Five different ways to pumpkin
Pumpkins act as great canvases on which to carve images of Mitt Romney and his binders full of women or Amy Poehler dressed up as Tina Fey dressed up as Amy Poehler, but their uses don’t stop there. Rather than throwing out your pumpkin leftovers and innards, consider cooking them into some of the treats below. Jack-o-lanterns and pie don’t have to be the only uses of this favorite fall fruit.
If you aren’t a cooking connoisseur, this should be your go-to move. Scoop up the seeds from inside the pumpkin, wash them off and lay them out in a baking pan. Sprinkle some salt over the seeds, melt some butter and cook for around 45 minutes. Pop those babies in your mouth when you are done and get ready for a “Ratatouille”-esque flashback to your childhood kitchen full of momma’s roasted seeds’ aroma. Add some chili powder or paprika to spice up the dish a bit.
This is often overlooked amid the incessant “I need pumpkin pie now” screams that begin to fill the air as fall arrives. Don’t forget about pumpkin empanadas, though. Avoid using canned pumpkin and puree your own pumpkin innards for a fresher and richer flavor. Start by cutting your pumpkin into quarters and then bake the sections at 350 degrees for about an hour and 20 minutes. Coat the quarters with a little butter and brown sugar. Once cooked, cut off the outer layer and puree the rest for fresh pumpkin filling. Then add two eggs, one cup of sugar, and one teaspoon of salt, cinnamon and ginger to four cups of your pumpkin mixture. Using Pillsbury empanada dough, spoon a small ball of the pumpkin mixture onto each circle of dough. Fold the dough over the pumpkin filling to create a pocket, crimp the edges and coat the tops with a beaten egg. Cook for 20 minutes and enjoy!
Since fall in Missouri still consists of 80-degree days, sometimes a smoothie can be pleasantly refreshing, and why not make it a pumpkin blend? Combine one cup of almond milk, one tablespoon of cinnamon, one tablespoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt, a banana and a touch of whipped cream with 1/2 cup of the pumpkin filling. Throw some spinach in if you want and blend everything together. The pumpkin flavor should cover any taste of spinach, but you’ll still get its rich nutrients.
Pumpkin and Nutella
Literally almost everything tastes 10 times as delicious when it is dipped in Nutella. Cut up the pumpkin into small cubes and bake them like you would for the empanadas. Once they are cooked, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on them, stick them with toothpicks and dunk them into a bowl of Nutella.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Turn your traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe into a seasonal treat. Add one cup of that homemade pumpkin pie filling and two teaspoons of ground cinnamon to a cookie recipe that usually makes about two dozen. Although cookies are often best right out of the oven, these sweets taste better after sitting in the fridge for a few hours.
Alternative for the cooking-challenged:
For those of you who can’t cook, head over to Boosters Cafe and order a set of pumpkin pancakes. You may not feel that sense of accomplishment following a successful baking session, but you will definitely leave the restaurant satiated.