Tag Archives: healthy Halloween recipes

5 Halloween Must Have Treats

5 Halloween Must Have Treats

Continue reading

Halloween goes Meatless Monday with Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin Get your big and little spooks and goblins warmed up after trick or treating with this healthy, vegetarian pumpkin soup from Golden Door Executive Chef Curtis Cooke. Not only is this a perfect Meatless Monday dish, but it would also make a wonderful Thanksgiving meal starter.

See my Four ways to cook a fresh pumpkin post for tips on cooking pumpkins. Also, check out my recipe for Coconut Pumpkin Soup at Babble.com.

Pumpkin Soup

Courtesy of Golden Door Executive Chef Curtis Cooke


  • 10 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded, cut into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon grape seed oil, divided
  • 1 cup shallots, minced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine (substitute with vegetable stock, if you wish)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 sachet of 6 sprigs thyme, 6 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf and 8 black peppercorns
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the large pumpkin pieces with just enough grape seed oil (approximately ¼ cup) to coat and place on a baking sheet into the oven.
  3. Roast the pumpkin until very tender, approximately 15-20 minutes. Cool and reserve.
  4. In a large stock pot, sauté the shallots, celery, and garlic in a tablespoon of grape seed oil for 5 minutes.
  5. Deglaze with the white wine (or vegetable stock) and reduce the liquid by half.
  6. Add the roasted pumpkin, vegetable stock and sachet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the sachet, and puree the soup in a blender, food processor or with an immersion (wand) blender.
  8. Adjust the seasoning with salt and serve.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pudding

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pudding at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

We’re getting the house we’ve lived in for 11 years ready to be put on the market. After the movers left Tuesday (we’re putting most of our stuff in storage so the house looks larger and can be “staged”) I’ve been in a complete funk. All I’ve wanted to do sit in bed, watch The Walking Dead, and eat comfort foods.

Zombies and comfort foods? Well, since it’s Halloween and pumpkin season, how about a yummy bread pudding using pumpkin puree and some sweet yet tart cranberries?

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pudding at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Bread pudding tips and tricks

This recipe makes a huge amount of bread pudding – perfect for a Halloween or Thanksgiving party. It’s also makes a decadent (but not too unhealthy) breakfast goodie when family is visiting from out of town. If you’re making this for dessert for your immediate family and don’t want a couple of weeks of leftovers, cut the recipe in half.

You can make the Pumpkin and Cranberry Bread Pudding gluten free or not depending on the type of bread you use. Also, it’s a great way to use bread ends, if your family’s like mine and refuses to eat them. (I freeze bread loaf ends and use them in meatloaf, Thanksgiving stuffing, French Toast, and bread pudding.)

Feel free to substitute raisins or dried cherries or raisins for the cranberries. Or you can use half shredded coconut and half dried cranberries or another dried fruit. Serve with a whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream, or whiskey sauce if you’re not watching the calories. Pumpkin and Cranberry Bread Pudding reheats very well in the microwave, but it’s delicious cold, too. You can also make it several days ahead. Just cover with aluminum foil, refrigerate, and reheat in a microwave (by the serving) or the whole pan in a 325 degrees F oven for 15 minutes.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pudding at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pudding

Based on a recipe from the Joy of Cooking.


  • cooking spray
  • 24 ounces gluten free or whole wheat bread, stale but not hard
  • 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup stevia
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 1 12-ounce cans fat free evaporated milk
  • 2 15-ounce cans pumpkin puree


  1. Spray the inside of a 15x10x 2 inch rectangular baking dish and set aside.
  2. Cut or tear bread into 1/2 inch pieces. You should have about 10 lightly packed cups of bread pieces. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Cover bread with dried cranberries.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk eggs and egg whites.
  5. Add vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt , sugar, skim milk and condensed milk to eggs and whisk until blended.
  6. Pour egg, spice and milk mixture over bread and cranberries. Mix together bread and liquids until bread is saturated. Let stand for 30 minutes periodically pressing the bread down with a spoon or spatula to help bread absorb the liquid.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Baked the pumpkin and cranberry bread pudding in a in a bain marie (water bath) until puffed and firm in the center - about 1 1/2 hours.
  9. Serve warm or cold, either plain or with whipped cream or ice cream.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 90 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours
Servings: 16
  • Serving size: 1/16 of pan
  • Calories: 263
  • Calories from Fat: 25
  • Total Fat: 2.8g
  • Saturated fat: 0.8g
  • Unsaturated fat: 2g
  • Sodium: 452mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 47.1g
  • Sugar: 29.8g
  • Fiber: 4.1g
  • Protein: 13.2g
  • Cholesterol: 49mg

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pudding at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Holly Clegg’s Southwestern Soup for a healthier Halloween #glutenfree

southwestern soup Today’s guest post from Holly Clegg focuses on serving up a healthier Halloween with her Southwestern Soup. It’s GF - that's gluten free - not ghost or goblin free!

