Frightfully affordable Halloween ideas

It's that time of year again, when the nights draw darker and there's a frightful feeling in the air. If you're looking for some cheaper ways to incorporate the theme of Halloween into your meals, we've put together a few fantastic recipes to celebrate on a budget.

Most of these recipes feed a family of four for between £5-£10. They use ingredients that are most probably already sitting in your cupboards and freezers, and provide a delicious spin on hearty meals.


Petrifying pesto pasta

A great, low-cost meal turned terrifying for Halloween at home, or on a children's menu in restaurants. This spooky dish works out at only £1 per head!

  • Pop a pan of salted water on to boil, and cook any long-shaped pasta such as spaghetti or linguine.

  • While the pasta is cooking, take a handul of pitted black olives, and slice them into rounds for eyes.

  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain off the water, and mix in a drizzle of olive oil. Spoon in as much green pesto as you need to coat the pasta, and add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Plate up the pasta into equal portions, then pop over a few mini mozzarella balls, or a large ball cut up into small circles. On top of the mozzarella balls, add one slice of black olive, to create spooky eyes.


Spooky sweet potato gnocchi

Turn your midweek meal into one fitting for Halloween, with the use of sweet potato. The orange dumplings are a great way to transform a simple meal into something a bit more exciting.

  • Take one large sweet potato, and one large white potato. Peel both and cut into chunks.

  • Boil the potatoes for approximately 12-14 minutes, or until soft.

  • Allow them to cool, then mash the potatoes well, and sit aside for two minutes.

  • Next, sift over 200g of plain flour, and mix to combine.

  • Add one egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Mix together until a soft dough forms, but don't overwork it!

  • Once the mixture has come together, dust a clean work surface with a little more flour, and divide your dough into three pieces.

  • Roll each piece into a roughly 40cm long sausage, and cut into equal pieces, around 1.5cm in length.

  • Place the cut pieces on a flour dusted plate, and use a fork to create an indent on one side of each gnocchi piece.

  • Pop a large saucepan of well-salted water onto boil, and once boiling, turn down to simmer then pop in half of your gnocchi. Give them a quick stir and wait for them to rise to the surface of the pan. This will take no longer than two minutes.

  • Once ready, remove from the water using a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat for the remaining gnocchi.

  • In a frying pan over medium heat, add a knob of butter and three crushed garlic cloves. Fry for a minute, until the butter starts to brown slightly.

  • Add the gnocchi to the frying pan, and cook until it starts to brown, then add in some finely chopped fresh parsley, and serve with gratings of fresh parmesan.

This dish can be customised to suit meat eaters and vegetarians, with the addition of more vegetables. We love the sound of some crispy bacon to contrast the sweet potato!


Sinister stuffed peppers

Add a spooky twist to stuffed peppers at mealtimes over the Halloween period, by carving faces into the peppers. They make a great, low cost, filling meal, and can be stuffed with a whole variety of different fillings. If you prefer your food devilishly hot, then add a drizzle of chilli oil to the peppers before serving.

Take your peppers, cut the tops off and scoop out the seeds, then lay them on a baking sheet ready to be stuffed.


Mushroom and halloumi

  • Take a jar of antipasti marinated mushrooms, and drizzle one tablespoon of oil from the jar over the peppers. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

  • Add 50g of couscous to a bowl, and pour over 100ml of hot vegetable stock. Allow to soak for five minutes, then fluff with a fork.

  • To the bowl, add the jar of drained marinated mushrooms, 250g of cubed halloumi cheese, and two tablespoons of chopped parsley.

  • Season with salt and pepper, mix together and spoon into the peppers. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes, and serve alongside some warm garlic bread.

Mediterranean mince

  • Pop the peppers in the oven for 15 minutes.

  • In a frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, and fry off your turkey or beef mince for three to four minutes. Remove from the pan onto a plate.

  • Wipe your pan, and heat a drizzle of olive oil, then add 1/2 a small, chopped onion, and one grated garlic clove. Fry for 2-3 minutes, then add a teaspoon of ground cumin and a few sliced mushrooms. Fry for a few minutes more.

  • Add the mince back to the pan, and add one can of chopped tomatoes, and a tablespoon of tomato puree. Crumble in a beef stock cube and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add a sprinkle of oregano, salt and pepper.

  • Remove the peppers from the oven, and fill with your mince, then top with grated mozzarella. Return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, then serve.


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