5 Incredible Ways To Eat Pumpkin For Dinner (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Pumpkin spice might be a polarizing flavor that most people either defend to the death or incessantly chirp to the heavens about how overrated it is. But do you know what’s a real crowd-pleaser that brings everyone together? Plain pumpkin.

Whether fresh or canned, the fall squash provides a rich, hearty deep flavor with a subtle hint of sweetness. Oh, and don’t forget the best part: The fiber-rich, nutrient-packed food is super healthy and incredibly easy to cook with.

Don’t have pumpkin on hand? You can totally switch it out for any similar type of squash, such as acorn or butternut. Let’s get cooking!

1. Pumpkin and Fried Sage Flatbread

If you’ve never had fried sage with pumpkin, you’re missing out on this powerhouse of a harmonious marriage. If you want, a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar will really bring out the flavors.

2. Curried Pumpkin Soup with Coconut

The fresh pumpkin that this recipe calls for is absolutely awesome, but if you’re looking for a lightning-fast meal, just swap out the fresh stuff for the canned variety and you can bypass the roasting, boiling and blending.

3. Kaddu Ki Sabzi (Indian Pumpkin Stew)

This thick stew is light and simple yet packed with spices for a main or side to keep you perfectly warm on a cool fall evening.

4. Pumpkin Chowder

This thick, chunky, spicy soup is fabulous if you’re looking for a healthy but satisfying way to fill up for dinner. The recipe does require a bit of chopping, so if you’re in a rush you can buy some pre-chopped butternut squash (cut up any big chunks) and save yourself a fair bit of time.

5. Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

Gnocchi can be tricky to make from scratch, because starchy potatoes and glutinous flour can turn to goo if you knead the dough just a little too much, while the dumplings will disintegrate if you underdo it. But when you use pumpkin and ricotta instead of a white potato, you get a much more forgiving dough that stays light and fluffy with an added rich, savory taste, so you get a little more wiggle room.

Featured Image: Joy/Flickr

Tags: dinner recipe, fall recipe, pumpkin, pumpkin recipes, squash dinner recipe
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Here It Is: The Best Canned Pumpkin For Your Pie

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By Cooking Panda

Pumpkins may be orange like Donald Trump’s tan, but I think it is safe to say that they are certainly not quite as divisive as he is. On the whole, the majority of Americans appreciate the special gourds for what they are: delicious in many forms.

Many people customarily enjoy pumpkin pie around the holidays, and if you are planning on making the staple treat this year, you’ll probably need to pick up a pie or two’s worth of the canned stuff. It’s easy, pre-pureed, and usually ends up being pretty dang tasty.

So which brand of canned pumpkin should you spend your money on?

Luckily, our pals over at Cooking Illustrated took on the task of sampling three widely available canned pumpkin products to break it down. Which variety reigns elite? And which one fails to live up to its competitors?

The three different brands varied both in hue and texture; some looked bright orange, as we are accustomed to pumpkin-products looking; others looked anemic. Some were more pulpy, while others offered taste-testers more of a baby-food-like mouthfeel (yuck).

Ultimately, between the three contenders, Libby’s, One-Pie and Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin, one was crowned the obvious winner.

Folks, get yourself over to a store and pick up a can of Libby’s.

According to the testers, Libby’s won because it had a silky and smooth consistency (which is just what you want when digging your fork into a nice, comforting slice of beautiful pumpkin pie) and a subtle sweetness that did not overpower anybody’s palate.

Apparently, Libby’s uses Dickinson pumpkins, which are largely recommended because they boast both a tender flesh and a natural sweet flavor profile, which doesn’t need additional additives to make it taste good.

Thankfully, you probably won’t have to search too hard to find yourself a can of Libby’s — the brand makes 85 percent of the world’s canned pumpkins, which means that even if you have no luck in your first grocery store, you should be able to snag yourself a can or two easily, no matter where you live.

Sources: Cooks Illustrated / Photo Credit: Cooks Illustrated

Tags: canned pumpkin, libby's, pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie, Taste Test
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Turns Out Your Pumpkin In A Can Is Not What It Seems

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By Cooking Panda

Halloween may be over, but the holiday season is now upon is, which means pumpkins are still very, very much a trend.

You can bake them in a pie; you can roast their seeds; you can spice them up and shove them in a Starbucks drink to start a mania.

However, BuzzFeed has recently reported that all that canned pumpkin you’ve been picking up at the stores lately? Yeah — apparently it’s not necessarily pumpkin. In fact, in many cases, it’s actually butternut squash.

The horror!

As we know, pumpkins are gourds; however, not all gourds are our beloved, spooky, delicious and iconic pumpkins. 

According to BuzzFeed, even if your can of pumpkin’s label literally says that it is made with 100% authentic Halloween-pumpkin goodness (can you tell we’re still mourning the end of our favorite holiday?) that doesn’t mean it is actually made with that round, orange gourd you so know and love.

