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Halloween Chili

Committee meeting working lunch, 10/18/12 – served with pumpkin cornbread

The pumpkin and spice in this beef-and-bean chili adds a subtle taste and a lot of fiber, vitamin A, and other nutrients.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided between beef and onions
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 14-ounce or 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cans beans, any variety, drained from liquid
  • 2 cups pumpkin or other winter squash puree (see  instructions, or use canned)
  • 1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice OR 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil and brown the beef. Remove the beef to a bowl or plate, then add the remaining tablespoon oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin and cook 1 minute more, stirring.

Add remaining ingredients (tomatoes, beans, pumpkin, and spices if using) and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30-75 minutes – the longer the chili cooks, the tastier it will be.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Committee Meeting working lunch, 9/27/12 (used roasted cushaw squash puree)

These soft, chewy cookies have all the flavors of fall. You can use canned pumpkin, or you can use roasted squash puree from any kind of winter squash.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (or substitute more all purpose if unavailable)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats or quick cooking oats (not instant)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice OR 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (OR puree from any other winter squash)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips OR raisins OR dried cherries/cranberries

Heat oven to 350. Grease baking sheets.

In a medium bowl, mix together both flours, oats, baking soda, spices, and salt.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer if available, cream butter and both sugars. Add pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla and beat to combine. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Add chocolate chips or dried fruit and mix in.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned and set. Cool at least 2 minutes before removing from sheet.

Yield: about 48 cookies.

Toasted Squash Seeds

Seeds are the “free gift with purchase” when you have a squash. Turn them into a tasty snack with this recipe.

  • Seeds from one winter squash (pumpkinbutternutacorndelicata, etc), separated from pulp
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable, canola, or olive oil
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • Spices of your choice:
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and cook for about 30 minutes. Every 10 minutes or so, stir the seeds around a bit so they cook evenly. Seeds are done when they are crisp and golden brown.

Note: some seeds (especially from acorn squash) may begin to pop. Once they’re popping in the oven, they’re done.

Roasted Squash Puree 

Roasted squash puree can be substituted for canned pumpkin in any recipe. You can make a large batch and freeze it to use whenever you need.

  • 1 winter squash, any variety (butternut, acorn, delicata, buttercup, hubbard, red kuri, cushaw, etc)

Preheat oven to 400. Slice the squash in half in whatever way is easiest. Using a large spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp. Save the seeds for toasting.

Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast until completely tender, about 90 minutes (timing will depend on the size of your squash). Allow to cool.

When cool, scoop the squash flesh away from the skin and place it in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the squash until it is fairly smooth. If desired, you could use a food processor, but a fork usually does the job well.

Use as you would canned pumpkin. Freeze for later use if desired.

Winter Squash (Pumpkin Spice) Angel Food Cake

Committee meeting working lunch, 9/6/12

Garden training picnic, 9/19/12

This light, airy cake becomes perfect for fall with the addition of pumpkin or squash and fall spices.

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cooked squash puree (you can use canned pumpkin, or any winter squash roasted and mashed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 12 whites)
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, combine flour and powdered sugar. Whisk or sift together to combine well. In a separate small bowl, combine squash or pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set both bowls aside.

In a very large bowl, use an electric mixer to begin beating the egg whites. When they get foamy, add the cider vinegar, vanilla, and salt. Continue to beat until whites are no longer clear, then gradually add the white sugar. Beat until shiny stiff peaks form.

Dust the flour mixture over the egg whites and gently fold in, using a spatula to cut down to the bottom center of the bowl, then slide up the side and fold the mixture over. Repeat this folding motion, turning the bowl to get all sides, until no flour streaks are visible.

Add the squash mixture to the batter and repeat the same gentle folding in motion, until fully incorporated.

Gently spoon into an ungreased tube pan or angel food cake pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until cake springs back when gently poked. Invert the cake pan on a rack or a stand that keeps the cake off the table. Allow to cool completely while upside down before removing from pan and serving.

Serves 10-12.

Pulled Chicken and Beans in Pumpkin Barbecue Sauce

Community training session demonstration dinner, 3/12/12 – served as sandwiches with whole wheat hamburger buns

This recipe is all about being healthy and economical. Beans are cheap and nutritious, and they stretch the more expensive chicken. And if you can find a stewing hen (an ex-laying hen), the chicken can be a bargain. Stewing hens are pretty tough and require long cooking times, but the flavor is well worth the wait. The addition of pumpkin to an East Carolina-style barbecue sauce adds flavor, nutrition, and texture. All in all, it makes for a filling, tasty, and inexpensive meal.

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Roasted Squash Soup

Committee meeting working lunch, 12/13/11 – served with bacon buttermilk cornbread

Once you roast the squash, this soup comes together quickly. Squash can be roasted up to a week in advance and kept in the fridge.

  • 1 butternut squash (or any winter squash, or canned pumpkin)*
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped*
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chipotle pepper (from a can of chipotles in adobo) – you can also substitute with a large pinch of hot pepper
  • water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk, half and half, or cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut the squash in half the long way and scoop out the seeds and accompanying stringiness with a spoon (you can clean off the seeds and toast them, if you want). Place the squash cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until a knife can slide in with almost no resistance, about 1 hour. When the squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop the soft flesh away from the skin and throw the skin away. (This step can be done in advance – keep the roasted squash in the fridge for up to a week until you’re ready to use it.)

Heat the oil in a pot and add the onions. Cook until translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Add the chipotle pepper or hot pepper and stir for another minute.

Add the squash, then add water to cover the squash by an inch or two in the pot. It’s better to add too little water than too much – you can always thin it out later if it’s too thick. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes (if using canned pumpkin, simmer for 20 minutes).

At this point, you can blend the soup in a blender or food processor or with an immersion blender, but you don’t have to. Add salt to taste and black pepper. Add water if the soup is too thick.

If you want, you can add a splash of milk, cream, or half and half once the soup is done. It’s not necessary – it just makes the soup a little richer and creamier.

*Squash and onions can both be grown locally and stored well into winter.