Want to check out more of Holly’s time-friendly trim& TERRIFIC® recipes from her Louisiana kitchen? Then visit hollyclegg.com and The Healthy Cooking Blog.

A happy healthy Halloween

On Halloween, the focus is on the tricks and treats but my focus was always on dinner. I always serve a one-pot meal that is time-friendly to eat whenever everyone strolls back to the house. A big pot of hearty Southwestern Soup from my Gulf Coast Favorites cookbook brewing on the stove with mugs around to serve yourself makes an ideal meal for young and old on this come and go cool evening.

Best of all this soup is as simple as opening cans making it perfect for this busy night. The nutritiously sweet yams give the soup a jolt of orange giving Halloween spirit. Did you know you can substitute sweet potatoes for potatoes in any recipe for a nutritional boost? If you have a crowd coming, just double the recipe and if you have extra, cool and freeze in freezable zip lock bags that easily stack in the freezer.

southwestern soup

Southwestern Soup

By Holly Clegg from her cookbook Gulf Coast Favorites


  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups Louisiana yams (sweet potatoes), peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups frozen corn


  1. In large nonstick pot, cook meat and onion over medium heat until meat is done, about 5-7 minutes. Drain excess fat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, except corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer about 30 minutes.
  3. Add corn, continue cooking, covered, 15 minutes.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour
Servings: 9 servings
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 149
  • Calories from Fat: 25
  • Total Fat: 3g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Unsaturated fat: 2g
  • Sodium: 289mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Cholesterol: 28mg

Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 1/2 very lean meat
Disclosure: Holly Clegg is a spokesperson for the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission

Photo courtesy of Holly Clegg.

5 Ingredient Fix: Pumpkin Seed Dried Cherry Trail Mix

pumpkin seeds You may be familiar with Food Network’s Claire Robinson and her show 5 Ingredient Fix on Food Network. She’s just come out with a new book called, what else, 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant, and Irresistible Recipes. While it’s not a healthy cookbook per se, I’m intrigued by anything that makes cooking from scratch convenient and easy. After all, isn’t the reason that so many people are overweight is that they don’t know how to cook and rely on heavily processed convenience food or unhealthy fast food?

So ignore the recipes for Bacon and Egg Salad or German Potatoes. Instead choose the healthy recipes like the ones for Edamame Hummus, Ginger and Lemon Roasted Chicken with Braised Fennel, and Smoky Roasted Peaches. Or just enjoy the beautiful food photography from Stephen Morello.

5 Ingredient Fix would make a lovely present for anyone who loves to cook, but is too busy to fuss with an extensive ingredient list.

A pumpkin inspired 5 Ingredient Fix

Looking through 5 Ingredient Fix, I found the perfect recipe to use up all those pumpkin seeds after we carve up our Halloween pumpkins.

It’s very easy to make roasted pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas. Last year, I used Simply Recipes’ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds method of boiling the seeds in salt water and then roasting it. This worked out very well, but I used too much salt. Next time, I’m going to use half as much – about half of what Elise recommends.

Not only is this a healthy alternative to Halloween candy, but it’ll work as a Thanksgiving football game snack, too, especially when you have extra dried cherries or cranberries from other dishes you may be making.


Pumpkin Seed Dried Cherry Trail Mix

Yield: about 6 cups


  • 2 cups roasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 6 tablespoons pure Grade B maple syrup
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries


  1. Preheat over to 300 degrees F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, silicone baking mats or a TFX non stick kitchen sheet.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sunflower seeds with the syrup until evenly coated.
  4. Spread the nuts and seeds out in an even, single layer on the lined baking sheets and season with salt.
  5. Bake, stirring several times with a spatula or heavy duty, wooden scraping spoon, until just golden – about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven. Cool the nuts and seeds completely on the baking sheet.
  7. Add the cherries and toss to combine.
  8. Store the trail mix in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Nutritional information

Serving size is 1/2 cup. Sodium is from 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

  • Calories 217
  • Calories from Fat 144
  • Total Fat 16.0g
  • Saturated Fat 2.4g
  • Trans Fat 0.0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 102mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 14.1g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.5g
  • Sugars 6.9g
  • Protein 7.9g
  • Iron 22% of RDA

Nutrition Grade B from CalorieCount 

Weight Watchers POINTS = 6

This Mama’s tips

  • For a treat, stir in some chocolate chips or broken chocolate Halloween candy. Adding chocolate does defeat the healthy factor, so if you’re feeling guilty, just use a little bit of dark chocolate instead.
  • If there are nut allergies in the family, omit the almond. You can use pine nuts instead, as they’re really a seed and not a nut.
  • Instead of maple syrup, try agave nectar, which has a lower glycemic index. Dark agave nectar would be especially delicious.
  • Substitute other dried fruit, like chopped up dates, prunes or raisins.
  • If the POINTS, calories or fat is too overwhelming, sprinkle a little bit on your morning oatmeal or make a Greek yogurt parfait.

