We’re in the thick of autumn and once again pumpkin mania has kicked into high gear. Take a trip to your local grocery store or coffee joint and you’ll see that America’s food producers have found all sorts of way to incorporate this delectable orange gourd into their seasonal offerings. Starbucks is churning out pumpkin spice lattes, Hershey’s is making pumpkin-flavored Kisses and Planters is serving up pumpkin spiced almonds en masse. Heck, you can even buy pumpkin-flavored soda if you’re into that sort of thing.
And that begs the question: Why should you spend a fortune on pumpkin-flavored goodies when you can just make some of your own? As you might have guessed from the intro, pumpkin is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can easily be incorporated into all sorts of homemade appetizers, entrees and desserts. So if you’ve got a hankering for America’s favorite gourd, save yourself some money and give one of these awesome pumpkin recipes a try.
Savory Pumpkin Dip
Everybody loves pumpkin. Everybody loves chips and dip. It seems like common sense to combine the two — and that’s exactly what Ali Albright from Gimme Some Oven did with this recipe. This awesome dip combines sweet pumpkin puree and cream cheese with savory bacon and onions to create a dip that tastes as good off the spoon as it does on top of a Ritz cracker. It only takes a few minutes to whip up and is sure to be a hit at your next holiday party.
The Main Course:
Creamy Pumpkin Penne
You can thank Chef Chloe for this fantastic pumpkin pasta recipe. While the sauce uses a traditional tomato base and savory flavors like crispy sage, Chloe accents the pumpkin’s natural sweetness with a dab of maple syrup and a sprinkling of toasted pecans. The end result is a dish that’s balanced between sweet and savory and tastes delicious. Please note that while the directions are easy to follow, the prep time for this meal is about an hour, so make sure you’ve got your evening cleared to play chef when you decide to make it.
Additionally, the protein count for this dish is pretty low, so I added some grilled chicken seasoned with sage, garlic and thyme to the recipe when I made mine. It still tastes great and is a lot more filling. You can also pair the pasta with a cutlet of pork or some marinated chicken if you don’t want to add a protein directly into the sauce.
Candy Corn Pumpkin Cupcakes
Tasked with procuring the candy for our office Halloween party, I made the mistake of purchasing (among other things) a wholesale bag of candy corn online from ACandyStore.com. Needless to say, it was overkill and I ended up lugging home about four pounds of candy kernels when the party was finished. While looking for a more creative way to get rid of the stuff than simply throwing it out, I came across the recipe for these awesome cupcakes from Kitty at A Law Student’s Journey.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, I highly recommend giving these cupcakes a try, because they are freaking fantastic. Candy corn and pumpkin puree taste wonderful together, especially when you add in a few dollops of cream cheese frosting. While these bad boys look great and taste even better, the best part about the cupcakes is that they use boxed cake mix as a base. This makes them super easy to prepare, even for amateur bakers like myself. The entire process from mixing to frosting took me less than an hour, so budget your time accordingly.
Get Your Pumpkin On
There are a ton of great recipes out there for DIY pumpkin dishes. While I haven’t tried them all, I can personally attest that these three are certainly worth adding to your recipe rolodex. So the next time you’re looking for a tasty way to get your pumpkin fix, give them a try. They’re less expensive than simply purchasing a bunch of premade pumpkin goodies and they taste a lot better to boot.
If you’ve got any cool pumpkin recipes of your own, feel free to share them in the comments!