Monday, October 18, 2010

Need a quick fix for that Halloween potluck? Try this Jack-o-lantern Veggie Pizza

Over the weekend we had our first of a few Halloween parties to attend - a potluck at a local park. I wanted to steer clear of sweets since I figured there would be plenty of desserts there, but I also needed a dish that would "age well" sitting out on a picnic table without a chafing dish AND be kid-friendly. Oh, and I wanted it to be fun, in keeping with the Halloween theme.

After hours of scouring recipes for something other than "mummies"(a.k.a. pigs-in-a-blanket) or chicken fingers that look like human fingers, I decided to create my own. The cold vegetable pizza was one of my mom's go-to appetizer recipes that I remember her making. There aren't too many variations of this but in my jack-o-lantern version here, I decided to hide the broccoli in the cream cheese spread and limited the toppings to those that are orange. You could also add some food coloring or pureed carrots to the cheese spread to give it a deeper orange color. Have fun!

Halloween Vegetable Pizza Appetizer

2 cans crescent rolls
1 8 oz block cream cheese
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 broccoli crown
1 orange bell pepper
4 carrots
1 can chopped black olives

Arrange crescent rolls to cover round sheet pan in the shape of a pumpkin, including stem - trim edges as necessary. Bake according to package directions.

While the crescent crust is baking, finely chop pepper and carrots using food processor. Do this at the same time so pieces are uniform and well blended. Scrape vegetables into bowl. Fine chop broccoli in food processor. Reserve 1/4 cup of the broccoli - it will be used on the pumpkin stem. Add cream cheese, mayonnaise and dressing mix to food processor. Blend well.

Once crust is cool, spread cheese mixture on top. Spread reserved broccoli on stem and cover the rest of the crust with the pepper/carrot mix. Add black olives for eyes, nose and mouth of jack-o-lantern.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

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