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Food Obsession: AS THE PUMPKIN TURNS

by Jane Thomson

As I remember the story, if Cinderella doesn’t leave the ball and get into her elegant coach by midnight it turns into a pumpkin. In these recipes, the pumpkin, perhaps your jack-o’-lantern, turns into food. Both recipes are originally from the S’Trib.)

The first recipe could be a second use of your Halloween pumpkin, if it is clean, still fresh, cleaned of candle wax, and does not have very large openings cut for facial features.

BAKED BEEF STUFFED PUMPKIN

One 5 to 6 lb. pumpkin or three 2-3 lb. pumpkins 2tsp. dried sage

2 tsp. salt, divided

1 ½ tsp. dried thyme

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

½ tsp. pepper (I used more)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 c. cooked rice

1 onion, chopped

2/3 cup of raisins

1 lb. ground beef

½ cup of pine nuts

3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Cut the top off pumpkin and remove seeds and strings. Prick cavity with a fork and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the salt. Heat a large pot or skillet.

Add oil. When hot, add garlic and onion and sauté until onion is translucent.

Add beef and continue sautéing until browned. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.

Stuff pumpkin with mixture. Place one inch of water in the bottom of a shallow baking pan large enough to hold the pumpkin. Put pumpkin in pan and bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Drain. Cut into wedges. Makes about 8 servings. If there are any leftovers, reheat them but do not try to freeze them – the pumpkin gets watery.

The following is my favorite low calorie dessert-and-comfort-food.

PUMPKIN TORTE

1 ½ cups of pumpkin

dash of salt

¼ cup of sugar

1 envelope of gelatin

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice

20 gingersnaps

2 or so cups of Cool Whip

I have used fresh pumpkin for this. After the first steps and before chilling, I put everything BUT the Cool Whip and gingersnaps into a blender , thus pureeing the pumpkin and mixing other ingredients. It is easier to use canned pumpkin. Anyway, first combine gelatin, sugar and salt in small saucepan. Add water and stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Add spice and chill the mixture until partially set (about an hour). Stir in Cool Whip. In whatever you are going to are going to serve dessert in, layer pumpkin mixture with ginger snaps. Chill at least several hours or better yet, overnight. 10 servings, (and if you care) 116 calories per serving.

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