I’m not trying to be a Negative Nancy or anything, but my Halloween spirit was definitely just dampened a little bit with the first trick-or-treat knock on the door. I grabbed our bowl of fun-size Peanut M&Ms and opened the door, excited to see some cute little kid costumes.
Too bad I was greeted by teenagers, without costumes, demanding candy. I cheerfully asked, “Where are you costumes?” The oldest girl unzipped her hoodie and said, “I’m wearing this t-shirt.” and it was a t-shirt with some text I couldn’t make out. I begrudgingly handed over a pack of candy to each and waited for a “Happy Halloween!” or a “Thank you!” or even a mumbled “Thnx.” Nothing. They turned around and walked away before the Peanut M&Ms hit the bottom of their Walmart plastic shopping bags. All I could think of is how my Dad and Mama would have never let me get away with that one.
Sigh. I’m trying not to let it get me down. What some people lack in Halloween spirit, the Babyface and I make up for in the form of chili, pumpkin cheesecake pots and Butterbeer.
Can you think of a more quintessential Fall food than chili? I can’t. We have two regular chili recipes that pass through our kitchen. The first is chock full of veggies and three different kinds of beans. It takes an hour of just chopping to get everything prepared. It simmers on the stove for hours and makes enough to feed a hockey team. It is amazing.
This is not that chili.
This is Taco Chili. Which is easy enough to fit on the front of an index card. And no, I have no idea why it is named “Taco Chili”. There is really nothing that makes this more taco-y than your run-of-the-mill chili.
EDIT : It has been brought to my attention that the reason this is called Taco Chili is because it should have one packet of taco seasoning on that ingredient list. Homemade taco seasoning would work just fine, too!
What it is is super easy to put together, full of flavor and an awesome base for all kinds of fun chili toppings. Mine was on a bed of whole wheat macaroni, with onions, cheddar, sour cream and tortilla chips on top.
Or spoon it.
That original recipe above has been passed all-around my family for years. I switch it up a little by using a quarter the amount of beef and adding a handful of cumin and chili powder to make up for the missing flavor. But basically, it stays the same. The same super easy awesomeness.
While diving into our chili bowls, we managed to tear ourselves away from the SVU marathon on USA for a few hours to watch Harry Potter. Now, Harry Potter is fine. I don’t love it. But my husband does and I am totally content going to see the movies with him. And I enjoy them fine enough. I’m just not all diehard. But there is something that seems so fitting about watching Harry Potter on Halloween, doesn’t it? So we rented the one of the movies I somehow missed and watching all 2 hours and 41 minutes of it.
And then we made Butterbeer.
Ha! We were watching one of the other movies recently and both agreed that Butterbeer sounded like pretty much the most delicious thing on Earth. Now if only it were a REAL thing. With an actual recipe. Then, this week, lo-and-behold this little gem showed up on Foodgawker. We gathered the ingredients and knew it would be a perfect Hallow’s Eve cocktail.
The husband volunteered to make the brew.
It was really good. Creamy, fizzy, frothy, sweet.
But not at all what I’d imagined Butterbeer to be. I keep thinking of Butter Rum Lifesavers. And this was more like and awesome, carmely, frothy apple cider. Delicious, but decidedly not Butterbeer. The search continues.
You didn’t think I’d get through an entire Halloween without having pumpkin did you?
And this may be the best pumpkin recipe I’ve ever had. Easy. Gooey. Decadent.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pots
(adapted from Good Life Eats)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 ounces pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup chopped pecans
4 whole pecan halves
sweetened whipped cream for garnish
Mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter well. Set aside. Beat cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth and softened. Add sugars, half-and-half and vanilla, mix well. Add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and mix on medium until well incorporated. In two individual serving dishes, layer graham cracker crumbs, pumpkin mixture and pecans twice, ending in the pecans. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Top with whipped cream, a dash of pumpkin pie spice and pecan halves for garnish.
SO AMAZING. And easy. Go. Make. Now. MMMMMMMMM.
Aww, okay, now we just had four more trick-or-treaters. They were polite, happy and dressed up (one as Edward Cullen). I’m a happy Trick-or-Treatee!