Pumpkin and Squash Recipes in CI Kitchen

Pumpkins aren't just for carving!

Champaign, Ill (WCIA) - Pumpkins, are they a fruit or a vegetable? Let's ask guest chef, Lisa Lewey-Shields!

A pumpkin is technically a fruit.

Botanists classify a fruit as the part of the plant that develops from a flower and contains seeds; the other parts are considered vegetables (ie stems, leaves, roots). Pumpkins are members of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew lemons, cantaloupe, and zucchini. Gourds are native to Central America and Mexico, and can now be found on six continents.

Nutrition Facts

Pumpkins are very good for you. They fit well into a health-conscious diet. And aside from that, they taste good!

Pumpkins are low in calories but high in fiber. They are also low in sodium. The seeds are high in protein, iron, and the B vitamins.

Pumpkins are very high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxident. It converts into Vitamin A, which is important to maintain a healthy body.

Researchers believe that eating a diet rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. They also believe it helps to delay aging.

Physical characteristics to look for in choosing a quality and fresh Jack-O-Lantern:

· Choose a pumpkin that feels firm and heavy for its size.

· Choose a pumpkin that has consistent coloring throughout.

· Turn the pumpkin over and place pressure on the bottom with your thumbs. If it flexes or gives your pumpkin is not fresh.

· Look for soft spots, mold, wrinkles or open cuts that would indicate damage or early spoilage.

· Choose a pumpkin with a solidly attached stem.

· A green stem indicates a freshly harvested pumpkin.

· Place your pumpkin on a flat surface to check to see if it will sit flat after being carved.

Go to the following website for fantastic information…… http://www.allaboutpumpkins.com/perfect.html

Pumpkins are Versatile

Nearly every part of the pumpkin can be eaten.

The cooked pulp is fabulous in pies, cookies, breads, soups, appetizers, main dishes . . . the list goes on and on!

The blossoms are excellent breaded and fried or use as a wrap.

The seeds make a great snack


Sugar Pie

Sugar Pies are the modern baking pumpkin. If you want to bake pies, and want a pumpkin instead of squash, this is the pumpkin for you! The skin is very thin, the flesh is sweeter and substantially finer-grained than a jack-o-lantern type pumpkin (they were bred for thick rinds and stability when carved . . . not eating!). It is also quite dry which makes for a more stable pie.


Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds 1 tbsp oil (corn, sunflower) 1 tbsp butter (or margarine) 1-2 tsp salt

Separate the seeds from pumpkin pulp. No need to wash them, just pull the fibers and excess pulp off. Leaving remnants of the flesh on the seeds gives them a wonderful pumpkin flavor. In a bowl coat seeds with oil, butter and salt. Spread and bake on a baking sheet at 225° F until seeds are golden, crisp and dry, about 1 hour. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. Cool and enjoy!

Options: Pick one of the below to add to the above recipe…..

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp soy sauce

chili powder to taste

garlic salt to taste

cayenne pepper to taste

seasoned salt to taste


Pumpkin and Roasted Pepper Soup


2 Tablespoons Butter

1 red onion chopped

1 stalk celery chopped

3 cups chicken broth

1 can (15 ounces) solid packed pumpkin

½ cup chopped roasted red pepper

½ tsp salt

½ tsp paprika

¼ tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp black pepper

2 Tablespoons half-and-half



Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Cook 5 mins or until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add broth, pumpkin, roasted red pepper, salt, pepper, paprika and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, 30 mins stirring occasionally.

Working in batches, puree’ soup in blender or food processor or hand emersion blender until smooth. Be careful pureeing hot liquids. Return soup to saucepan, stir in half-and-half. Cook until heated thoroughly, stirring occasionally.


Baked Pumpkin Custard Tarts


Vegetable Cooking Spray

½ cup sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin pie mix (1½ cups)

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

4 eggs

2 Tablespoons milk

2 packages Frozen Pastry Puff SHELLS

Sweetened whipped cream

Pumpkin pie spice for garnish



Heat the oven to 325°.

Spray a 9 inch pie plate with the cooking spray and set aside.

Mix the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and cloves in a large bowl.

Stir the pumpkin pie mix, evaporated milk, eggs, and milk into the sugar mixture.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie plate.

Bake for 50 mins or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.

Bake and cool the pastry shells according to the package directions.

Spoon ½ cup pumpkin custard into each shell.

Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.


Baked Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce


1 package of refrigerated or frozen ravioli

1 tablespoon butter

1 small onion or shallot finely chopped

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup solid-pack pumpkin

½ cup grated Asiago cheese or parmesan cheese

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp black pepper

½ cup coarse plain dry bread crumbs or small crushed croutons


Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook ravioli according to package directions. Drain well and cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot. Cook and stir 3 mins until tender. Add cream, pumpkin, ¼ cup asiago cheese, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Cook and stir over low heat about 2 minutes until cheese melts. Gently stir in ravioli.

Spoon ravioli mixture into prepared baking dish. Combine remaining ¼ cup of cheese and bread crumbs in small bowl. Sprinkle over ravioli.

Bake 15 minutes or until heated through and topping is lightly browned.


Connie Evans Yummy Pumpkin Bars

Preheat oven 350°

Beat the following ingredients until fluffy

4 lg eggs

1 2/3 cup sugar

1 cup oil

1 14-15 oz can pumpkin (not pie filling)


Sift together the following dry ingredients in separate bowl;

Add 1/3 of mixture at a time.

2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder (check exp date !)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda (check exp date !)

Bake 350° Ungreased 13x10x1 jelly roll pan; 20-25 mins til done when top springs back. Cool Cake.

Mix and frost with the following ingredients …..

3 oz cream cheese or half of 8 oz block

1 stick butter

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups powder sugar (I add 1 cup and then another ½ cup and then sprinkle in the last ½ cup until the consistency that I like……)


Spook Stew aka Harvest Stew (Thanks Shirley ♥)

One Pumpkin Large, small or ind. pie pumpkin . Just so it fits in your oven.

Top cut off pumpkin, clean and hollow out. Place in a roasting pan or ind. baking dish. Set aside. Save seeds for roasting later.

In the meantime:

Brown 2 lbs. ground beef or ground turkey in a stock pot with

2-3 green peppers chopped Can be red or yellow pepper or all 3

2 onions chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

Drain grease from meat mixture. Return to stock pot.

To this mixture add:

2 cups cooked rice

1-2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can or small jar spaghetti sauce

Salt and Pepper to taste

(You may also want to add a can of drained corn, or small bag of frozen peas, chopped celery, green beans, sliced mushrooms, etc) TWEAK IT !

Simmer all ingredients until warm.

Coat inside and outside of pumpkin with cooking oil. Stuff the above meat


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