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Enjoy Sweet, Savory Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes

Whether you have leftover pumpkins from Halloween or love the taste of canned pumpkin, here are some autumn-worthy pumpkin recipes for pie, French toast, ice cream and soup.

In many parts of the world, all types of winter squashes are called pumpkins. The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon(πέπων), which is Greek for “large melon." For our Patch recipes, we’re referring to the type of orange-skinned squash traditionally used at Halloween time.

Both the pumpkin itself and the pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious. The pumpkin is a member of the gourd family, which also includes muskmelon, watermelon and squash. Fall and winter are pumpkin harvesting seasons, another good reason why pumpkin is a popular vegetable for Halloween and Thanksgiving.   

Here are some great recipes for every meal of the day, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, and dessert! These recipes come from Nancy Loughin, an award-winning food writer for the Patch site in Reston, Va.; Laura Moss, a food columnist for Agoura Hills Patch.; and Jill Lewis, a writer for Arlington (Va.) Patch.

Baked Pumpkin French Toast by Nancy Loughin

  • 8 cups (1-inch) whole wheat bread cubes
  • 7 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar for batter
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar for topping
    1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cut whole grain bread into 1-inch cubes. If using sandwich bread, use 7-9 thick slices. Then, spread into a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar for batter, vanilla and pumpkin spices until well combined. Pour over bread and push down with a spoon or your hands until it’s all soaked and mostly covered. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees, uncover and top with brown sugar and nuts. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Serve immediately with maple syrup. Store leftovers in the refrigerator covered for up to a couple days.

Chunky Pumpkin Soup by Jill Lewis

As the weather starts to cool down, keep yourself warm with a fun autumn recipe: pumpkin soup. This is a filling, hearty soup. When it comes to soups, lentils are a favorite ingredient, because they are so healthy. Lentils are full of protein and dietary fiber. Add the pumpkin, the vitamin A rock star, and you've got a delicious and healthy meal. Serves 6.

  • 1 pound pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into small chunks
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced 1⁄2 inch thick
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained well
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
  • Plain nonfat yogurt (optional)
  • Salt & ground black pepper, to taste

In a 3 1⁄2 - or 4-quart slow cooker combine pumpkin, garbanzo beans, carrots, onion, lentils, tomato paste, ginger, lime juice, cumin, salt, turmeric, and pepper. Pour broth over mixture in cooker.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Top each serving with peanuts, cilantro, and, if desired, yogurt. Serves 6.  Serve with cornbread.

Easy Pureed Pumpkin Soup by Laura Moss

In the stone age, before the invention of the immersion blender, making a pureed soup was a daunting task. Its simple preparation was marred by the experience of transferring batches of soup (in my case hot, because I was impatient) to the blender, a guaranteed recipe for disaster. So go and treat yourself to this little handy kitchen helper and have some fun whipping up an easy, tasty fall soup.

  • 1 32 ounce box of Trader Joe's Chicken Stock
  • 2 15-ounce cans of Trader Joe's Organic Pumpkin
  • 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped onion (or in lieu of chopped onions and the garlic below you can use a package of Trader Joe's Onion, Shallot, Garlic Mixture in the refrigerator section)
  • 1 large clove garlic, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

In a large stock pot, combine all ingredients (except for the heavy cream) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Using your handy dandy immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add additional stock if needed to desired consistency (remember you have yet to add the cream). Simmer an additional 25-30 minutes. Stir in heavy cream. Ladle into wide bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of green onions, chives or fresh thyme.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake by Nancy Loughin

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 15-ounce can real pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Ingredients for the topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

Make topping first, and refrigerate while making cake. In a bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add cold butter in small slices and combine with fingertips until mixture is crumbly. Don’t rush this step, take your time.

For cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, applesauce, pumpkin, vanilla and both sugars until well mixed. Whisk in eggs. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined; do not over-mix. Pour batter into cake pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with reserved topping.

Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack at least 20 minutes.

Carolyn's Pumpkin Pie Crunch by Nancy Loughin

  • 16-ounce can pumpkin
  • 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (dry)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 large tub Cool Whip 

Mix first six ingredients. Pour in a greased 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Then sprinkle one box of the yellow cake mix (dry) over the top, and then sprinkle the pecans on top. Drizzle with 1 cup melted butter (over all). Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Cool in refrigerator and when chilled, cover with a layer of Cool Whip over the top, not too thick, and cover and refrigerate.  Slice and serve.

Pumpkin Ice Cream by Jill Lewis

This is the easiest pumpkin ice cream recipe you could ever make, and is the perfect solution for your leftover pumpkin pie mix. I used Libby pumpkin pie mix, because I like the flavor and texture. I was a little skeptical about the recipe as it was so different and easier than the others I had seen, but after making it I was so impressed. This recipe tastes just like pumpkin pie and is spoon-licking good! 

  • 2 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1 can (30 ounces) Libby pumpkin pie mix

Combine ice cream and pumpkin pie mix in large bowl; stir until blended. Freeze in ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

To make recipe in home freezer, freeze mixture for 2 hours; beat with mixer for 30 seconds. Freeze for additional 2 hours or until firm.

As you can see, pumpkin, whether fresh or canned, is terrific in more than just pies. Most pumpkin recipes can be adapted for use with other members of the winter squash family, so feel free to experiment and get creative.

Happy cooking and eating!

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