14 Delicious Ways to Use Your Extra Pumpkins

Updated on November 24, 2018
VVanNess profile image

Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, blogger at Healthy at Home, and educator. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.

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So now that Thanksgiving is over, we all have these pumpkins left over from decorating for Halloween and Thanksgiving. They've been beautiful sitting on our counters and porches for over a month, but now what should we do with them?

So many people just throw them away. Did you know that we don't eat the vast majority of the 1.91 billion pounds of pumpkins grown in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture? Instead we either carve them, decorate them, or use them specifically for decoration—and then let them rot and throw them out.

We are missing out on a great deal of amazing nutrients and vitamins, and we are throwing away perfectly good food every year. Pumpkins of any variety have flesh that is high in fiber and beta-carotene, and their seeds, delicious when toasted or baked, are rich in potassium and protein. Once roasted, pumpkins can be made into so many wonderful dishes to add immense flavor and nutrition.

Instead of just throwing out your pumpkins this year, let me share with you some of my favorite ways to use fresh pumpkin. Maybe you'll think twice about tossing them. I can even show you how to simply make them into a puree to freeze for later, or how to can them and use them anytime throughout the year in a variety of yummy dishes.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte

Throughout the fall this was my go-to drink just about every morning. It was easy to simply keep one of my quarts of homemade canned pumpkin in the fridge to scoop out of each morning. Boy, it really hit the spot and made the whole house smell like pumpkin. Yum!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Add pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice to a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir with a spatula until very fragrant and bubbly, 30 seconds - 1 minute.
  3. Then add your raw honey and stir until smooth and bubbly, another 30 seconds.
  4. Whisk in milk and vanilla extract, and stir until your drink is hot, about 2-3 minutes.

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Pumpkin Butter

When I have made pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie filling, canned pumpkin chunks, and enough pumpkin dishes to last us for the month, I then make yummy pumpkin butter. This can be used on biscuits, toast, or even in dishes like my apple butter pork chops, but with pumpkin butter.

Ingredients

  • fill your largest crockpot to the top with pumpkin flesh (1 or 2 pumpkins)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin spice

Instructions

  1. Roast your pumpkins like I outline in the very last recipe for homemade pumpkin puree, but instead of processing down your roasted pumpkin flesh, pour it all into your crockpot. This may simply take just one huge pumpkin, or maybe a few smaller pumpkins.
  2. Add one cup of water to the bottom so your pumpkin doesn't burn and cook on high for 4 hours or so.
  3. Using an immersion blender, blend your super soft pumpkin until smooth right in your crockpot.
  4. Add all of your other ingredients and mix.
  5. Cook, with the lid off, for an hour and then it's ready!
  6. Store in the freezer for as long as you'd like, store in the fridge for no more than 3-5 days, or can it in a pressure canner to store it for longer periods of time.

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Hands down, this has to be the absolute best recipe that I make all year long. We are already huge cinnamon roll fans in my house, but add in pumpkin and pumpkin spice throughout the batter and icing, and this is fall heaven in your mouth. I have had specific requests to make this one for guests.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Filling:

  • Butter
  • Coconut sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin pie spice

Icing:

  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and grease a large 9×13 inch baking dish with a little coconut oil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, sugar baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice. Stir everything together well.
  3. Then add in your wet ingredients; milk and pureed pumpkin. I like adding in all of my dry ingredients first so that I don’t get my measuring cups and spoons all wet just before measuring out my dry ingredients.
  4. Mix everything together in your bowl until a dough forms. You may have to finish mixing with your hands to get it all combined. If it’s too tough to mix, add in a little more milk. If it’s still too sticky, add in a little more flour.
  5. Once your dough is mostly combined, dump it out onto a large, clean surface to finish kneading and rolling it.
  6. Roll it out to about 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thickness into a large rectangle (like in the picture).
  7. Spread butter over the entire surface, followed by coconut sugar and then cinnamon (and pumpkin spice if you wish). Be generous as this is the filling for your cinnamon rolls that will caramelize and make it really delicious.
  8. Once finished, start rolling it into a long log shape starting at the short side and rolling tight.
  9. If you’d like to wrap it up in plastic wrap and chill it for a while first, this is the time to do so, but I don’t have the patience for that.
  10. Using a sharp bread knife, gently cut 1/2- to 1-inch slices out of your log, while holding onto the sides. Lay each piece in your prepared baking dish as you cut them.
  11. Do this for the whole cinnamon roll log.
  12. Now pop it into the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
  13. While your cinnamon rolls are baking, mix all of your icing ingredients together, first with a fork, and then transfer to a hand mixer when the cream cheese starts melting.
  14. When your cinnamon rolls are done, take them out and let them cool a bit. You don’t want all of your icing to melt when you put it on.
  15. Once cool, generously spread your icing all over your cinnamon rolls. Yum! Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

