Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Cooking Class

Thanks for coming! We had such a good group tonight. The best part of my calling isn't when I'm running around all afternoon cleaning my house and cooking, it's when you come over to eat and talk. I am so blessed to call you my friends. We have such great women in our neighborhood!

You will find all of the recipes for the food you tasted, plus a couple more that I wanted to include. Check the sidebar under November to see a list of all recipes. You can also scroll down to search by ingredients or categories. Please let me know if I've made any mistakes, or if the directions are unclear. Believe me, it happens all the time.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and happy cooking!

Curried Pumpkin Soup

I really wanted to make this soup so you could taste it during class, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Trust me, you would have loved it. So try it for yourselves! And if you don't like mushrooms, leave 'em out.


  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds, optional


  • In a large saucepan, saute the mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour and curry powder until blended. Gradually add the broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the pumpkin, milk, honey, salt, pepper and nutmeg; heat through. Garnish with roasted seeds if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

I posted this recipe last month, but I'm re-posting it so that it is easier to find with the other pumpkin class recipes.
I didn't include this recipe when I taught my last cooking class on pasta sauces because I already had plenty of recipes and I decided to save this one for a pumpkin-themed class--coming soon. However, after several requests from family and friends who have tasted this at my house, I'm going to post the recipe early. I only make it in the fall--I'm just weird that way. Pumpkin=fall. So try this and see what you think. And when canned pumpkin goes on sale, stock up so you can make this all year long(unless you're weird like me). Or, if you don't find a sale on pumpkin, go visit my sister, Monette. If I know her, pretty soon she'll have a freezer full of fresh, pureed pumpkin--skins and all.

I would have posted this sooner but I had to make it again to test amounts of ingredients I use, because this is a recipe I made up. It's loosely based on an recipe I saw in a magazine at the dentist's office a couple of years ago, but that recipe had cinnamon and cloves. That's great in pumpkin pie, but I wanted a main dish that didn't taste like a dessert, so I went home and created this version. I served this to some friends who liked it but asked, "Do your kids eat this?" Yes, they do, and all of them like it! I hope your family will give it a chance--it's a favorite around here.

1 lb. pasta (I usually use penne but tortellini is really good, too)
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 T. flour
Sliced mushrooms (optional)
Sliced red bell pepper (also optional)
3 cloves garlic (or more)
2 c. chicken broth (I use water and bouillon)
15 oz. can pumpkin
1 t. salt
1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2-1c. cream (I use light sour cream or cream cheese)
Parmesan cheese
Toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds

Cook pasta as directed and drain. Saute onion and garlic (and mushrooms and pepper, if using) in olive oil for 5 minutes. Stir in flour. Add chicken broth and simmer for a few more minutes until vegetables are tender and sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in pumpkin until smooth. Add salt, basil, and pepper flakes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in cream before serving and simmer on low heat. Add more cream, milk, or broth if sauce seems too thick.

Serve over pasta and top with parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts. I used pumpkin seeds (pepitas) in the picture above because I had them, but I think I prefer the walnuts.

Pumpkin Fluff Dip

This dip is so easy to stir together for fall parties. It's light and not too sweet.


  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours until serving.

Serve with gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, or apples.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

I forgot to take a picture of the pumpkin roll I made for tonight's class! We'll just pretend it was as beautiful as this picture that I borrowed from Libby's website--the same place I found the recipe. I did make a couple of minor changes to the recipe (reduced the butter, added more spices, and used brown sugar instead of white). Try a cake roll soon--it's easier than it looks, right everyone?


  • powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar (optional)


  1. PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle towel with powdered sugar.
  2. COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
  3. BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
  4. BEAT cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
  5. This can be made ahead and frozen--wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil. Thaw for about 1 hour before slicing and serving.

Corn and Red Pepper Chowder

This recipe originally called for butternut squash, but I've found that pumpkin and sweet potatoes can be substituted with great results. The squash turns the soup a pretty golden color which can be pale or bright, depending on the amount of cream used.

Corn and Red Pepper Chowder

1 onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons flour (white or wheat)

2 cups chicken broth

4 potatoes, cubed

6 cups mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or butternut squash

2 cups frozen corn

1 cup red pepper, chopped and sauteed, or roasted from a jar

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1-1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1-1/2 cup light sour cream

fresh parsley, chopped

1 In a large pot, saute onions, red pepper, and celery in oil until tender. Add flour and stir. Gradually stir in broth then bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are cooked.

2 Add cooked squash, corn, and spices and stir until blended. Heat to very warm, then stir in the sour cream. Do not boil or cream will curdle. Top with fresh parsley before serving.

