Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pumpkin... more than just jack-o-lanterns!

Back in the middle of October, we went to Diana's Pumpkin Patch in Canon City with my daughter and her family. It was a fun experience with the grandchildren. Part of the admission price includes a free pumpkin, so we came home with a couple of large pumpkins that I have had by our front entrance door until today. 

Yes, I know I'm a little slow with the seasonal decor, but I finally got around to baking and pureeing my pumpkins. It wasn't difficult, just a little tedious, and now I have my year's supply of pumpkin in freezer bags in my freezer. I didn't know it would make so much. 2 large pumpkins = 18 1/2 (15 oz.) bags of wonderful pumpkin puree. Click here to learn how to make homemade pumpkin puree.

I'm not much of a pumpkin pie fan, but there are other yummy pumpkin recipes that I thoroughly enjoy. Here are a few of my favorite...


Easy Pumpkin Muffins

1 (18.25 oz.) package yellow cake mix
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper liners. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves until smooth. Spoon equal amounts of batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.
Suggestion from Mrs. Leavitt: You can also use a spice cake mix and use only half the amount of spices.
Iced Pumpkin Cookies

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour                         Glaze
1 teaspoon baking powder                         2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda                             3 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon                  1 Tablespoon melted butter
½ teaspoon ground cloves                         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside. In medium bowl, cream together the ½ cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls. Bake for 15-20 minutes in preheated oven. Cool cookies, then ice with glaze. To make glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve proper consistency. 

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup white sugar
¾ cup salted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 cup pumpkin (canned or freshly cooked)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup raisins (optional)
½ cup nuts, chopped (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Yield: 3 dozen

Preheat oven to 300°.
In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well with a wire whisk and set aside.
In a large bowl blend sugars with an electric mixer set at medium speed. Add the butter and beat to form a grainy paste. Scrape sides of bowl, then add egg, pumpkin and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add the flour mixture, raisins, nuts, and chocolate chips. Blend at low speed just until combined. Do not over mix.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheets, 1 ½ inches apart. Bake 22-24 minutes until cookies are slightly brown along edges. Immediately transfer cookies to a cool surface.


3 eggs
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 t. lemon juice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. salt
1 cup finely chopped nuts


8 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375°. Beat eggs for 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, sugar, lemon juice and dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Spread into a greased and floured jelly roll pan. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn onto terry cloth dish towel, nut side down, that has been sprinkled generously with powdered sugar. Roll up into a roll lengthwise to cool. Meanwhile, beat together the filling ingredients. When pumpkin roll is cool, unroll and spread on the filling. Re-roll and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Slice and serve.

Holiday Pumpkin Mousse

1 small package vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2  (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
pumpkin pie spice to taste (or cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
1 cup milk
8 oz. cool whip, divided

Crunch Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)
pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon to taste
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine topping ingredients and spread on baking sheet. Bake @ 350 degrees until browned and crunchy. Cool.
Combine dry pudding mix with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add milk and beat until smooth. Fold in approx. 5-6 oz. cool whip. Top with crunch topping and more cool whip. For parfaits: in tall glasses, layer the mousse, cool whip, and crunch topping, then repeat, ending with a dollop of cool whip and topping. 

The Whole Enchilada Chicken Soup

3 cups fat free chicken broth
1 ¼ cups finely chopped celery
½ cup diced sweet onion
3 cups green enchilada sauce
(1) 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
(1) 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
10 oz. cooked chicken breast, chopped or shredded
1 cup frozen corn
Hot sauce to taste (optional)
In large pot, bring broth to low boil. Add celery and onion and simmer until tender. Stir in enchilada sauce and pumpkin. Once soup returns to a low boil, add chilies, chicken and corn, and mix well. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes, until heated thoroughly. Add hot sauce and serve with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and sour cream if desired.

1. You can add canned chicken to make preparation quicker. I usually add 2 cans.
2. I also add one can of black beans and one can of kidney beans (both rinsed and drained) to make the soup more hearty. 

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