Every year on Halloween I try to do a special dinner. I try to make something easy, filling, healthy, and fun. Knowing that all they will eating for the rest of the night is sugar – I want their bellies full before they go out for their treats. I make this same dish quite often because it is a favorite of the whole family. It is inexpensive yet filling. It is a meal that can be kept warm all evening so people can eat early or late depending upon schedules.



A tablescape for a holiday meal can be as intricate or as simple as you want it to be. Last year I went very simple. I was traveling the week of Halloween, and I didn’t have much time to set anything up.

I started with a plain white over-sized cloth table-cover. I laid out a roll of chalkboard paper in one direction, and then a Halloween table-runner in the other direction. I used chalk pens to drawn spider webs, spiders, and Halloween words all over the paper. I did not use stencils or anything fancy. In fact that part took about 2 minutes.


Then I added PAPER place settings! That is right I went with paper. There are cute paper plates available everywhere now so there is no reason not to use it for a themed night like this. I got stripes and polka-dots in orange, black, and white to match the tablecloths. All of the paper products cost under $5 and there was enough for 2 meals with my large family. The next thing I did was just gather little things that I had around the house in the orange, black, and white themed colors. I had some empty jars – so I added some candy. Then I grabbed some votive candles out of the drawer, and we were done. This centerpiece cost me nothing.



Pasta And Tomato Juice


Now don’t judge this meal by the name. It might sound boring but it is delicious.


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 pound box of whole grain small shell pasta
  • 1 large can of no-salt added tomato juice
  • Salt free seasoning


  • Put water on to boil and boil pasta
  • While pasta is cooking brown ground turkey in a pan. Add seasonings as needed/wanted. My husband doesn’t add any when he makes this dish.
  • Drain pasta
  • Put pasta back in pot and add the cooked meat and can of tomato juice
  • Warm through
  • Garnish with shredded cheese


For the past three years or so I have been doubling this every time I make it for my family of 6. Sometimes we have enough for a lunch portion for the next day for a person or two, but most of the time it is all gone because of the teenage boys. This is one of the simplest meals that I make but it is one of the favorites. I like that it is lighter than pasta with sauce but filling and just as delicious.