Try these easy-to-make meals for a busy Halloween

  • Tue Oct 26th, 2010 7:06pm
  • Life

By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist

Now we come to Halloween …

If you’ve got kids and costumes to cope with, not to mention waves of doorbell-ringing trick-or-treaters, Halloween really keeps mommies and daddies on the hop.

And then there’s dinner…

One or the other of today’s two picks, maybe even both, might be just the ticket.

The first, a slow cooker happening, starts hours and hours ahead of time to let you get on with other important things. Seasoned according to tradition, with a wee bit of chocolate, cumin and cinnamon, this Mexican-style specialty from Campbell’s Kitchen (www.campbells might work especially well for anybody feeding their hungry eaters on a split schedule.

And, while the ingredient list/directions don’t mention anything about sour cream or guacamole after the tortillas are filled but before they’re folded, I think either or both would add just the right finishing touch. Maybe I’m just a pig. Maybe…

Moving along now, the second recipe from ( ought to be a people-pleasing offering for a pre-dinner snack for your trick-or-treaters before they head out, as well as a temporary top-up for the guy or gal accompanying them on kid-monitoring/door-knocking duty. Or the mainstay of a great kids’ after-the-excitement dinner.

If “toxic’’ dip strikes you as just too “toxic’’ for your little (or big) people, and a different favorite dip or dips would work better for this finger-lickin’ grabber, go for it.

Let’s see what we make of:

Slow-cooker mole-style pulled pork

1can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed French onion soup

1/4cup water

1tablespoon chili powder

1tablespoon brown sugar

1teaspoon ground cumin

1teaspoon ground cinnamon

1boneless pork shoulder roast, about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds

2tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips

12 (8-inch) flour tortillas, warmed

6Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/4cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Stir the soup, water, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin and cinnamon together well in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the pork and turn to coat. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours (OR on high for 5 to 6 hours), or until the pork is fork-tender. Remove the pork to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred the pork. Add the chocolate chips to the cooker and stir until melted. Return the shredded pork to the cooker.

To serve, place about 1/2 cup of the pork mixture onto half of each tortilla. Top with the tomatoes and cilantro. Fold the tortillas over the filling.

Makes 12 filled tortillas.

Severed chicken fingers (potato-chip chicken fingers) with toxic dip

1pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1bag potato chips, any kind

2eggs, beaten

Toxic dip (recipe follows) or other favorite dip

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

With a sharp knife, cut each breast into 1/2-inch thick, lengthwise strips. Depending on the size of the chicken breasts, you may get 4 to 6 strips out of each one.

Cut a small slit in an unopened bag of potato chips and, with a rolling pin, crush the chips thoroughly by rolling back and forth over the bag. (The slit is to let air out of the bag so that it doesn’t explode.) Open the bag, but don’t dump out the chip crumbs.

Working with one or two chicken strips at a time, dip each one into the beaten egg, then drop into the bag with the potato chip crumbs. Shake to coat thoroughly, then fish out the fingers and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken strips, until they are all coated with crushed chips. (Discard the chips — they have come into contact with raw chicken.)

Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes — turning after 10 minutes — or until the fingers are lightly browned and crisp. Remove from the baking sheet and serve immediately with toxic dip or other favorite dips. Makes about 16 to 20 ‘‘severed fingers,’’ about 4 servings.

Toxic dip

1cup mayonnaise

3medium dill (or other favorite) pickles, roughly chopped

3green onions, roughly chopped

1tablespoon mustard, Dijon or yellow

2teaspoons sugar

In a blender or food processor, combine the mayonnaise, pickles, green onions, mustard and sugar; blend, pulsing on and off, until the dip is mixed but still has a slightly chunky texture. Makes about 4 servings (for 16 to 20 severed fingers).

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