Food

Moose loves to cook and so do I. Here is where you will find our kitchen adventures

10 Easy and Affordable Halloween food ideas with Jacks Supermarket

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Usually Halloween for us is packed full of fun and lots of people. Most years we all get dressed up and head over to my sister’s house where we have a big party. My Mum sorts out the food while we take our little ones out trick or treating in a big group. Safety in numbers and all that. Except this year that term has become a bit of a misnomer hasn’t it? 

With the world still being hit quite hard by Covid 19 our plans have to be adjusted accordingly and you may well find yourself having to celebrate Halloween at home. With the help of Jacks Supermarket I have created 10 Halloween food ideas which will be guaranteed to help you have a monstrously marvellous time this Halloween! 

Everything shown below was bought for less than £40 and I was really impressed by just how much could be done on a low budget! 

Witches Brooms

cheesestring pretzel witches broomsticks

Our witches brooms were a little fiddly but definitely worth the effort. The broom is made from a pretzel stick pushed into a cheesestring (one cheesestring will make 3 or 4 broom heads depending on how big you want them to be) and then tied with a chive. Jacks sell chives prepared and for pennies – you will find them near the veg!

Spider Pizza

This was such an easy one to make. Jacks Supermarket sell a slab pizza for just £2.79 which is big enough to share. To make the spiders you will need black olives. Just slice longways to make 2 bodies. Slice another across the other way to make 2 heads and then slice a couple of others into thin strips. Simple!

Vegetable Cadaver

Vegetable body halloween

 

Speaking of veg, I wanted a way to make our Halloween spread nice and healthy and thought this was a great solution! I used a pot of tzatziki for the head, sliced cucumber for the spine, baby sweetcorn for the arms and sliced peppers for the ribcage. I popped an olive at each elbow. The peppers were a little long when I sliced them so after I trimmed them to make the ribs I used the offcuts as hair! 

Mummy Dogs

These were a tasty alternative to sausage rolls. Probably slightly healthier as they use less pastry as the usual kind too! I used a tin of large hot dogs from Jacks and then wrapped strips of puff pastry around them. I baked in the oven for 15 minutes and finished them off with some ready made eyes I already had in the cupboard (because sometimes I just add eyes to my children’s food to see if they are paying attention)

Finger Rolls 

With hot dogs being the unofficial official food of Halloween we used them twice! This time around we went for a family favourite with a gross twist. To cook, I boiled my hot dogs (you can bake them but the skin tends to be a little tougher to cut) and then cut a nail shape and made little knuckle cuts with a sharp knife. I added an almond sliver for a grotty looking nail but you could cut a slice of cheese which would work just as well. I then added a generous squirt of ketchup to the bread roll before nestling my “severed finger” in and finishing off with another squirt of ketchup at the base. 

Spidery Soup

Sometimes you want something a bit more grown up and what could be better than a lovely bowl of soup? I was tempted by the ready to go broccoli and stilton soup Jacks sells but in the end I decided on carrot and coriander – the orange colour looked spot on for Halloween! I added a little cream and a plastic spider to finish it off. 

Creepy Crawly Jelly

2 packets of raspberry jelly and 1 pack of worm sweets and you have a definite winner on any Halloween table! My tip to make jelly set faster? Add ice cubes instead of cold water and pour into smaller moulds rather than one big bowl. Easy.

Tangerine pumpkins

I love how easy these little Halloween treats are. Just a peeled tangerine and a little bit of celery or cucumber pushed into the top. That’s it. So simple you could even get the kids in to take over with this healthy treat and this would be a fun way to liven up a packed lunch too!

Mini Meringue Ghosts

What is Halloween without ghosts? These mini spooksters are a must and incredibly simple to make. All you need is a pack of mini meringues and an icing pen. These sweet little ghosts were so easy that I showed Moose (age 6) how to do one and he got on with the rest – I bet you can’t even tell which one I made. 

Monstrous Apple Mouths

I enjoyed making this spooky treat the most. It’s a little fiddlier than some of the others but so worth it and not at all difficult. To make your mouths you will need apples (I chose red but if you use green you could add eyes and make frogs or aliens), some peanut butter or chocolate spread and some pine nuts along with a few strawberries. 

Cut your apple into 4. I soaked my apples in fizzy water for 10 minutes after cutting to stop them going all brown so quickly. Then cut a smaller section out of the middle of your apple quarter. It doesn’t need to be perfect. You need to coat the inside of the cut gap with either your peanut butter or chocolate spread. If you are making these as a trick for someone and you are feeling cruel you could use marmite. Pop a slice of strawberry in for the tongue and some pine nuts for teeth. 

