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Soup to warm up your Halloween gang

Fall is definitely in the air and Halloween is right around the corner. Before the kids head out for an afternoon or evening of trick-or-treating, make sure they’ve got a good meal to start with. This week I would like to share a new recipe I recently got from my dear friend Mary Jo who is an awesome cook. Cheeseburger Soup is perfect for both adults or kids to satisfy a hungry gang!

Cheeseburger Soup

1/2 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup shredded carrots

3/4 cup sliced celery

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

4 tablespoons butter, divided

3 cups chicken broth

4 cups peeled, diced potatoes

1/4 cup flour

8 ounces American or Velvetta cheese, cubed

1 to 1 1/2 cups milk

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup sour cream

Brown beef; set aside. Saute’ onion, carrot, celery, basil and parsley in one tablespoon butter until tender. Add broth, potatoes and beef and cook until potatoes are tender. Melt remaining butter; add flour and cook until bubbly. Add to soup. Bring to a boil; cook two minutes. Reduce heat, add cheese, milk, salt and pepper and cook until cheese melts. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream.

If desired, add some cooked wild rice and mushrooms.

Pumpkin Streusel Dessert

Serving size: 12-15

15 ounce can solid packed pumpkin

12 ounce can evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

18 1/2 ounce package yellow cake mix

3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

In a mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Transfer to a greased 9x13-inch cake pan. Sprinkle with dry cake mix and drizzle with butter. Top with walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Halloween Munch

Serving size: 12

1 1/2 cups animal cracker cookies

1 1/2 cups package cheddar or original flavor goldfish crackers

1 cup dried tart cherries

1 cup M&M’s plain candy

1 cup honey roasted peanuts

Put animal crackers, goldfish crackers, dried cherries, M&Ms and peanuts in a large mixing bowl. Carefully stir with a spoon. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature.

GARY’S TIP: Whipping cream sweetened with a teaspoon of honey instead of sugar will stay whipped longer.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside.