Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pumpkin and Spinach Strata

This hearty strata is from Food and Wine magazine. Here's what they have to say about it: "A terrific make-ahead breakfast strata from baker and pastry chef Zoe Nathan, who uses multigrain bread to add a distinct flavor to this satisfying casserole." This really is good, but not just for breakfast, we ate it for lunch, too. I made a half recipe using a 9 x 9-inch pan and substituted spinach for the kale.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


This recipe from the website is really good. She says "We were once in a situation of too many pumpkins and no potatoes, so we had the idea of cooking the pumpkin same way we roast potatoes in Greece - that is with lemon juice and oregano. It’s so delicious, light and colorful!"

And she's right. I left out the yeast, but would probably add it next time as I'm trying to develop a taste for it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pumpkin Soup with Chicken Sausage

This soup recipe came from the October 2012 Food Network Magazine. I wasn't much impressed with this recipe. The broth was watery and not particularly flavorful. Most of the reviewers that like it had spiced up the flavor in some way.  I questioned when I was adding the 2 1/2 cups of water at the end and debated not doing it and now wished I hadn't. I replaced the chicken apple sausage with vegetarian. I love the fried sage leaves on top, but not enough to make this again. And I wonder where they got the hefty 522 calories per bowl number. My vegetarian sausages had 1,000 calories total or less than 200 per serving, but with only some chicken broth and vegetables for the rest of the ingredients, I don't know where they got that large number. If you decide to make this I would read all the reviews online and decide what else you might add to it. The picture came courtesy of the Food Network. I apparently didn't take a picture of mine.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pumpkin Black Bean Tamale Bake

This recipe came from the website The idea of her website is to help you create monthly menus from seasonal products and fill your freezer to boot. Although I didn't spend a lot of time on the website, it appears you can buy monthly memberships. I used crumbles instead of ground beef and cut the oil in half in the cornbread. My cornbread did not rise like hers did, but that could have been due to my fiddling with the recipe. I felt the casserole part was a little bland (in all fairness, she was feeding it to toddlers) and could have benefited from some seasonings like chili powder, garlic, salt & pepper, adobo, etc. I made mine in individual ramekins and froze the extras.

Monday, March 4, 2013

"3 for 100" Mini Pumpkin Muffins

This recipe from Libby's was in the coupon section of the newspaper, along with a coupon for canned pumpkin. While I love the idea that I get to eat three muffins, they are really little. I used some homemade granola for the topping rather than buy a box of cereal, which worked fine. I had a hard time getting them out of the papers on the first round so I sprayed the cups with Pam and they came right out. After all they aren't big enough to leave half of it it the paper cup. We liked these and they would make great kid's snacks or lunch bag treats.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Baby Cakes

This recipe is very similar to the one I used, which I can no longer find on the web. Sometimes I gather recipes and it's a year or more before I try them. One thing I would change in both recipes is to cream the sugars and butter before adding the eggs, vanilla and honey. It just doesn't work adding them all at the same time. My butter never completely combined, but it didn't hurt the final product. My recipe called for 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin and jars of applesauce and apricot baby food, while this one mixed that up a little. I made them in a mini-muffin pan and it made 57 muffins at about 60 calories each. These little bites have a lot of sugar in them in my opinion. White sugar, brown sugar, honey and the baby food has concentrated apple and grape juices. I chose not to frost them and instead eat them in the mornings or as a snack instead of using them as dessert.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rigatoni with Sausage, Pumpkin & Tomato

This recipe came from the October 2012 Rachael Ray magazine. As pointed out by a reader, the online version has a typo that the magazine version does not - 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water instead of 12 cups. Right off the bat you'll notice that I didn't use rigatoni, but some spiral whole wheat pasta that we had in the house. I also replaced the sausage with vegetarian sausage. Both the Hub and I like this and plan on taking it for lunches. If I made it again I would punch up the vegetables and cut back on the pasta, but I'm just like that.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Black Bean Dip

This recipe, from the cookbook Pumpkin: A Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year by DeeDee Stovel, is great. I don't even need the chips because I think it makes a great side dish. The pumpkin is undetectable. Here's what DeeDee has to say about it: "A smooth creamy texture with a bit of chunkiness, a deep rich flavor and bright hints of cilantro make this fresh-tasting bean dip a favorite on the hors d'oeuvre table." I couldn't agree with her more.

Black Bean Dip
Makes 4 cups


1 tablespoon canola oil
1-2 jalapeno chilies, minced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Assorted corn chips and vegetables

1.  Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Cook the peppers and onion over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until they soften slightly. Add the garlic and cook another minutes. Set aside.

2.  Place the beans, pumpkin, lime juice, cumin, salt and water in the bowl of a food processor and puree until partially smooth, stirring with a scraper as needed. Add the onion, peppers, garlic, and the cilantro and pulse a few times until blended but not completely smooth.

