The weather is slowly changing all over the country. Leaves are changing colors, the air has a crisp coldness to it, and we watch as the season changes, fall is here. Just as we look to the changing colors, we all know what comes when fall arrives, pumpkin flavored everything. Whether or not you are a fan of the spooky squash, there is no denying it is the ultimate fall flavor.
Pumpkin is not for everyone but for those die hard pumpkin lovers, we like pumpkin in practically everything. Pumpkin is so much more than pie and spiced coffee drinks. Pumpkins are a great source of potassium and beta carotene needed for a healthy body. With such great health benefits, I say the more pumpkin the better. To make this pumpkin lover’s dream possible, I have compiled a list of great ideas for using pumpkin in your daily cooking
Breakfast is almost always a mad dash to the toaster or running with a granola bar out the door. Let’s beef up our beta carotene for the day with a little pumpkin snack. I am a huge fan of smoothies. They have endless combinations, are quick, and can really help boost the start to your day.
Nutritious Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe by Rosanna Matz
1 1/2 cup Vanilla Soy Milk
¼ cup Pumpkin
½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Nutmeg
1 TBS of PB2 -I know it sounds nutty (no pun intended), but it really is good
Blend all the ingredients and enjoy!
Smoothies may be a hard sell for little kiddos. If you are cooking for the kids, perhaps make them pumpkin pancakes. The best part about pumpkin pancakes, besides the pumpkin, is that they freeze and reheat nicely. So if you have a weekend or an evening to whip up a batch or two of pancakes, just separate them with wax paper, toss them in a freezer bag, and there are plenty more for later. To help in your pumpkin pancake preparation is a great recipe from Cookie + Kate and bonus points in that this recipe is Gluten free.
Now we have two easy and delicious breakfast foods. Time to look at lunch and dinner. How can we incorporate our favorite fall squash into our entrees? Think grilled, baked, and boiled. Entrees made with pumpkin include such dishes as soup, stir fry, pastas, and more. The thought of pumpkin in our favorite foods may seem like a bad idea, but I say give it a try. My absolute personal favorite pumpkin flavored dish is Pumpkin Spaghetti. Cucina Antica makes an amazing Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce. To understand how absolutely delicious this sauce really is, you just have to try it. You can find Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce at Whole Foods and your local organic grocery store. If you are local to Cheyenne, Wyoming, Naturals Grocer’s carries this.
Maybe you are not a pasta fan. What if you are a fan of exotic flavored dishes? You can always make a delicious curry dish with pumpkin. I like to make a traditional dry yellow curry with chicken, carrots and potatoes. For the fall you can either add chunks of pumpkin or just do pumpkin and carrots. Either way curry is a great spice for flavoring pumpkin. Try your hand at this dish and I promise you will not be disappointed.
No meal is complete without dessert. We all know that pumpkin pie is a stable for the fall season and also Thanksgiving dinner. Now I personally am not a fan of pumpkin pie. Maybe you want to try something different. A pumpkin roll is a delicious dessert that is worth the time it takes to make. Pumpkin rolls consist of a thin pumpkin break, once cooled you ice the bread with a sugar and cream cheese mix, then as the name suggests you roll it up. Cut into slices and enjoy. This has always been a friend and family favorite during the holidays.
If you are looking for a low calorie alternative to pumpkin roll or pumpkin pie. Try a pumpkin cream pie. For this dessert you will combine a can of pumpkin, with one container of low calorie whip cream, and one stick of fat free cream cheese. I find this to be sweet enough for me but if you want an extra sweetness, try honey. Mix all the ingredients together, pour into graham pie crust. Freeze until solid. Take out right before you want to serve.
Whew. That was a lot of pumpkin for a lot of meals. Just remember that pumpkin is not just for the fall. Sometimes the best meals are those made with creativity and ingredients we often don’t think about using. Try something new and you may find it turns into your favorite meal.