By Dennis Henry of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture
Can you believe it is November already? With the Holiday Season just around the corner, our thoughts are with planning the meal of the year, the Thanksgiving Dinner. But we just finished Halloween and still have the ole Jack o’Lantern on the front porch. Well don’t fret – it’s Dennis with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture coming to you with ideas on what to do with your Pumpkin leftovers.
Pumpkin leftovers?? Yes, why not! We all look for those Thanksgiving leftover recipes, why should the Turkey get all the attention? The pumpkin is just as important during this the Harvest season. So I want to share with you three ideas: a twist on a standard Holiday side dish; an idea for our special four-legged friends; and a way to make your Holiday table more festive--all using your pumpkin leftovers.
We all have those favorite side dishes at the Holiday Dinners, don’t we! The two standards that seem to always adorn our Holiday tables are the infamous green bean casserole and the sweet potato casserole. But last year I got a pleasant surprise, instead of our standard sweet potato casserole, Linda (my Sister-in-law) made us Pumpkin Casserole. I was suspicious at first, but once I tried that first bite I was hooked. It was a lighter and tasty change from the yearly traditional casserole made from the sweet potato. So I am sharing with you this pinch hitter of a casserole recipe and our new side-dish tradition, Pumpkin Casserole.
- 1 - 15 oz. can Pumpkin
- 1 - 12 oz. can Evaporated Milk
- 3 large Eggs
- 1 ½ cups Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 – box of Yellow Cake mix
- 1 cup Chopped Pecans
- 1 cup Melted Butter
Preheat your Oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom & sides of a 9” x 13” pan. In a large bowl mix the first six ingredients and pour into your greased pan. Pour the dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture and then sprinkle with the chopped Pecans. Drizzle with the melted butter and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Serve warm right out of the oven!
Did you know you can make a Pumpkin Treat for your canine friend? My dogs, Molly & Gabbie, have always enjoyed getting their treats. They got treats for going outside, being good and most of the time because they begged for them. So during a visit to the Vet’s office, I was shocked when the Vet told us these treats are loaded with calories and this was probably the cause of their weight gain. He suggested we substitute our treats for pumpkin, canned pumpkin – frozen in ice cube trays. The dogs went wild for these new treats. You just plop out one or two into their food dish and they go at them. They also got hooked on frozen green beans. Let me tell you it worked, they both lost that excess weight. Now in the evenings they no longer beg for the other treats, instead they park themselves in front of the freezer – just waiting for someone to open the door to give them this tasty treasured treat.
OK, time for some fun. Our Holiday table is always overflowing with food; you would think we were feeding a family of twenty – instead of the five of us sitting around the table. But there is nothing better to me than Holiday leftovers…oh yeah, leftovers. I am supposed to help you with your pumpkin leftovers, right. Well, I am and always have been a very crafty person. I get this from my Grandmother. I remember sitting in front of her TV watching Carol Duvall when she was still a local show out of Detroit (way before HGTV and those cable networks). My Grandmother loved her needle work crafts; knitting, crocheting, tatting and even sewing. You name it she did it, like many of her generation. So my final leftover idea for you is a crafty one. For the Holiday season, I set my dining room table as though we are just waiting for the food to be served at any time. Keeping with our Pumpkin theme, I am using some of those little gourds for my place settings. You can a variety of small, decorative pumpkins just about anywhere now – I got these at my local supermarket. Using my paring knife, I cut the top out of the pumpkins the size of my votive candle and scooped out the pumpkin guts. I think every one calls them pumpkin guts – at least everyone in my family.. Then I placed the votive candle in the pumpkins; light and you have a place setting that will impress even that Scrooge-like family member (we all have at least one). You may also try this idea. For a festive holiday center piece on your table, turn a hallowed-out pumpkin into a flower vase. Or carve a fancy design in the flesh, insert a candle and have a one-of-a-kind luminary.
I hope I have inspired you to look at leftovers in a different perspective; that you enjoy my ideas; and maybe even come up with a few of your own. Who knows, you could also start a new tradition! Happy Holidays to you and yours, Dennis.