The pumpkin puree that you purchase in the grocery store is often made of squash instead.

It turns out that claiming that the cans of pumpkin are 100% pumpkin when they aren’t is actually something that’s been going on for a long time — in fact, it’s written about in a 1957 USDA document.

The text reads, “Canned pumpkin and canned squash is the canned product prepared from clean, sound, properly matured, golden fleshed, firm shelled, sweet varieties of either pumpkins or squashes by washing, stemming, cutting, steaming and reducing to a pulp.”

Yikes, ya’ll.

Apparently, companies have been substituting squash for pumpkins because even though everybody loves the look of a jack-o-lantern on Halloween night, or enjoys the idea of the squat, orange gourds transforming into functional carriages in fairytales, their flavor profile is allegedly more dull and less sweet compared to squash. Also, pumpkins aren’t the easiest thing to handle in the kitchen.

Oh well — as long as you stuff our pies full of all the correct spices, we suppose we can live with this reveal.

Source: BuzzFeed / Photo credits: Junior Master Gardener, USDA via BuzzFeed

Tags: butternut squash, canned pumpkin, gourds, pumpkin, usda
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10 Hacks For Leftover Pumpkin Seeds

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By Cooking Panda

Like Native Americans used all parts of the buffalo, we should use all parts of the pumpkin. We scoop out the fruit for pies and raviolis and other dishes, and we carve the outside for festive decor. The seeds, with their pleasantly crunchy armor, are also not to be forgotten.

While they are tasty tossed in oil and spices and roasted in the oven, they also make excellent additions to more unexpected dishes. Here are a few ways to incorporate leftover pumpkin seeds into your next meal.

1. Turn them into candy

This recipe for pumpkin seed brittle requires only three ingredients other than the seeds: butter, brown sugar and honey, all very good things. Bring it all to a bubbly boil and pour over a pan. Let cool. Savor the crunch.

2. Roll a cheese ball in them

Why not cover everyone’s favorite holiday-party cheese with everyone’s favorite holiday seed?

3. Add them to your favorite crumble

Crumbles are all about throwing. Throwing together whatever fruit you have on hand, throwing butter and soon-to-be-crunchy things into a bowl and then throwing it all together to bake in the oven. Keep at it by throwing in some pumpkin seeds for extra crispiness.

4. Scatter them atop vegetables to impress guests

This recipe calls for asparagus and a mustard vinaigrette, but other combinations could taste just as great and make you feel equally as fancy.

5. Add them to cookies, duh

These are perfect for people who crave a nutty taste but can’t eat nuts. Pumpkin seeds, flax meal and coconut give these cookies all they flavor they need.

6. Put them in cheddar scones

Everyone loves a cheesy, buttery scone, but the unexpected addition of pumpkin seeds will really knock them out of their seats, which is what you want at any successful gathering. 

7. Toss them into your favorite granola

Whether you like granola over yogurt or in bar form, adding pumpkin seeds is sure to be a hit. 

8. Caramelize them and sprinkle them over a cake

Pumpkin cake, cream cheese frosting and pumpkin seeds caramelized in butter and sugar? Sign me up!

9. Swap them out for pine nuts in pesto

Next time you’re craving pesto in pasta or in mayo on a sandwich, whip it up using pumpkin seeds. It’s a resourceful way to stay in the fall spirit.

10. Do the classic

These instructions say to toss your nuts and seeds in olive oil, maple syrup, rosemary, paprika, red pepper flakes and salt for a sweet and spicy kick. 

Featured Photo Credit: iris/Flickr

Tags: fall foods, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds
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Put Your Life On Hold For Pinterest’s Pumpkin Recipes

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By Cooking Panda

Pumpkin screams “fall.” So loudly, in fact, that Googling “pumpkin recipes” gets you more than 25 million results. How to choose? How to sift through enticing words like “creamy” and “cinnamony” to find the best for you?

Answer: let us do it for you — because we found the top pumpkin recipes on Pinterest. Explore this much more narrowed-down arsenal of pumpkin foods to find the one meant for your tummy.

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze

Watch in awe as the three-ingredient glaze oozes down the sides of the two-ingredient cake. Eat. Never feel lazy for using boxed cake mix again. Repeat.

Pumpkin Nutella Cookie Bars

The blogger behind these bars says pumpkin and Nutella is combination you won’t know you love until you try it. We suppose we’d be willing to give these a sampling.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dump Cake

Highly appetizing layers of pumpkin base, cream-cheese filling and buttery cake mix will make you forget all about your possible hatred of the term “dump cake,” guaranteed.

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Loaf

It’s common knowledge: biscuits are best when dipped in cinnamon sugar, sandwiched together with sweet pumpkin filling, baked and drenched in a cinnamon glaze. Voila, lovely loaf.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies

Unhand those grocery-store cookies and make these soft sweets from scratch!

