Pumpkin dishes you 'can' handle

Food2.com's Kelsey Nixon shows off her canned pumpkin recipes.
(Ryan Thatcher)

Sure, it’s nice to roast fresh pumpkin and fill your apartment with its sweet autumn aromas, but, honestly it’s a pain.

It’s hard to cut into pumpkins (especially if you don’t have great knives) and scooping out the insides takes time.

Luckily, there’s a much more accessible option: canned pumpkin.

We asked Kelsey Nixon, host of Food2.com’s “Kelsey & Spike Cook” and former contestant on “The Next Food Network Star,” for great seasonal recipes using canned pumpkin rather than the fresh stuff.

“You’re not going to taste a huge difference,” she said.

But don’t just think of pumpkin as a sweet ingredient for pies.

“You can add it to soups, chilis, pastas, béchamel sauces and other savory dishes,” she said. “It adds a nice texture, color and flavor, plus it’s high in antioxidants and fiber and low in calories and fat,” she said.

Note: Be sure to buy 100 percent pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix.

Here are Kelsey’s top-five suggestions for those leftover cans of pumpkin.

1.Pumpkin gingersnap shake
For two deliciously seasonal shakes, Kelsey suggests combining 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla, ¼ cup of whole milk and 2 cups of vanilla bean ice cream (or yogurt if you want a breakfast shake) in a blender. Top individual shakes off with crushed ginger snap cookies. To make an adult version, add some bourbon.

2.Mini pumpkin pies

Make small pumpkin pies — using the recipe from the back of the can — in tiny mason jars. (You can use frozen pie crusts to save you some time.) Top with chopped nuts and brown sugar. And after baking and cooling, throw them in the freezer. You’ll have small bites of pumpkin pie anytime — or nice gifts for the holidays.

3.Pumpkin crème brulee

Don’t be intimidated. Nixon’s crème brulee is a snap. She uses a pretty universal recipe, which includes egg yolks and cream, but substitutes some of the heavy cream for canned pumpkin. She heats it with a torch until there’s an amber color on top and the top cracks when you hit it with a spoon. The full recipe is below.

4. Pumpkin spice waffles with maple pecan syrup

Here, you want to substitute some of the liquid ingredients in the waffles with pumpkin. If you want to go the really easy route, you can just buy a mix and add pumpkin pie spice.

For the pecan syrup just combine toasted pecans, maple syrup and a splash of orange juice. The full recipe is below.

5.Pumpkin sage orzo
Nixon described this as a mock risotto.  The sage and thyme are nice spices to use when making savory pumpkin dishes.  The recipe is below.

Stock up now

Get them while you can. Nestle has announced a shortage of Libby’s canned pumpkins, because crops were ruined by heavy rains. So if you see some cans, scoop them up.


Tags: Pumpkin , Libby's , Canned pumpkin , Kelsey Nixon

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