And plenty of it to eat! From cereal to cream cheese to salsa to yes, even cat food… pumpkin flavors abound. And for good reason. This orange gem fills us with feel-good-fall vibes and sweet, savory taste explosions.
But not all pumpkin fare is created equally.
What if we could enjoy pumpkin’s deliciousness and benefit from this wicked-good food’s nutritional boost?
– High in Vitamin A, Iron, and Potassium
– Low Fat, Low Cal
– Free from most common food allergens
– Can substitute for butter, oil, and eggs
There are so many recipes where pumpkin can shine its light: breads, soups, pies; however, these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are one of our family favorites. My children (ages 7 and 10) honestly like these–and even request second helpings. They eat them all season for breakfast, snacks, and “dessert”.
I’m also throwing in a recipe for stuffed “pumpkins”. These introduce the concept of eating pumpkin (in the form of carved orange peppers) for hesitant little ones in a fun way.
No need to head out to the patch; canned pumpkin affords convenience and still offers up healthy nutrients. Just be aware, per the Mayo Clinic’s advice, to “check the Nutrition Facts label on the can so that you know what you’re getting…Canned pumpkin pie mix — which some recipes call for — usually contains added sugar and is therefore higher in calories than regular canned pumpkin. Try [also] reducing the amount of sugar [a] recipe calls for.”
Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yield: 18-24 muffins depending on how big you like ‘em
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) In one bowl, combine dry ingredients:
– 1 ½ C whole wheat flour
– 1 ½ C white flour
– ½ C brown sugar
– 1 ½ t baking powder
– 1 ½ t cinnamon
– ½ t baking soda
– ½ t salt
– ⅓ C mini chocolate chips (Note: Let your sous chefs do a “quality check”.)
3) In another bowl, combine wet ingredients:
– ⅓ C melted, cooled butter (Reduced fat butter spreads work too.)
– 1 ½ C unsweetened apple sauce
– 1 (15 oz.) can of 100% pure pumpkin puree, such as Libby’s
– ¼ C honey
– 1 ½ t vanilla
– 4 eggs
4) Add wet ingredients to the dry, stirring just until mixed together. Don’t overmix.
5) Place in muffin cups. Bake 15 minutes.
6) Lower heat to 375 degrees. Bake another 10 minutes.
Enjoy. Once cooled, you can freeze these. When ready to eat, just defrost in the microwave for about 30 seconds each.
Recipe: Stuffed “Pumpkins”
Yield: 4 stuffed pumpkins + about 1 C of extra stuffing
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Slice off tops of four orange peppers. Scoop out seeds and ribs. Carefully carve out with a paring knife three triangles and a slit to form each jack-o-lantern face.
3) Chop a small onion and ½ of an 8 oz. package of sliced mushrooms. Saute, then set aside.
4) Saute 1 pound of lean, ground turkey. Season with ¾ t Italian seasoning, ¼ t crushed red pepper, ⅛ t salt, and ⅛ t pepper.
5) Add the mushroom onion mixture back into the pan, along with 1 C cooked rice (great use of leftovers). Stir in ½ a jar (about 12 oz.) of your preferred red sauce.
6) Spoon the mixture into peppers, and bake for 30 minutes.
Optional: Top with some shredded parmesan, and plate with “bats” (aka: plum slices).