Today I just wanted to share a little about pumpkin. This is a wonderful fall food, and thanks to the magic of canning we can enjoy it all year round now. Pumpkins are rich in fiber, beta-carotene, potassium and a number of antioxidants, pumpkin is a nutrient-rich vegetable that can enhance dishes ranging from soups, stews and pasta to smoothies, muffins and desserts. Roasted pumpkin seeds are rich in protein and contain heart healthy fat.
While large pumpkins make the best jack-o-lanterns, the smaller sugar pumpkins are ideal for cooking and baking. Here’s how:
1. Remove and save the seeds.
2. Cut the pumpkin in chunks and boil, bake or even microwave until the flesh is soft.
3. Once the pumpkin cools, simply scrape out the soft flesh and hand mash or puree in a food processor or blender.
To roast pumpkin seeds:
1. clean and rinse the seeds.
2. Spray with oil.
3. Place on a baking sheet in 325 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
4. After they cool, place in an airtight container for storage.
The dip below is a great way to entice kids to eat more fruit. Pair with fresh cut apples, banana chunks, pineapple chunks or pear slices.
6 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. whipped cream cheese
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
(optional) 1 Tablespoon honey, if desired
Mix ingredients well and serve with fresh fruit. For a sweeter dip, mix in 1 tablespoon of honey.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 132 calories; 4 g fat; 8 g protein; 16 g carbohydrate; 100 mg sodium; 2 g fiber; Calcium 23% DV; Vitamin A 198% DV; Vitamin C 4% DV; Iron 5% DV
Easy Pumpkin Muffins
This is the easiest recipe EVER, shared by a nutrition educator I worked with in Comanche. Simply mix one cake mix with one regular sized can of pumpkin. Do not add any other ingredients, then bake according to the cake mix box directions. I often make these as mini-muffins to feed a crowd, and my daughter Brooke loves them. I’ve had them with just about every flavor of cake mix, and butter pecan is my favorite! These are a very heavy, moist muffin. Enjoy!