup water 
12 corn tortillas 
1 cup salsa 
8 ounces tomato sauce 
15 ounces whole kernel corn, drained 
4 ounces sliced black olives, drained 
4 ounces mild chiles, drained 
1 1/2 cups shredded low-fat cheddar and or Monterey jack cheese


Brown and drain the meat. Add taco seasoning and water and cook until sauce is thick. In a bowl mix the salsa and tomato sauce. Spray the bottom of a glass 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and make a layer of 6 tortillas on the bottom overlapping the edges. Top the tortillas with half the meat, corn, olives and chilies. Pour half the salsa/tomato sauce mixture over it and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat the layer process. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted.




3 ounces orange Jell-O mix
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 package white cake mix


1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 envelope dream whip topping
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 handful of candy corn


Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add cold water and stir until mixed and set aside until ready to use. Prepare cake following the package directions for a 13x9 pan sized cake. Let the cake cool for some time. Using a meat fork or a bamboo skewer "poke" holes to the bottom of the cake about an inch apart, you can do it at random or in a pattern it's up to you. Pour the liquid gelatin into the holes! Beat together the topping ingredients until stiff peaks begin to form, add food coloring if desired. Frost your Halloween poke cake, sprinkle with candy corn for decoration. Allow to chill so that gelatin sets. This recipe can be altered for other holidays and themes as well but changing the flavor of gelatin and adding food coloring to the frosting.



1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 hamburger buns, split
American cheese slices


Brown ground beef (or turkey) and drain off fat. Add garlic and onion and cook until tender. Stir in pumpkin, tomato sauce, brown sugar, mustard, chili powder and salt. Bring up to boiling point. Reduce heat simmer for 10 -15 minutes. Spoon mixture onto buns and top with cheese, place under broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese watching so it doesn't burn. Optionally you can cut the cheese slices into jack-o-lantern face shapes before topping and melting then serve without a bun top.



6 oranges 
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter, softened, divided
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans


Start off by cutting the tops off the oranges, about half an inch off the top should do nicely. Scoop out the flesh of the orange leaving a nice shell to fill up. In a mixing bowl mix up the sweet potatoes, orange juice, eggs, vanilla extract, 1/2 cup butter and the grated orange peel. Fill up the orange shells with the mixture and put them in a deep casserole dish to hold them up. That was the easy part; now let's really get into the work. In a small pan combine remaining butter (1/2 cup) with brown sugar, flour and pecans. Cook this until the sugar dissolves. Spoon sugary pecan mixture over the filled oranges. Fill casserole dish with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom to help the cooking process and prevent burnt orange shells. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.



1 1/4 pounds lean pork stew meat (buy whatever cut is on sale and cut into chunks to save some money!)
1 medium (1/2 cup) onion, sliced
2 cups baby-cut carrots
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with chile peppers, undrained

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons cold water
Chili powder or seasoning to taste


Brown pork and onion in skillet over medium to high heat, stir occasionally to get an even brown (just browning, not cooking and if you want you can skip this step since we're headed to the crock pot anyway *wink*). Put meat, carrots and corn in crock pot. Sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Stir in the diced tomatoes. Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours (or high for 3 to 4 hours).

To make the pastry bats:

Combine flour and cheese in large mixing bowl. Cut in butter until it looks like coarse floury butter crumbles. Using a fork, fluff in the water to moisten the mixture. Shape dough into ball and flatten, grab a rolling pin and roll it out (remember to flour your rolling area). Cut out dough using bat shaped cookie cutters! Sprinkle with chili powder for added color and flavor (optional step). Bake at 450 degrees F for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly brown. When serving, place a biscuit bat on top of each bowl of stew! 



10 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Several pinches of hot red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as desired
1 pound spaghetti
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 head of broccoli, broken into bite-size florets
Freshly grated Parmesan, or other grating cheese 


Boil water and add noodles to cook as usual, except about half way through cooking add the broccoli and let the noodles and broccoli finish cooking at the same time. Drain, but reserve about half the cooking water for later. Warm approximately half of the garlic with the pepper flakes in the olive oil over medium heat (turn on the vent and open the kitchen window or you'll be crying in your spaghetti!) Toss the pasta and broccoli with the garlic/chile oil and add the remaining garlic to the mix and continue to toss to coat. Add a few spoonfuls of that reserved water and keep tossing, add more water as needed. Kind of have to eyeball it until it's well coated and tossed to your liking. Serve up and sprinkle with grated cheese. There will be no fear of vampires bothering you after this dinner! 



