Squirmy Wormy Pasta

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A crazy thing happens to hotdogs when you slice them thinly and boil them. They curl up into wormy shapes. It's awesome; and the pink hotdog color is just right, too. No... I don't really want to know the reason why they curl because I am pretty sure it is yucky. I just think it is awesome that they do curl. It makes a perfect focus for our Wormy Pasta.

Serves: 4
Start-to-Finish: 30 minutes prep + 2 hours refrigeration
Recipe By: Mueller's Pasta


6 oz uncooked spiral pasta
4 hot dogs, sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup relish
1/4 cup red or green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 TBSP yellow mustard
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Slice hotdogs thinly and boil until they curl up. (The hotdogs puff up when you boil them so you need to slice them really thin to get a good worm effect. I was slicing mine into 9ths and felt they could have even been thinner.)
2. Drain hotdogs and set aside.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
4. Drain and rinse well with cold water.
5. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, except pasta, cooked hotdogs, and black beans.
6. Once thoroughly mixed, add pasta, hot dogs, and black beans tossing gently to coat.
7. Chill for at least two hours before serving. (You don't have to refrigerate this pasta if you would like to eat sooner, the flavors will just be milder so you may want to boost them by adding more mustard and vinegar to taste.)

Peanut Butter and Jelly - Halloween Style

Monday, October 17, 2011

This lunch really doesn't require a recipe. It is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut out with a cookie cutter to look like a jack-o-lantern face. I wanted to show an idea of a food that could be made without any extra ingredients or special shopping trips. This is something simple you could do any day of October that will bring the fun spirit of Halloween to your lunch. I made these sandwiches for my boys the day we got down our Halloween decorations from the attic and set them up. It took no extra time from regular lunch preparation but it did a lot to add to the festivities of the day. Your family may not be into PB&J's so substitute turkey on rye instead. Just make it fun and easy to take something you are already eating and give it a new look.

Serves: 4
Start-to-Finish: 5 minutes
Recipe By: Julia Davis Chandler - inventor of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich


sandwich bread
peanut butter
cookie cutters

Happy Halloween Chili Cups

Friday, October 14, 2011

These chili cups are a mix of several ideas and recipes all mashed together to make a fun presentation with a great tasting chili. You can change the cheese cut outs to be anything from pumpkins and cats like I used to scary jack-o-lantern faces or witches with cauldrons. This chili is mild and has extra veggies thrown in for a healthier meal but if you are running short on time and don't want to make your own chili from scratch you can use your favorite premade chili. Apparently, some stores also sell refrigerated cornbread dough made from companies like Pillsbury but I couldn't find any in my local stores so I made mine from scratch and included the ingredients for you to make them, too.

Serves: 4-6 (approx. two chili cups each)
Start-to-Finish: 50 minutes
Recipe By: Chili recipe was from Taste of Home. Chili cups idea was from Pillsbury


1/2 lb ground turkey
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper, any color
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce (or 3/4 cup tomato sauce and 3/4 cup salsa for extra zip)
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin

Cornbread Cups:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt


1. Cook turkey and garlic over medium heat.
2. Add onions, pepper and carrots.
3. Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes.
4. Stir in tomato sauce, beans, chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
5. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low.
6. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
7. While chili is stewing, grease a muffin pan.
8. Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, and baking soda.
9. Mix in cornmeal, flour, and salt until mixture resembles a coarse dough.
10. Press dough into muffin pans along the bottom and sides to form a cup. (Make the bottom and walls of your cups thin. They will thicken and puff up a lot during baking.)
11. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
12. Spoon hot chili into the cornbread cups.
13. Top with cheese cutouts right before serving. (The cheese melts and loses it shape with time so you don't want to do this step too far in advance of serving.)

Jack-o-Lantern Quesadillas

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

With only three ingredients, lunch couldn't be simpler, or happier. This smiling jack-o-lantern face is sure to bring a smile to your mealtime. Not only is it delicious but a fun way to bring out the holiday spirit.

Serves: 4
Start to-Finish: 15 minutes
Recipes By: A Sweet And Savory Life


8 flour tortillas (taco-sized flour tortillas are perfect for kid servings)
4 cups shredded cheese


1. Using the tip of a paring knife or kitchen shears, cut the face of the jack-o-lantern out of four flour tortillas.
2. Thinly butter one side of each tortilla shell. (This will help the tortillas crisp up and brown nicely when you cook them.)
3. Cook the cut jack-o-lantern tortilla over medium heat until toasted and golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, layer one cup of cheese cheese over each of the four uncut tortilla shells.
5. Cook the uncut tortilla over medium heat until golden brown; cheese side up.
6. Place the cut jack-o-lantern tortilla over the melted cheese tortilla.
7. Serve with salsa or other favorite dipping sauce.

Mummy Dogs

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Surprisingly delicious! I am not a fan of hotdogs but of course my boys love them so these had to be in our line-up of Halloween lunches. When I made them the first time I only made enough for the boys and my husband, thinking I would probably enjoy eating something else more. But after my husband asked for seconds I was interested and I tried one. They were surprisingly delicious. (I have decided it is because they are baked with cheese. Everything is better baked in cheese, right?)  I have since made them again and made enough for me to share in the lunchtime fun, too.

