Friday, October 26, 2012

Eyeballs, Brains, Bones and Graveyard Cupcakes

It’s almost Halloween!  Halloween is one of my favorite special days.  Actually, I love any holiday/special day, especially if they involve candy.  I also love to scare my kids.  Who doesn’t like to frighten small children?  Mine are pretty little, so I am still walking that fine line between scaring them a bit and scaring the pants off them.  I do want them to still be able to sleep at night.

Today I am going to show you a couple of super fun Halloween recipes.  The first is what I call “Monster Brains, Eyeballs and Bones”, and the second is “Graveyard Cupcakes”.  These are the perfect recipes to make for you family pre-trick or treating, or even for a Halloween party.  Are you having one?  You should totally invite me.

I start my “Monster Eyeballs” with ground turkey, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, garlic (to keep the Vampires away) and a few other goodies.  I form the meatballs into a lovely eyeball shape, and I use a pimiento stuffed green olive for the pupil.


If your kids, or guests, won’t eat olives…you could totally use a chunk of mozzarella cheese instead.

I baked the eyeballs until they were cooked through.  Then, I set them aside to start my brains.

For my brains, I used ramen noodles that I boiled in water that was dyed red with food coloring.  This will soak into the noodles and make them a beautiful shade of brainy pink.  Just pour some red food coloring into your water when it starts to boil.  I used about 10 drops.

I chose ramen noodles because they are curly, like what I imagine brains in a bowl would be.  Plus, they cook a whole lot faster than regular pasta.  You could always use spaghetti noodles if you are anti-ramen.

I made a sauce out of canned tomatoes, garlic, onion and basil.  You can follow my recipe for a quick and easy sauce, or you can use your favorite jar.  I won’t be offended.

Lastly, I used a can of refrigerated breadsticks to make my “bones”. 


I cut slits about an inch down each end.  Then, I rolled the pieces outwards to make bones.  I baked them according to the package directions.  They will bake up just like a bone.  Gross for any other day but Halloween….probably always perfect for kids.


Is that not the most perfect bowl full of fright?  And the best part, it tastes good too.  The meatballs are amazingly tender and delicious and the sauce is perfect.  Your family will love it.

For dessert…who’s up for Graveyard Cupcakes?  I used a boxed devil’s food cake mix.  I am all for boxed caked mixes, as long as you jazz them up a bit.  I might make a cake from scratch if I was feeding the Queen, but she hasn’t RSVP’d, so boxed it is. 

To jazz my box up, I used buttermilk instead of water.  This gives the cupcakes a delicious flavor, and helps keep them moist.  I also added a smidge of vanilla extract.

For the frosting, I made a quick frosting from butter, powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  I like boxed cake mixes, not so much canned frosting.  Frosting is so quick to make, and this frosting is so good you will want to bathe in it.

To make my graveyard “dirt”, I threw a sleeve of chocolate wafers into my food processor and grinded the heck out of them.  Then, I raided my kid’s closets for various doll and monster arms.  You can also buy a bag of mini doll arms from most craft stores. 


How fun are those?  You just stick your doll or monster arms in the cupcake so they look like they are reaching out of the dirt, kind of zombie-like.  Your kids will love the cupcakes so much they won’t even mind that you desecrated some of their toys for them.

Monster Eyeballs

1 lb. ground turkey

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ a large onion, diced

½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

½ cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Pimiento stuffed green olives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place ground turkey, minced garlic, diced onion, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.  With your hands, mix ingredients together just until blended.

Form 2 inch in diameter balls with your hands.  With your finger, make a small divot to place olive in.  Press meat mixture tightly around olive.

Place meatballs on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

Makes about 12 meatballs

Brain Sauce

1 Tablespoon olive oil

½ a large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

28 ounce can tomato puree, or chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup basil, torn


In a sauce pan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, over medium heat until onions are softened.  This will take about4- 5 minutes.  Add tomato puree and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer sauce for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in basil.

Makes enough sauce for 5 packs of ramen noodles or 1 lb. of pasta.

Best Ever Chocolate Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

5 cups powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat all ingredients together with a hand mixer.  Blend until desired consistency is reached.

Makes enough for 24 cupcakes

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