Kids’ Cooking – Halloween Fun

The Little Nell Kids’ Cooking Classes have been a smash this fall. Today’s class was Halloween Fun, which included kids ages 4-12 making a full-on Halloween feast. Instructor Helen DeFrance somehow magically guided a group of 20 kids through the process, keeping them on task and making sure little hands stayed clear of knife blades. Her final menu included Jack O’Lantern Sloppy Joe Pie, Spider Web Soup, Pumpkin Patch Dippers, Halloween Cupcakes, Creepy Cookies and Candy Corn Punch. The next classes are Nov. 20 and Dec. 18. Interested individuals should contact Nancy Brown to reserve their spot at 970-920-6319 or

Want to recreate this experience at home? Here are a few recipes that will do the trick (or treat):

Kids cooking class nell Helen de france

Jack O’Lantern Sloppy Joe Pie – Helen says this is even good for adult parties, but you might want to increase the heat level with a hotter salsa or seasonings.


1.5 pounds lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 cup salsa

1/2 cup chili sauce

1 cup frozen corn

1 can chopped green chilies (4 ounces)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry

1 egg

Orange paste food coloring


  • In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, salsa and chili sauce until blended and stir into skillet.
  • Add the corn, chilies and brown sugar.
  • Transfer to a deep-dish 9-in pie plate.
  • Unroll pastry; place over filling. With a sharp knife, cut out a face to resemble a Jack O’Lantern. Flute edges.
  • Beat egg and food coloring; brush over pastry.
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Makes 6 servings. Note, individual ramekins may also be used for single pies.

Sloppy Joe Pies

Halloween Cookies


1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 cups sifted flour

2 teaspoons baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Cream butter and sugar.
  • Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla, flour and baking powder. Refrigerate until dough is quite firm.
  • Roll about 1/4 of dough out at a time on a floured board. Roll about 1/8 inch thick. Do not overwork dough, as it will stick to the board.
  • Using a heart cookie cutter, cut out cookies and bake on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes or until light brown.
  • Once cookies are cooled, spread on buttercream frosting and sprinkles.

Buttercream Frosting


1 pound confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons milk

food coloring, optional


  • In a large bowl, beat together sugar, butter, vanilla and milk until smooth.
  • If necessary, add more milk until frosting is spreading well. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring. Stir to blend. Top with sprinkles.