Pumpkin Knot Rolls

I found this recipe years ago when we lived in North Dakota. We used to invite our North Dakota neighbors over for a potluck soup Christmas party and I'd make these rolls. Except North Dakotans don't eat rolls—they eat buns. When we moved away, the neighbors said, "Now who's going to have the Christmas party and make the Pumpkin Buns?" I've been making them every holiday season since. I usually double the recipe and make it in my Bosch, skipping the first rise. And for all of you who tasted the batch pictured above at the cooking class, they were made with a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour--half of each.


  • 2 T. instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened (I use canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5-1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (I use half whole-wheat these days)
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame or poppy seeds, optional


  • In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the butter, sugar, pumpkin, 2 eggs, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each portion into 12 balls. Roll each ball into a 10-in. rope; tie into a knot and tuck ends under. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, beat water and 1 egg. Brush over rolls. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired. Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.

Tuscan Pumpkin Soup

I found this recipe several years ago in a magazine as something you could make with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. We love this soup, and usually just make it with chicken.


  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional


  • In a large saucepan, saute the onion, celery and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the broth, turkey, pumpkin, beans, salt, basil and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired. Yield: 8 servings (2 quarts).

    *For extra nutrition, add spinach (frozen or fresh, chopped)

Fiesta Pumpkin Dip

Not a great picture! I didn't remember to get my camera until the food was half gone. This bowl was scraped clean by the end of the night.


12 ounces cream cheese, softened

¾ c. canned pumpkin

2 T. taco seasoning mix

¼ t. garlic powder

½ c. chopped green onions

½ c. finely chopped red pepper

½ c. sliced olives

1 loaf round bread, if desired for serving

Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, taco seasoning and garlic powder until smooth. Stir in onions, peppers, and olives. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut off top of bread bowl and scoop out inside. Fill bowl with dip and serve with vegetables, crackers, chips, or bread cubes.

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

Making pie from fresh pumpkin or squash puree is a little trickier because the puree is not as thick as the commercially canned pumpkin. I love this recipe because you don't add a can of evaporated milk. You don't add any extra liquids—just the dry milk powder. Brian was skeptical that this pie would turn out because he had just listened to a NPR story about pumpkin pie and the "experts" claimed that the best pies are made from canned pumpkin. They said not to bother cooking your own, because the pie won't have the right consistency. Well, I had to prove them wrong. I just happened to have some leftover pumpkins that we hadn't carved, and I found this recipe on a food storage blog. The pie was great! Brian said he liked it better than the Libby's recipe I usually use. I won't pretend that this is the only recipe I will use from now on, because cooking your own pumpkin is more work. But, if you have some pumpkins or butternut squash (I'm talking to you, Marilyn!) that you want to use, try this recipe.

3 1/2 C. homemade pumpkin puree
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cloves
3 eggs
1 C. dry non-instant milk
1 9-10 inch deep dish pie shell with edges crimped high--filling is generous

Thoroughly combine all of the above—I used a blender to make sure the powdered milk was completely smooth. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 400 for 50 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and outside comes out clean. Cool.

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

This recipe is from Taste of Home Magazine. It's a great way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey, or any other meat you have on hand. I often skip the meat altogether and add some lentils instead.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet yellow or red pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained (or 3 ½ cups cooked beans)
  • 2-1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey, chicken, ground beef, or lentils
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • In a large skillet, saute the onion, yellow pepper and garlic in oil until tender. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients.
  • Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through. Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

Amazing Tomato Soup

Amazing Tomato Soup

This soup was a little labor-intensive for a tomato soup, but the results were worth it. I've been striving to re-create a favorite soup from Zuppa's, and Brian and I think this one is even better (and I'm sure it's much better for you!) Try this with some homemade crusty bread (I just got the book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day—MMMMmmmmm) or a grilled cheese sandwich.


¼ c. olive oil

4 c. thinly sliced onions (3 large onions)

½ t. salt

1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled (Yes, the whole head!)

1 carrot, shredded or sliced thin

Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste

2 T. tomato paste

3 cans diced tomatoes in juice (14.5 oz. each)

2 c. chicken broth or water

1 t. sage

3 strips of orange zest (use a vegetable peeler)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cream, half and half, or plain yogurt

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot. Add onions and salt and cook over medium heat about 4 minutes. Add garlic cloves, carrot, and red pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and cook 15-20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add tomato paste and stir until blended. Add tomatoes, broth, sage, and orange zest strips. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Discard the orange zest, then blend the soup in batches until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and stir in cream (1-2 cups) or other dairy product to achieve desired creaminess. I only put in a cup of plain yogurt and I've also used a block of cream cheese. Both are very good. If you like it creamier, add two cups. I'm sure Zuppa's uses real cream, but I can do without all the extra calories.

*I like this soup with orzo in it—that's the way they serve it at Zuppa's, but it's also good without.