It’s not too late to enjoy pumpkin this autumn

Even though we’re entering the holiday season, there’s still plenty of time to use this versatile gourd

Although we’ve entered the Christmas holiday season, it is still autumn and pumpkin and pumpkin-spiced foods are everywhere.

There are pumpkin lattes, pumpkin spice, pumpkin cocktails, not to mention the ever-popular pumpkin pie.

So there’s still time to incorporate pumpkin into meals. After all, it’s a savory ingredient that can star in soups, stews, pancakes, quick breads, lasagnas and more, but it also goes well in sweets, such as cookies and bars.

You can make your own pumpkin puree for foods by cutting a small, sweet pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Remove the seeds and stringy parts of the flesh, then sprinkle the pumpkin halves with salt. Place the pumpkin halves, flesh-side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in a 400-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender. Cool for an hour, remove the flesh from the skin and use a food processor to puree the flesh until it’s smooth. The puree can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for three months.

But if you’re pressed for time or don’t want to bother, try canned puree.

For an easy snack, roast pumpkin seeds. Separate the seeds from the pulp, thoroughly wash them in warm water, then spread them out on a cookie sheet.

Sprinkle the seeds generously with salt and bake in a 350-degree oven for approximately 20 minutes. Check every five minutes and stir, adding more salt to taste. Check seeds to see if they are done by taking a sample out, allowing to cool and tasting. If the insides are dry, they are done. Allow to cool and serve.

There are many variations of this basic formula, enough to satisfy every taste. For example, make taco lime seeds by combining the seeds with 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon cilantro and 1 tablespoon taco seasoning, baking them in a 275-degree oven for 20 minutes and drizzling them with 1 tablespoon lime juice.

If you like pumpkin pie, combine the roasted seeds with 2 tablespoons melted butter, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, then spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Following are sweet and savory recipes using pumpkin from and

Pumpkin Muffins

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch ground allspice
1 3.5-ounce package honey roasted pecans
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs beaten lightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 15-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin purée
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup golden raisins, optional
Coarse raw sugar, turbinado sugar or demerara sugar, for decorating

    In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, coarse salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and 1/2 cup pecans.
    Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until soft. Add sugar and brown sugar and beat until lighter in color and smooth. Add eggs and beat until they are incorporated. Continue beating one more minute. Beat in vanilla.
    Set mixer to low speed and add pumpkin purée and buttermilk. Turn off mixer and add the flour/spice mixture. Set mixer to lowest speed and mix just until the dry ingredients incorporate. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the raisins, if desired.
    Divide batter between 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle batter with remaining pecans and coarse sugar.
    Place muffin tin on a baking tray and bake in a 400-degree oven for 16 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    Transfer muffins to a cooling rack to cool for five minutes. Carefully transfer each muffing to the cooling rack to completely cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Vegan Pumpkin Soup With Candied Cashews

For soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 15-ounce cans pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 cups cashew milk
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 teaspoons sea salt
Vanilla or plain yogurt alternative, for garnish
Dash hot sauce
Candied cashews
For candied cashews:
1-1/2 cups raw cashews
1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

    In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute about two minutes, until translucent.
    Add pumpkin, ginger, cashew milk, vegetable stock, maple syrup and salt. Stir to combine well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, until heated through and slightly reduced.
    Place cashews and maple syrup in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir to coat the cashews as they toast. When maple syrup begins to bubble, sprinkle cashews with cilantro, salt and pepper. Continue stirring to coat and keep the cashews from sticking together. Once maple syrup has reduced down and only the cashews remain, about five minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool. Break into smaller pieces once cooled  if necessary.
    Serve soup hot garnished with hot sauce, chopped cilantro, and yogurt alternative. Top with candied cashews.


Spiked Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

2 cups heavy cream
4 cups milk
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1-1/2 cups vodka
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Marshmallows or whipped cream for garnish, optional

    Place cream, milk, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vodka in a slow cooker. Use a whisk to combine as much as possible. Pour in chocolate chips.
    Set the slow cooker on low for two hours, until chocolate is melted and mixture is hot to your liking.
    Top with marshmallows or whipped cream and serve.


Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

8 slices bacon
4 cups elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1-1/2 cups 2% milk
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups shredded fontina cheese
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

    Place bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until very crispy. Drain on a paper towel, then crumble into small pieces. Set aside.
    In a medium to large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Once melted, add flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder and stir constantly to combine. Pour in milk and cream slowly, whisking constantly. Allow mixture to thicken, continuing to stir, until bubbly.
    Add cheese, one cup at a time, stirring to melt before adding the second cup. Stir in the pumpkin and sage.
    Remove from heat and pour over cooked pasta, stirring to combine. Stir in bacon crumbles, reserving some for garnish if desired.
    In a separate, small bowl, combine panko, Parmesan, and olive oil.
    Pour macaroni into a large baking dish, pressing down slightly with a spoon to level the top. Pour panko mixture over the noodles, covering the top. Sprinkle with extra sage, if desired.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly and the bread crumbs are golden and toasted.
    Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with extra bacon if desired.


