Big Black Rat Cheese Ball and other Halloween Ideas

What can I say – I was one of those strange kids that liked to play with my food – sculpting, molding, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.  I remember watching Close Encounters and thinking yeah, give me some mashed potatoes . . .

Close Encounter Mashed Potatoes

Over the years, I’ve amassed a collection of tools and cutters and well just all sorts of strange looking things that help me play with my food. If you think about it, even something as simple as deviled eggs or tea sandwiches can be works of art using food. What I would love to be able to do is to create a buffet of “carved foods” the likes of which would be featured at a Midnight Buffet aboard a luxury cruise ship . . .

Buffet - fruit

Such works of art require talent. They also require patience and a steady hand. Kiddo has the talent and the patience. When we carve pumpkins, it takes him an entire day. One of the carvings Kiddo did for Halloween didn’t look like much at the start, but when it was lit it was a thing of beauty. Kiddo made the carving while we were waiting for a heart for his Uncle Jimbo. It was a heart he would never receive.

Jimbo's Heart Lit (2)

Okay, now that I’ve made everybody sad, and shed a tear, let’s get back to the business of having some fun while playing with our food . . .


Halloween Avocado Brain Dip with eyes

Avocado Brain Dip
2 Avocados
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1 head cauliflower
Red Food Coloring Gel
Blue Food Coloring Gel
Toothpicks as needed
Tortilla Chips for dipping
Scary Eyeballs

Slice the avocados in half. Remove the seeds and set aside. Scoop the avocado out of the skin into a bowl. Mash with a fork or whisk and stir in the salsa. Set aside.

Remove all of the leaves from the cauliflower and remove the stem, leaving a nice hollow area with the outer part of the head intact. Use toothpicks to hold it together if it starts to fall apart.

Place the cauliflower into a small bowl, so that the hollow is facing upwards and most of the cauliflower is up out of the bowl. The bowl is just for stability. A plastic footed salsa bowl would be great.

Fill the hollowed brain with the avocado dip. Decorate the white ”brain” by painting strands of red and blue food coloring between the florets to make veins and arteries.

Arrange on a platter with chips for dipping. If desired, tuck scary eyes under the brain.


Halloween Dead Man's Cheese ball

Big Black Rat Cheese Ball
1 1/4 pounds sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon prepared hot mustard
2 dashes chipotle hot sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup port wine
Lettuce leaves
1/2 cup black sesame seeds
2 Carrot Chips
1 Baby Carrot
3 Strands Spaghetti Noodles, broken in half
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Bunch Black Grapes

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the Cheddar cheese, sour cream, butter, horseradish, hot mustard, chipotle sauce, garlic and port wine. Pulse until smooth.

Line a bowl with plastic wrap, and fill with the cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat just until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool.

When ready to assemble, gather the plastic wrap around the cheese mixture and transfer to the center of a large serving platter or shallow foil pan. The underside of the ball should be uncovered, while the plastic wrap stays snug over the rest of the ball. With cheese ball still wrapped, form into a rat. Think of it like working with clay. Remove the plastic wrap and press sesame seeds to coat completely.

Place carrot chips into head for ears. If necessary, trim chips to more closely resemble the ears of a of a rat. Use the tip of a small baby carrot to form the tip of the nose.

Insert uncooked spaghetti noodles to form the whiskers. Cut the eyes and tail from the green bell pepper.

Line serving platter with red leaf lettuce. This will help cover any black seeds that may have fallen off and give the presentation a clean finish.

Arrange assorted crackers and grapes around rat cheese ball.

Note: If you have disposable food gloves, you can remove plastic wrap completely and use gloved hands to form the ball into a rat. If the idea of a rat is too strange, this could be made to look like a cat.


Halloween Confetti Corn Quesadillas

Confetti Corn Quesadillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon canola oil
10 flour or whole wheat tortillas (8 inches)
1 cup Sour cream

Shred 2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Open can of whole black beans. Empty into a strainer and rinse under cold water. Add to the bowl with the cheese.

Open can of corn. Empty into a strainer and rinse with cold water. Add to the bean and cheese mixture.

Shred one cup of zucchini. Add to the mixture in the bowl.

Mince cilantro and chop pepper. Toss with ingredients in the bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lightly brush oil over one side of each tortilla. Place two tortillas, oil side down, on a griddle.

Spread 1/2 cup cheese mixture over half of each tortilla; fold over. Cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cheese is melted.

Cut into wedges. Repeat until all the tortillas have been used.

Arrange Quesadillas on a platter. Place sour cream in a sandwich bag. Snip small hole in the corner of the bag. Pipe spiderweb patter over quesadillas.

If desired, serve with salsa and guacamole for dipping.


Halloween Nachos

Scary Nachos
30 blue corn tortilla chips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 orange bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded deli rotisserie chicken (from 2-lb chicken)
1 cup drained rinsed black beans (from 15-oz can)
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro Leaves, garnish if desired
1 Bunch Green Onions, chopped if desired
1 Jar Salsa, if desired

Heat oven to 400°F. Line cookie sheet with foil. Arrange tortilla chips on cookie sheet, overlapping slightly.
In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook bell pepper in oil 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add butter and garlic, stirring until butter is melted. Add chicken. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in beans. If desired, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon chicken mixture over chips. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake about 4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro and onions. Serve with salsa.


Halloween Slithering Snake Roll

Slithering Snake Roll
The Snake
1 medium sweet red pepper
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound fresh chorizo, casings removed, or bulk spicy pork sausage
1/2 pound ground beef
1 loaf (1 pound) frozen pizza dough, thawed
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

The Decorations
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Green food coloring, optional
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 slices ripe olive

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the top from the red bell pepper, remove the seeds and core. Cut one small strip of red pepper for the snake’s tongue and set it aside. Chop remaining pepper. Set the pepper aside.

Peel and chop the onion, set aside.

Peel and mince the garlic, set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Remove casing from chorizo. Crumble chorizo into the skillet. Crumble beef into the skillet with the chorizo. Add the pepper, onion and garlic. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain well and set aside.

Roll pizza dough into a 14″ x 12″ rectangle. Spread chorizo-beef mixture lengthwise down the middle of dough; sprinkle with cheese. Wrap dough around filling mixture. Pinch seam to seal; tuck ends under.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place loaf seam side down on the baking sheet and form into a snake shape.

Whisk egg with the food coloring. Paint snake with egg wash; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Decorate with two ripe olive slices for eyes. Trim the reserved red pepper to create the pitch-fork tongue. Cut a small slit into the face of the snake and insert the tongue.

Bake until edges are golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before slicing.


Happy Halloween

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.