Recipe – Sticky Sesame Pork with Egg Fried Rice

Don’t you hate those blog post recipes where you have to trawl through the writers life story and inane ramblings to get to the good stuff? Yeah, me too. All you need to know about this recipe is that it takes next to no time at all (especially if you prepare the sauce in advance) and it has saved me a ton of money on nights where I needed that Chinese takeaway taste or I wanted to stay on plan. You might have to buy things for this recipe but once you have them it makes for a budget friendly, super easy meal.

sticky pork with egg fried rice

Egg Fried Rice

Ingredients

Rice. Either basmati or long grain. Cook it the day before for optimum results. Seriously, do this. Yes, it’s a bit of planning but it takes 10 mins and will make or break your fried rice game.

half a tsp of salt

half a tsp of MSG. Some bad press about MSG. I wouldn’t eat it everyday but I like the flavour and it does make a world of difference. If you are against it then just use a little extra salt. You can purchase it for very little money at your local Chinese supermarket. I shop at Janson Hong which I believe has an online shop too.

A slug of dark soy sauce. Dark is richer and the amount you use is really down to personal preference

1 egg (or 2 if you are hungry)

Peas/beansprouts if you want to add some veg.

Method

Take your day old rice out of the fridge around half hour before using it and tip into a mixing bowl. Add the soy sauce, MSG and salt and mix the rice well.  Set it aside.

Beat your egg/s in a bowl, I like to add a pinch of MSG to my egg, again, you can use salt if you prefer.

Fry your egg in your wok or large pan. You don’t really want an omelette so break it up as it cooks. Add the veg if you are adding it. Once the veg is hot and the egg is set, chuck the rice into the wok too. Keep it moving so that it doesn’t stick and cook for around 5 minutes. You will know when the rice is hot enough because the individual grains kind of move a little bit like maggots. If anyone has a better analogy then let me know! That is what they look like though!

Anyway, that’s it. It’s so easy and obviously you can add meat and extra veg if you want to turn it from a side dish into something a bit more substantial.

chinese meal

Sticky Sesame Pork

Ingredients

500g Pork

6 Tbsp Honey

2 cloves of garlic (or you could use puree or the jarred stuff) smushed or finely chopped

2 tbsp Chinese rice wine vinegar (white wine vinegar will work if you have this instead)

2tbsp Ketchup

4tbsp Brown Sugar

4 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce

Sesame seeds

Spring onions

Method

Mix everything in a bowl except the spring onions and the meat together. Chop the pork into bite sized chunks, I use Pork belly strips because they are cheap and full of flavour. Fry it. Once the pork is cooked pour over the sauce mix, lower the heat and stir. It will need just a few minutes to cook down into that sticky loveliness you are craving. Serve over egg fried rice and top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and sliced spring onion.

 

Meal plan – Sticky pork with egg fried rice and a new job for Mum

I am so bored with cooking. A couple of weeks ago MrG was unfortunately made redundant. I decided that I should probably have a reliable income just in case it takes a while for the whole recruitment world to open back up. So, I got a job. Within about 30 mins of deciding to look. It was crazy fast! I am now a contact tracer.

Luckily I am still working from home but having to put in 40 hours per week means that pretty much everything else has gone to the dogs – including our meals! I cannot remember the last time Moose ate a proper vegetable but he is eating plenty of fruit so I’m not panicking just yet.

In my defence, it has been a LONG time since I was anything other than self employed and it is going to take a little getting used to. On the upside all I’m doing at work is training, it’s just a little difficult to meal prep and cook while attending meetings and trying to make sure the kids aren’t at each others throats. Yeah, you in the back, you are right. My husband could be cooking. He could be, but he’s not.. so here we are.

There is no way we can afford to slip back into bad habits though. With that in mind we are doubling down on the meal planning and I have even written an actual shopping list! Things are going to be tight for a while but that shouldn’t mean we can’t eat well.

Our week in food

Saturday: Chinese chicken curry with boiled rice

Sunday: Roast lamb with roasted veg and roasted potatoes

Monday: Pulled pork with mac & cheese

Tuesday:  Chicken flatbreads with Mediterranean rice

Wednesday: Spaghetti carbonara

Thursday: Sticky pork with egg fried rice

Friday: Hot dogs with corn on the cob & sweet potato fries

Katykicker

The best pancakes ever recipe

Calling something the best ever is a bold statement. This, however, is the hill on which I am willing to die. We are 2 weeks into lockdown with 5 yr old Moose. He (much like his Mum) is very much led by his stomach so, when he woke up in a bit of a grump on Sunday I knew there was really only 1 thing for it. Pancakes!

