Pumpkins

Pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin

I willingly admit to being a cheapskate. It’s a few days after Halloween and I’ve been scouting for a deal on pumpkins. Accidentally, I found a local nursery, with a gazillion for sale before Halloween, giving them away for free today. So, I loaded up the car. I feel so grateful to have a kitchen full of the golden orbs, just waiting to be processed for the freezer and winter meals. 

I started by roasting two this afternoon. Half of one as well as the stringy goo that holds the seeds will go into homemade dog food. The seeds will be roasted shortly – my favorite snack this time of year and really good for me. The rinds will be tossed out for the squirrels (and maybe bears). I have effectively used every part of the pumpkin!

You can simply scoop the cooked flesh into freezer bags to use all winter. Turn it into curried pumpkin soup, toss the puree with hot pasta and a good cheese, put it in your green smoothie for a vitamin boost. And, of course, it makes the best homemade pumpkin pie ever. Here are a few recipes to get you started: 

Pumpkin or winter squash soup

Pumpkin soup with bacon

small pumpkin, butternut squash, or other winter squash
1 c. chopped onion
2 t. oil
5 c. chicken or vegetable broth
2 T. molasses
1 t. curry powder or 2 T. red curry paste
¾ t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne or more to taste
⅔ c. half and half or coconut milk
Sliced red sweet or chili peppers for garnish

Mix onions with oil and spread on the pan around squash. Roast at 425 45 minutes or until tender. Scoop out pulp, measure about three cups, and add with rest of the ingredients to a heavy pot. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Puree in blender and return to pan. Add half and half or coconut milk and warm until heated.

Serve with a drizzle of Sriracha or coconut milk, sliced red chilis, crumbled crisp bacon if you have meat-eaters in the house, or chopped parsley or cilantro if desired.

Cheesy pumpkin pasta for two

6 ounces pasta noodles, your choice
½ small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 cups broth
dash of red pepper flakes
½ t. salt
dash fresh ground pepper
1 T. butter
2 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes

In a stockpot, saute onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add noodles, vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir to blend together, and put on the stove over medium/high heat. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir, cover, simmer for 2-4 more minutes, or until pasta is al dente.

Add butter and cream cheese cubes, stir continuously until the cheese is melted and incorporated.

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