Pumpkin gets a lot of love in the sweet category. And happy as we are to dive into pumpkin pie, pumpkin sticky buns or a well-spiced cheesecake, today we are championing the savory side. Case in point: dinner in a pumpkin. This clever, ultra-homey idea bakes a classic casserole (think: cream of mushroom soup, wild rice, water chestnuts, ground beef or turkey) into an actual medium-size pumpkin. Pop it in the oven on Halloween night, draw a face on the finished gourd and dish it out with some softened pumpkin for maximal heartiness before trick-or-treating time. Or make it the throw-back main course for your adults-only party, since it pairs well with pumpkin ale and a sensible kale salad. (Full disclosure: This is stock art, not the actual dish. We completely failed to take a picture when we made this dish ourselves.)
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Nothing beats a warm, home-cooked meal on a chilly day… except, perhaps, eliminating the hot-stove phase to get there. That’s where the slow cooker comes in. What’s great about slow-cooker meals is: They’re often one-pot dishes (Less cleanup! Complete meal!). So check out these recipes to get some inspiration for your slow cooker this week:
Whole-Grain Breakfast Porridge: Think beyond oats with this multigrain hot cereal.
There are a lot of amazing kitchen gadgets out there. If you tried to write them all down, you’d get a hand cramp somewhere around sous vide cooker or silly-shaped pancake mold. This is great for cooking enthusiasts. Variety is the spice of life, after all. This is not so great for people with smaller than average kitchens. Where do you put all of that stuff? That’s where this new library of kitchen appliances comes in.
Opened in Toronto, the Kitchen Library works just like a regular library. You take stuff out and return it by a certain date. Instead of books, however, this library stocks only kitchen gadgets. All told, it features over 100 different appliances, from expensive juicers to more niche items like chocolate fountains. Fifty bucks gets you unlimited access to all of these goodies for a full year, so long as you return them, clean as a whistle, by the specified time.
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- Make no bones about it, these skeleton-inspired Dusty Bones Sugar Cookies by Sprinkle Bakes are bound to be the first thing to disappear from your Halloween soiree.
- If you’ve ever encountered puppy chow (the cereal-based snack), you know it’s hard not to scarf it all at once — especially now that I Am Baker gives it a fall spin with Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow.
- Use the most magical superfood of them all, quinoa, for a surprising use, courtesy of What’s Cooking Good Looking. Savory Pumpkin Pie and Quinoa Crust piles roasted pumpkin and zucchini onto a quinoa-based crust that’s more nutritious than its buttery flour counterpart.
- Die-hard candy-corn fans have been known to show their spirit in clever ways. Yummy Mummy Kitchen pays tribute to the orange-yellow-white trifecta with a new one: Tropical Candy Corn Ice Pops that are refreshingly healthy but still have that classic candy look.
- Culinary Bro-Down knows what we really need, presenting us with a cheesy, spicy idea during a week that’s all about the sweet stuff. Come Friday, don’t beat yourself up over all the Halloween candy you’re bound to inhale. Instead, fry up a Chorizo Mac ‘N’ Cheese Quesadilla that answers every one of your guiltiest savory pleasures.
Halloween is here at last! When we were growing up, the evening of Oct. 31 was 100 percent dedicated to getting out the door in search of candy. With the impending candy onslaught, dinner was a bit of an afterthought (“Whaddya mean I can’t just have candy bars and peanut butter cups?!”).
Whether you’ve got little ones of your own or you are fending off the horde at your doorstep, set yourself up for success with a no-brainer meal to power you the whole night through. Kielbasa sausage — which comes ready to eat — is the perfect rich and hearty companion to a barley salad that can be served warm or at room temperature. That barley can even be made hours before the army of orange plastic pumpkins descends.
Also, just to be clear about that whole peanut-butter-cups-for-dinner thing, I’m not not condoning it. Just think of the example you’re setting for the children.
