Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pumpkin Butterscotch Bread Pudding

This recipe came from Nestle's website. I'm not a big bread pudding fan, but this could make me change my mind - actually we all liked it. It uses cinnamon bread - how clever is that? The only cinnamon bread I could find was Pepperidge Farm's cinnamon swirl, so that's what I used. It's a treat by itself but baked with pumpkin and topped with ice cream, oh my. The butterscotch chips add nothing to the recipe and appear to just be an attempt by Nestle to incorporate another one of their products into the dish - I'm going to skip them next time.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Coconut Shrimp with Pumpkin Curry Dipping Sauce

This recipe from a chef at Food Network comes together surprisingly fast, a fact we found out when we figured out that Karen's bus was leaving from downtown DC in just over an hour one Sunday afternoon. We decided to give it a shot and hope there wasn't traffic. The Hub heated up the oil, Karen made the sauce, Andrew thawed the shrimp (oh yeah they were still frozen) and I made the batter and assembled the other ingredients. We decided to skip the skewers part and just turn the shrimp over as they cooked in the oil. I've never made any form of fried shrimp before, but we were all amazed less than 20 minutes later when we were burning our tongues trying to eat them. So fast and so good.

One of the key ingredients, unsweetened coconut, took three stores to find, but really keeps the shrimp from being too sweet. The pumpkin curry dipping sauce is excellent and doesn't overwhelm the mild shrimp.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pumpkin Icebox Pie

This pumpkin icebox pie recipe came from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine. It isn't cooked, yet has a creamy pumpkin filling that is similar to regular pumpkin pie. It's a really interesting recipe. The crust uses cinnamon graham crackers to give it a distinct flavor that complements the pumpkin filling perfectly. I was hesitant about the 29-ounce can of pumpkin being a mistake because you only add 4 ounces of cream cheese, a cup of brown sugar, some spices and a can of milk. (And the magic ingredient - 3 teaspoons of unflavored powdered gelatin.) The same proportion of ingredients, minus the gelatin, you'd add to a 15-ounce can for a regular pie. It makes a lot of filling, and don't even think about using a round edged glass pan. You need to use a deep 9 x 9 inch cake pan for both the crust and the filling to be the proper depth. Andrew, the Hub and I were the tasters on this and we all liked - maybe even more than just liked it. Every day that we had it, we commented on how amazingly good it was. It isn't overly sweet and we all liked that. The perfect cool summer dessert.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Iced Pumpkin Blondies

I found these bars from Libby's to be an ordinary pumpkin bar with a fabulous frosting. The bars are made with butter and I think I like the Hub's pumpkin-spice bars, made with vegetable oil, better. But the frosting is another story. I had to go to four stores to find maple flavoring, but it was worth it for me. The frosting tastes exactly like that found on maple bars, a donut I loved as a kid and even though I choose not to eat them anymore, is still my all-time favorite. And I don't really know why I'm being so saintly about donuts, I eat plenty of other junk that isn't very good for me. The Hub was not a fan of the frosting, but still did his part to put away a pan of these in a couple of days.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce

There are many recipes for enchiladas with pumpkin sauce out there. I combined one from Martha with one from Cheeky Kitchen blog and my own modifications. The end product was excellent.

I cooked a sliced onion in butter until slightly browned and then added about 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken and some garlic salt. I placed about 1/3 cup of this mixture in a tortilla, added shredded cheese and chopped tomatoes and rolled it up. My 9 x 13 inch pan held 10 enchiladas. The sauce consisted of 1 cup each pumpkin puree, heavy cream and chicken broth, 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin plus salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together in a bowl and spread over enchiladas. (I didn't use all the sauce.) Sprinkle with more shredded cheese and bake in a 425 degree F oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Yum!

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Thank You, Thank You Very Much" Pumpkin Peanut Butter Sandwich

This sandwich is another recipe developed by Libby's to incorporate pumpkin into ordinary food. The late Elvis Presley was a big fan of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and so the sandwich is named for him. It mixes peanut butter with pumpkin, which cuts the fat and adds fiber and vitamins, and adds bananas. We all liked it, some more than others. I used cinamon swirl bread left over from the pumpkin bread pudding I made earlier in the week. The peanut butter/pumpkin mixture could also be used with jam, jelly or honey, if you're not a big banana fan or don't like them in sandwiches. I had the leftovers on my English muffin for breakfast.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

