Mac and cheese with a touch of pumpkin (photos #1 and #2 courtesy Libby’s).
Before you make another pot of mac and cheese, a bowl of pasta, or a PB&J, think of how to “pumpkinize” them for fall.
Beyond pumpkin pie, mousse and other sweets, it’s easy to turn a can of pumpkin purée (not sweetened pumpkin pie filling) into a sauce or spread.
Here are 16 everyday savory recipes that get the pumpkin treatment. Most of these recipes require just a few tablespoons of pumpkin purée.
Pumpkin is a lovely seasonal addition to mac and cheese (photo #1). Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Cook the macaroni in large pot of boiling water until al dente in texture. Drain and return to the pot. Meanwhile…
2. MELT the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
3. ADD the evaporated milk and water all at once. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly and slightly thickened. Stir in the cheese, pumpkin and sage until the cheese melts. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to coat. Spoon the mixture into four ungreased 8-ounce ramekins.
4. COMBINE the bread crumbs, parmesan, walnuts and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the pasta. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
If you prefer to use a casserole dish, pour the mixture into an ungreased 1-1/2-quart casserole dish and top with the crumb mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
You can buy pumpkin peanut butter from specialty PB companies, but that’s typically peanut butter with pumpkin pie spices—no pumpkin per se.
You can also use pita bread, English muffins or tortillas. The pumpkin peanut butter spread is also good on crackers or with celery sticks.
In this version (photo #2), pumpkin and peanut butter, two nutrition powerhouses, blend easily to create a spread without all the fat and calories of plain peanut butter. Simply spread the light and creamy pumpkin-peanut butter over whole wheat bread and cover with banana slices.
Ingredients For 2 Sandwiches
1. COMBINE pumpkin and peanut butter in small bowl until well blended. Makes 1 cup.
2. SPREAD 1 tablespoon pumpkin peanut butter spread on each slice. Top the two bottom slices with banana slices. Top each with the top slice of bread to make sandwiches.
3. REFRIGERATE the leftover spread in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days.
*Soft bread crumbs are made from fresh or slightly stale bread. Tear the bread apart with a fork or use a blender or food processor to break it into fluffy crumbs. Pile gently into a measuring cup; do not pack.
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