Pumpkin seed photo by Food Thinkers from Flickr.

Disclosure: I was given a review copy of 5 Ingredient Fix to facilitate this review.

Healthy Halloween recipes from Holly Clegg

Creepy Crawlers Today’s guest post from Holly Clegg is chocked full of healthy Halloween recipe ideas for the whole family and some suggestions to get your kids cooking in the kitchen. Best of all her German Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars are only 2 Weight Watchers POINTS, while the rest of her recipes are 3 or 4 POINTS per servings. Great for moms trying to lose weight while feeding their families healthy food that they’ll love.

You can find more of Holly’s recipes on The Healthy Cooking Blog.

A Healthier Happy Halloween

Halloween is one of those holidays filled with fun, food, and friends. On October 31st every year, neighborhoods seem to sparkle with that contagious Halloween spirit. While the kids are selecting their perfect costume, Halloween is a great time for effortless entertaining.

Get that spooky black and orange theme going with easy everyday healthy recipe choices. Even though this holiday focuses on the children, there are always adults around. A big pot of hearty Burger Soup brewing on the stove with mugs around to serve yourself makes an ideal meal for young and old on this come and go cool evening.

The kids will get a kick out of the fun Jack-O-Lantern Sandwiches and will be eager to create peanut butter sandwiches that evolve into Creepy Crawlers.

For a sweet snack, I love German Chocolate Squares – using orange food coloring for a spirited twist. Purchase miniature pumpkins, gourds, corn, and orange flowers to serve as a centerpiece and use black and orange colored paper napkins and plates insure a quick clean up. A pitcher of apple cider makes an easy drink!

Don’t let Halloween scare you when it comes to cooking for casual company!

Burger Soup

Burger SoupFrom New Holly Clegg trim&TERRIFIC Cookbook

Years ago we made this for a house full of kids, and everyone raved about it—it’s a great way to get veggies into their diets.

Makes 8 servings


  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (141/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup sliced peeled carrots (in rings)
  • 1 (11-ounce) can corn niblets, drained
  • 1/3 cup rice, uncooked


  1. In large pot, cook meat, onion, and garlic until meat is done. Drain any excess liquid.
  2. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, and carrots. Bring to boil, lower heat, cook 10 minutes.
  3. Add corn and rice, continue cooking over medium heat until rice is done and carrots are tender, 30 - 40 minutes. Add more water if too thick. Serve.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Calories 160, Protein (g) 14, Carbohydrate (g) 21, Fat (g) 3, Calories from Fat (%) 16, Saturated Fat (g) 1, Dietary Fiber (g) 3, Cholesterol (mg) 30, Sodium (mg) 482 Diabetic Exchanges: 1.5 very lean meat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable

Weight Watchers POINTS = 3

Jack-O-Lantern Sandwiches

From New Holly Clegg trim&TERRIFIC Cookbook

Year-round this can be a grilled cheese “face” sandwich, and in the fall it becomes the ideal Halloween sandwich.

Makes 1 Jack-O’-Lantern Sandwich


  • 2 slices dark bread (pumpernickel or dark whole wheat)
  • 1 slice reduced-fat American cheese


  • On one slice of bread, cut out a jack-o’-lantern face. Place slice of cheese on an uncut slice of bread.
  • Broil or toast in oven until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, and top with cut slice of bread.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Calories 181, Protein (g) 10, Carbohydrate (g) 27, Fat (g) 5, Calories from Fat (%) 22, Saturated Fat (g) 2, Dietary Fiber (g) 3, Cholesterol (mg) 10, Sodium (mg) 683 Diabetic Exchanges: 1 lean meat, 2 starch

Weight Watchers POINTS = 3

Creepy Crawlers

From New Holly Clegg trim&TERRIFIC Cookbook

Kids will have lots of fun making these sandwiches. They will even eat the carrot strip “legs.”

Makes 1 sandwich


  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 teaspoons peanut butter or enough to cover bread
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into 8 sticks
  • 2 raisins


  1. To make a sandwich, cut circles out of 2 slices of bread with round cookie cutter or glass. Spread peanut butter on top of one circle.
  2. Place 8 carrot sticks for “legs” on edge of circle, sticking out on both sides. Top with other circle of bread, and put two raisins on top for eyes.

