Maybe you could tell by my post yesterday that Halloween is kind of a big deal in my house.   So in keeping with the spirit of the season, I thought it might be fun to use this section to post some Halloween-inspired, seasonal recipes.   And it’s not all super sweet cupcakes and cookies either.  Here are some “spooky” appetizers you might want to try for your Halloween party this year. 

Screaming Crab Melts on Pumpernickel  

Screaming Crab Melts courtesy Robin Miller
8 oz cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp milk

1 pound lump crab meat

2 tbsp freshly chopped chives

1 tbsp horseradish

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tsp Dijon mustard

8 slices pumpernickel bread, cut into 4-inch rounds

1 cup baby spinach leaves

2 tbsp grated Parmesan

Pitted black olives, cut crosswise into rings

Pimento pieces and strips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and milk until smooth.  Fold in the lump crab meat, chives and horseradish.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer the mixture to a small baking dish and bake for 10 minutes, until hot and bubbly.   Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler.

Spread 1/2 tsp of the Dijon mustard on 1 side of each of the pumpernickel rounds.  Top each round with spinach leaves and some crab mixture.  Sprinkle Parmesan over the top.  Broil for 2 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Remove from oven.  Place 2 olive rings on the top of each crab melt and fill the center of the ring with a piece of pimento, making “eyes”.  Use another strip of pimento to make a circle for a “screaming mouth”.

Curried Carrot Soup

Curried Carrot Soup courtesy Rachel Ray

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 lbs baby carrots

4 to 6 cups chicken stock

1 tbsp mild curry paste (or 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder)

1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

1 cup sour cream

Medium plastic food storage bag

6 blades of fresh chives, cut into one-inch pieces

Heat a medium pot over medium high heat.  Add olive oil, butter, onions and carrots and saute for 5 minutes. 

Add 4 cups of the chicken stock, curry and cayenne and about 1 tsp of salt to the pot.  Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until carrots are very tender, about 15 minutes. 

Using a food process, process the soup in small batches until the soup is smooth and the carrots are fully pureed.  (Transfer the processed soup into a large bowl as you work to make room for more soup in the food processor).   When all of the soup has been processed, return it all to the soup pot and place back over low heat.   If the soup is too thick, add remaining stock, up to 2 cups, to achieve desired consistency.   Adjust seasonings.

Place sour cream into a medium food storage bag.  Cut a very small hole in the corner of the bag with scissors. 

Ladle the soup into bowls and squirt a swirl of sour cream around the bowl from the center out to the rim.  Drag a toothpick from the center of the bowl out of the edges, forming a spider web design on the soup.  Pile a few pieces of cut chives at the center of each bowl.  Makes about 6 servings.

Crunchy Monster Claws

Crunchy Monster Claws courtesy Taste of Home

1 small sweet yellow pepper

2 tbsp all purpose flour

2 tsp plus 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups cornflake crumbs

2 tbsp chopped green onion

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into 3/4″ strips

BBQ Sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut yellow pepper into 15 small triangles and set aside. 

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour and 2 tsp Cajun seasoning.  Place eggs in a shallow bowl.  In another shallow bowl, combine the cornflake crumbs, green onion and remaining Cajun seasoning.

Place a few pieces of chicken in the flour bag; seal and shake to coat.  Next, dip the coated chicken in the eggs, then in the crumb mixture.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining chicken.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Cut a small slit into one end of each chicken strip; insert a pepper triangle into each.   Serve with BBQ sauce.   Makes about 15 appetizers.

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