Halloween bash 2017

Our grandchildren make Halloween very exciting for us. All of them make Papou’s and YiaYia’s (grandpa and grandma) their first trick or treat stop all dressed up in their special costumes. Oh how I am going to miss all this as they grow older — one is just more special than the other and all hold a special place in my heart.

Where we live, the houses are far apart therefore after their visit with us they all go to their favorite neighborhoods where the houses are right next to each other. That allowed for us to go to the mall to watch our employees and Chick-fil-A cow and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels pass out candies to the trick or treaters, plus possibly having their picture taken with the Chick-fil-A cow. This year almost all the stores in the mall had employees dressed up in Halloween costumes and passing out candies and treats. (I am sure that many parents had to deal with sugar attacks for the candies flowed freely.)

Again this year, I enjoyed judging the annual tasting event for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Cookbook, which is held this year at Tall Oaks Event Center on 20th Street, that my friend Carol Hanlon, owns. Tall Oaks is a great place that you can rent for an event like a birthdays, engagement, meetings, etc.

Tomorrow (Nov.6) you do not want to miss the Purse Bingo at the Art Center on Market Street and also on Monday, Nov, 12, the 6X6 Canvas at the Art Center which is a new event this year. You will have a chance to purchase something or a gift that is unusual for that special person on your list.

Last week, we had a dinner at our house to welcome a special family that moved to our area three months ago from Athens, Greece. He is Dr. Michail Vasilakis, his wife Dimitra, and three adorable boys, Nikolaos, Nikiitas and Alexandros. Dr Vasilakis is a neurosurgeon at Marietta Memorial Hospital.

Today we set our clocks backward an hour and hopefully you did not forget to do so — I don’t have to worry because my husband, Francis, always sets the clocks back a day or two in advance – just enough to confuse me, but I survive.

We are now entering the busy season of the year — Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner — some of you may think it is too early but it really is not. Believe it or not I have one Christmas tree up at the house, plus we have many Christmas gifts already bought and wrapped. Until next week!

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Fun Marshmallow Bars

1 package devil’s food cake mix

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 egg

3 cups miniature marshmallows

1 cup milk chocolate M&Ms

1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, butter and egg. Press into a greased 13×9 baking pan. Bake at 375 for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with marshmallows, M&Ms and peanuts. Bake 2-3 minutes more or until marshmallows begin to melt. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

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Quick Little Devils

1 package devil’s food cake mix

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup evaporated milk

1 jar marshmallow creme

3/4 cup peanut butter

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, butter and milk. Spread half the mixture into a greased 13×9 baking pan. In a small bowl, combine marshmallow creme and peanut butter. Carefully spread over make mixture to 1-inch of edge. Drop remaining cake mixture by teaspoonfuls over marshmallow mixture. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into squares.

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Chicken Artichoke Bake

2 cans condense cream of celery soup, undiluted

1 cup mayonnaise

3 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 14-ounce can water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped

1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1 package long grain and wild rice mix

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 2-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup seasoned stuffing cubes

In a large bowl, combine soup and mayonnaise. Stir in the chicken, artichokes, water chestnuts, rice mix with contents of seasoning packet, mushrooms, onions, pimentos and pepper. Spoon into a greased 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with stuffing cubes. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until edges are bubbly and rice is tender.

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Pork and Cabbage Dinner

1 pound carrots

1 1/2 cups water

1 envelope onion soup mix

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1 boneless pork shoulder butt roasted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 pounds cabbage, cut into 2-inch pieces

Cut carrots in half lengthwise and then into 2-inch pieces. Place in a 5-quart slow cooker. Add the water, soup mix, garlic and celery seed. Cut roast in half; place over carrot mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Reduce heat to low, cook for 4 hours. Add cabbage and cook 2 hours longer or until the meat and cabbage are tender. Remove the meat and vegetables to a serving plate; keep warm. If desired, thicken pan drippings for gravy and serve with the roast.

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Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

2 pounds ground beef

1 cup chopped green pepper

2/3 cup chopped onion

2 cups ketchup

2 envelopes sloppy joe mix

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

12 hamburger buns, split

In a large skillet, cook the beef, pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, drain. Stir in the ketchup, sloppy joe mix, brown sugar and mustard. Transfer to a 3-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until flavors are blended. Spoon 1/2 cup onto each bun.

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Lamb Ratatouille

1 package beef-flavored rice and vermicelli mix

2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 cups water

3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 medium zucchini, sliced

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

6 green onions, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound cook lamb or beef, cut into thin strips

Set rice seasoning package aside. In a large skillet, saute the rice mix in butter until browned. Stir in water and contents of seasoning packet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover; simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in another skillet, sautee the vegetables in oil until crisp-tender. Add lamb and vegetables to the rice. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and rice is tender.

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Smoky Onion Biscuit Squares

1 small onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 cups biscuit/baking mix

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 pound smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided

1 teaspoon Southwest chipotle seasoning blend

In a small skillet, cook onion in butter over medium heat until tender. Add sugar, cook for 10-15 minutes longer or until golden brown. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Cool slightly. In a small bowl, combine the biscuit mix, milk and egg. Fold in 1/2 cup cheese, seasoning blend and onion mixture. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares. Serve warm.

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Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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