A Pumpkin Patch of Proposals

It’s just after Halloween. You worked so hard on decorating your residence hall with pumpkins, only to have your RA tell you that, alas, you must remove it from the hallway. But don’t throw your pumpkins away just yet: Pumpkins are great for cooking, and pumpkin recipes exist out there aside from those for pie. Here are some facts about pumpkins and ideas for what to do with them now that Halloween is done.

Preparing the Pumpkin:
Baking Method
Courtesy of allrecipies.com

Cut pumpkin in half, discard stem and stringy pulp.
In a shallow baking dish, place halves face down and cover with foil.
Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 1½ hours, or until tender.
Once cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it.

Boiling Method
Courtesy of allrecipies.com

Cut pumpkin in half, discard stringy insides.
Peel pumpkin and cut it into chunks.
Place in a saucepan and cover with water.
Bring to a boil and cook until tender.
Once cool, puree the flesh in a food processor or mash it with a potato masher.

Pumpkin Nutritional Facts
Courtesy of urbanect.uiuc.edu

(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained and unsalted)
Calories: 49
Protein: 2 grams
Carbohydrate: 12 grams
Dietary Fiber: 3 grams
Calcium: 37 mg
Iron: 1.4 mg
Magnesium: 22 mg
Potassium: 564 mg
Zinc: 1 mg
Vitamin C: 12 mg
Vitamin E: 3 mg

Just So You Know
A 15 oz. can of pumpkin is equivalent to 1.75 cups of mashed pumpkin.
The best pumpkins to cook with are medium-sized, about four to six pounds, sugar or Cinderella pumpkins with dark orange skins.
Never cook a pumpkin that has been carved for a Jack-o-Lantern!

Composting your pumpkin
If you don’t want to cook your pumpkin, or if you made a Jack-o-Lantern and can’t cook with it, compost your pumpkin instead of just throwing it away. First, remove the insides of the pumpkin and any plastic or non-compostable decorations from it. Now the fun part: Smash the pumpkin. Go nuts with it; it’s a good stress reliever. Compost in the area available on campus. Add some fallen leaves to the pile; they will aid in the composting process. However, avoid adding any sticks or twigs because they take a long time to break down. Now, just let nature do the rest!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds from 1 large pumpkin, rinsed and dried
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Scatter a single layer of pumpkin seeds onto a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake for about seven minutes, until light brown and crispy.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

1 small to medium pumpkin

1 quart cream

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

3 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1.75 C mashed pumpkin

Directions:

Cut top of pumpkin (remove and save lid), scoop out all of the stringy contents and seeds and discard. Scrape out as much pumpkin as possible, being careful not to break the pumpkin shell or make any holes in it.
When you have removed all of the pulp you can, place the pulp in a pan and cook with 1/2 cup water over medium heat until soft. When the pulp is soft, cool a little and place in food processor and pulse until creamy. Grind cloves in chopper until pretty fine and combine with other spices.
Place all ingredients except cream in large pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes. If you need to, add a little water, 1/2 cup, to keep from sticking, but be sure it doesn’t scorch. Add cream and blend well, reduce heat to low and let cook about 10 more minutes. Pour soup into pumpkin shell, replace lid and serve. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Spinach-Stuffed Pumpkins
Courtesy of allrecipies.com

Ingredients:
4 small sugar pumpkins
1 (9 oz.) package frozen creamed spinach, thawed
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 slices white cheese, such as Monterey jack
Butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops off and remove seeds from pumpkins. Coat the insides with butter and season with salt and pepper. Replace lids. Place in a shallow baking dish with a small amount of water to prevent bottoms from scorching during cooking. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until insides have darkened but outsides remain firm. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir softened cream cheese into spinach until melted and well-blended. Fill pumpkins with spinach mixture, and top each with a slice of cheese. Return to the oven for 3 minutes to melt cheese if serving immediately. Pumpkins may be covered and refrigerated at this point until ready to serve. May be reheated in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Bars
Courtesy of Yahoo! Foods

Ingredients:
1 1/3 C. flour
1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 C. granulated sugar, divided
3/4 C. cold butter or margarine
1 C. old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1/2 C. chopped PLANTERS Pecans
1 (8 oz.) package PHILADELPHIA Cream
Cheese, softened
3 eggs
1.75 C. mashed pumpkin
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil; grease foil lining. Mix flour, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats and pecans. Reserve 1 cup of the oat mixture; press remaining mixture onto bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes.
Beat cream cheese, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
Bake 25 minutes. Lift from pan using foil handles; cool completely. Cut into 24 bars. Store leftover bars in tightly -covered container in refrigerator.

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

3 1/2 C. flour

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

2 1/2 C. sugar

Sift or stir all the above.

Add:

1 C. oil

4 eggs

2/3 C. water

2 C. pumpkin, mashed

1 C. nuts, chopped (optional)
1 C. raisins (optional)

Directions:

Spray two loaf pans with non-stick spray; set aside. Mix just until creamy. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Or, this:

Just put the pumpkin outside with the top cut off, and let the squirrels have at it!

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