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Tuesday, November 3, 2009


So it has been a bit over a week since I last posted...October can get pretty crazy in our house with birthdays, anniversary's, family coming to visit and Halloween. It is a tradition in our family to host a festive Halloween party. For as long as I can remember my parents always hosted this party at their home. They invited the neighbors and some friends and family and everyone came over right after trick or treating. Their menu always consisted of a hearty soup and chili. Both my brother and his family and me and my family moved about 45 minutes west of my parents. It is hard for the trick or treating to take place and for us to do the driving back and forth with all the kids. For the past three years my husband and I have now taken the reigns and we now host the annual Halloween party. We invite pretty much the same people that came over to my parents and this year we added a few neighborhood friends as well. We also tried to stay close with the annual menu of soup and chili, but we also added a few special recipes of our own. Please read more to find all the recipes!

Fresh popped popcorn, chex mix and cheese and cracker tray

Speciality Cocktail:
Pumpkin Pie Martini and Apple Martini

Other Drinks:
Hot and Cold Cider, Assortment of Fall Beers, Wine, Pop

Dad's Chili, Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup, Sandwich Platter,
The Perfect Fall Salad, Assortment of Rolls and Corn Muffins

Brownie Bites on a Stick, Pumpkin Pie Bites, Halloween Cupcakes, Assortment of Store Bought Doughnuts, Coffee and After Dinner Drink options


• 3 oz. Pumpkin Liquor

• 1 oz. Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum
• Dash of 1/2 & 1/2
• Ground cinnamon
• Sugar & Cinnamon mixture

1. Place pumpkin liquor, spiced rum and 1/2 & 1/2 in shaker over ice. Shake.
2. Dip rim of glass in water and quickly rim the edge in cinnamon sugar mixture.
3. Pour shaker contents into martini glass.
4. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top of drink for garnish.

* Recipe courtesy of


* From trial and error I have come up with the BEST Butternut squash soup! I garnish it with some crumbled italian sausage and shredded hot pepper cheese!

• 2 heads of garlic - halved crosswise
• 1tsp. olive oil
• 1/2 stick of butter
• 3 cups chopped onions
• 3/4 cup chopped carrots
• 4 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
• 6 cups canned chicken broth or chicken stock
• 3 TB chopped fresh sage or 1 TB dried sage
• 3/4 cup whipping cream
• 4 italian sausage links - casings removed, cooked and crumbled
• shredded jalapeno cheese for garnish

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Drizzle cut surfaces of garlic with olive oil. Assemble garlic heads back together and wrap with tin foil

 3. Place packets on baking pan and cook in oven for about 30 - 35 minutes until garlic is tender.
4. In the meantime, melt butter with oil in large stock pot.
5. Add onions and carrots and saute to soften - about 5 minutes
6. Add squash, broth and sage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and then simmer uncovered until squash and other vegies are tender. About 20 - 25 minutes.
7. Unwrap garlic from foil. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin into a bowl. Mash with a fork. Add mashed garlic to pot.
8. Using a hand blender (regular blender can also be used - puree soup in batches) puree soup until smooth.
9. Bring soup to a low simmer and add cream.
10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
11. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with italian sausage and shredded jalapeno cheese.

* Steps 1 - 8 can be done one day ahead.

** In order to peel the butternut squash place entire squash in microwave for about 2 minutes. This will
soften the hard skin of the squash allowing peeling to be easier.


  • 4 lbs ground meat
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper chopped
  • 1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 - 15 oz. cans "Chili Magic"
  • 2 - 16 oz. cans "Bush's Chilie Beans In Chili Sauce"
  • 1 - 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 15 oz. can cannellinin beans
  • 1 - 15 oz. can chili beans
  • 1/3 (or more to taste) cup chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of cumin
  • * can add a bit of tomato juice to thin if chili is too thick
  1. Brown the ground meat in a large pot. Drain off excess oil.
  2. Add the ground meat back to pot with a bit of olive oil.  Add onion and green pepper and cook for about 5 minutes to soften.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, chili magic, bush's chili, diced tomato, cannellini beans, chili beans, chili powder and cumin. 
  4. Stir together.  Simmer for about 1/2 to an hour to blend flavors.
  5. Serve over small noodles with all the chili fixin's!


For Salad:

• 2 large bags of spring mix salad
• 1 (12 oz.) container of crumbled blue cheese
• 1/2 cup of crumbled cooked bacon
• 1/2 red onion chopped
 • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup diced fresh pear (skin on)
• 1/3 cup sliced almonds

For Dressing:
• 4 TB. balsalmic vinegar
• 6 TB. olive oil
• 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
• 1/ 2 tsp. sugar or one packet of sugar substitute
• salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.

In large bowl place salad, blue cheese, bacon, red onion, cranberries, pears and almonds. Toss to mix ingredients.

In a small bowl add balsalmic vinegar, garlic powder and sugar. While slowly adding the olive oil whisk it in vigorously to the balsalmic mixture.

Add salt, pepper and red pepper to taste.

Can drizzle dressing directly over salad and toss to coat or can serve dressing on the side for guests to drizzle on their own.


  • 2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter


 1/2 cup chocolate morsels

 vegetable oil

 re-sealable plastic bags

  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust. You will need to roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box.

  Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. (Make 12 at a time, alternating cups to make sure pie crusts don’t overlap each other.)

Apply egg whites from one egg to the top edges of each pie.

Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.

Spoon mixture into each pumpkin-shaped pie crust.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Remove pies to cool and repeat with second pie crust. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to cool it quickly for re-use.

Makes 24 pies. Keep refrigerated.

To decorate, melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave on medium. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Add a little vegetable oil to make the chocolate more fluid. Transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag and cut the corner off. Drizzle or draw faces on pies.

Note: The cutter I used was 3 3/4 inches wide, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. Just use a round cutter around that size or slightly smaller to cut circle shapes out of the dough. Then make stems with the scraps. Press each stem over the edge and down the side of the dough before filling.

* Recipe & Photos Courtesy of

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