Pre-Trick-or-Treat Meals

Childhood memories.

Childhood memories. (I'm the little devil.)

When I was a kid, my mom always made me and my sister awesome dinners before we went trick-or-treating. I can remember tacos and sloppy joes with monster faces most vividly. But, man, I loved pre-trick-or-treat meals. I still do, actually. I stopped going trick-or-treating last year (I figured 20 was a good break-off point, even though I’d still like to go), but it’s still nice to have a comforting Halloween meal to set the mood for the rest of the night.

I know Halloween is months away, but July is generally the time when I start to get really excited about my spooky plans and pumpkin-filled adventures. So I’ve been in the mood for pumpkin. Luckily, canned pumpkin puree is available year-round!

A half-cup serving of canned pumpkin has only 40 calories, a good dose of fiber (5 g), and oh.. 300% of your daily recomended intake of Vitamin A. So it’s a pretty awesome food to give the kiddies.

This past week, I’ve made two pumpkin-filled dishes that I think would be awesome to serve on Halloween night: Pumpkin Pasta with Smoked Apple Sage ‘Sausage’ + Black Bean and Pumpkin Chipotle Burgers.

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chipotle Burgers

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chipotle Burgers

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chipotle Burgers

I thought up this recipe while I was going to sleep last night. It sounded awesome in my head, so I decided to try it today. Yum, yum! I have a tasty mind. Oh, and you might want to flour your hands when you’re forming the patties. It’s less sticky that way 😀

For the Burgers:
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 C canned pumpkin puree
2-3 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 C + 2-3 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil
Four hamburger buns

For the Toppings:
4 TBSP Vegenaise (or other vegan mayo)
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
Lettuce, if desired

Mash the black beans just until there are no whole beans left. Mix in the other ingredients and divide the mixture into four even balls. Heat up a large skillet over medium-high with enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan (about 3-4 TBSP). Flatten each ball of the bean mixture into four round patties, about 1/2-inch thick. Cook the patties on each side for about 2-3 minutes, or until brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Mix together the Vegenaise and chipotle chili. Spread onto both the top and bottom of the hamburger buns. Place a burger patty onto each bun. Top with lettuce, if desired.

Pumpkin Pasta with Apple-Sage Sausage

Pumpkin Pasta with Apple-Sage 'Sausage'

 Pumpkin Pasta with Apple-Sage ‘Sausage’

This is a dish I saw on a Halloween episode of 30 Minute Meals. I found the recipe on the Food Network website and decided to try it out. The recipe calls for sweet Italian sausage, but I found some Smoked Apple Sage ‘Sausage’ at Whole Foods and I thought it would go well with the recipe.

Smoked Apple Sage Grain Meat Sausage

Smoked Apple Sage Grain Meat Sausage

At $5.99, this was the most expensive ingredient for the pasta. Luckily, everthing else is relatively cheap!

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage (I used the Field Roast Grain Meat Sausage)
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup dry white wine (I used vinegar and vegetable stock)
1 cup chicken stock (I used veg. stock, although no-chicken broth would be awesome)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream (soymilk with a TBSP margarine)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
Romano or Parmigiano, for grating (I just sprinkled in some nutritional yeast)

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

Ta-da! Halloween in July!

Until next time – Happy Holidays!

– Andrea

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2 Responses to “Pre-Trick-or-Treat Meals”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    Love those burgs! I had a Kidney bean version today made by my girlfriend. She’s cooler than you… oh wait, you’re her!

  2. Micco Says:

    I’ve been meaning to try something fancy with those particular sausages and am stoked on such an inspired idea! Can’t wait to try the recipe.

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