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This is the perfect time of year for  jack-o-lanterns and ghosts, and making something delicious to feed hungry witches, goblins, Ninjas and ladybugs.

My own scarecrow, clown and cheerless leader have visited pumpkin patches, carved jack-o-lanterns, paraded in their costumes every night since they arrived on the doorstep in a big box, eliciting much excitement, and sampled many kinds of candy. We love our trick-or-treat traditions and these Pumpkin Sloppy Joes and Chili and Cornbread are delightful treats, guaranteed to delight and nourish anyone who has been practicing their tricks.


1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup canned pumpkin
8 ounces tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 hamburger buns
American and Mozzarella cheese slices

In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, drain. Stir in the pumpkin, tomato sauce, brown sugar, mustard, chili powder and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut American cheese slices with a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter. Cut mozzarella cheese into shapes to make pumpkin faces. Spoon meat mixture onto buns and top each with a pumpkin.


5 slices smoked bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 to 2 1/2 cups smoked chicken, diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onions

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels. Chop bacon and set aside.
Wipe out the skillet, cook onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add garlic, chili powder and paprika, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken, broth, beans, tomatoes and barbecue sauce. Heat to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes.
Spoon into bowls, and sprinkle with cheese, green onions and chopped bacon.

Recipe adapted from the Pillsbury Best Ever Fall Entertaining, October 2013


2 cups flour
2 cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk

Heat oven to 375F.
Mist a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk melted butter and sugar. Whisk in eggs until well combined. Whisk in buttermilk.
Add dry ingredients to buttermilk mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined, do not over mix.
Pour onto baking sheet, spreading evenly, and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool.
Use a ghost shaped cookie cutter to form cornbread ghosts.

Recipe adapted from All You, September 2011