The rest of the world has been sipping on their lattes and petting on their felines for a couple of years now. Meanwhile, the closest America has gotten is a pop-up or two. That seems highly unfair, given the country’s unabashed love affair with cats. Well, it looks like that long national nightmare is over. California just opened their very own cat cafe.
Cat Town Cafe in Oakland, California will get you filled up with caffeine and with noted parasite toxoplasma gondii. All of the cats roaming around are adoptable if you are looking to work some kind of ‘rent to own’ deal. In addition to feisty kitties, they serve a variety of coffee drinks and snacks. You know, the usual coffee shop fare.
AKA Nothing Com-pears to You
Pears are the unsung heroes of fall. Everyone at the farmers market last weekend was all, “Oooohhh, apples this and apples that.” Fine. Let ‘em try and outdo each other with “Honeycrisp is better than Jonagold, but for baking it’s all about Mutsu.” That keeps them away from the best fruit of the season: pears. You know I’m right. And I want them all for myself.
As a kid, I loved opening my lunchbox at school and finding a pear instead of an apple. Those were very good days. As an adult, I love eating them raw, poaching them in wine, making chutneys and butters with them, and baking with them. One time I tried to make a pear pie. It was, shall we say, gross — really, really gross. A pear tart with a creamy custard, though? Bonkers-good.
Oktoberfest in Germany may have ended, but you can keep the celebrations going all month long.
Sauerkraut, a traditional German fermented cabbage, isn’t just a delicious hot dog topping or stuffing for Reuben sandwiches. It contains probiotics (those same ones found in yogurt), which help maintain healthy stomach functions, so eat up!
Break out a beer stein and your lederhosen to prepare these delicious sauerkraut-stuffed dishes.
1. All you need to make Alton Brown’s Sauerkraut recipe is cabbage, some spices and a fair amount of time; it takes about two weeks for the cabbage to ferment. Pickling salt is a fine-grain pure salt that doesn’t contain additives like anti-caking agents or iodine that other cooking salts may have.
2. Rachael Ray’s Reuben-Style Casserole with Pastrami Meatballs, Sauerkraut and Barley is an easy make-ahead meal, perfect to warm you up on chilly fall evenings.
3. If you’re an adventurous baker, make Beer and Sauerkraut Fudge Cupcakes with Beer Frosting.
4. Serve Michael Symon’s Bratwurst Stewed with Sauerkraut (pictured above) on a baguette at your next tailgate.
5. A simple Sauerkraut Soup with Sausage is hearty enough to be a full meal.
6. Cook Good Luck Pork and Sauerkraut low and slow on the stovetop or in the slow cooker for meat so tender it falls right off the bones.
Have you eaten your quota of fun-sized candy bars yet? While there’s still plenty of time before October 31st, there’s no harm in getting in the spook-tacular mood early with these Creeptastic Zombie Cupcakes. They’re also ideal for a Walking Dead zombie party. The skulls, eyeballs and gooey brains that sit on top of the cupcakes start with a simple red velvet cake, broken down into crumbs and mixed with enough frosting to bind them together into cake eyeballs, brains and skulls. Dip them in white chocolate and go wild creating the brains and guts. Your friends won’t believe their eye(ball)s!
For more creepy creations to jumpstart your Halloween celebrations, check out these bone-chilling recipes from Cooking Channel:
Before you buy industrial-size bags of candy bars and make yours the most popular house in the neighborhood come Halloween, pause for a minute. Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course there’s the issue that we as Americans eat too much sugar and face an obesity epidemic. We’ve heard plenty about that. But also more important than ever is the issue of deadly food allergies. That’s why FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is promoting the Teal Pumpkin Project this Halloween: Offer something that’s not candy (or food) and paint your pumpkin teal so savvy (and food-sensitive) trick-or-treaters can know which houses are safe.
Lest you fear getting TP’ed for your treats, the alternatives to candy don’t have to just be raisins and toothbrushes. Here are a few cooler ways to sidestep candy.