Seasonal Foods: Pumpkin

We’ve carved, painted and decorated them, now it’s time to eat some delicious pumpkin! Here are some recipes that will get kids thinking of pumpkin as more than just a jack-o-lantern.

As far as squash goes, pumpkin is my favorite. I can’t think of a food that is more fun and delicious than a pumpkin. We love going pumpkin picking on the farm, carving pumpkins into scary and silly jack-o-lanterns and cooking them! We make everything from pumpkin pie and ravioli to pumpkin soup and doughnuts holes. Even the word “pumpkin” is fun! What’s better is that pumpkin is super nutritious with E, C and off the charts A Vitamins, potassium, fiber, and more!

There are lots of sweet and savory ways to serve pumpkin and it seems that every household has their favorite. I’m always looking for something new to do with pumpkin and found a few recipes that I think are worth trying. I’ve also included my own recipe for pumpkin doughnuts.

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Most kids like rice and pasta, so an easy way to get more beta carotene in their diets is to add pumpkin. You could easily do this by cooking it into their favorite sauce (pumpkin melts well) or show off pumpkin’s gorgeous orange color and simply saute’ with olive oil and toss with rice or pasta. Here’s a way to take it to the next level.

Pumpkin gnoochi with butter & sage sauce by Deliciousdays.com look really tempting. I’m not great at safely cutting through hard squash like pumpkin and butternut. I’ve learned to cut a large section, wrap in paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes. This softens the outer skin and makes it easier to carve out the flesh.

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Little baked fritters or croquettes look appetizing to kids and not too overwhelming as a meal offering. What's handy is that you can control the size of the fritter to suit your child's appetite. If finger foods make dinner more fun, then these will be perfect. I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters, which are actually baked, that look so yummy! It’s a great combination of healthy foods - high in vitamins plus lots of protein. I can imagine them being a good leftover lunch item as well.

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If you are looking to cozy up in front of a fire or watch a movie on a lazy Sunday, these Pumpkin Doughnut Holes may be the perfect accompaniment. The doughnuts can be reheated in the oven, but they are so delicious right out of the oil. It’s not the healthiest option, but in moderation it’s a nice treat. They are crispy outside, fluffy inside, not too sweet or overly fried with all the flavors of the season. Here’s my recipe. Enjoy!

Recipe

ingredients:

1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon and/or nutmeg
2 eggs
½ cup milk
½ cup canned pumpkin
¼ tsp vanilla extract
oil for frying (vegetable or peanut)

directions:

Combine sugar, eggs, milk, canned pumpkin and vanilla extract in mixing bowl. Combine remaining dry ingredients separately (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon) and add slowly to wet mixture. Using a deep frying pan or deep fryer, add spoonfuls of batter to create the round doughnut holes and fry until brown. If using a frying pan, turn over once so that they are brown on both sides. Sprinkle a little confectioners sugar on top for a nice finish.

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