Now, usually I would go and buy them. I know, I know, but although I’m a decent cook my Husband would attest that I have a tendency to use every single item in the kitchen. This leaves a whole lot of mess that, frankly, I cannot usually be arsed with.

Obviously at the moment just nipping to the shops is a no go and I am trying REALLY hard to meal plan and stay in budget. This left me with only one option. Make the pancakes (have you met a grumpy 5 yr old? not making them wasn’t the answer here)

I got it into my head that the situation called for big fat fluffy pancakes rather than the thin English (French?) style ones I usually go for. Nope, we needed American style nosh. Luckily I had the ingredients to make them – ish. For toppings I borrowed some sausages from tomorrows dinner and found some strawberries and blueberries which needed eating along with maple syrup and spray cream.

eggs and whisk

Ingredients

2 eggs

12oz Self raising flour

2tbsp Caster (or whatever) sugar

Big pinch of salt

1tsp Bicarbonate of soda

200ml Buttermilk

400ml Milk

3oz Butter (melted)

 

Method

First job for me was to make the buttermilk. If you have some then kudos but I use it so rarely it feels like a waste of money to buy it. Besides, it’s really simple to make by mixing 1 tbsp of lemon juice (out of a bottle) with 200ml milk. If you don’t have lemon juice, white vinegar will work too.

Sieve the flour, sugar, salt and bicarb in a bowl together. In a separate jug mix the wet ingredients and pour into bowl of dry ingredients, mixing as you go.

You really don’t need to beat this much, a quick whisk will do to combine it into a fairly smooth batter. Don’t over do it!

Use the best non stick pan you have. On pancake day I bought a pan from a major supermarket who happened to be running a “pancake day bits for a fiver” scheme. It was surprisingly good and since then my husband has been getting the Baskin side eye (if you know, you know) every time he goes to get the pan out for something other than pancakes.

Heat a bit of butter in the pan over a moderate heat and then use a ladle to put the batter in the pan. Big dollops for big pancakes and smaller dollops for smaller pancakes. Turn the pancake over after about a minute. They should be golden brown and fluffy. Don’t feel bad if it takes a bit of practise. Pancakes are like children, the first one is sometimes a bit weird.

I opted to have mine with sausages and maple syrup. The kids love theirs with strawberries and an absolute ton of spray cream. What do you have on yours?

Buttermilk pa

 

 

 

 

Meal plan – No takeaways but all the pancakes.

If there is one thing to come out of all of this Covid-19 madness it is this: The closure of restaurants has seriously made me address my eating habits. This is easily the longest I have gone without eating out in years. Like, a lot of years! If I am being honest I reckon I get through 4 takeaways and 2/3 dining out meals per week. Mostly lunches. Since the whole self isolation stuff kicked in eating out obviously isn’t an option.

I know we COULD have a takeaway and there are still a few open around here but it just feels a bit wrong to. What’s the point in doing all we can to limit contact with others and then ignore the food in the cupboard in favour of phoning out for something prepared by people we don’t know who could ill and not even know it. I would rather not take the risk. Plus of course having my income take a massive nose dive has also factored heavily..

There are other options though. I have been doing loads more cooking and I have even had a go at making my own Chinese takeaway meal (check out Ziangs channel on You Tube. I love it!) and I made the best pancakes I have eaten this weekend (don’t panic dear reader, I took  pic and will share my recipe) so all in all I am looking at things in a positive light. Hopefully it stays that way!

 

chicken parmigiana

Our week in food 

Saturday: Chicken and veg tray bake with Jacket spuds

Sunday: Roast lamb with mash.

Monday: Sausages and dauphinoise potatoes with peas.

Tuesday: Chicken Parmigiana with homemade garlic bread. Never made garlic bread before but how hard could it be?

Wednesday: Fish and chips and mushy peas (I can already hear my kids protests about the mushy peas)

Thursday:  Egg fried rice, satay chicken and pork dumplings.

Friday: Chicken wraps. If I win it will be enchiladas, if my family win it will be fajitas. I might have a go at making those crispy potato thins. Cannot think of the name of them, any ideas?

 

 

Katykicker