3. Scrape the dip into a bowl, garnish with a sprig of cilantro, and serve with corn chips and vegetables, such as a mix of white, blue, and yellow tortilla chips; baby carrots and slices of red bell pepper.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Rice Crispy Treats

I used the recipe on the back of the marshmallow's package, which I no longer have, but you can use this one. She adds chocolate, which wasn't necessary at my daughter's house where they were gone in a flash. We all liked them. Robin is an expert at making rice crispy treats, knowing exactly how to melt the marshmallows. Low and slow is her advice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry

This recipe is from the Food Network, courtesy of Nigella Lawson. She thinks this a great recipe to have up your sleeve to entertain during the week. Most of the ingredients you can keep in the freezer and the rest you should be able to run out and get at lunch. I don't know about that. It has an extensive list of ingredients that you may or may not keep in your freezer. Lime leaves? Bok choy? Lemon grass? Fish stock? The seafood is salmon and shrimp.

This recipe really is a winner though. The Hub and I ate it for dinner over rice and I took it for lunch as a soup. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pumpkin Posole

This recipe is from the October 2012 Better Homes and Gardens. Here's what they have to say about posole: "Posole is a Mexican soup made with chili powder and hominy. For this version, we've swapped out half of the usual amount of hominy for tender pieces of winter squash." And the dictionary defines hominy as hulled and dried kernels of corn, prepared as food by boiling. I think canned hominy must have already been boiled. Since they say that chili powder is an intrigal part of posole, I upped the 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon and added a dash of chipole chili powder, too. I used a package of frozen spinach for the kale or chard, mostly because that's what I had on hand. I accidenly bought boneless chicken thighs for the bone-in, but don't think any of these changes hurt the final product. Both the Hub and I liked this soup, which we ate for several days - it makes a lot.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pumpkin Butter Coffee Cake

This recipe from  the website, is meant to be eaten on Thanksgiving for breakfast. The author admits it's decadent in the calories department, but figures since you would be pigging out later in the day anyway, why not. And since holidays can be stressful, you should treat yourself. I made some serious adjustments to justify eating it on any day.

If you use a commercial pumpkin butter you can save a lot of time in the preparation. I made the cake batter exactly as called for except for substituting egg beaters for the eggs. I used whole fat sour cream, but only because that's all I had. The streusel is where I really went to town, reducing the butter from  one stick to two tablespoons, switching out the flour with a cup of oatmeal and reducing the nuts from  a cup to 1/4 of  a cup. I skipped altogether adding another 1/3 cup brown sugar over the pumpkin butter.

I don't think my tampering hindered the taste of the coffee cake. It did reduce the calories from 336 to 221 per serving. It was good. Both the Hub and I enjoyed it. Eating cake for breakfast is a treat for us.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna with Four Cheeses

I recently took a cooking class at Sur la Table with my daughter. Two of the recipes were so good, we went home and made them again for everyone that night for dinner. One was this rich and delicious lasagna. Since we were leaving the next day on a trip, we froze the leftovers for dinners for the Hub and me. About once a month I get out one of the packages of leftovers and I remember all over how good this recipe is.

Roger is a happy sous chef


Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna with Four Cheeses
Courtesy of Sur la Table, adapted slightly

2 1/2 pounds diced pumpkin
Salt & pepper

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 10-oz packages frozen spinach

2 cups ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
Black pepper

1 10-oz package lasagna noodles, cooked, drained and blotted dry
2 cups shredded Fontina cheese
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Dice pumpkin and toss with salt, pepper and olive oil. Cook on top of the stove 20 minutes or so until cubes are soft. Set aside.

To prepare bechamel sauce, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour, stir with a flat whisk until the mixture is smooth, and then continue to cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Gradually add the milk and half & half while whisking constantly until smooth. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking gently, for 5 minutes, or until the sauce boils and thickens. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt and nutmeg. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the spinach and 1/2 cup of bechamel sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper. set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few generous grindings of pepper. Stir with a sauce whisk until well blended. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place a rack in the center. generously butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Add a ladleful of the bechamel to the prepared dish, spreading it evenly over the bottom. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles side by side or slightly overlapping if they are wide, on the bottom of the dish. Spoon about half of the ricotta mixture on top and spread evenly. Top with half of the diced pumpkin, arranging them in a single layer. Sprinkle the pumpkin with salt and pepper, dust lightly with nutmeg, and scatter 1/4 cup of Fontina and Gorgonzola cheeses evenly over the top. Add the spinach mixture by well-spaced spoonfuls and then spread in an even layer. Arrange another 1/3 noodles on top.

Spoon the remaining ricotta mixture on top and spread in an even layer. Top with remaining pumpkin in a single layer. Sprinkle the pumpkin with salt and pepper and scatter 1/4 cup of Fontina and Gorgonzola cheeses over the top. Arrange the remaining noodles on top. Pour the remaining bechamel sauce evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining Fontina and Gorgonzola cheeses.