I really like making several loaves of this delicious bread at a time and keeping all but one of them in the freezer until I'm ready for them. That way I always have something delicious waiting for me in the freezer for just that moment when I don't have the time to make something.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup honey, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line two loaf pans with parchment paper.
  2. Melt your honey and coconut oil together in the microwave a little at a time.
  3. Mix them with all other ingredients (besides chocolate chips) in a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Add in your chocolate chips last and fold them in until well-distributed.
  5. Pour your batter into your prepared loaf pan and slide it into the oven.
  6. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool before slicing, but when ready, slide loaf out by the parchment paper to slice.

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Pumpkin Coffee Cake

I think I made this recipe twice in a row. With a husband and two small boys, it was eaten so fast the first time that no one felt like they got enough, so I made it again. This nice, soft, fluffy cake topped with crunchy sweet crumble is just perfect for cold mornings.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, homemade preferred
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, homemade preferred
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, homemade preferred
  • 1/2 cup organic whole fat milk

Topping :

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a square casserole dish with some coconut oil.
  2. I would start by mixing in all of your dry ingredients first. That way your measuring cups and spoons won’t be messy when you need them for dry ingredients.
  3. Now mix in your wet ingredients.
  4. Your mixture will be really thick. Coffee cake is supposed to be thick and won’t cook right and be fluffy if you try and thin it out any. I know, it doesn’t make much sense.
  5. Pour your mixture into the casserole dish you prepared.
  6. Now mix your topping ingredients in a small bowl, using a fork to mix the butter in. Your topping should be crumbly and may take a little bit to mix together.
  7. Pour this over the top of your coffee cake mixture and spread out evenly.
  8. Pop in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a knife poked down into the middle comes out clean. Try not to eat it all at one time.

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Pumpkin Spice Granola

I thought this was such a beautiful recipe. The orange of the pumpkin flavored granola, the brown of the oats, the green of the pumpkin seeds, and the red of the cranberries made this recipe simply look like autumn. Turns out it was just as delicious as it was beautiful!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (homemade recipe)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Pour each ingredient one at a time into a large mixing bowl starting with your oats.
  3. Add in all of your dry ingredients first.
  4. Then add in all of your wet ingredients, melting the honey before pouring in.
  5. Save your cranberries and pumpkin seeds until after you bake your granola.
  6. Mix your granola really well and pour it out into a thin, even layer on your cookie sheets so it bakes evenly.
  7. Pop it into the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  8. When you pull it out, immediately pour it back into your large mixing bowl and stir to cool.
  9. Pour in your cranberries and pumpkin seeds and stir in.
  10. Store your granola in a cool, dry location, in an airtight container and it should last you indefinitely, or until you finish it.

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

Yum! Pumpkin, honey, and walnuts on a chilly fall morning... it's enough to get you out of bed in the morning. Try out this amazing pumpkin pancake recipe for the perfect hot breakfast. And these pancakes pack an extra punch with homemade pumpkin puree in them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons honey, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Start by blending up your oats in the food processor or blender until you get a powder. Add them to your mixing bowl.
  2. Then add your baking powder.
  3. Add your pumpkin spice and salt.
  4. Add each of your eggs.
  5. Add your pumpkin puree.
  6. Melt and then add your honey.
  7. And finally, add your vanilla extract.
  8. Mix everything well.
  9. On the stove, heat your chosen pan to about medium heat.
  10. Cook your pancakes in about 1/4 cup servings for a few minutes on one side, until you see them bubbling.
  11. And then cook for about a minute on the other side, removing to a plate to cool before eating.
  12. I added plenty of chopped walnuts and honey to mine. Yum!

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Pumpkin Donuts

These babies were so amazing, I was asked to make them three times for my family. That last time I think I ate the majority of them. And they were so easy to make! I only had a mini bundt pan for my donuts, but they gave the fall flavored donuts just the right look. Find one for yourself here.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (homemade preferred)
  • (optional) toppings

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a donut or mini bundt pan liberally with coconut oil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your flour and other dry ingredients.
  3. Then add your eggs, half and half, and melted honey and coconut oil.
  4. Finally, add in your pumpkin puree and mix well.
  5. Fill your prepared donut or mini bundt pan to your desired height. I think 1/2 full suited us the best.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan.
  7. If you desire, melt dark chocolate chips in a little bit of coconut oil and dip your donuts in. You could also add coconut sugar, shredded coconut, or even crushed nuts. Yum!
  8. Refrigerate briefly to harden the topping.

