Halloween hors d’oeuvres

Published 8:09 am Saturday, October 29, 2022

Mummy jalapeño poppers and witch’s eye meatballs

When I was a little girl, Halloween was my absolute favorite holiday. I lived for the spooky season of colorful costumes, scary monsters and –most of all– free candy.

As an adult, I continue to look forward to Halloween each year, especially when it comes to throwing a good party. And no Halloween party is complete without an array of scary snacks and haunted hors d’oeuvres for guests to munch on.

In this edition of Farmville the Magazine, I’ve come to offer you not just one but two appetizer recipes that will surely be a hit at your next shindig. My Gruyère-stuffed “witch’s eye” meatballs are as mouth watering as they are scary, and these air fryer bacon-wrapped jalapeño popper mummies with brown sugar and Tajín won’t last ten minutes around some hungry ghouls and goblins. Considering doubling or even tripling the recipes if feeding a crowd.


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Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 13 minutes

Total time: 33 minutes

Servings: 10 poppers


• 5 jalapeños, halved and hollowed out

• 8 oz. softened cream cheese

• 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

• 1 tsp. onion powder

• 1 tsp. garlic powder

• 1 tsp. paprika

• 5 strips of bacon, halved lengthwise

• 1 tbs. brown sugar

• 1/2 tbs. Tajín seasoning

• Salt and pepper, to taste

• 1 bag of candy eyeballs, for decorating, if desired



Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 24 minutes

Total time: 44 minutes

Servings: 12-15 meatballs


• 1 lb. ground beef

• 1 egg, beaten

• 1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

• Approx 3/4 cup shredded Gruyère or white cheddar cheese

• 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs

• 1/2 tbs. Italian seasoning

• 1/2 tbs. dried parsley

• 2 cloves of garlic, minced

• 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onions

• 1 jar of pimento-stuffed olives

• Salt and pepper, to taste


The beauty of these two recipes is that they can be made simultaneously by cooking the jalapeño poppers in the air fryer while the meatballs cook in the oven. To make the jalapeño poppers, begin by slicing five fresh jalapeño peppers in half. Using a spoon, carefully hollow out the inside of the jalapeños, making sure to remove any of the seeds and white membrane inside. If you like your jalapeño poppers extra spicy, leave a few of the seeds in.

After hollowing out your jalapeños, prepare the filling by mixing together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onion and garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Using a spoon or silicone spatula, carefully spoon the mixture into each of the halved jalapeños.

After filling the jalapeños with the cream cheese mixture, prepare the mummies’ wrappings by slicing five strips of bacon in half, lengthwise, creating ten long and thin strips. Sprinkle these bacon strips with brown sugar and Tajín, a magical and unique seasoning blend of chili peppers, lime and sea salt. Rubbing these two seasonings into the bacon will create a beautiful blend of sweet and spicy that will make our poppers dangerously addicting.

To cook your jalapeño poppers, preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees fahrenheit for three minutes. After your air fryer has reached your desired temperature, place the jalapeño poppers in your air fryer, making sure they are not touching one another. Cook the poppers for 13-16 minutes, watching carefully to ensure they do not overcook. Once the poppers are finished cooking, allow them to cool before decorating with some optional (but adorable) candy eyes to get that perfect mummy look.

To make the “witch’s eye” meatballs, begin by gently beating one egg. Add the egg, ground beef, Swiss cheese, garlic, onions, seasonings and breadcrumbs to a large mixing bowl together with ¼ cup of your Gruyère cheese. If you’re not a fan of Gruyère, substitute it with white cheddar cheese.

Gently mix these ingredients together in the bowl, being careful not to overwork the meat mixture. Once everything is well-combined, take a golf ball-sized scoop of your meat mixture and gently flatten it out into the palm of your hand, using your thumb to press down and create a pocket to place our extra Gruyère. Stuff the pocket with a large pinch of Gruyère cheese and then close the meatball up, rolling it in your hands until you have a perfect sphere.

After forming your meatballs and stuffing them with Gruyère cheese, it’s time to make your meatballs into “eyeballs” by opening up your jar of pimento-stuffed olives. Cut the olives in half and gently press half of an olive into the top of each meatball, creating the eyes. Once ready, bake the meatballs at 425 degrees fahrenheit for approximately 24 minutes until cooked through.

And there you have it. These spooktacular appetizers will be the star of your next big Halloween party. They’re ugly and adorable; delicious and terrifying; and they go amazingly well with some sweet chili dipping sauce! Of course, don’t get hung up on their scary nature. Skip the candy eyes and leave off the olives for some delicious treats which can be enjoyed year-round.