Caramel Macadamia Nut Pumpkin Pie Bars

2 pie crusts
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
Freshly whipped cream or whipped topping, for garnish
For topping:
1 cup hot caramel topping
1 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts, rough-chopped

    If using premade piecrusts, remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before using.
    Line a jellyroll baking pan with parchment paper, allowing two inches of overhang on the longer sides. Roll pie dough discs into one rectangular piecrust, then transfer to the pan. Press dough up the sides and across the bottom of the pan. Trim any overhanging dough.
    Cover crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil, then cover the paper with beans and bake in a 450-degree oven about 10 minutes. Remove crust from the oven and remove beans and parchment.
    In a medium bowl, combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice and cloves. Mix well and set aside.
    In a larger bowl or a mixer bowl, combine eggs and canned pumpkin and mix two minutes. Add sugar-spice mixture and mix well. Slowly add evaporated milk. Mix until completely incorporated.
    Pour filling into crust and bake in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 19 to 24 minutes, until filling is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    Transfer pan to a cooling rack and cool completely.
    Mix together caramel and macadamia nuts, then spread evenly over the cooled pumpkin pie bars. Refrigerate at least three hours or overnight to allow caramel to set.
    Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice if desired, and serve.
    Refrigerate unused pumpkin pie bars.

Baked Pumpkin Pie Chimichangas

6 8-inch flour tortillas
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
2 tablespoons half-and-half
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 heaping tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, half-and-half and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
    Spoon three to four tablespoons pumpkin pie mixture into the middle of each tortilla. Fold in the sides and then roll up the tortilla, creating a chimichanga shape. Lay on a non-stick baking sheet, seam side down.
    In a medium sized bowl, mix together oil, butter, sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry brush, liberally brush the top of each chimichanga with butter-oil mixture.
    Bake chimichangas in a 450-degree oven eight minutes. Remove from oven and flip, brushing the underside with more butter-oil mixture. Return to the oven and bake another six minutes.
    Mix together powdered sugar, skim milk and vanilla. Stir until fully combined.
    Remove chimichangas from the oven and turn, seam side down. Cool five to 10 minutes, then spoon on the icing and serve.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

For dough:
3-1/3 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salted butter
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
For filling:
2-1/2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup chopped honey roasted pecans
Cream cheese frosting

    In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour and yeast. Set aside.
    In a small saucepan, combine pumpkin, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Heat over low heat until butter is melted. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture. Use a hand or stand mixer on low speed to beat in the egg until combined. Turn to high and beat three minutes.
    Use a wooden spoon to stir in the rest of the flour in batches until dough is no longer sticky. Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased large bowl. Turn the ball to make sure all the sides are greased, cover bowl with a towel and place in a warm place to rise about an hour, until it doubles in size.
    In a small bowl, stir together pumpkin and softened butter. Stir in pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
    On a lightly floured surface, roll dough  into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Spread pumpkin mixture over the dough, leaving one inch along one of the long ends uncovered. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans.
    Roll the dough into a jelly roll shape, starting on the filled long side. Pinch dough to seal when done. Cut into 12 slices. Place rolls, cut side down, in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 60 minutes, until doubled in size.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool slightly, top with cream cheese icing and serve.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
1 packed cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chunks
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate shards, optional

    In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, applesauce, sugar and brown sugar. Add beaten eggs and whisk until well incorporated. Add pumpkin and whisk until well incorporated.
    Fold in flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until flour is no longer visible. The mixture will be a little lumpy.
    Fold in the chocolate chunks. Do not over-mix.
    Pour batter into two loaf pans coated with nonstick spray. Batter should not fill the pans more than two-thirds full. If desired, sprinkle chocolate shards on top.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 65 to 75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    Cool loaves in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer bread to a wire rack to cool. Bread can be served warm or room temperature.

Pumpkin Pie Dessert Lasagna

1 sleeve graham crackers
6 ounces melted butter
8 ounces low fat cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 can pumpkin puree
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 8-ounce containers of light whipped topping
4 ounces whipped topping
15 ladyfinger cookies
6 ounces white chocolate, melted
1 cup pumpkin spice chips or white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, optional

    Place the graham crackers in a gallon zipper bag and crush with a rolling pin. Pour melted butter into bag and reseal, then knead butter into the crumbs until well combined. Pour graham mixture into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and press firmly. Bake in a 350-degree oven for six to eight minutes, until golden brown. Cool.
    Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add heavy cream and whisk until well combined. Add powdered sugar, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and mix until well combined. Add one container whipped topping and whisk on high for one to two minutes, until fluffy and smooth. Set aside.
    In a separate bowl, combine remaining container whipped topping with melted white chocolate. Whisk until completely combined and smooth. Set aside.
    When crust is cool, top with half the pumpkin mousse, spreading it into an even layer. Top with lady fingers, then top with the rest of the pumpkin mousse. Top with white chocolate whip cream and spread evenly. Spread a thin layer of regular whipped topping over top and sprinkle with pumpkin spice chips and pecans. Chill in refrigerator at least two hours before serving.
    Lasagna may also be frozen.  Remove from freezer 30 minutes before serving.





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