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Pumpkin Pie

Yum! This is one of those desserts that we look forward to all year long. Obviously, we could make them any time of the year, but pumpkin pie is definitely one of those desserts best saved for the fall. You're going to be pleasantly surprised!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree, homemade preferred
  • 1/2 cup raw honey, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, homemade preferred
  • 1 1/2 cups organic full-fat milk

Pie Crust:

  • 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and grease two pie pans with a little bit of coconut oil.
  2. Go ahead and make your pie crusts. Start by mixing your flour and salt and then cutting in your coconut oil, by pressing it through the flour mixture with a fork until crumbly.
  3. Add in your milk slowly until a dough forms. (If the dough doesn’t come together, it may need a tad bit more milk.)
  4. Separate your dough into three pieces. Roll each one out individually into a bigger shape than your pie pan.
  5. Lay each over its pie pan by folding each in half before trying to transfer it. Press them into your pie pans cutting any excess hanging over the edge. Set in the refrigerator until needed.
  6. Now for your pies. Add in one ingredient at a time, starting with your pumpkin puree.
  7. Then add in your honey, melted first so it mixes easily, and your 4 eggs.
  8. Finally, pour in your milk and pumpkin pie spice.
  9. Mix everything together well and then pour into your prepared pie crusts.
  10. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, and then lower your oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 45 minutes.

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Sweet Potato Pumpkin Enchiladas

These enchiladas were just packed full of nutritious fall veggies. What's great about this recipe is that you can substitute in any veggies you currently have without spoiling the flavor. Easily swap out kale for the spinach, or butternut squash for the sweet potato. I've even been known to include shredded carrots or parsnips.

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato, chopped
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 2 cups corn
  • 4 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 6 whole wheat flour tortillas (homemade recipe)

Instructions

  1. Start by washing and peeling your sweet potato.
  2. Then chop it up into small pieces and dump it into a medium pot of water on the stove. Boil it over medium high heat for about 30 minutes until it cuts easily with a fork.
  3. In the meantime, we’ll get to preparing the rest of the dish. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. In a small sauce pot, combine the ingredients for your red enchilada sauce. (Until I get it published, I’ll include the recipe for you below.)
  5. Now it’s time to chop your fresh ingredients.
  6. It’s time to dump all of your filling ingredients, pumpkin, black beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, and spinach, into a large pot and heat over medium.
  7. Add in your seasonings and stir well.
  8. When the sweet potatoes are ready, drain them and mix them into your enchilada filling as well.
  9. Now it’s time to make your enchiladas. Start by spreading 1/4 of your sauce on the bottom of the pan. Top with a layer of tortillas.
  10. Now to layer. Spread 1/4 of your red enchilada sauce, then 1/2 of your enchilada filling, then 1/3 of your cheese and repeat.
  11. Finish with a layer of tortillas, the rest of your sauce, and the last of your cheese.
  12. Bake for about 30 minutes.

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Crockpot Pumpkin Chicken Chili

For a wonderfully warm and flavorful chili recipe, this one uses up all of the fall veggies you've been collecting for the last two months. This is a great recipe to use up your butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and most especially, pumpkin. We made enough that we were able to freeze half of it for a whole other meal later. Yum! This is one of my fall favorites.

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked or raw
  • 2 cups pinto beans (or other bean)
  • 1 cup pumpkin, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet potato, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

Instructions

  1. Start by dumping your chicken and beans into the crockpot. I do not suggest using dried beans. If you are not using canned beans, at least soak them the night before.
  2. Then add your veggies.
  3. Finally, add your broth and spices.
  4. Cover your crockpot and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8. Everything in my pot was already cooked when it went in, so it didn’t need to cook for too long. If your ingredients are raw or uncooked, it will obviously take the full time.

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Pumpkin Alfredo

This wonderful recipe, slightly modified from Pinch of Yum, is a super easy and delicious way to enjoy dinner this evening. With just a cup of fresh pumpkin puree mixed into your cheese and heavy cream, you'll think you're in heaven.