Nutritional information per serving

Calories 217, Protein (g) 7, Carbohydrate (g) 32, Fat (g) 7, Calories from Fat (%) 29, Saturated Fat (g) 1, Dietary Fiber (g) 4, Cholesterol (mg) 0, Sodium (mg) 317 Diabetic Exchanges: 0.5 high-fat meat, 1.5 starch, 1.5 vegetable

Weight Watchers POINTS = 4

German Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars

German Choc Cream Cheese Bars-HAL From trim&TERRIFIC Gulf Coast Favorites

It’s like having two desserts in one with this simple to make bar cookie that combines German chocolate and cheesecake all in one bite.

Makes 48 squares


  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 (16-ounce) box confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven 350°F.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, 1 egg, coconut, and butter.
  3. Pat mixture into bottom of 13x 9x2-inch baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, egg whites, and coconut and vanilla extracts until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour over mixture in pan.
  5. Bake 35–40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.

Terrific Tidbit: For a festive Halloween twist, use red and yellow food coloring to make orange in the cream cheese mixture.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Calories 108, Calories from fat (%) 26, Fat (g) 3, Saturated Fat (g) 2, Cholesterol (mg) 11, Sodium (mg) 116, Carbohydrate (g) 19, Dietary Fiber (g) 0, Sugars (g) 15, Protein (g) 1, Diabetic Exchanges: 1 1/2 carbohydrate, 1/2 fat

Weight Watchers POINTS = 2

Recipes and pictures supplied by Holly Clegg and used with her permission.

Curry Pumpkin Hummus

pumpkins Hooray, the canned pumpkin shortage is over according to the Associated Press. So now you have no excuse to indulge in some healthy pumpkin recipes this fall. Pumpkins are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant, as well as potassium and magnesium.

Dieters love pumpkin because it’s high in fiber and perfect to add flavor, moisture and fiber to baked goods like muffins, bread and pancakes. I even use pureed pumpkin in my Taco Soup recipe when I have an extra can in the pantry.

Healthy pumpkin dip

Skinny Dips, the new cookbook by Diane Morgan, features 60+ recipes for low-calorie, low-fat party dips, dunks, and spreads, along with tapenades, hummus, and salsas. (I prefer using hummus as a spread on Flatout’s Healthy Grain Multi-Grain with Flax wraps rather than a dip.) The book features nutritional information for each recipe, a healthful ingredient glossary, and gorgeous photographs by Sheri Giblin. Skinny Dips would make a perfect holiday gift for anyone who loves to entertain in a healthy way.

This Curry Pumpkin Hummus dip has only 1 Weight Watchers POINTS for 4 tablespoons of dip!

Curried Pumpkin Hummus

Seeking to broaden the flavor profile of hummus beyond the bounds of Middle Eastern tradition, Diane has combined pumpkin and chickpeas and an underlying current of spice, a little sweetness, and a touch of lusty garlic. This dip is perfect for autumn entertaining.

Makes 2-3/4 cups - serving size 2 tablespoons


  • Skinny Dips 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 can (15 oz/430 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz/430 g) unsweetened pumpkin purée
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Optional garnish: toasted pumpkin seeds


  1. In a small nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and sauté just until beginning to soften, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the curry powder and sauté, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Stir in the honey, remove from the heat, and set aside.
  3. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the chickpeas until finely mashed. Add the pumpkin purée, ginger, salt, and the garlic mixture. Process until the hummus is smooth and puréed. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and set aside for 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.
  5. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Suggested skinny dippers: baked pita chips, baked bagel chips, baked wonton crisps, herbed cheddar cheese straws, crostini, bruschetta, roasted cauliflower, and warmed wedges of fresh pita.

Nutritional information

Per 2 tablespoons of dip: calories 36; fat 1.0g (sat 0.1g, mono 0.5g, poly 0.2g); protein 1g; carb 6g; fiber 2g; chol 0mg; iron 0.7mg; sodium 126mg; calcium 13mg

Weight Watchers POINTS = 1 POINT for 4 tablespoons

This Mama’s tips

  • This dip can be prepared up to two days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 45 minutes before serving.
  • Instead of honey, you could use a packet of stevia powder or some stevia liquid drops. Just make sure to taste as you go when adding the drops!
  • While the classic Libby’s canned pumpkin is fine, I prefer Farmer's Market Foods Organic Canned Pumpkin.
  • If you’re looking for zero POINTS dippers, try slices zucchini, summer squash or cucumbers. Or sliced peppers, carrots, celery or broccoli or cauliflower spears.