Growing up, my generous parents would host an open-to-all front lawn Halloween party, complete with grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, chili, cinnamon rolls and the like. Trick or treaters would march up in hordes to our house on the hill for a savory break from their sacks of candy. It didn't matter if they knew my family are not. There were some people that we only knew because of the Halloween party. Everyone, strangers and kin alike, was welcome. (You can read more about our Halloween party here on my Rachael Ray blog project. Click on Timely Traditions.) When I grew up and had a house of my own, we hosted a Halloween party too. But now that we live across the street from my parents, well, I'll just do what comes naturally and let mom and dad take charge. Actually, this year's will be a bit bigger than usual, since the Halloween night party is being combined with a church trunk or treat activity, all right across the street from my house and right in front of my parent's home. My dad is still going to grill his burgers, but this year they are stepping up to popcorn and cotton candy machines as well. I'm not even sure what to pass out to trick-or-treaters, since I'm pretty sure they will be getting all that they could possibly want across the street. King Sized Candy Bars? Quarters? Fruit Roll Ups? Nintendo DS for all? Maybe I should just give up and pass out chewable vitamins and toothbrushes.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I'll be conjuring up a few different versions of chili for the party, like this yummy chicken and green chile slow-cooker version. I credit a Martha Stewart recipe for the idea of using dried beans and a little flour for thickening in the slow cooker. It works like a charm. Since the kids are not even remotely interested in eating dinner before trick or treating, an easy crock pot recipe is ideal, since dinner is hot and ready now or later.
Chicken and Green Chile Slow Cooker Chili
Estimated Cost: $6.00 for 4 servings
Money Saving Tips: This one relies on dried pinto beans so it's budget friendly already, especially if you've got chicken and canned green chilies on hand. Green salsa is also called salsa verde, but you can also use canned green enchilada sauce.
1 and 1/2 cup dried pinto beans
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chopped green chilies, or 1 (7 ounce) can
1 cup green salsa (Herdez is my favorite) or green enchilada sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried cumin
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
if desired sour cream, chopped cilantro, tabasco for serving
Coat the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine beans, broth, flour, chilies, salsa, onion, and cumin. Place chicken on top. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 8-10 hours. Remove lid and reach in to the crock pot and shred chicken with fork. Stir into chili taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper if needed and serve.
Give the kids some tortillas and scissor and let them cut Halloween shapes. Sprinkle with a little chili powder and bake until crispy.
And one more kid friendly lunch idea.: Let your bigger kids cut the shape of a Jack-O lantern out of a slice of cheddar cheese. Place it on a toasted English muffin and smear it with a smidge or barbecue sauce. Broil until cheese is melted and add a little green onion stem.
And a little peek at last night's activities: Here's my little cowboy and his goblin pumpkin...
And here's my Sailor-girl. She's dressed in a very old Snow White costume (not her Halloween costume-just an old dress-up number) and holding a Snow White Minnie-doll to carve her Snow White pumpkin....
Disney pumpkin carving kits give you little translucent eye and lip inserts. They look eerie in the day time, but at night they really work. You can see them a little better below....
More Halloween Dinner: My Favorite Vegetarian Chili