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Happy Halloween 2018. I love this time of year. Here are some hauntingly delicious recipes to get you into the spirit of the season.Enjoy and keep safe.

BLOODY EYEBALL SOUP

2 tablespoons butter

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

1 quart chicken broth

3 sprigs oregano

1/2 cup half and half cream

1 cup pearl onions

salt and black pepper

In a large saucepan, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and wine, and cook for about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, and oregano; bring to a boil. Lower heat, and simmer gently until soup thickens, about 45 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove herbs. Purée soup in small batches until mixture is smooth. Return soup to pan, and slowly pour in half-and-half; stir constantly to avoid sticking. Add pearl onions, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to warm onions. Pour soup into a large serving bowl, and have your guest ladle their soup into individual serving bowls. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Yield: 6 servings.

DISAPPEARING-HAM CASSEROLE

2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced

salt and black pepper to taste

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1-1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves, crushed

1 thick slice ham (1-3/4-pounds) trimmed

2 cups milk

Place potatoes in lightly greased 2-quart casserole; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with thinly sliced onion; sprinkle with crushed thyme. Place ham on onion and add milk. Cover and bake at 350º for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until potatoes are tender. Yield: 6 servings.

HOT DEVILED CHICKEN

1 (3-pound) broiler-fryer chicken, quartered

1/2 stick butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon mustard

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

dash red pepper (more or less to taste)

1 cup fresh bread crumbs (2 slices bread)

Dry chicken with paper towel. Combine butter or margarine, mustard, vinegar, salt, paprika and red pepper; mix well. Rub mixture on skin of chicken. Place, skin side up, in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle evenly with crumbs. Bake at 350º for one hour until golden brown. Yield 4 servings.

SURPRISE-STUFFED TENDERLOIN

1 (3-4 pound) beef tenderloin (with pocket cut in center for stuffing)

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

3 cups herb seasoned stuffing mix

8 slices bacon

1/2 teaspoon bottled brown bouquet sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup water

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

Sauté onion, celery and chopped mushrooms in butter. Preheat oven to 450º. Mix the above from step one with stuffing mix (crushed a little to make coarse breadcrumbs) and stuff entire mixture into the tenderloin pocket. Secure the stuffing in the pocket with skewers or toothpicks. Top the meat with bacon strips. Place meat on baking rack and sear in a 450º preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325º and roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove roast from oven and reserve all pan drippings.

In a saucepan, place the pan drippings and add brown bouquet sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 cup water, stirring over low heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and heat thoroughly. Serve roast and stuffing warm with gravy on the side. Yield: 8-10 servings.

CREEPY-CRAWLY PASTA AND CHICK-PEA SALAD

8 ounces cooked fusilli pasta or other spiral pasta

1 (16-ounce) can chick peas, drained

8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut in 3/4-inch cubes

4 medium-size ripe tomatoes, cut in thin wedges

2 cups thinly sliced celery

1 cup small pearl onions

1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper to taste

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Layer fusilli pasta, chick peas, cheese, then tomatoes in a salad bowl. Add celery, pearl onions, basil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, drizzle with vinegar and oil; toss to mix. Yield: 4 servings.

PUMPKIN MARSHMALLOW PUDDING

1-1/2 cups skim milk

1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding and pie filling mix

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

In a large bowl, combine milk, pudding mix and pumpkin pie spice; beat 2 minutes at low speed or until slightly thickened. By hand, stir in pumpkin until well blended. Fold in marshmallows. Spoon pudding mixture into 6 individual serving dishes. Garnish as desired. Yield: 6 (1/2-cup) servings.

(Note: One-half cup marshmallow crème can be substituted for the miniature marshmallows. Spoon pumpkin mixture into 6 individual serving dishes. Spoon marshmallow creme by teaspoonfuls over pudding and swirl in with a table knife). Yield 6 servings.

HALLOWEEN POPS-ON-A-STICK

(A Halloween favorite.)

Basic pop mixture:

1 (10-ounce) bag marshmallows

3 tablespoons margarine

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

nonstick cooking spray

8 large pretzel rods

Method: Line 2 jellyroll pans or pans with sides with wax paper. In pot, combine marshmallows with margarine. Over medium heat cook mixture stirring until melted, 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cereal until combined. Cool 5 minutes. Coat 1-cup measuring cup and your hands with cooking spray. Divide cereal mixture into eight equal portions by scooping 1 generous cup of cereal mixture and packing it to 3/4 cup. Immediately form each portion into different shapes.

To make pumpkin pops, you’ll need:

orange paste food coloring

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vegetable shortening

Add enough food coloring with cereal to marshmallow mixture in basic pop to tint deep orange. Over 1 end of each pretzel rod shape each cereal portion into 3-1/2-inch wide 2-inch thick circle. Place on wax paper-lined pan. In plastic food storage bag, combine chocolate chips with shortening; in microwave, melt on medium 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Snip corner from bag; pipe eyes, nose and mouth on pumpkins. Let stand until set, at least 30 minutes.

To make ghosts, you’ll need:

4-inch strawberry fruit roll from 1 pouch (.75-ounce)

1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

16 chocolate chips

8 “BOO”-shaped candy icing decorations

2 tablespoons white nonpareils or sprinkles

Method: Over 1 end of each pretzel rod shape each cereal portion into 5-inch tall, 3-inch wide bell-shape. With fingers, make indentations in shape to create wavy bottom. Place on rack set over jellyroll pan; let stand 20 minutes. For mouths, cut shapes from fruit roll; set aside. In pot combine white chocolate with shortening; over low heat melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon chocolate mixture over pops. For eyes, press chocolate chips, pointed ends down, into coating; attach mouths and “BOO” candies. Sprinkle nonpareils over bottoms of ghosts. Yield: 8 pumpkins, ghosts.

HALLOWEEN MOLASSES

CUT-OUTS

For cookies:

1 stick butter, softened

one-half cup sugar

one-half cup molasses

1 egg

1-1/2 teaspoons vinegar

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

For frosting:

4 cups powdered sugar

1 stick butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

In a large mixer bowl, combine butter, sugar, molasses, egg and vinegar. Beat at medium speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add all remaining ingredients and beat until blended well, 1 to 2 more minutes. Divide dough into thirds; wrap in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight. On surface covered with equal mixture of flour and sugar, roll out dough, one portion at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), cut to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with assorted 2 to 3-inch cookie cutters. Place 1-inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350º for 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Cool completely.

In a small mixer bowl, combine all frosting ingredients, except milk. Beat at low speed and gradually add enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Decorate cooled cookies with frosting and decorator sugar, as desired. Yield: 4 dozen.

HOMEMADE PUMPKIN ICE CREAM

4 cups light cream

2 eggs, beaten

1-1/4 cups brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1-1/4 cups mashed or canned pumpkin

Put cream in medium-large saucepan; cover and bring to boiling point. Reduce heat and add eggs, brown sugar and seasonings. Cook, stirring constantly, until a coating forms on spoon. Stir in pumpkin and heat gently, but thoroughly. Pour into a freezing tray; chill and freeze. Yield: 1 quart.

Any comments, questions or favorite recipes? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to send your email to helenkitchen@msn.com, and please write “Helen’s Kitchen Request, ATTN: Lori” in the subject line to make sure that I receive your email. Thank you.