Top 10 Halloween Must-Haves

Halloween is finally around the corner! Are you ready? Whether you’re going out to party and run around in a slutty costume or you’re hanging out at home to scare the crap out of kids, you need to be prepared. Along with some of our blogging friends, we have all of your Halloween essentials – whether it is orange milk, candy, entrees, and even beer and booze, we have you covered. Check it out and let us know what your must-haves are for Halloween! Click on the links for recipes.

10. Orange and SCREAM Milk

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9. Spiked Pumpkin Cider

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8. Pumpkin Spice M&Ms

Pumpkin Spice M&Ms Flavor Taste Test

7. Halloween Candy Corn Chocolate Popcorn

Halloween Candy Corn Chocolate Popcorn

PHOTO: Chocolate Moosey

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Acorn Squash Fondue

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Who doesn’t like cheese? Where I used to work, we determined that chocolate and cheese are the only foods that could really go with just about anything. Including each other. Go ahead – try to say otherwise. Add in the fall mood of us good-hearted folks, and my fiance and I decided to try out a twist on The Chew’s acorn squash fondue. We’re both trying to watch what we eat, so we tried to modify it to a “light” version. I was skeptical of whether or not you would taste the squash in the fondue, but the flavor is there, adding a slightly sweet and buttery flavor to the creamy cheese.

As we were picking our acorn squash at the farm, we looked up “how to pick an acorn squash.” While things like bananas, tomatoes, and most other produce have specific ways of showing they are ripe and ready, acorn squash isn’t as easy. So here’s the scoop – you need to find an acorn squash that is “heavy for its size.” Then, you want to find one that also has a balance of orange and green color. So there you have it – now you know you’ll have the perfect acorn squash. For our fondue at least, we followed the guidelines and the squash came out well.

The recipe is pretty simple. You’ll need to pick a balance of cheeses that you enjoy. The Chew recommends using Mascarpone cheese in the mix to add texture. I don’t think it was needed, but she did enjoy it so it’s really up to you. We picked a blend of Swiss and Smoked Gouda (since that’s what we had) and it turned out well. Dippers are up to you – we limited our bread intake, but that is the clear front runner. We also had radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, and apples. My favorite dipper was the apples.

Acorn Squash Fondue

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Blue Cheese & Caramelized Onion Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Blue Cheese Caramelized Onion & Turkey

HAPPY OCTOBER!! Time to bust out some serious fall flavors. Let’s start the month with an ultra-delicious squash recipe! I made this last night after work – you can prep the whole thing from start to finish in about 30 minutes, score! It was a huge hit. The sweetness of the squash, onion, pumpkin, and cinnamon are perfect with the salty bite of the blue cheese and the heat of the cayenne.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Caramelized Onion + Blue Cheese

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How Do You Squish Your Squash?

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Piles of super-cheap gourds at the grocery, a morning chill in the air, and some delicious looking round-up posts can only mean one thing:  squash season is upon us. While my husband is partial to butternut (particularly as soup), I embrace all winter squash varieties, from spaghetti to acorn to pumpkin (read: not just for jack o’lanterns, eaters). Reading Snebbu’s post about ways to use butternut squash the other day got me thinking, though…squash is not always the easiest to cook with.  It requires more time and advanced planning than my other go-to produce items of the season, apples.  So I thought I’d share my tried and true squash preparation method, and then see if you all had any suggestions to add.

Now, you may be aware that it is possible, particularly in the case of butternut squash, to peel the raw squash, remove the seeds and cut the flesh into chunks, then cook.  I do not like this method for several reasons.  First, peeling a big, unwieldy, rock-hard vegetable is a slippery pain.  Secondly, I end up with this weird sticky sap on my hands.  Third, half the time I have to peel it a second time to remove the stringy green layer.  If I fail to plan ahead and absolutely must have cubes of squash in the next half-hour, I’ll suck it up and use this method, but I avoid it if I can.  Instead, I use a method introduced to me by my mom years ago.

What I prefer to do is this:

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Endless Quiche: Butternut Squash

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YES. One of the many reasons I love fall—butternut squash. For so long I’ve only known it to help create delectable, creamy soups that warm my stomach and my ginormous heart. BUT wait! Remember how my woman makes amazing quiche? Well, she’s been at it again. We both love the squash and decided to take a leap of faith and mix it with another one of our favorite things: savory pie. I thought I knew what my favorite quiche was, but this new variety has me pretty torn.

Dare I go so far as calling this sweet and savory? It is very close. The squash has a unique sweetness that adds to the saltiness of ham and feta cheese. Then, add in some sage (ALWAYS goes with butternut squash) and the peppery flavor of arugula and you have a medley of fall seasonals. What could top off this wonderful fall delight? Your favorite pumpkin beer. What’s even better? You can reheat this mother for breakfast, lunch, or dinner for days to come.

Dare I ask – what will be next?

Fall Butternut Squash Quiche

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Sensational Soups: Roasted Butternut Squash Chowder with Sage Butter


As we move into these chilly fall and winter months, there’s nothing I love more than brewing up a big pot of homemade soup. The herby aroma wafting through the house, the steam warming up the kitchen, the inevitable leftovers…ah! It’s the best. So it’s no surprise I volunteered to review 300 Sensational Soups, a new cookbook by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds. If one pot of soup is good, 300 is excellent!

This extremely comprehensive book is full of winter cooking inspiration. While it would be easy to phone in some recipes in a cookbook this large, Sensational Soups os written with thoroughness and creativity. It starts out with a section on how to make your own stocks from scratch, then goes into chapters on a variety of soup categories such as chilled, garden vegetable, chowder, fish and shellfish, and cheese (a whole section purely about cheese-based soups?! I’m into!) The collection wraps up with a section on toppings and garnishes (which includes glorious ideas like grilled cheese croutons and maple cream). Truly something for everyone!

I had difficulty selecting just one recipe to review for this post, but I finally narrowed it down to chowder, one of my favorite soup subsets (soupsets?) I ended up going with the butternut squash chowder because it includes one of my favorite garnishes ever—fried sage leaves! My dining companions all agreed that drizzling the frying butter with the sage leaves on top was a major game changer. I also love how the recipe uses mashed squash to add thickness and texture instead of a massive amount of cream (although, don’t worry, there’s still a healthy amount of cream involved).

This soup was so comforting, so rich and velvety, and so flavorful! I will say that I made a few changes to the recipe—as with basically every soup, I doubled the recommended amount of spices, salt, and pepper. I also added an extra few squeezes of lemon. Oh, and clearly this chowder was begging for a sprinkle of cheese on top, so I grated up some nutty aged parmesan for garnish alongside the sage leaves and butter drizzle. I also highly condone serving with a hunk of crusty sourdough bread.

Roasted Butternut Squash Chowder with Sage Butter

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Squash on Fire: “Spaghetti” Puttanesca

On a recent trip to a local market we were greeted by a gorgeous array of orange pumpkins and irregular gourds. Instead of heading straight for the quintessential Halloween symbol, we simultaneously reached for the oblong, sunny spaghetti squash. When roasted, the bright yellow squash is transformed into pasta-like strands, so we thought it was only appropriate living, in the North End of Boston, a historic Italian neighborhood, to use it like spaghetti.

While in Italy, we were big fans of the famously pungent and spicy Puttanesca sauce. The deep, rustic red sauce with bursts of green briny capers transforms any pasta, or in this case, the subtly sweet squash ribbons. With the addition of earthy eggplant, a sprinkling of fresh chopped basil and Parmesan cheese, it’s our fresh, seasonal take on an Italian classic.

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

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