Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I have so many great memories of taking my kids trick-or-treating on those (sometimes) cool nights — usually, the adults had more fun than the children did.
But I was never one of those moms who liked to fuss over dinner before heading out to trick-or-treat. In our house, we were always more interested in eating fast before we hit the street for the kids to fill their bags with sweet treats.
The kids would get so much candy that every night after Halloween, I would secretly throw away a handful of candy from each of their stashes so they (or I) wouldn’t eat it all.
Halloween mealtime gets tough when it falls on a weeknight, as it does this year. If you’d like your family to gather around the table before the candy-gathering commences, try these quick and easy Halloween-night dinner ideas that my kids always loved. They’re simple, no-fuss dishes with some scary little props added just for fun.
Nancy Farrar is the Chef Impersonator. Reach her at ChefImpersonator@gmail.com or visit www.ChefImpersonator.com.
Ooey-gooey meatball sliders
- 12 large or 24 small frozen meatballs, thawed
- 2 cups jarred pasta sauce (use your family favorite)
- 12 slider rolls
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil, for brushing
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Warm meatballs and sauce together in a saucepan.
2. Split rolls and place bottoms into an ungreased casserole dish. Place one or two meatballs (depending on size) onto each roll bottom. Top each with a spoonful of sauce and cover with shredded cheese. Place tops on each roll and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
3. Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and buns are golden brown. Serve with buttered corn (or candy corn).
Nutritional analysis per serving: 720 calories, 42 grams fat, 58 grams carbohydrates, 29 grams protein, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 1,582 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber, 52 percent of calories from fat.
Ghoulish sloppy Joes
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 4 hamburger buns
1. Brown ground beef with onion, salt and pepper until meat loses its red color and onion is tender, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add ketchup, Worcestershire, flour and water and mix well. Simmer on low for 15 minutes, stirring often until mixture is thick enough to serve on rolls. If mixture is too thick, add a bit of water until desired consistency is reached. If too thin, add more flour.
3. Remove mixture from heat and serve on soft hamburger buns. Serve with sweet potato fries, and add some skeleton bones to the tray for garnish.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 667 calories, 38 grams fat, 45 grams carbohydrates, 36 grams protein, 128 milligrams cholesterol, 1,610 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 51 percent of calories from fat.
Easy Halloween grilled cheese sandwiches
- 8 slices sandwich bread
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 8 Velveeta slices or orange American cheese
1. Preheat a skillet to medium-low. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
2. Place one slice of bread, butter side down, into skillet. Place two slices of Velveeta on top of bread. Top with second slice of bread, butter side up. Cook on medium-low heat until bottom bread is nicely browned, checking often so as not to burn. Flip sandwich and cook second side until bread is browned and cheese is melted. Repeat for each sandwich.
3. Remove from heat. Press a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter down into the center of the sandwich, being sure to go all the way through to the bottom. Remove pumpkin-shaped sandwich and place on a plate. Serve with warm tomato soup and a few plastic spider rings on the plate.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 381 calories, 25 grams fat, 23 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams protein, 69 milligrams cholesterol, 1,105 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 59 percent of calories from fat.
Spooky ham and cheese rollups
- 1 8-ounce tube crescent rolls
- 4 slices thinly sliced ham sandwich meat
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll dough into 4 squares. Press together the perforations to seal them well.
2. Place 1 slice of ham on each section, spread mustard on the ham, and sprinkle with grated cheese. Roll up each section into tubes starting on the short side. Place on a plate and chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, just so they’re sturdy enough to cut.
3. Cut each of the rolls into 5 slices. Place slices with the cut side down onto an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with fresh fruit and spooky fingernails.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 363 calories, 22 grams fat, 23 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams protein, 95 milligrams cholesterol, 1,032 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 56 percent of calories from fat.