Jack o’ Lantern Comes to Dinner

Don’t throw that jack o’ lantern away— he is invited to dinner! You can make some yummy, nutritious, high in Vitamin A, fixin’s from those pumpkins. Here’s how:

As long as your carved pumpkin is still solid and sound and not moldy, you can use it. Just wash it out thoroughly, removing any stringy stuff and seeds, and candle wax.

Jack o’ Lantern Comes to Dinner

Our annual Halloween dinner tradition!

  • 1 medium pumpkin or other squash
  • 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 green peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can green beans, drained
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice (mix in wild rice to make it extra delicious)

Brown ground beef with green peppers, onion and celery. Drain if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Add soy sauce, garlic powder, chicken soup, green beans and rice.

Fold a piece of aluminum foil in half to make it sturdier and tuck it inside to cover the opening of the pumpkin’s face so no filling escapes. Fill him up, replacing the pumpkin top. Bake in a pie plate at 375 degrees for 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the pumpkin.  A knife should be able to easily pierce the pumpkin through when done. Scoop out some of pumpkin along with mixture when serving. Serves 6.

This is thrilling for the kids to see coming to the supper table! It is also a happy way to get kids to eat pumpkin, which is a very nutritious food.

You can also just bake the pumpkins in the oven (400 degrees for an hour or more until tender), and then scoop the flesh away from the rind, which is much, much easier than trying to peel a pumpkin! I have to admit, though, that our very happy-faced pumpkins came out of the oven looking quite scary!

(We had both white pumpkins, that have a dark orange flesh, and traditional orange pumpkins.)

Cube the flesh to use in casseroles.

Or put it through the blender to use in pumpkin bread or cookies.

I like to measure 1 or 2 cups of pureed pumpkin and freeze it in a recycled cottage cheese or yogurt container, labeling it with “1 cup pumpkin” (or measure out whatever amount your favorite recipe calls for, so you have just what you need.) Knowing how much is in that frozen container helps a lot when I thaw it out for a recipe.

Here’s a dynamite recipe for healthy Pumpkin Muffins!

Tender Pumpkin Muffins

Very yummy, sweet and tender!

Whisk until well mixed:

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Add and mix:

  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin, pulsed in blender until smooth
  • 1/2 cup water

Stir until just mixed:

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon each: nutmeg, ginger, cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup raisins

Spoon into muffin cups, filling to the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean.

Happy Harvest!

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