Frightfully Good Stuffed Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!  To celebrate… more pumpkin!!!

A year ago my aunt, Sharon, told Mom and me about this amazing recipe she made.  It sounded delightful, but stuffing a pumpkin sounds kind of hard, so we didn’t ever get around to making it until now.  And as I text Sharon, I kind of hate myself for waiting a whole year.  This is amazing.  Like holy YUM amazing.  I HIGHLY recommend you celebrate Halloween with one of these stuffed pumpkins.  Or if you don’t have a strict menu of timeless family favorites that you absolutely must make at Thanksgiving (like us), this would be a wonderfully lovely addition to your Thanksgiving table.  It’s vegetarian, so you can carve it instead of a turkey if you swing that way.  Just don’t wait a year.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait a week before making this again.

I picked up the cheese for this at Whole Foods, they have a bin of oddly shaped bits of cheese, so I was able to pick up Gruyere and Blue Cheese in just the right amount.  Then again having “leftover” cheese is never a problem in my mind.

Cheesy Stuffed Pumpkin

Serves 4

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

  • 1 pumpkin, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • 4 oz stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2″ cubes (however much fits)
  • 4 oz cheese, such as Gruyere, Swiss, Blue, Cheddar or a blend–cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a Dutch oven that’s the same diameter as your pumpkin (although your pumpkin will stick and you’ll have to scoop it out instead of cut into it).

Using a sturdy knife, carefully cut a cap off the top of the pumpkin.  Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits (just like carving a pumpkin).  Season the inside with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet or Dutch oven.

Stuff the pumpkin in layers, starting with the bread cubes, then garlic, then cheese.  Repeat until the pumpkin is filled.  Mix together cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Pour mixture into the pumpkin.  Adjust ingredients as needed, you want the pumpkin to be filled and just moistened by the cream mixture.  Put the cap back in place and bake for about 2 hours, check after the first 90 minutes, everything inside is bubbly and the outside is tender enough to be pierced with a sharp knife.  Remove the cap for the last 20 minutes so the top can brown.

Cut the pumpkin into slices and serve.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

To continue the pumpkin theme, here’s what I’ve been having for breakfast lately.  I’m still missing all the fresh fruit of the summer, but adding pumpkin to my oatmeal at least lets me think I’m getting some vegetable in before the day has even really started.  This comes together in about 10 minutes, so it’s easy enough to make during the week, but if you can’t imagine wasting 10 minutes at the stove in the morning you can make it ahead of time and reheat in the morning.  I like to top it with some toasted nuts for some crunch, but definitely make sure you toast them!  Toasting nuts makes SUCH a difference to how they taste and only takes a few minutes.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Serves 4

  • 1/2 Tbsp butter (optional)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3-4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of cloves

Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.  Add oats and toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes stirring frequently.  Remove oats from pot and add pumpkin and brown sugar.  Stir and toast for about a minute.  Remove pumpkin and add in the water and milk.  Bring to a boil and mix in oats and pumpkin.  Stir in spices and cook for about 5 minutes, until oats have softened and most of the liquid is absorbed.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This was a dip I made for my very good friend, Becky‘s housewarming party.  I forgot to post this in a timely manner, it’s almost too easy to be a recipe.  But if you’re looking for a good salsa recipe that doesn’t depend on summer produce, this is a good one.  This is also great mixed in with scrambled eggs if you have leftovers.  Per usual I made way too much, so I’ll reduce the quantity below.  Still seeking tips on how to estimate quantities for groups.  Other highlights from the housewarming were Becky’s delicious Pumpkin and White Chocolate Cookies and life-changing Nutella Fudge.  Clearly it was well-fed and joy-filled house!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Serves 15-20

Adapted from Paula Deen

  • 3 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (17 oz) pkg frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 3 large Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper

In a large bowl combine beans, corn, tomatoes, onion and cilantro.  In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper.   Combine and let sit for at least an hour to allow flavors to meld.

Apple Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Sadly apple picking at my favorite farm has ended.  Mom and I made a good showing this year, I think we went fruit picking at least twice a month since the farm opened in late spring.  While I will miss the abundance of apples, it will be nice not to try and force 20 lbs of apples into the fridge and I can probably do with a break from apples for a little while (if you eat three apples a day do you keep the doctor away for an extra long time?).

One of my favorite bloggers, Iowa Girl Eats, had this recipe for Orchard Turkey Burgers that sounded so intriguing.  I’ve had it pinned since August, and just happened to pick up some ground turkey at the store and on the way home I knew this is what I had to make.  It was delicious!  I loved that it doesn’t need to be served on a bun.  The apple in the burgers is subtle but keeps them super moist and tender.  The extra-sharp cheddar contrasts with the caramelized onions to create a real flavor explosion!  Definitely a keeper recipe!

Apple Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Serves 8

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 2 jumbo onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, grated
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • extra-sharp cheddar cheese, sliced

Heat large skillet over medium heat.  When oil is hot, add sliced onions.  Cook the onions slowly over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt to taste.  Cook for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown and deliciously caramelized.

Meanwhile, mix together turkey, grated apples, thyme, garlic and onion powder, sat and pepper.  Divide mixture into 8 equal portions and form into patties.  Lightly brush the outside of the patties with olive oil.  Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat.  When pan is hot, add patties.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes until golden, flip the burger and add cheddar cheese on top.  Cook for another couple of minutes until browned on the bottom and cooked through.  Serve over a bed of greens and top with caramelized onions.

