Occasionally, the magazines I get as junk mail for various store card memberships wow me with their great recipes. We have a growing list of them. Added this weekend was this recipe using freshly cooked pumpkin. They also had instructions on how to roast and puree fresh pumpkin. Here’s the original recipe and a breakdown of steps from the Kroger mymagazine, What’s Cooking section:

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Now, I have never roasted raw pumpkin before, though I have a distant, extremely distant memory of seeing my mother do it a long, long, time ago. It’s fairly simple, well, until it isn’t. First though, make sure to pick a small pumpkin (the larger ones are more bitter):

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Also, make sure that you have a very sharp knife. Otherwise, THIS happens:

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I had to wedge a butter knife into the cut to be able to draw the knife out. Well, and lots of prayer, muscle power, and being very conscious of where my limbs were at all times. Finally, after about 15 minutes of struggle, I succeeded:

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Who’s in charge now? That’s what I thought. Pumpkin lost the fight. Now, where’s the wine? *phew*

Next step, scoop out the pumpkin guts (hey, why do you think they’re Halloween fare?) and place them open side down on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet:

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Bake at 35o degrees for 45 minutes, until a fork can go through the outer skin, like so:

Beautiful. Now, the really fun part. Let it cool off, go get a glass of wine, finish writing up research information for school, whatever… (it took about an hour). Then come back and scoop out the inner rind into a blender.

If you are a pro, this is easy. If you are like me, you get to whisper-yell at the blender a few times, and finally, after 10 minutes of off-on, scoop, stir, on-off, you get the baby food puree looking mix to the right. Now you’re ready to make ANYTHING. Pumpkin pie, cookies, whatever, but today, it’s Enchilada Casserole! Here’s an image of the final prep, ready to start making the casserole layers:

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CHANGES I MADE TO THE RECIPE:

I added black olives. I mean, why not?

I used dried cilantro in place of the fresh. About 1/2 Tablespoon.

I used a 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes plus a 4 ounce can of diced chilis in place of the 2, 10 ounce, cans of diced tomatoes with chilis.

I also put it all together with green onions, cilantro, and black olives to cook with the rest of the dish.

The cheese we used was non-dairy “Veggie Cheese” brand Monterey blend. We limit the amount of dairy products, so this is a good replacement, since our meal last night had cheese in it as well.

Final note: I used Quorn brand Chik’n Tender pieces in place of the required 2 cups of cubed, cooked, chicken. This is not a brand plug, but, as semi-vegetarians, we rarely eat meat. And we have come to love this brand for our meat replacement meals once a week. WARNING: it is made from mushrooms, so if you have an allergy, beware. Also, these are not necessarily Vegan (though I think some products are…). I had to pre-cook them in a skillet with a little oil:

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The final product:

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Well, uncooked. I still have to do that part. But I will not have time to post this later.

Hope your week is a wonderful one! And thanks for stopping by!