Jack-O-Lantern Dinner: Fortify the kids before trick-or-treating with this fun Halloween-themed dinner

When Halloween comes around, I’m ashamed to say you won’t find me in a clever, well-thought-out costume. I just don’t have the imagination for it. I usually go for my old standby – wearing all black and pinning socks and little t-shirts to myself going as “Static Cling.”

Where I do get into Halloween is in the kitchen. Every year, I try to come up with a Halloween-y twist on something I routinely make. Here are two of my family’s favorites:

Jack-O-Pizza
Makes 4 individual pizzas depending on size of dough ball and size of the pizzas you make.

Pizza dough you make at home or from the store (Whole Foods makes a good one)
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Pepperoni circles cut in half to make half-moons and in quarters to make triangles

  1. Divide the dough into individual portions and roll out on a cutting board dusted with white flour.
  2. Take a table knife and cut a free-form pumpkin shape, cutting out a little dough at the top to make a slight indentation.
  3. Take the piece you removed and shape it into a rectangle and attach it to the indented area as though it is the stem of the pumpkin, pressing the tip of the stem into the pumpkin lightly to attach it.
  4. Spread pizza sauce on the pumpkin but within about a quarter of an inch of the edges.
  5. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
  6. Let each person use the pepperoni shapes to decorate their own Jack-O-Pizza face.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is looking golden.

Jack-O-Cobbler
Makes 4 mini cobblers

1 Ready-made pie crust
Mini-pie tins or individual-size baking cups
Your favorite apple pie filling recipe (sliced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and lemon juice)
Additions of your choice like chopped walnuts or pecans and raisins

  1. Mix the apple pie filling in a bowl and then portion it out into the individual baking cups or pie tins being sure to fill them to the top.
  2. Using a cup or bowl slightly larger than the size of your baking cup, cut out circles from the pie crust. (see photo below)
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut out Jack-O-Lantern faces or other designs like a sliver of a moon or maybe a leaf shape, making sure the design isn’t too large or else the dough will collapse into the fruit.
  4. Place the pie crust over the baking cup, pressing the edges down so that they stick slightly to the baking cup. As the cobblers bake, the edges will release from the edges of the cups a bit but that’s okay.
  5. Bake in a 325 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and a knife easily pierces the apples when carefully poked through one of the openings in your design.

Note: these also make good breakfast cups served at room temperature.

Put your pie filling in individual oven-safe baking cups.
Cut out circle shapes slightly larger than your baking cups
Cut out Jack-O-Lantern faces or other designs.
The finished product! Cute and yummy.
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