Creepy Halloween Supper with a Yummy Finish

Obviously, today is Halloween. To celebrate or not to celebrate. The verdict for many was up in the air – with the Delta Variance, there was talk of yet another Halloween cancelation. Long before October, family-oriented gathering places in California began to announce the cancelation or strict modification for Halloween festivities.

Here we look forward to the Witch Walk in a small town in the foothills. While the Witch Walk doesn’t happen on Halloween itself, it’s usually held as close to Halloween as possible. This year there were changes – the walk was scheduled for mid-October; was held from Noon to Sun Down and people needed to mask up. No drinking, no gatherings once the sun was gone. Really? I mean, the biggest reason we’ve gone in the past was to sit and watch the world stroll by, all while enjoying a cocktail. Last year the Witch Walk was canceled completely. This year we didn’t bother – too many restrictions to have much fun.

And I had my outfit all ready complete with cape, hat and broom!

As for Halloween itself, after much discussion, we decide to go ahead and decorate both inside and out. One forgotten Halloween was enough. Time will tell if children will be out trick or treating this year. Hope they do come see the spooky yard.

Inside, our table is set, and the menu is ready. Halloween is a favorite in our house. Life is too short to skip those things that bring us joy.

Halloween Menu
Witch Broom Appetizers

Spooky Spaghetti Brains
Warm Bread
Red Wine

National Caramel Apple Day
Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Witch Broom Appetizers
1 Package String cheese
1 bag Mini pretzel sticks
1 bunch Chives
1 package Salami

Cut the string cheese half. Each string cheese stick will make two brooms.

Carefully cut slits into lower half of the string cheese stick to form the “broom”.  Insert a pretzel stick into the opposite end for the handle. Repeat until all the brooms are formed.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and blanch chives until they are limp. This will make tying the chives easier and lead to less breakage and frustration. Once the chives have cooled enough to handle, tie toward top of broom for a nice finish.

Layer salami down the center of serving platter, leaving about an inch or so around the rim for the brooms to lay. Place brooms on platter and serve. If desired, crackers can be served alongside the platter.

Spooky Spaghetti Brains
1 medium Carrot
1 medium Yellow Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
2 lbs Ground Beef
1 can (28 ounces) Crushed Tomatoes
3/4 cup Beef Stock
1/4 cup Red Wine
3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
Red Pepper Flakes to taste
Italian Seasoning to taste
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
12 oz Spaghetti
6 large Bell Peppers

Peel and finely carrot, set aside. Peel and mince garlic and set aside until ready to use.

In a lightly oiled large CAST IRON skillet, crumble ground beef over medium heat. Cook meat, breaking up into small pieces as it browns. Once meat has cooked through, drain well and return to skillet.

Add carrots, garlic, crushed tomatoes, beef stock, red wine and tomato paste to the skillet. Season with a pinch of red pepper flakes, Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a full boil, lower heat and allow to simmer until ready to serve.

The longer the sauce simmers, the more intense the flavors. For best results, sauce should be allowed to simmer for a minimum of 1 hour for flavors to mature and sauce to thicken. If sauce becomes too dry, thin with a splash or two of wine. Another option would be to brown the meat, place all the ingredients in a crock pot and allow to simmer on low for about 8 hours. Remove lid from crock pot and let sauce thicken while the noodles are cooked.

For Spaghetti Noodles: Bring a pot of well-salted water to a full boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al-dente, about 10 minutes. Drain well, reserving some of the cooking water. DO NOT RINSE!

In a large mixing bowl, place half of the pasta. Top with half of the sauce, repeat with remaining pasta and sauce. Using a pasta server or tongs, pull the pasta through the sauce to coat well.

Carve faces in the bell peppers while still whole. Don’t worry about the small pieces. Cut the tops from the peppers. Hollow out seeds, remove any small pieces from carvings. Set tops aside.

Fill cavity with spaghetti. Drape some of the noodles out through the mouth, or eyes or top to create bloody, leaky brains.

Serve with warm bread, a crisp salad and wine. Indulge and have fun.

It only makes sense that October 31 is also National Caramel Apple Day. Who doesn’t love the sweetness of an Autumn Apple and the gooey goodness of caramel? This year, we’ve taken Caramel Apple Day to the next yummy level – as an unbelievable Cheesecake. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake
1-1/2 cups Cinnamon Graham Cracker Crumbs (about 8 whole crackers
3/4 cup Sugar, divided
1/4 cup Butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped Pecans, divided
1-1/2 cups chopped peeled Apples (about 2)
1 (14 oz) package Caramels
2/3 cup Evaporated Milk
2 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese, softened
2 tablespoons Flour, divided
2 large Eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 inches square). Securely wrap foil around pan.

Process gram crackers in a food processor to create crumbs. In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar. Melt butter, add to the crumb mixture. Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake in the heated oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Chop pecans, set aside. Peel, core and chop apples, set aside.

In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, cook and stir caramels and milk until melted and smooth. Pour 1 cup over crust; sprinkle with 1/4 cup pecans. Set remaining caramel mixture aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1 tablespoon flour and remaining sugar until smooth. Lightly bean eggs; add to the cream cheese and beat on low speed just until combined.

In another bowl, combine the apples, cinnamon and remaining flour. Fold apple mixture into cream cheese mixture. Pour into crust.

Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

Reheat reserved caramel mixture if necessary; gently spoon over cheesecake. Sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Bake another 10 minutes longer or until center is just set. Remove pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer.

Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Remove sides of pan. Carefully transfer to a serving dish. Enjoy!

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.

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