BBQ Chicken, Salsa Salad & Pumpkin-Chipotle Polenta

This Rachael Ray recipe from the Food Network is a fabulous recipe and would make a great meal for Father's Day, this Sunday in the states. Andrew, Karen, the Hub and I had it for dinner and all of us like each part, but were particularly fond of the polenta (something none of us could remember having before) and the salad. We followed every step including grilling the pineapple before chopping for the salad. I used red peppers instead of green, so it didn't have the colors of the original salad, but was still great. I could eat this every day and not get tired of this salad. I chopped the red onion really fine in order to not overwhelm the flavors of the cilantro and fresh lime juice.
Having never made polenta before I couldn't believe how fast it comes together. All of us liked the smoky heat of the chipotle with the pumpkin and honey flavors. This recipe is a keeper.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Layered Monterey Pumpkin Dip

I was more skeptical of this recipe than any other I've made using pumpkin. My family has a favorite recipe that is similar but uses refried or black beans on the bottom and lots of cheese. We have been making it for the Superbowl and other special occasions for at least 20 years. This recipe uses 1/3 less fat cream cheese and reduced fat sour cream - I did not, but I don't think either one would change the results. I also added avocado to the minced vegetables on top.

I absolutely loved this dip. It will probably find a place in my top ten favorites.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pumpkin Oat Streusel Muffins

These muffins would have been a lot better if I hadn't overcooked them. I got distracted with something and turned around and they had been in the oven 10 minutes longer than the time called for. Oh well, they were still good. Andrew called them substantial. With the combination of oats and pumpkin, they have to be super healthy too. The recipe came from the website meals dot com, sponsored by Nestle, which is the parent company to Libby's. It has gathered recipes from all the websites of its companies and has made it very easy to search for a single ingredient, such as pumpkin. I'm making several recipes from the site this week.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pumpkin Dessert

This recipe for a pumpkin dessert came from Taste of Home. I made two 9 x 13 inch pans of it, one in my cake pan and one in a glass dish. It turned out a lot thicker, even in the cake pan, than the picture on the website. And the glass pan with its curved sides really shouldn't be called a 9 x 13 inch pan at all. I keep forgetting that I have two quarter sheet pans and they are supposed to be 9 x 13 inch too. I should have used them. I took the cake pan to a potluck dinner on Memorial Day and it was well received. Didn't end up taking any home. The next day when I cut the glass pan to take to work but it wasn't done and I ended up cooking it some more.

This recipe is good, but not spectacular. I would not make it again, because I have tested much better pumpkin dessert recipes. If you decide to give it a try, I would suggest a slightly larger pan and the chilling part is a must.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Popsicles

I love popsicles. I make them myself since I got this fancy popsicle maker from Williams-Sonoma a few years ago and eat them all year around. The Hub isn't crazy about them, and I'm glad - more for me. There are many recipes out there for pumpkin pie popsicles. I used this one. It's clever, with a layer of pumpkin pie filling, a layer of sweetened cream and then graham cracker crumbs to represent the crust. There is a learning curve here and my first ones were ugly, but still tasty. I had to make and eat a dozen to get one pretty enough for a picture. It's a hard job but someone has to do it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe came from the blog (Never Home) Maker.  Ashley, the author, was inspired to make a healthy version of traditional mac and cheese. I couldn't go quite as far as she does; for example, where she uses plastic (I mean low-fat) cheese, I used regular, where she uses low-fat milk, I used half and half, and sorry I couldn't do the pureed garbanzo beans at all. But her recipe, my recipe or any variation in between, this is good stuff and a great way to get anyone to eat vegetables without even knowing it. Andrew, the Hub and I were the tasters and we all liked it. I would even double the recipe next time so there would be leftovers for lunches.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Black-Eyed Pea and Pumpkin Salad

This salad recipe came from Bon Appetit magazine in an article about Caribbean cooking. It appeared in a May issue, so I don't really know where they expect Americans to get fresh pumpkin at that time of year, but perhaps they have a global audience. The twelve reviewers were mixed on their feelings. Many replaced the pumpkin with butternut squash. Most liked it, but most also played with the ingredients especially the dressing. I have to agree, 1 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice just isn't enough to give this salad a bite. Pumpkin and black-eyed peas are bland tasting and need a flavorful dressing. I added more lime juice and extra salt and pepper. Others suggested cumin, cilantro, sugar, mustard and extra everything. I really liked the salad and feel the health benefits of the combination of vegetables is worth fiddling around with the dressing to find a match for your personal tastes.

This photo is from the magazine and credited to Mark Thomas