Carrie's Kitchen: Trio of spooky (and easy) recipes for Halloween

I liked these because they’re easy tacos, and more cartoonish than creepy.
I liked these because they’re easy tacos, and more cartoonish than creepy. (Courtesy photo)

Happy Halloween! If you haven’t bought your candy yet, head out! You don’t want any nasty tricks played on you this year.

This week, I thought I’d write about spooky foods. Now there are a million ideas out there on Pinterest, but a lot of them verge on being so gruesome that you and your guests might lose your appetites. And that’s not good — you need a good meal before everyone starts dipping into all that sugar!


I also wanted ideas that are easy to put together, or at least, not more difficult than a normal dinner. And so I came up with two great, easy, spooky dinner foods and a little dessert, because not everyone has little ones that go out trick-or-treating.

First up, spooky eyeball tacos. These are really easy tacos, made by splitting a pound of ground beef (or turkey, if you prefer) and making half into meatballs and half into regular sautéed taco meat. Then when you assemble the tacos, you go light on the crumbled ground beef, because you top them off with meatball “eyes,” which become 3D when you use sour cream and olives to make the iris and pupil. Shredded cheese can be used to look like hair too. I liked these because they’re easy tacos, and more cartoonish than creepy.


Second dinner choice is a version on pigs in a blanket that looks like spiders. Here you cut the ends of the hot dogs lengthwise into four legs per end, wrap the middle with half of a crescent roll, and affix olive eyes on them before baking. As the hot dogs cook, the legs start to pull apart, making it more animated looking. Again, cute, and delicious to kids, and pretty darn fast.

And as for the dessert, these looked pretty enticing. You make a little dirt mound, I guess like a cemetery plot, by baking King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls with chocolate syrup, caramel syrup and crushed chocolate cookie crumbs on top, so they turn pretty black but are syrupy sweet. Then you make homemade whipped cream ghost figures beside them, and tuck gummy worms around them to look more cemetery-like. It’s like dirt cake, which is actually a pudding, but with rolls.

According to a National Confectioners Association article from last October, 68 percent of Americans surveyed said chocolate is their favorite Halloween treat. This column focusses on savory chocolate recipes.

I hope you have a fun evening in store with more treats than tricks! Unless those tricks are for things like how to get garlic skins off or get red wine out of a costume.



Spooky eyeball tacos

1 pound ground beef

1 (1¼ ounce) package taco seasoning mix

12 taco shells

3⁄4 cup salsa

3⁄4 cup sour cream

1 tomatoes, small cubes

1 small head lettuce, sliced into small confetti squares

1 (2¼ ounce) can large black olives, sliced

1 cup shredded cheese, cheddar or Mexican mix

Mix meat and seasoning mix. Shape half of the mixture into 24 (1-inch) meatballs; place in 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Brown the remaining seasoned ground beef and add salsa.

Fill each taco shell with a thin layer of crumbled ground beef, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Position two meatballs inside the taco shell and add a dollop of sour cream to each. Garnish with olives to make “eyeballs.” Spread the cheese out along to the top for stringy hair.

Spider hot dogs

1 package bun-length hot dogs

1 (4-ounce) can refrigerated crescent rolls (four-count)

16 slices green olives with pimentos

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the ends of each hot dog into quarters lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch in the middle uncut.

Open crescent rolls and divide into four triangles. Cut eat triangle in half making two triangles from each roll.

Wrap one slice of crescent dough in the middle of each cut hot dog. Top dough with two slices of green olive and pimento slices, pressing into dough so it sticks. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until dough is golden brown and hotdog starts to curl.

Chocolate sticky rolls

12 King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

½ cup sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

¼ cup chocolate sauce

¼ cup caramel sauce

3⁄4 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

For the topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup powdered sugar

Mini chocolate chips

Gummy worms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-inch baking pan. Place King’s Hawaiian rolls in the pan.

Combine brown sugar, melted butter, chocolate and caramel sauce, then spread evenly over the rolls. Mixture will be fairly thick, but will melt over the rolls as they bake. Sprinkle half of the cookie crumbs over the rolls.

Bake rolls for 10 to 15 minutes, until sauce around the bottom of the rolls is bubbly.

While the rolls bake, make whipped cream. Whip heavy whipping cream until it begins to thicken, then add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Continue whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Once rolls are baked, tuck gummy worms around the rolls. To serve the rolls, place on a plate, then pipe some whipped cream in a ghost shape and add mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth. Serve rolls warm. There should be enough whipped cream to make six to seven “ghosts.”

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