Pumpkin Poppers

It’s that time of year for pumpkin everything!  These poppers are like doughnut holes.  A little dense and super moist they’re a delicious fall treat.  I made these for church last Sunday.  Not knowing how many the original recipe made I decided to quadruple the recipe (me and my inability to estimate quantities).  I also hate it when you open a can of something but your recipe doesn’t use the full amount.  So since I only had the jumbo size (29oz) can of pumpkin it was most convenient to just calculate the recipe to use all of it.  I ended up with about 75 which worked out rather well.  My sous-chef and I were able to sample them when we made them, and then there were only about 6 left over after church, so when my extended family came over for brunch they were able to try them too.

I ended up only dipping the tops in butter/cinnamon-sugar, but if you like a sweeter treat feel free to coat the whole thing.  I also suggest just sprinkling with the cinnamon sugar so you don’t contaminate the batch and you can save the leftovers for something else (like topping pancakes!)

Pumpkin Poppers

Makes about 75

Adapted from Just the Little Things

  • 7 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 8 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large (29oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cup low-fat milk

For Coating:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease mini-muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until well blended.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and carefully mix until just combined.

Fill mini-muffin tins until almost full.  (A cookie scoop works well.)  Bake for 10 minutes.

When the poppers come out of the oven, let cool while you melt 1 stick butter.  In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon.  Once poppers are cool enough to handle dip the tops in melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones

Mom had a no good, very bad day yesterday, so I told her I’d treat her today.  When I saw this scone recipe I knew it’d be a great way to start the day and make her feel taken care of.

These scones are very subtly sweet, so if you’re into sweet baked goods for breakfast you’ll want to double the sugar or put a glaze on top.  I thought they were a great way to start the day, a delicious baked good that you can still feel good about.  With a little butter, some apple butter, or some honey, these are a great way to start the day.  I was able to make them in about 35 minutes, so if you feel like a morning baking project these are definitely easy enough to do before you’ve had your morning coffee.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones

Makes 12 scones

Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 Tbsp  (1/2 stick) cold butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup milk + 1 Tbsp for brushing on top
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients, pulse until mixed.  Add in the diced butter, pulse until mixture becomes sandy with little pieces of butter throughout.  (This can also be done by hand with a pastry cutter)

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, 1/4 cup milk, and egg.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Mix with a spatula until just combined.  Dough will be crumbly, so knead a few times by hand to bring dough together.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a disk.  Cut in half, form into disks about 3/4″ thick and cut each round into six pieces.  Place scones about 1-2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes until golden.

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

I’m a big fan of eggs. I think they’re great for any meal.  I recently whipped up this frittata for my dad’s retreat.  It’s easy to make ahead and is easy to customize for whatever your dietary needs might be.

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

Serves 6

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 9 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9″ pie pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large skillet, fry bacon.  When crispy, set aside on a paper towel to removed excess grease.  Carefully wipe off most of the grease from the pan, then sauté zucchini and tomatoes until tender.  Spread vegetables out in greased pie pan.  Top with crumbled bacon.  In a large measuring cup whisk together eggs, salt and pepper.  When vegetables and bacon are cool, poor egg mixture over the top.  Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden on top and eggs have set in the center.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Sister recommended this recipe to me.  It’s super tasty.  These pancakes come out light and airy.  Definitely a fun fall treat.  I’d also recommend topping them with homemade applesauce.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Makes about 20

Adapted from All Recipes

  • 2 cups buttermilk  (or 2 cups milk with 2 Tbsp vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl whisk together buttermilk, milk, pumpkin puree, egg and oil.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, spices and salt.  Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet being careful not to over mix.  Add more milk if necessary.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter onto a hot, greased griddle or skillet.  When bubbles start to form around the edges, flip the pancake and cook for another minute.  

Pumpkin Nut Granola

This granola is a subtle celebration to fall.  Served with yogurt or milk, it makes a great breakfast or snack.  While it’s not overwhelmingly pumpkin flavored it has a warm spice that goes well with the colder weather.  This is also the first granola recipe I’ve seen without coconut…anyone know why granola always has coconut in it?  I didn’t miss it from this, but if you’re a coconut lover I’m sure it would be a delicious addition.

Pumpkin Nut Granola

Serves 6

Adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a large bowl, combine oil, salt, pumpkin pie spice, syrup and pumpkin puree.  Whisk until smooth.  Add oats, nuts, sesame seeds and wheat germ.  Mix well.

Line a large jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spread granola evenly.  Bake until dry and golden, about 35 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  When granola is finished baking, mix in the dried cranberries.  Cool completely and store in an air tight container.

Curry Chicken Salad

I made this recently for my dad’s retreat.  It’s a great make ahead meal and combines some great surprising flavors.  This is another recipe from a woman who used to go to my church.  Further proof  that church ladies know good food, see here and here for the other proof.

Curry Chicken Salad

Serves 6-8

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 lb cashews, toasted
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 6 spring onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 Tbsp curry powder, or to taste
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet.  Roast for 35-45 minutes, until cooked through.  Allow to cool and chop in to bite size pieces.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Chill for several hours.  Serve over salad or on bread or crackers.  (If not serving on the same day, add grapes and cashews shortly before serving so they don’t water down/get soggy.)