by Kassandra Lamb (on behalf of the whole gang)
As the weather gets cooler (and yes, it’s even cooler down here in Florida now), one has the urge to eat something hot and filling, and then curl up with a good book by the fire. We’ve got the good books covered for you (see below 🙂 ), so for this month’s group post, we thought we’d share some of our fave cold-weather/Halloween recipes.
We even have drinks and dessert. First up, K.B. Owen with a cocktail (a nonalcoholic drink recipe is at the end).
At Halloween, candy corn inspires a lot of things, from traffic cones to socks…
But this is the first time I’ve heard of a candy corn drink.
Kathy’s Candy Corn Shooters
Pour 1/3 oz Galliano liquer into a shot glass.
Carefully pour 1/3 oz orange curacao on top, so it floats.
Top off with 1/3 oz whipping cream.
Now for the main course (before we get too plastered)…
Kassandra’s Shrimp* Jambalaya
Like my protagonist, Kate Huntington, I’m not much of a cook, but even I can use a slow cooker. Here’s my favorite version of jambalaya, made with shrimp! (I looove shrimp.) Also I’m a lazy cook, so I have modified this a bit to make it easier.
*Can also be made with 2 lbs boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces (or with both, in which case use 1½ lbs of chicken and 1 lb of shrimp).
1 tbs canola or olive oil
2 cups chopped onion (fresh or frozen)
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 large pepper)
1 cup chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
2 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 tsp from a jar of pre-minced garlic)
1 14-oz pkg of turkey kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/4-in. slices
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
2 cans (14½ oz) diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions, undrained
1 can (14 oz) fat-free chicken broth
1½ to 2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbs chopped parsley
1 tbs hot sauce
Sauté onions, green peppers, celery and garlic in oil-coated pan, until tender. (I’ve been known to just throw them in the cooker un-sauteed; like I said, I’m lazy)
(If using chicken, brown 4 minutes on each side in pan, then put in cooker)
Put onion mixture and everything but the shrimp in the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours.
Taste, add additional hot sauce if you like it spicier.
Add shrimp, cover and cook on HIGH for additional 15 minutes or until shrimp are cooked (I use precooked shrimp, but still cook for 15 minutes to be sure heated through)
Serve over long-grain rice.
Serves 6-8 people. For hubs and I, we get 3-4 meals out of it. Freezes well!
Shannon’s Lentil Sweet Potato Chili
For the vegetarians in the crowd, here’s Shannon Esposito’s fave cold-weather dish.
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, chopped
2 28-oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 14-oz can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups dried green lentils
2 tbsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
diced avocado for garnish, optional
fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish, optional
Add all ingredients (except garnishes) to slow cooker. Mix well.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4.5 hours
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
And for dessert, we have a great cookie recipe from Kirsten Weiss… Yum!
Kirsten’s Halloween Spice Cookies
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
10 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
Possible decorating option! (photo by Pacian commonswiki, CC-BY-SA 3.0 unported, Wikimedia Commons)
2 egg whites
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
Food coloring: black, yellow, green, and pink or red
You’ll need cookie cutters for these, preferably Halloween-themed cats and moons and bats. But you can also just cut them into circles and go wild with the decorating.
Whisk the flour, allspice, nutmeg, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl. Set it aside.
In another, bigger bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until the ingredients are light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and egg and beat them into the butter mixture.
Set the mixing speed to low and add the flour mixture. Beat until the ingredients come together as a dough.
On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and divide it in half. Press each half into a thick disk, wrap them separately in plastic wrap, and put them into the refrigerator for about an hour, until they’re firm.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
With parchment paper, line two cookie sheets.
Roll out one of your dough disks on a lightly floured surface until it is approximately 1/8” thick. Cut out cookies with your cutters and transfer them to the parchment-lined baking sheets. Repeat with the other disk.
Bake 8-10 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned.
Remove the cookies and set them on cooling racks.
When they are room temperature, make the icing.
With an electric mixer on high, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Add the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Keep beating the mixture until it is shiny and thick.
Add more sugar or water to get the right consistency for the icing to spread easily.
Divide the icing between small bowls and add food coloring.
Decorate your cookies!
And now the nonalcoholic liquid libation, again from Kathy…
Creepy Crawler Ice Ring (instructions below)
1 cup boiling water
2 sm packages lime-flavored gelatin
3 cups cold water
1½ liters (48 ounces) lemon-lime soda, chilled
½ cup superfine sugar (this kind dissolves better, but you can use regular sugar)
Gummy worms, for garnishing cups
Prepare Creepy Crawler Ice Ring one day before serving:
1 cup gummy worms
1 quart lemon-lime drink, such as Gatorade® (the brighter green, the better)
Lay gummy worms along the bottom of a 5-cup ring mold, then fill with lemon-lime drink.
Freeze for 8 hours/overnight, until solid.
Now prepare punch:
Pour boiling water over gelatin in heat-proof punch bowl; stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in cold water.
Add lemon-lime soda and sugar; stir well.
Before serving, dip bottom of ice mold in hot water to unmold ice ring. Float in punch bowl.
Serve cups of punch garnished with gummy worms, if desired.
Makes 10 servings
Sounds awesome! I’m wondering if you could make ice cubes instead of the ice ring, if you weren’t going to serve it in a punch bowl. Maybe one gummy worm in the bottom of each section of the ice cube tray…. Hmm, that would be a cool way to serve to guests. *makes grocery list with gummy worms and Gatorade®*
What’s your favorite cold-weather recipe?
Shannon has a brand new cover for her spooky thriller, The Monarch.
Fate seems to have mistaken Anne Serafini, a forensic photographer, for superwoman and she’s not amused. After being stabbed, witnessing a friend’s murder and shooting a man in self-defense, Anne realizes she’s been Fate’s puppet all along.
Now she’s chosen Anna Maria Island to try and take back control of her life. Unfortunately—when a murdered girl washes up on the beach—Anne understands, once again, Fate has chosen this place for her.
When Anne’s two eccentric aunts decide it’s time to let her in on the family secret, they tell Anne she is the latest fourth-generation woman in her brown-eyed family to be born with green eyes and a paranormal gift.
Anne’s gift is being in the wrong place at the right time. The gift of serendipity. But, the gift is also a curse. Each green-eyed woman has died before her twenty-eighth birthday.
Anne will turn twenty-eight in three weeks.
Can she embrace her gift and help stop this budding serial killer? Or is he the tool Fate will use to fulfill the family curse?
Click here for buy links.
And for Halloween, I have re-published my standalone ghost story/mystery novelette, Echoes…
James Fitzgerald is looking forward to a weekend getaway with friends at the country house that once belonged to his parents. Instead he walks in on a bloodbath. And a cryptic message on a shower curtain points to him as the killer.
The small town sheriff is smarter than he looks. He knows he doesn’t have enough evidence to make an arrest… yet.
Virtually under house arrest, James tries to distract himself from his grief and worry by investigating his parents’ backgrounds. Maybe he can find an explanation for the strange fainting spells he’s been having. Soon he is wondering if it’s sometimes better to let sleeping ghosts lie.
Click here for buy links.
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