Time To Pump It Up With Pumpkin

IN THE KITCHEN

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Pumpkin tastes great in just about anything you make with it -- from deliciously moist muffins to colorful curries, rich and mellow brownies to savory casseroles.

It also is brimming with hidden riches -- pumpkin's deep orange color is the clue to the treasure -- significant amounts of beta-carotene, a key nutrient that helps our bodies make vitamin A. It's an essential vitamin for good health, especially for eyes and skin.

One-half cup of canned pumpkin is a mere 40 calories, yet contains 300 percent of the daily value of vitamin A established by the USDA. So, make pumpkin your healthy pleasure, any time of day.

Beyond pumpkin pie

Although we all love canned pumpkin in our favorite holiday pie, it also tastes great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and gifts.

  • Start off the day with golden pumpkin pancakes.
  • Stir pumpkin into your lunchtime soup or curry for a mellow flavor.
  • Blend pumpkin with peanut butter for a tasty Indonesian skewered-chicken appetizer.
  • Mix pumpkin into your favorite chili for added flavor and pumped up nutrition.
  • Simmer pumpkin into a yummy "butter" to give as a holiday gift.
  • Add pumpkin to oatmeal and raisin cookie batter for sweet treats with more vitamin A.

To find recipes for pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin chili or for more ways to use powerhouse pumpkin, visit VeryBestBaking.com.

Pumpkin Apple Butter

Makes 3 cups

1 can (15 ounces) Libby's 100 percent Pure Pumpkin

1 medium apple, peeled and grated

1 cup apple juice

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Combine pumpkin, apple, apple juice, sugar and pumpkin pie spice in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1-1/2 hours.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to two months.

Serve with buttermilk biscuits, breads, corn muffins or hot cereal.

Nutritional analysis per tablespoon serving: 15 calories, 0g protein, 0g fat (0 calories from fat), 4g carbohydrate, 0mg cholesterol, 0g fiber, 0mg sodium, 30 percent daily value vitamin A

Pumpkin-Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup Libby's 100 percent Pure Pumpkin

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets.

Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in nuts and raisins. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and set in centers. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Nutritional analysis per cookie: 120 calories, 1g protein, 5g fat (50 calories from fat), 17g carbohydrate, 15mg cholesterol, less than 1g fiber, 80mg sodium, 20 percent daily value vitamin A

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup (1 small) chopped onion

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

3 cups chicken broth

1 can (15 ounces) Libby's 100 percent Pure Pumpkin

1 (12-ounce) can Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute.

Add broth and pumpkin; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk. Transfer mixture to food processor or blender (in batches, if necessary); cover. Blend until smooth. Serve warm.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 160 calories, 5g protein, 9g fat (80 calories from fat), 11g carbohydrate, 15mg cholesterol, 3g fiber, 630mg sodium, 220 percent daily value vitamin A

Thai Pumpkin Satay

Makes about 30 appetizer servings

1 cup Libby's 100 percent Pure Pumpkin

2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk

1/3 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter

2 green onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 (about 1 pound total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 bunches green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces (white parts only)

30 (4-inch) skewers

Place pumpkin, evaporated milk, peanut butter, chopped green onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar and cayenne pepper in blender or food processor; cover. Blend until smooth. Combine 1/2 cup pumpkin mixture and chicken in medium bowl; cover. Marinate in refrigerator, stirring occasionally, 1 hour.

Alternately thread chicken, bell peppers and green onion pieces onto skewers. Discard any remaining marinade. Grill or broil, turning once, for 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Heat remaining pumpkin mixture; serve with satay.

Note: If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes before threading.

Nutritional analysis per three-skewer serving: 140 calories, 15g protein, 5g fat (45 calories from fat), 10g carbohydrate, 25mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 200mg sodium, 100 percent daily value vitamin A

Recipes and photos from Family Features Editorial Syndicate

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