Save the candy for dessert: Kid-friendly Halloween recipes
Ann Johansson / Los Angeles Times
Recipe: Tomato soup with ghost toasts
Total time: 50 minutes
Note: Use bread slices large enough to give you 8 (2-inch) croutons.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
2 slices white bread
3 ounces white cheese, such as Gruyere, Cheddar, Jack or Swiss, cut in 4 slices
12 whole peppercorns, optional
1/2 cup whipping cream
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, using a cookie cutter or scissors, cut the bread slices into ghost shapes. Cut the cheese slices into the same shape. Toast the ghosts in a toaster oven. Place them on an oven-safe tray, then place the cheese on top. Use 3 peppercorns to make eyes and a mouth for each ghost. Put them back into the toaster oven and toast again to melt the cheese. (If you don't have a toaster oven, you can broil the cheese toasts about 4 inches beneath the broiler element until the cheese is bubbly, 2 minutes.)
3. Puree the soup in a blender in two batches. Return it to the pot. Add the cream and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Heat, then serve in bowls with the ghost toasts on top.
Each serving: 364 calories; 1,198 mg sodium; 44 mg cholesterol; 21 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 32 grams carbohydrates; 15 grams protein; 4.35 grams fiber.
Recipe: Caramel apples
Servings: 5-6 apples
1 (14-ounce) package caramel candies
4 teaspoons hot water
5 to 6 medium apples
1. Remove wrapping from candies and place with water in top of double boiler. Heat over boiling water, stirring often, until caramels are melted and sauce is smooth.
2. Insert wooden skewer into stem end of each apple. Dip into hot caramel sauce, turning to coat surface. Place on wax paper and chill until caramel is firm.
Note: To cool upright, place skewers in flower-arranging frogs or block of styrofoam.
Variation: While dipped apples are still warm, roll in flaked coconut, ground nuts, colored shot or crushed cereal.
Recipe: Pumpkin face quesadillas
Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 quesadillas
8 flour tortillas
1/2 cup canned refried black beans
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1. Cut pumpkin shape out of each tortilla with 6-inch pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter.
2. Place 4 pumpkin-shaped tortillas on baking sheet. Spread 2 tablespoons refried beans on each cutout. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Top each with remaining pumpkin cutouts to make sandwich.
3. Using butter knife or bottle caps (if kids are helping), cut pumpkin eyes and mouth out of top of each quesadilla.
4. Bake at 300 degrees until cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes.
Each serving: 526 calories; 725 mg sodium; 69 mg cholesterol; 25 grams fat; 52 grams carbohydrates; 22 grams protein; 4.44 grams fiber.
Recipe: Apple oatmeal muffins
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Servings: 1 dozen muffins
Note: From Kim Boyce. Graham flour is available at Whole Foods markets and health-food stores. Use any apple sauce containing only apples and water.
Vegetable oil spray for coating muffin tins
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt, divided
1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons white sugar, divided
2 medium apples, (a tart, crisp variety such as Braeburn or Granny Smith), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 -inch pieces
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup graham flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a muffin pan with vegetable oil.
2. In a small saucepan, bring one-half cup water, one-half cup of the milk and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add the oats, cover and simmer at medium-low heat until cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Most of the liquid will evaporate.
3. Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of the white sugar over medium-high heat until bubbling. Add the apples and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, toss, then allow to caramelize without stirring. Toss again, each time allowing the apples to color. Once finished cooking, the apples should have lost their edges and be caramelized, about 5 minutes.
4. Into a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, oat flour, graham flour, the remaining 2 tablespoons white sugar, the brown sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and one-half teaspoon salt. Add any remaining grain from the sifter and stir to combine.
5. Whisk the remaining 1 cup milk, theapplesauce, the melted butter, the egg and the vanilla with the oatmeal in a separate bowl. Pour in the dry-ingredients mixture. Add the apples and fold until the mixture just comes together.
6. Using an ice cream scoop (about one-half cup capacity), scoop the mixture into each of 12 muffin cups, about 1 scoop per muffin. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The bottom of the muffins will be dark golden brown.
Each muffin: 195 calories; 4 grams protein; 31 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 7 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 32 mg. cholesterol; 252 mg. sodium.