Let me start by admitting that I’m a horrible meal planner. It’s not for lack of trying. Lists have been made in the past, only to be lost or forgotten on the counter. After doing that one too many times, I took it as a sign that perhaps I was better suited to winging it. Truth be told, I like the spontaneity of “planning” meals while I’m shopping too. It offers more inspiration and frees me from the rigidity of a set menu.
Thanksgiving, though, is a different story. There are certain favorites I know I want to make every year, so when November rolls around I feel more inclined to be prepared. Two essentials I’ve needed every year are homemade stock for making gravy and pie crusts for dessert. Luckily, they’re both components you can get a jump on prepping well in advance before the holiday.
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Whether you’re hosting a full-fledged Halloween bash or whipping up a low-key celebration tonight, throw a party that’s just as much about the good food as the costumes. Let’s face it: in between nibbles of bite-size candy bars and fistfuls of candy corn, your guests — and kids — could use some real food, too. Go beyond the annual sugar binge and make homemade appetizers and treats with fall’s finest seasonal produce. These dishes will impress even the most discerning ghosts, vampires and witches.
Made with crunchy phyllo shells and roasted Kabocha squash, Food Network Star winner Damaris Phillips’ Squash Tartlets with Kale Pesto are perfect mouthfuls between bobbing for apples and pumpkin carving. Then, save one pumpkin from a chiseled, toothy grin: Food Network Magazine’s Pumpkin Queso Fundido roasts a hollowed pumpkin with bubbly, spicy cheese inside. Savored with tortilla chips, it’s one part appetizer and another part decoration.
As a seasonal rendition of the Mexican mainstay, Butternut Squash Tamales are wrapped up mummy-style in traditional cornhusks. Stuff these with a squash-based dough and a filling of raisins, olives and chipotle chiles, and peel them open in between trick-or-treaters.
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Given her penchant for quirkiness and her fun-loving demeanor, it’s no surprise that Food Network’s newest star, Damaris Phillips, is quick to embrace the lighthearted spirit of tomorrow’s spooky-sweet holiday. The host of Southern at Heart admits to dressing up for not only Halloween, but several other occasions each year, and she isn’t content with ordinary costumes for witches, pumpkins or ghosts. Her Halloween getups require a bit of imagination, as well as inspired clothing and coordination among friends. FN Dish caught up with Damaris to chat about these costumes, plus all things tricks and treats; read on below to learn her plans for this year’s fright-night bash, her all-time favorite Halloween costumes and her must-have candy.
How will you be celebrating Halloween this year?
Damaris Phillips: Me and all my girlfriends are dressing up as Britney Spears from different music videos. And she had some good outfits, like, phenomenal outfits. I really want to do the Pan Am girl from “Toxic.” Or I wanted to do “Oops!… I Did It Again” — the red pleather — but we have a guy friend that wants to do that, so …. The shoes are unfortunate, so I was OK giving it up.
So you don’t shy away from the costumes.
DP: Any reason to dress up, I am in. So I don’t only dress up at Halloween. I dress up for my birthday; we have a costume party every year for my birthday. I dress up probably seven times a year at least.
Tonic water. Who knew it could make things glow in the dark? And while everyone is busy with Halloween parties and planning dishes, tonic water is an ingredient you probably already have on hand.
Click play on the video above to find out how Jenny from Food Network Kitchens makes her drinks and gelatin glow (and which colors work better than others). Finally, learn how to take your party punch one step further with a glow-in-the-dark floating hand.
Halloween brings out the fun in everyone — young and old. And in between all the Halloween party planning, FN Dish was able to get ahold of a very bewitching photo. So who is this adorable, now-household name?
We’ll give you one hint: He won Food Network Star and is the “Real-Deal Holyfield.”
Click here to find out who it is
Garlic will keep vampires off your doorstep this Halloween — except friendly ones in their Twilight costumes, of course. Bonus: Once roasted, this vampire repellent is delicious. Follow our easy step-by-step how-to, then spread the fragrant cloves on toasted baguette rounds for a quick appetizer, or puree them into pasta sauce or soup. For the non-vampires in the crowd, it’ll be the hit of your Halloween party.
See how to make roasted garlic in five easy steps.
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On Halloween, kids — and many grownups — are excited to eat just one simple thing: candy. But while a little indulgence may indeed be called for on the holiday, most moms and dads insist on offering something other than chocolate bars and peanut butter bites to their littlest ghosts and goblins. This year, whether you’re hosting a pre-trick-or-treating get-together with the neighbors or simply making dinner for your family before heading out for the night, serve up a themed menu of spooky eats and drinks to celebrate. These family-friendly recipes below for grilled cheese and tomato soup, chicken lollipops and strawberry-orange punch go a long way in making sure kids’ bellies are full before they start collecting candy.
As comforting as it is hearty, Food Network Kitchens’ Vampire Blood Tomato Soup with Muenster Sammies (pictured above) is a top-rated recipe that features a Halloween-worthy twist on a kid-approved pairing: tomato soup and grilled cheese. Here the Kitchens puree tomato-basil soup into a smooth consistency, then serve the warming mixture alongside gooey cheddar-muenster grilled cheeses built on pumpernickel bread. To achieve the ghoulish designs pictured above, opt for a ghost-shaped cookie cutter when shaping the sandwiches.
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Even if you won’t be trick-or-treating this year, your sweet tooth will likely start acting up a bit more than usual as Halloween nears. After all, kids and kids at heart would surely agree that this spooky holiday means but one thing: sugar. Instead of resorting to store-bought chocolates or caramel-filled, peanut-topped candies to curb your cravings, however, make your own ghostly goodies at home in the form of decadent Halloween desserts that both little goblins and grownups will enjoy. Check out Food Network’s top-five treats below to find sweet tooth-satisfying recipes ideal for family-friendly indulgences and fright night bashes alike.
5. Chocolate Candy Pie — Save time in the kitchen by starting with a prepared pie crust, then fill it with a rich chocolate pudding and finish with fluffy whipped cream and your favorite crushed chocolate candies. It’s important that this pie freeze for a few hours so the flavors and textures can set, so it’s best to plan ahead before making and serving.
4. Caramel, Chocolate and Candy Apples — Perhaps the ultimate autumn indulgence, Giada’s triple-coated apples feature a first layer of gooey caramel, then a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, and finally a sprinkle of crunchy nuts, sprinkles and candies. Set up a DIY decorating bar, and let everyone create his or her preferred apples.
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For kids — and kids at heart — Halloween may mean just one thing: candy. But beyond all things chocolate-covered and caramel-filled there lies an entire array of savory eats and drinks to celebrate this spooky holiday. Whether you’re hosting a fright night bash with friends or simply entertaining fellow moms and dads before trick-or-treating begins, opt for Halloween-inspired bites to set the theme. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite party-ready recipes below, then tell FN Dish in the comments what you’re serving at your Halloween party.
Just as the party’s starting, put out a platter of Ghostinis with Bloody Murder Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade (pictured above) from Food Network Kitchens. Just like traditional crostini, these toasts are served with a blend of sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and capers, but the bread is cut into ghosts to achieve an eerie effect. This fuss-free appetizer can be eaten with your hands, so it guarantees a relaxed, mingle-friendly atmosphere all night long.
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Hi-hat cupcakes are one of the most beautiful and decadent ways to enjoy a cupcake; while they can seem intimidating, they are actually very easy to make.
I am a big fan of surprise-inside treats and my cupcakes are no exception. These hat cupcakes hide a sweet fall-inspired surprise that replicates the colors of candy corn.
Find out what you’ll need to make these cupcakes