Family dinners to enjoy before trick-or-treating Halloween night

Living Well

It’s scary how easy it is to throw together a fast and healthy dinner on Halloween night before trick-or-treating begins!

Dietitian Kim Galeaz says no tricks here! Instead, you’ll find a simple stovetop soup, skillet and sandwich idea. The real treat here is that each recipe can be made in 30 minutes or less. There’s also a dessert recipe for those of you looking for a creative and yummy way to use all that leftover candy!

Zesty Pork & Bean Soup

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ – 1 ½ pounds ground pork
  • 2 cups finely diced onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • 4 – 5 cups less sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (14-15 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies/jalapeno peppers, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 – 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoons each salt and pepper
  • Soup garnishes/toppings: oyster crackers, shredded cheese, cilantro, green onions

In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add ground pork and cook until pork is thoroughly browned, cooked and crumbled. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until onions are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in all remaining ingredients and seasonings and bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer about 15 to 25 minutes. Enjoy immediately. Refrigerate leftovers in tightly covered container and enjoy within 3 to 4 days. Makes about 8 cups soup (6 servings of 1 1/3 cup each or 4 servings of 2 cups each.)

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist, Kim Galeaz, RDN LD with inspiration from

Peachy Pork Skillet

  • 1 ¼ pounds boneless pork loin chops, cut into ¾- to 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons less sodium taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) favorite salsa, chunky style
  • 1/2 cup peach preserves
  • 1 can (15-16 ounces) peach slices in 100% juice or light syrup

Toss pork cubes with taco seasoning in a medium bowl. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add pork and cook to brown, stirring and turning when browned on one side. Add salsa and peach preserves, lower heat, cover and simmer 8 – 10 minutes, or until pork is done (145°F with instant read thermometer). Stir in peach slices. Serve with rice and side salad or green vegetable. Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD with inspiration from

Ham Jam Sandwich

  • 2 slices whole-grain bread
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons raspberry, strawberry or fig jam/preserves or any favorite jelly/jam/preserves
  • 3 – 4 ounces deli ham
  • 1 -2 slices favorite cheese
  • Fresh apple slices
  • Lettuce/spinach leaves

Spread jam on both slices of bread. Layer lettuce, cheese, apple slices and ham on bottom bread slice, then top with second bread slice. Enjoy immediately. Makes 1 sandwich.

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist, Kim Galeaz, RDN LD with inspiration from

Kim’s Candied Apple Cake

Apple Cake

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (Kim loves King Arthur brand)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups peeled, chopped tart apples (Kim uses Cosmic Crisp, Honeycrisp or Granny Smith)
  • 1 ¼ cups toasted, chopped pecans (or toasted walnuts if you prefer)

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • “Candied Apple Topping”
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups favorite leftover Halloween candy, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13-inch metal baking pan with shortening. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, apple pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl with electric mixer and paddle, beat butter and sugar until thoroughly blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla for about 1 minute. Add flour mixture carefully; mix just until blended. Avoid overbeating. Fold in apples and nuts by hand. Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean or with just a very few slightly moist cake crumbs on it. Place cake on wire cooling rack to cool completely.

While cake cools, make cream cheese icing. Add cream cheese and butter to bowl of electric mixer and beat until thoroughly smooth and combined. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and stir until blended.

When cake is completely cooled, top with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with leftover chopped Halloween candy.

Eat. Enjoy thoroughly. Enjoy with a big glass of 1% milk for a dose of protein, calcium and vitamin D along with this 100% whole grain, nutrient-rich candied apple cake. Makes 12 to 16 pieces cake, depending on how you cut pieces.

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Most Popular

Fun Winter Activities

Home for the Holidays

More Home for the Holidays

Latest News

More News