5 Ways I Love to Use PumpkinThe Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.
I love pumpkin, and my kitchen cabinets are proof. Once canned pumpkin appears on store shelves in early Fall, I stock up, buying five or so cans at a time. My kids call it hoarding; I call it being prepared for when the pumpkin urge strikes.
Here are some of the ways I use my pumpkin stash.
1. Whip up a Cinnamon Pumpkin Smoothie
I shouldn't play favorites, but I have to admit that this smoothie is one of the most delicious recipes in my book, MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better .
It's tasty, and it's good for you, too. One serving supplies nearly 400 milligrams calcium, 10 grams protein, and 8 grams of fiber. Even better, you get to drink a serving of vegetables!
Cinnamon Pumpkin Smoothie
Makes 1 serving
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or use less sugar, artificial sweetener, or a mixture)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and drink immediately.
Note: You can freeze any leftover pumpkin puree.
2. Prepare Pumpkin Quesadillas
This is a great way to use up leftover pumpkin puree.
In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup pumpkin puree with 1 teaspoon ground cumin. Spread equal amounts of the pumpkin mixture over two 10-inch whole wheat tortillas, and sprinkle two ounces of crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese on top of each tortilla. Top each tortilla with another to make a sandwich. Coat a 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook quesadillas over medium heat, one at a time, turning once. Makes 4 servings.
3. Pump up soups and stews
Stir a 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree (about 2 cups worth) into a batch of chicken soup or white bean chili. The pumpkin flavor isn't pronounced, but you really jack up the nutrition.
4. Swirl it into your morning oatmeal
Prepare one-minute oats in the microwave with a serving of Hood Milk instead of water. Stir in 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, a pinch of cinnamon, and 1/4 cup raisins.
5. Make a pumpkin dip
This delicious dip serves 12. Enjoy it with sliced apples or graham crackers.
In a medium bowl, beat 4 ounces softened light cream cheese with 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt until smooth. Add a 15-ounce can of pure pumpkin puree (about 2 cups), 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Beat until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.