We’ve already road-tested at least one festive recipe for the coming holidays. My husband conjured a turkey meatball with dried cranberries, doused in a spicy, fruity, vinegary sauce for a recent pumpkin-carving party. It was only after he recited the ingredients a few times that he took to calling them Thanksgiving meatballs, albeit a month early.
But they went over remarkably well on a buffet that skewed more toward sweet than I expected. Because on top of all that Halloween candy that’s soon to haunt the house, I want to whet my appetite on something besides sugar cookies, crisped-rice treats, caramel corn, even comparatively wholesome caramel apples.
Instead of serving the fruit with a side of sugar, the Los Angeles Times suggested simply carving apples and oranges (veggies, too) into simple jack-o’-lanterns before packing into lunch bags or serving as snacks. If preparing ahead of time, dab the carved areas with a little lemon juice to prevent the fruit from browning.
Here are seven more spooky but savory suggestions, courtesy of the Times, that will fill the little ones up before trick-or-treating.
Tomato soup with ghost toasts: Cheesy ghost-shaped toasts are a perfect garnish for creamy tomato soup. Layer a thin slice of cheese over sliced bread, using a cookie cutter to cut out the ghost. Toast the bread in the oven or toaster until the cheese is melted, and use peppercorns to make the eyes.
Witches’ fingers breadsticks: Cut premade breadstick dough into finger lengths. Place the fingers on a baking sheet, pinching the dough together in places to form knuckles. Top with egg wash and sliced almonds to make the finger nails. Serve alongside the tomato soup or a pesto or marinara dipping sauce.
Ghost-shaped pizza: Form your pie into the shape of a ghost using homemade or store-bought pizza dough. Use traditional pizza toppings to form the eyes and mouth before baking.
Scary guacamole: Spread out your guacamole in a large shallow bowl, using cut olives, peppers, onions, cilantro and more to create bugs and other ghoulish decorations.
Pumpkin-faced quesadillas: Use a large cookie cutter to make pumpkin-shaped tortillas, and top with thin layers of refried black beans and grated cheddar cheese. Top the cheese with more pumpkin-shaped tortillas, but cut out a jack-o’-lantern face before heating to melt the cheese. Delicious with the scary guacamole.
Witches brew burritos: Use green tortillas to wrap up a tasty chicken filling with a smear of scary guacamole. Or serve the avocado dip on the side.
Spiced popcorn: Come home from canvassing the neighborhood to this wickedly spicy snack blend. Toss freshly popped corn with melted butter and ground chipotle, chili powder, garlic powder and cumin. But don’t just save this one for Halloween. It’s a delicious alternative any time to plain, salted popcorn, particularly with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.