On autumn’s arrival, I lament the fact that many of our local farmer’s markets close down, taking their wonderfully fresh fruits and veggies with them.
The big highlight for me, though, is the arrival of pumpkin season. We’ve talked about cooking with pumpkin before, but I’m a realist, and I think cooking a pumpkin is a lot of work. Canned pumpkin has few fillers and it’s easier to work with.
Canned foods can also be really handy for party prep, because they make it easy to whip up something homemade for your guests without slaving over a stove all day. I thought, given my love for pumpkin, I would share with you two easy recipes for hosting a pumpkin party. Bon appetit!
Making pumpkin chili could not be easier. You literally just throw everything in a crock pot, leave it for several hours, then serve it piping hot. For this recipe, the long cook time is essential to get the pumpkin to really mellow out with the other flavors.
- 1 pound cubed stew meat
- 1 packet taco or chili seasoning (I like taco here)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can chili beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 cup stock (we used chicken)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 (15 ounce) cans pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 cup shredded cheese (optional, for topping)
- 1/2 cup sour cream (optional, for topping)
Mix stew meat, chili/taco packet, red pepper flakes & cayenne pepper, refrigerate overnight.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir the beef in the skillet, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and onion; continue cooking until the beef has browned and the onion has softened and turned translucent.
While the beef is cooking, combine the following: kidney beans, black beans, chili beans, tomato paste, stock, diced tomatoes, and pumpkin puree in a large slow cooker. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder, ginger cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir in the ground beef mixture.
Set the slow cooker on high for 1 hour, then adjust to low for 5 hours. Serve piping hot with sour cream and shredded cheese on top (optional).
Looking for a pumpkin party snack that is a little different than a slice of pie? Well, why not make your pie bite-sized! I love ginger, and it pairs perfectly with pumpkin spice, so these little party bites will disappear as soon as you take them out of the oven – good thing they are so easy to make!
Party Sized Ginger Pumpkin Bites
- 1 cup of gingersnap crumbs
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- cupcake liners
- 2 eggs
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat your oven to 425F degrees.
Crush your gingersnaps in a food processor until fine crumbs. Pour melted butter into crumbs and stir vigorously with fork until butter is evenly distributed. Put liners into your muffin tray and cover the bottom of each with the ginger crust. Use the bottom of a glass to pack the crust down firm. Bake the crusts alone in the oven for just 3 minutes.
For the filling, mix the eggs, pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl until even and smooth. Fill each muffin tray until full (they’ll be right to the top, but don’t worry, just don’t overfill).
Bake the bites for 15 minutes at 425F, then reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave the bites in the tray to cool for 30 minutes (the pumpkin needs to firm up) before moving to a wire rack. Let them cool another 30 minutes before serving.