Bake until the top is browned and bubbly, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares to serve.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pumpkin Football Cakes

 This recipe came from the October 1012 Better Homes and Gardens. Even though I have a hard copy of it, BH&G won't let you just go to their website and get it. I understand their reasoning, but it just means I have to type it in. (Luckily someone else had already done that and I could just copy and paste.) I thought these would be perfect for this weekend's big game.

It calls for an egg-shaped pan. When I went to find one, I found out there is actually a football-shaped cupcake pan, so I ordered that. But the egg appears to work better. The football pan has the laces on the bottom instead of the domed top, so you don't get to see them. The recipe calls for splitting them and adding frosting, which I thought was unnecessary. The recipe is a nice moist cupcake with plenty of sugar without the frosting. But here is a warning: If you do frost these wait right before serving. The pumpkin makes these so moist that the frosting almost immediately dissolves.

Pumpkin Football Cakes
Prep: 30 min
Bake: 20 min
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease twelve 5-ounce egg-shaped muffin cups; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. In a large bowl combine eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vegetable oil; whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, one-third at a time, stirring just until combined after each addition. Spoon a scant 1/4 cup batter into each prepared muffin cup, filling each about half full*.

3. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack. Split cakes horizontally. If necessary, trim tops of cakes so they will sit flat when inverted.

4. For Buttercream Frosting, in a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in milk and vanilla. Gradually beat in enough of the remaining powder sugar to reach desired consistency.

5. Spread frosting over one cake half; top with remaining half. Pipe “laces” on top. Repeat with remaining cakes. Makes 12 cakes.

6. *Use any remaining batter to make cupcakes. Line 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. Fill two-thirds full with batter. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie

This recipe is from the November 1012 issue of Southern Living. It's a good pie for Thanksiving. It doesn't take up any oven room on the day of and has to be made 10 to 24 hours in advance. The crust is crushed cinnamon graham crackers, pecans, crushed gingersnaps and butter, then coated with melted milk chocolate, then sprinkled with crushed Heath bars. Really good and a dessert in itself. The filling is pumpkin pudding, which is kind of bland and I think I'd add some pumpkin spices to it next time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Orange-Dijon Roasted Pumpkin

This recipe is from the November 1012 Good Housekeeping. It calls for acorn squash, which I switched out with pumpkin. I haven't seen a Good Housekeeping for a while and was impressed with the recipes in the November issue. Not only do they give you the nutritional info, but they list the time and give instructions to increase the recipe from six servings to 12 and to 20. Both the Hub and I enjoyed this side dish. I diced the leftovers and added it to salads. My only complaint is that now I have a jar of orange marmalade that I know no one is going to eat any time soon.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pumpkin Moussakas

I loved this recipe from the blog Amatour Cook Professional Eater. It was slightly adapted from a recipe of Nikos Boukis, from the Greek cooking magazine " Umami." And I adapted it some more. I switched out the turkey and ground beef for crumbles and deleted the chestnuts. It calls for two tomatoes, grated. This must be a European thing because I've never heard of grating a tomato. I used canned, diced tomatoes, which I cut up even smaller and it worked fine.

The recipe layers slightly roasted sliced pumpkin, which I sliced with a mandoline, with the meat/vegetable mixture and then bechamel on top. YUM! I halved the recipe, which made one dinner for two and two lunches for one.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Donuts

This recipe came from the website Although it is a gluten-free recipe, I used regular flour. I had a lot of trouble getting the cinnamon sugar to stick to the baked donuts and ended up just drizzling a little glaze over the top. The donuts have a nice blend of ingredients that allow them to be sweet, yet contain almost 10 grams of protein. I thought they were a little dry for a pumpkin baked good, but I may have overcooked them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

I made these as a going-away present for some neighbors, brave souls who put their house on the market, sold it two weeks later and moved, all in the month of December. The recipe came from the website and are actually an advertisement for Reynolds parchment baking paper. The cookies come out soft little pillows with cinnamon chips scattered throughout. They contain vegetable shortening, which is an ingredient I usually avoid, but is probably what gives them their texture, too. Both the Hub and I liked these cookies and, because it makes so many, I froze two dozen for a special occasion, which appears to be every morning before I go to work when I get ice, see them in there and feel the need to eat a cold cookie. lol

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baked Barley Casserole w/ Mushroom & Pumpkin

This recipe from the website Clean Eating is the kind of thing the Hub likes once and not very often. Some recipes just work too hard at being healthy, sacrificing flavor. We both liked it straight from the oven, although I forgot the goat cheese and pumpkin seed toppings. I substituted green onions for the leeks and dried herbs for the fresh. I ate the leftovers for lunches and it was nice to have a warm casserole in winter, but I doubt I would make it again.