4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 
1 teaspoon dried red chili pepper flakes 
1 1/2 lb kielbasa, cut into about 1/2-inch slices
6 cups chopped green cabbage
3/4 cup canned chicken broth
1 teaspoon seasoning salt 
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 
Shredded parmesan cheese 
Cooked egg noodles


Cook the sausage in a large skillet until browned on both sides. In the same skillet melt the butter and sauté onion, garlic, bell pepper and chili flakes over medium-low heat. Return sausage to the skillet and add in the chopped cabbage and broth. Cook stirring for about 20-25 minutes or until cabbage is tender. In a large pasta bowl, toss with parmesan cheese and hot cooked noodles. Season to taste using salt and pepper.




Halloween is almost here, and we know what an exciting time of the year this is for kids! 

Great costumes and great food are a must!  

Start a new tradition this year and make Halloween night enjoyable for all by making a big crock pot of warm chili! No fuss and no mess.  Just plenty of time to enjoy the evening!   Kids just love traditions!

Of course, good beverages never hurt, either! We hope you enjoy these Halloween recipes, and have a wonderful Halloween!

Enjoy!  And thanks for stopping by!
Your friends at DinnerPlanner, Melissa & Sue.





2 lbs ground beef
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 (16 oz.) cans kidney beans, drained
1 large (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 ( 8 oz.) can water
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder 
1 teaspoon cumin

Brown ground beef with onions and garlic. Drain. Add the rest of ingredients. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Make sure to have plenty of shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

It is also fun to serve a basket of warm flour tortillas and some honey lime butter.

Honey Lime Butter

Blend together the following with a pinch of salt:

1/2 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tabelspoon honey



Okay, so we're not really bobbing for them because that would be sticky and messy.


2 cup granulated sugar
2 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup cinnamon candy
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon red food coloring
6 of your favorite type of apple, roughly medium in size 
wooden skewers (these are often found in the produce dept this time of year) 
cookie sheet sprayed with no stick cooking spray or a long sheet of waxed paper


First thing you want to do is as you usually would remove the apple stems and wash them up. Grab a skewer and stab it right into the middle of the apple and repeat for each apple. Be careful not to poke out the other side of the apple though. In a small or medium sized saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon candies, and water. Stir and keep stirring until everything is dissolved. Then stir some more to make sure it's all dissolved. Medium heat here, you don't want it to boil at this point because that will just make a mess. Once you've got it all dissolved add cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, and food coloring to the mix. Now we want that to boil to a 300 degree temperature on the candy thermometer. Dip your apples into your candy coating and be sure to coat them well. Place them skewer pointing up on the waxed paper or cookie sheet and allow them to harden. Make sure you let them cool completely to room temperature before eating! They will be hot for sometime and no one wants a burnt mouth on Halloween.



3 oz lemon gelatin
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup pineapple juice
1 8-0z. pkg cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 cup mayonnaise


Dissolve lemon gelatin in 1 cup water in double boiler. Add marshmallows and stir constantly to melt. Remove from heat and add the pineapple juice and cream cheese, beat together until smooth. Fold in whipped cream and mayonnaise. Allow to cool until firm. Get out the melon baller and scoop full balls. Decorate using food coloring and a clean small paintbrush (the kind that kids get with watercolors) Now you have gross slimy eyeballs ready for the party goers! 


Who said gingerbread cookies were only for Christmas?


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar 
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons warm water
1/4 cup raisins for decorating
Different color gel icing


Cream together shortening, sugar, egg and warm molasses. Dissolve baking soda in warm water, and then add to the egg mixture. Next, add flour, spices and salt, mix it all up until well blended. Cover and chill overnight. Prepare a floured surface and get out the rolling pin and cookie cutters. Cut out gingerbread men (or other Halloween like shapes!) and place an inch or two apart on a greased cookie sheet. Use raisins and cinnamon candies for eyes, buttons, etc. Then add gel icing to make bloody legs, arms, and dripping eyeballs! 



6 Granny Smith apples
6 wooden sticks
1 (14 ounce) package caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Extra chips for decorating


Insert wooden sticks 3/4 of the way into the stem end of each apple. Combine caramels and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir often to get a smooth caramel mixture. Dip apples into caramel. Place standing up on a sheet of foil or a cookie sheet for easy decorating and chilling. Sprinkle with the coarse salt and place in the fridge. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish. This is easiest if you microwave for 30-40 seconds, stir, and repeat until you have a whole bowl of smooth creamy melted chocolate. Drizzle melted chocolate over the apples. Sprinkle with the extra chocolate chips. Return to refrigerator until ready to eat.





2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
˝ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks, softened)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup raisins

First, preheat your oven to 350° F. In a bowl, add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well and set aside. In another large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and the vanilla extract. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture along with the canned pumpkin, stirring well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and raisins.

