HAPPY HALLOWEEN, 2006

Welcome to another HALLOWEEN 2006! This year, I've found more treats to serve up with your tricks! Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Baked in a Pumpkin

1 small pumpkin
2 lbs. boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. sour cream
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 T. sesame seeds
1 T. butter
1 bundle green onions, sliced

Slice off 1/4 top of pumpkin. Clean out seeds. Save top to use as a lid. Brown chicken in pan; set aside.

Saute sesame seeds and green onion in butter. Remove from heat. Add soups, sour cream and salt & pepper.

Pour mixture into cleaned pumpkin. Replace lid and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350-degrees for 1-1/2 hours. Serve warm. If desired, scoop some pumpkin inside with each serving.

Candy Apples

8 small red apples
2 c. sugar
1 c. water
1/2 c. corn syrup
1/4 tsp. red food coloring

Remove stem from each small apple; insert wooden stir-stick for holding, in center of stem end. Set aside. Grease baking sheet; set aside.

In 12-cup heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, water and corn syrup; cook, stirring, over medium-low heat for 8 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, brushing down side of pan occasionally with brush, dipped in hot water to prevent crystalization.

Boil, brushing down side occasionally but not stirring, for 15-25 minutes or until soft-crack stage of 290-degrees on candy thermometer, or until 1/2 tsp. syrup dropped into cold water separates into hard but pliable threads.

Remove syrup from heat; very quickly stir in red food coloring. Immediately plunge bottom of pan into ice water and hold for about 15 seconds or until sizzling stops.

Holding each apple by the wooden stick and tilting the saucepan, swirl each apple in candy syrup until well coated all over.

Lift apple and quickly swirl over pan to allow excess to drip off. Place on prepared baking sheet; let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or until hardened.

Tip: Choose the reddest small apples available. Macintosh, Spartan and Courtland apples are excellent.

Watch the boiling sugar mixture carefully, because the temperature rises quickly near the end of the cooking process and the mixture burns easily; plunging the pan into ice water stops the cooking and prevents burning. Wear rubber gloves when swirling the apples to avoid sugar burns.

Store apples, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days at room temperature. Yield: 8 servings

Bloody Mary Dip

3 c. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. V8 juice
1/3 c. tomato pur'ee
1 large green bell pepper, finely minced
1/2 c. finely minced onion
1/3 c. finely minced celery
1/3 c. mayonnaise
horseradish, lemon juice, Tabasco Sauce, salt & pepper to taste

Mix first 7 ingredients in food processor, then add horseradish, lemon juice, tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Use the dip with fresh veggies, crackers or chips.

Magic Wands

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
12 pretzel rods
3 oz white chocolate baking bars
Red and yellow food colorings
Assorted sprinkles
Ribbon

Line baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt semisweet chocolate in top of double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. Remove from heat. Dip pretzel rods into chocolate, spooning chocolate to coat about 3/4 of each pretzel. Place on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm.

Melt white chocolate in top of clean double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. Stir in food colorings to make orange. Remove from heat. Dip coated pretzels quickly into colored white chocolate to coat about 1/4 of each pretzel.

Place on baking sheet. Immediately top with sprinkles. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm. Tie ends with ribbons. Makes 12

Halloween Slush

1 pkg of lime gelatin
1 c. of sugar
7-Up or ginger ale
4 c. of boiling water
3 c. of pineapple juice

Mix all ingredients together except 7-Up. Place in container and freeze 4 to 5 hours. Remove from freezer when mixture is slushy. Fill glasses 1/2 full of slush.

Fill remainder of glass with 7-Up. This can also be used in punch bowl.

Place all slush in (12 inch) serving bowl and add 2 quarts 7-Up or ginger ale.


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The beautiful painting used for this set is by artist, Penny Parker, and used with her permission.