Pumpkin Praline Cake

In this recipe, sweetened condensed milk lives up to its name as the glue of desserts by beautifully binding together fall staples pumpkin and pecan praline.

Pumpkin Lasagna

While a savory pumpkin lasagna can be done deliciously, why not bump up the creativity by whipping up a dessert version? This one comes together with layers of walnut crust, whipped cream and cream cheese, and pumpkin puree and vanilla pudding.

Pumpkin Spice Roasted Chickpeas

This crunchy snack would make the perfect amuse-bouche for friends before a fall dinner party.

Pumpkin Spice Pudding

Satisfy your sweet tooth and get your pumpkin on with this low-carb pudding. 

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

There are three stages to making and consuming these muffins. First, delight at the three-step process of emptying two containers and stirring their contents together. Second, amazement at their fall-tastic flavor. Third, grateful remembrance that they’re a Weight Watchers recipe, so you can totally have another. 

Pumpkin Spice Buttermilk Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The title has an abundance of words, but the cake will give you an aBUNDTance of autmn bliss. (Sorry.)

Roast Pumpkin Chunks

A simple mix of cumin, brown sugar, salt and pepper gives pumpkin oomph in the oven.

Healthy Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bread

You can customize your mix-ins, flour and sweetener based on your desired level of healthiness.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

A loaf so easy, it was developed by a 14-year-old food blogger. AMEN.

Source: Pinterest / Photo credit: jeffreyw/Flickr

Tags: FALL, fall desserts, pinterest, pumpkin, pumpkin spice
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KFC Has Officially Hopped On The Pumpkin Bandwagon

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By Cooking Panda

It’s autumn, a.k.a. the season of pumpkin spice everything — in America, at least.

Over in Australia, however, it’s actually spring, which brings to mind budding flowers rather than orange gourds.

However, perhaps KFC Australia isn’t quite ready to leave the autumnal vibes behind in favor of more seasonal delights, because according to Brand Eating it has just hopped on the pumpkin bandwagon with its new Pumpkin & Feta Twister.

The new menu item doesn’t use the same kind of pumpkin those of us in the states are using to carve Jack-O-Lanterns, however. Rather, it uses what looks to be kabocha, which is more commonly known as Japanese pumpkin.

The Pumpkin & Feta twister features grilled chicken, crumbled pieces of feta cheese, what appears to be roasted kabocha (the pumpkin in question), lettuce, and smoky chipotle mayo wrapped up in a warm flour tortilla.

“It’s the goods,” promises the description of the item on the KFC website.

Fans in Australia, take note: the Pumpkin & Feta Twister is available for only a limited time, so if you want one last nostalgic taste of autumn, go pick up one today.

Sources: Brand Eating, KFC / Photo Credit: KFC Australia via Brand Eating

Tags: Australia, KFC, pumpkin, pumpkin & feta twister, seasonal eats
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11 Irresistible Pumpkin Cookies To Welcome The Fall Harvest Season

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By Cooking Panda

Fall has officially started. Although the weather is cooling down and the sun is setting a little earlier every day, there are plenty of reasons to welcome the fall harvest season with joy. Eleven of those delicious, pumpkin-y reasons are listed below.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin can be hard to incorporate into a cookie. Too much moisture can turn your cookies into mini cakes…or a giant, flat cake. This recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction comes complete with a list of baking tips in order to help your pumpkin (and brown butter) recipes turn out irresistibly delicious.

Buttery Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies

The pumpkin spice dough, which needs two-and-a-half tablespoons of either cream or half-and-half, provides the sweet ying to the nutty, crunchy yang of the pecans. 

Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting

A simple, yet delicious cookie to capture the spirit of fall. 

Caramel Cheesecake Pumpkin Cookie Cups

Cheesecake, caramel, pumpkin, and a touch of chocolate together in one bite-sized dessert? Be careful not to eat them all!

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Puff pastry may also be used as a substitute for the pie crust.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Cups

The buttercream frosting is the key to capturing the creamy, pumpkin spice latte goodness.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Mmm, whoopie pies! These can be eaten plain or with whoopie pie filling, cream cheese filling, brown butter filling, the possibilities are endless. 

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin cookies covered with spices are the perfect fall harvest treat!

Turtle Pumpkin Cookie Cups

Rolo candies and pecans add the perfect touch to these cookie cups!

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Add a touch of pumpkin to your beloved sugar cookies! 

Whipped Pumpkin Cookie Cups

The whipped pumpkin can also be used as a dip for ice cream, pretzels, graham crackers, or whatever delicious snack could use a touch of pumpkin-y sweetness.

Featured Photo Credit: Something Swanky

Tags: cookie, cookie recipes, FALL, pumpkin, pumpkin recipes
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