Coat a cookie sheet lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to drop the dough onto the pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cookies are firm and lightly browned. Enjoy.

Also, feel free to substitute just about any candy or dried fruit you might like in place of the chocolate and raisins.


1 (12-ounce) bag white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
Ritz crackers
Creamy or crunchy peanut butter
Orange candy sprinkles


In small, heavy saucepan melt chocolate and shortening together over low heat, stirring until smooth. Make sandwich cookies out of the Ritz crackers using peanut butter for the filling. Dip each cookie into the melted chocolate mixture and place on waxed paper. Sprinkle with the orange candy sprinkles. Allow to dry at room temperature. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.


This is also really good for fall football parties. The nice part about it is you can make this without getting the kitchen overheated or it leaves the oven free for making other things.


4 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
4 cups Cheerios® cereal
3 cups pretzel sticks
1 (12 ounce) can salted peanuts
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt


Get out the crock pot! Mix up the cereals, pretzels and peanuts and put in the crock pot. Combine butter, parmesan cheese and salts. Drizzle over the dry mixture and toss for coating. Put the lid on and cook on low for 3 - 4 hours. Stir at least once each hour to avoid burning. 


It's not Halloween until you've stuck your hands into a pumpkin to pull out all the guts to carve your jack-o-lantern. Now you've got all those pumpkin seeds sitting there. Don't just toss them in the trash! Roast them for a nice evening treat. 


Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and try to get off all the pulp strings. Spray a baking sheet with non stick spray, or oil it down with your favorite cooking oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste, you might find yourself using a little more salt than usual. Bake at 325 degrees F until toasted for 15 minutes. STIR and flip. Bake at 325 degrees F until toasted for another 15 minutes. Let them cool off completely before eating them. You don't want a burnt tongue. Store in an air tight container or Ziploc bag.

Optional: If you'd like you can soak your pumpkin seeds overnight in salt water for a more salty flavor and an easier to eat seed. It doesn't make a huge difference in the result, but some people prefer doing it that way.



1 3/4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Filling Ingredients:

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Topping Ingredients:

2 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Melted chocolate, piping icing in various colors, spider candies


Combine smashed up wafer crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of and sides of your greased spring form pan to create your cheesecake crust. In the big mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugars until nice and smooth. Add in the eggs and beat on low speed. Whisk in the pumpkin, cornstarch, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice (aka your secret ingredient!) Pour mixture into crust and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Cool for at least 10 minutes before doing anything else to the cheesecake, but don't turn off the oven just yet. Mix up the topping ingredients’ and spread this over top of the filling. Place back in the oven for 6 minutes to melt. Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan first to loosen everything to make release easier later on. Allow to cool to room temp and refrigerate over night. 

Morning remove the spring form sides and pipe on spider web decorations and place a candy spider in each little web (try to space them so that each slice has a spider.) You can even slice before decorating if you want to make them all even.


As Donkey would tell Shrek, everybody likes parfait!


2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup fat-free milk
1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, cubed
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges
1 (20 ounce) can unsweetened crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (8 ounce) container reduced-fat frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs, divided


Combine gelatin and orange juice and let stand for 5 minutes. Heat milk until boiling and add to gelatin. Transfer to blender and blend until well blended. Add cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, orange peel and blend again. Drain oranges reserving the juice in a small dish. Add pineapple and reserved juice to gelatin mixture and blend again. Fold in the whipped topping. Divide up half the oranges into 8 dessert dishes. Layer with half the gelatin mix and half the cracker crumbs. Repeat, gelatin, crumbs, and top with oranges. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving, sprinkle with more crumbs and maybe a dollop of whipped cream on top.



6 Granny Smith apples
6 wooden sticks
1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Extra chips for decorating


Insert wooden sticks 3/4 of the way into the stem end of each apple.
Combine caramels and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir often to get a smooth caramel mixture. Dip apples into caramel. Place standing up on a sheet of foil or a cookie sheet for easy decorating and chilling. Sprinkle with the coarse salt and place in the fridge. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish. This is easiest if you microwave for 30-40 seconds, stir, and repeat until you have a whole bowl of smooth creamy melted chocolate. Drizzle melted chocolate over the apples. Sprinkle with the extra chocolate chips. Return to refrigerator until ready to eat.



4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt


1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk


Get out the big mixing bowl and beat together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin. Combine the dry ingredients, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add this to the pumpkin mixture and beat together well. Pour your mixture into an ungreased jellyroll pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 27 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting. 

Recommended Frosting: 

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, butter and vanilla. Add just enough milk to help get a nice spreading consistency. You can add a few drops of orange or green food coloring to make them even more trick-or-treat like!