Serves: 5 adults (2 hot dogs each) or 10 kids (1 hot dog each)
Start-to-Finish: 50 minutes
Recipe By: Pillsbury


1 (8-oz) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or refrigerated seamless dough sheet
2 1/2 slices American cheese, quartered
10 hot dogs
Cooking spray
Mustard and ketchup, if desired


1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough, separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles, and press perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough, cut into 4 rectangles.
3. With knife or kitchen shears, cut dough into long, thin strips. (The thinner you can make the strips, the better your mummy looks when it is cooked.)
4. Slice cheese slices into quarters. (1/2 slice cheese, cut in half. You want them about the same dimensions as your hotdogs.)
5. Wrap thin strips of dough around each hot dog and 1/4 slice of cheese to look like "bandages," stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog.
6. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate "bandages" so hot dog shows through for "face."
7. On ungreased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down).
8. Spray dough lightly with cooking spray.
9. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot.
10. To make an orange dipping sauce; combine equal part ketchup and mustard, mix well.
11. Serve mummy dogs with orange dipping sauce.

Mac and Cheese Coffins

Monday, October 10, 2011

A creepy spin on a classic favorite; bread hollowed out to resemble a coffin and a plastic dollar store find make this Halloween lunch extra special. If you are short on time you can use boxed mac-and-cheese or even your favorite frozen variety. I found a garland with four skeletons strung along it at my dollar store which was perfect for my family of four. But if you can't find them at your dollar store I have also seen the skeletons sold at megamarts such as Target and Walmart. I included a bread recipe that will give you four mini loaves that are ideal for this purpose but you can also just pick up small loaves of bread at your local bakery to shorten your time in the kitchen and get your little gremlins fed faster.

Serves: 4
Start-to-Finish: 1 hour 30 minutes (45 min prep time + 45 min bake time)
Recipe By: Betty Crocker's Cookbook


2 cups elbow macaroni
2 TBSP onion, finely grated
3 TBSP butter, divided
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper, divided
2 cups milk
3 cups American cheese or cheddar cheese
4 mini loaves bread (small loaves approx 6 inches long. For a recipe to make your own mini loaves click here)
4 plastic skeletons


1. Preheat oven at 375°F.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
3. Grate or cube the cheese.
4. For the white sauce, in a small pot melt 2 TBSP butter.
5. Add the flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper, whisking briskly.
6. Add milk; cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.
7. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes more.
8. Place half the cooked macaroni into an ungreased 2-quart casserole dish.
9. Sprinkle with half the grated onion, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, and half the cheese.
10. Repeat with remaining macaroni, onion, salt, pepper, and cheese.
11. Pour your white sauce over the casserole.
12. Dot with 1 TBSP of butter.
13. Cover and bake 30 minutes.
14. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.
15. Meanwhile, cut the very top off you bread loaves and hollow out the bread on the inside to resemble a coffin and lid. (You can get quite close to the edge of the loaf because you want the "bread bowl" to be able to hold lots of macaroni and cheese.)
16. Spoon the macaroni and cheese into the bread loaf coffins and top with a plastic skeleton.
17. Serve of a bed of baby greens or with other green vegetables. (For a particularly gruesome effect a ketchup for blood.)

Amish Bread

This recipe produces soft loaves with a dense bread and soft, thin crust. I like that is doesn't need as much advanced preparation as some breads because it only needs 1 hour and 30 minutes to rise. It is delicious with butter and jam and freezes well. I often substitute whole wheat flour (picture above with 100% whole wheat flour) for the white bread flour and the loaves come out fine.

Serves: 2 loaves (or 4 small loaves)
Start-to-Finish: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Recipe By: allrecipes.com


2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 TBSP active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour


1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast.
2. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
3. Mix salt and oil into the yeast.
4. Mix in flour one cup at a time.
5. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
6. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat.
7. Cover with a damp cloth.
8. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
9. Punch dough down.
10. Knead for a few minutes, and divide into loaves.
11. Shape loaves and place into well oiled loaf pans. (two 9 x 5 pans or four 5.5 x 3 pans)
12. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
13. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Black Bean Bat Burritos

Saturday, October 8, 2011

When my four-year-old saw me making these bat burritos he got very excited because he thought I was making Batman food. I tried to explain to him this was a bat for Halloween but he could not be swayed. He even ran upstairs to get his Batman action figure and show me the logo on his costume to prove to me that this was indeed a Batman Recipe and not a Halloween Recipe. In the end he was right; it does look like the Bat Signal. Two birds with one stone I guess, right? One of the great things about this recipe is you can add pretty much any burrito ingredients you like to the inside and still get the same bat effect with the black beans on top. I choose a simple "bean and cheese" burrito because it suites my children's lunch needs but it is versatile.

Serves: 4
Start-to-Finish: 10 minutes
Recipe By:


8 flour tortillas
1 (15-oz) can black refried beans (If you can't find prepared refried black beans in your grocery store you can just use regular refried beans with black food coloring to darken the color. Or, if you are feeling super adventurous, you can always make your own.)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 (2.25-oz) can sliced olives

Note: You do not have to use two tortilla shells for each burrito but I liked layering them like a sandwich because it helped even out the tortilla shell to ingredient ratio and the because blacks beans spread easier when they aren't going over the top of other ingredients.


1. Using kitchen shears, cut eight tortilla shells to resemble bats. (You will be layering two tortilla shells for each burrito so cut the shapes to match each other. )
2. Set aside four tortilla shells for later.
3. Top the remaining four tortilla shells with 1/2 cup grated cheese, each. (If you want to add additional ingredients to your burrito such as salsa, shredded chicken, rice ... this is the time to do it.)
4. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until cheese is melted.
5. Top each tortilla shell with the remaining four tortilla shells to make a sandwich.
6. Spread a layer of black beans onto the top of the tortilla sandwich.
7. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds.
8. Top with olives slices for eyes and cheese wedges for fangs.