killing time between meals

where talking about what's for dinner while you're at lunch is totally acceptable

Pumpkin Squared

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Where have I been for two months? Geez, this blogging thing can really get away from you. I have, in fact, been doing some cooking and eating. And apparently I’ve been noshing on lots of winter squash. Here are four festive pumpkin recipes that were perfect this fall and can slide right into winter.
WARNING: With four recipes this post is gonna be long. But you’ve missed me, right?

Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Adapted from Country Living
Serves 6

24  jumbo pasta shells (as you can count above, I could only fit 20)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups part-skim ricotta
1 can pumpkin purée
1 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 large egg white
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 26-ounce jar store-bought tomato sauce

  • Cook pasta shells according to package instructions and drain. Transfer to a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside to let cool.
  • Meanwhile, stir together ricotta, pumpkin, ¾ cup Romano, and remaining ingredients, except tomato sauce.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Spread the tomato sauce in bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Fill each pasta shell with about 3 tablespoons ricotta-pumpkin mixture and arrange in pan. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove foil, sprinkle shells with remaining cheese, and bake for 15 additional minutes. Serve with a simple salad and crusty bread.

the shell-filling assembly line

a simple DIY herbed salad

the baked shells–ready to serve!

Next time, I think I:

  • Won’t cook the entire box of shells. I had tons left over that just got thrown away.
  • Will invite more people over. Three of us made a good dent, but the shells are big and pretty rich. Four shells is a filling serving. Of course, I had no trouble eating all the leftovers by myself.

Chili season is certainly in the air with the onset of all these wintry days. This pumpkin chili is a nice twist on the original. The idea may sound strange, but the addition of pumpkin surprisingly makes the texture light and fluffy while still giving you that hearty-chili feeling.

Pumpkin Chili
Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 or 2 bell peppers, diced
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tsp cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 can diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1 can stewed tomatoes (with liquid)
1 can tomato paste
1 can beans, rinsed and drained ( I used a tri-bean blend, but just black or kidney works )
1 can pumpkin purée

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Heat a bit of olive oil in a large Dutch oven and add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and soft. Add the meat and brown. Add the seasonings and cook one minute.
  • Next, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and beans. Lastly, fold in the pumpkin.
  • Cover and transfer dish to oven. Cook for 1 to 2 hours. Check the chili occasionally, and if it seems dry stir in some water or chicken stock.
  • Serve with green onions, sour cream, and cheese.

OK, next up we have a creamy squash soup that doesn’t actually include any cream. It seemed like the perfect thing to make in this snazzy orange Dutch oven I was lucky enough to find at TJ Maxx.

Roasted Winter Squash & Garlic Soup
Adapted from Design Sponge
Serves 4-6

1 butternut squash (or any kind of squash you like)
1 large onion
1 large head of garlic
1 can pumpkin purée
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Cut a butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in an oven on a cookie sheet and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. (Another option is to peel and dice the squash before roasting.)
  • Cut the top of the garlic head and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in foil and place in oven with squash.
  • In a Dutch oven, heat some oil and add chopped onion. Cook until soft and translucent.
  • Once squash and garlic are done, remove from oven and allow to rest until cool enough to handle. Scrape tender squash out of shell and squeeze the roasted garlic cloves directly into the pot with onions.
  • Add pumpkin, 3 cups of stock, herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 15 minutes.
  • Use an immersion blender to purée until smooth, adding the remaining stock as needed.
  • Garnish with crème fraîche and fresh herbs just before serving.

And last we have the quintessential pumpkin dessert. My parents beg me to make this pumpkin roll every time the holidays roll around. And I can’t say that I blame them.

Pumpkin Roll
Serves 8

For the cake:
¾ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin purée
Pecan piece
Powdered sugar

For the filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup softened butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ tsp. vanilla
1½-2 cups pecan pieces

  • Preheat oven to 375. Grease and flour a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • Beat eggs for 5 minutes, gradually adding sugar. Fold in pumpkin. Gradually add flour mixture.
  • Pour into pan and sprinkle with pecan pieces. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Dust a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Invert warm cake onto towel and roll in towel as a jelly roll from the short side. Place on a rack to cool.
  • Meanwhile, prepare filling by mixing all ingredients (except pecans) in a bowl until smooth. Stir in pecan pieces.
  • Unroll the cooled cake carefully and remove towel. Spread filling to edge and reroll, finishing seam-side down. Chill covered at least two hours.


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