Ingredients

  • 8 to 12 ounces fettuccine noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream (or half and half)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook the fettuccine according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid in case you want to thin out your sauce.
  2. Heat the butter over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic and saute until soft and fragrant.
  4. Add the pumpkin and heavy cream. Simmer until slightly thickened.
  5. Add the cheese and stir to combine.
  6. Toss the pasta in the sauce and thin as needed using the reserved cooking liquid.
  7. Top with additional Parmesan cheese.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

Oh man! Are you in for a treat with this creamy frozen treat! My creamy cheesecake bites are already decadent on their own, but then toss in some pumpkin and they are going to be the fall treat of the season. And this cheesecake recipe is special because of the yogurt and honey topping. I bet you've never topped your cheesecake with anything like this before!

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 16oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey, melted

Topping: (optional)

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a 9x13 inch rectangular casserole dish with parchment paper.
  2. Blend your almonds in a food processor until powdery.
  3. Add melted butter and process again.
  4. Press into your prepared dish evenly across the bottom.
  5. Mix all of your main ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer until smooth. If your cream cheese was cold, it may make it difficult to get your mixture smooth.
  6. Pour this mixture onto your prepared crust and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. On the side, mix your topping.
  8. Pour this over your baked cheesecake.
  9. Spread across evenly and then bake again another 10 minutes.
  10. Cool completely and serve or freeze and then chop into bite-size pieces.

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Pumpkin Puree

I use pumpkin for all of the above recipes and more. We can't forget about pumpkin cookies, pumpkin and pecan cobbler, and all sorts of yummy casserole dishes that this would be perfect for. And the process of cooking your pumpkin and processing them into a puree, is so easy, there's no excuse not to do it yourself.

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin

Instructions

  • Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F and lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper. It really doesn't matter how big or small your pumpkins are, this method will still work.
  • Cut your pumpkin(s) in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Set them aside for later.
  • Lay out your pumpkin, cut side up, on your cookie sheet.
  • Bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until the pumpkin flesh cuts easily with a fork.
  • Pull out your pumpkin(s) and let it cool on the stove.
  • When ready, scoop out the flesh from the skin with a spoon and put it into a bowl on the side.
  • You'll then process it in your food processor in stages, depending on how much pumpkin flesh you ended up with. Process until smooth.
  • Pour into sandwich bags, or 1 to 2 cup portions, seal tightly, lay flat on your cookie sheet and slide into the freezer so they freeze flat.
  • When frozen, take them off of the cookie sheet and store them in the freezer. They will last just about indefinitely, or until you need them, in the freezer.
  • I would then roast your pumpkin seeds! Yum!

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With all of these delicious ways to use your leftover Halloween and Thanksgiving pumpkins, there's no reason that any of them should be thrown away this year.

I do offer you a word of caution: If you carved your pumpkins for Halloween and they have been sitting outside for an extended amount of time, I don't recommend trying to use them for food. They would have needed to be used right away after displaying them for Halloween to keep them from going bad. But as long as they haven't been cut into yet, and show no signs of rotting, you're just fine.

I have been pleasantly surprised over the years to discover all of the colors and flavors of the different varieties of pumpkins. The really big Cinderella pumpkins are often a deep orange, like you would see in canned pumpkin. However, the small sugar pumpkins are the lightest orange, but best pumpkins to use for your pumpkin pies.

If you were to look through all of my frozen bags of pumpkin puree, and all of my jars of canned pumpkin, you probably wouldn't like what you see. There are a variety of colors all through my collection. The really dark orange pumpkins actually make the lighter ones look like they've gone bad or something. They do all turn out delicious though. I promise.

So try something different this year, and give roasting your own pumpkins a shot. You can use it cup for cup, just like you would canned pumpkin puree, in any pumpkin recipe you choose. Let me know how it turns out for you!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Victoria Van Ness

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      • VVanNess profile imageAUTHOR

        Victoria Van Ness 

        3 months ago from Fountain, CO

        Yum! That sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing!

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        I have one more fresh pumpkin to go that was used for decoration outside. I think that I will just make pumpkin puree and freeze it to have on hand to make many different recipes. Some of your recipes sound truly delicious! Pinning this!

        The other pumpkin was used for a soup recipe and simple roasting of it with olive oil and herbs. I love eating roasted vegetables and roasted pumpkin is scrumptious.

      • VVanNess profile imageAUTHOR

        Victoria Van Ness 

        3 months ago from Fountain, CO

        That's interesting...I am publishing a Fall cookbook full of all of my Fall recipes. I have a couple others on Amazon as well; a clean eating recipe book and a clean eating dessert book. :)

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        3 months ago from Sunny Florida

        I believe you cold publish a cookbook with all these wonderful pumpkin recipes. I would have never thought to make enchiladas or chili using pumpkin. I want to try those donuts first!

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