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Roasted Root Vegetables and Thanksgiving Reprise

Are you looking for some Thanksgiving basics, or maybe some new ideas, like root vegetables?

Gravy

Killer Cornbread

Turkey Dressing

Cranberry Orange Relish

Scalloped Corn

Pickled Eggs and Beets

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

and my most popular recipe ever:

Perfect Pie Crust

Today, I offer a quick recipe that would work on the Thanksgiving table,in addition to the reminders of earlier Thanksgiving recipes.

Our grandmothers would have loved this one, because in the middle of the winter, vegetables were scarce.  Poking around the root cellar, they might find a colorful array to brighten the table.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted Root Vegetables

For this dish, I used one parsnip, two rather small rutabagas, five medium carrots and four beets. I peeled or scraped off the tough outer skin on each, cut the rutabagas in quarters and the parsnips in 2″ sticks.  The beets were smallish, so I left them alone.  The idea is to try to make the longer-cooking vegetables smaller, and the quicker cooking ones a bit larger.

I mixed the rutabagas, parsnips and beets with a tablespoon of olive oil, and put them on an aluminum-lined cookie sheet.  The carrots went in later, since they were thin and would cook fast.

I set the oven at 400 degrees and baked the vegetables for 20 minutes, then pulled out the pan and added the carrots and turned all the vegetables on the pan. From here on, you just need to stick the root vegetables with a fork every 5 minutes or so, and start removing the ones that are done. (The fork goes in easily.)

When the root vegetables were all heaped in the serving dish, I sprinkled garlic salt over them, and scattered dried thyme and parsley over the vegetables.  The top of my stove stays hot when I’m baking, so the dish stayed warm. If that doesn’t work for you, you may want to pop them in a microwave for a minute or two just before serving.

(By the way the green-ish wedges are some Japanese eggplant pieces that I had left over.  I happen to like them, but they definitely are not root vegetables, so feel free to ignore them.)

Bake Pumpkin Cookies for Halloween

pumpkin cookies

Pumpkin cookies with chocolate kisses

When were chocolate kisses invented?  How did we survive without them? Particularly when making cookies like these luscious soft, mildly spicy, pumpkin cookies. Go straight for the chocolate, or take bites around the edges and let each bite melt in your mouth before munching the chocolate–either way this is just about the perfect cookie.

Actually Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, have been around since 1907. [In 1907, my mother was one year old and my father had not yet been born. So not only have Kisses been around my entire life, but my parents’ as well.] While that article I linked in the previous sentence talks about red green and silver foil for Christmas, we know that not only have the foil colors expanded, but kisses are no longer limited to dark brown milk chocolate. Flavors this time of year include pumpkin spice kisses!

Naturally, the Hershey company encourages you to bake with their chocolate (or other flavors) kisses.  Their website shares some great recipes.

I am still in my pumpkin phase, and wanted to use up some of that pureed pumpkin I made from baked pie pumpkins.  To kick it up a bit, I added a kiss to each cookie. But being a traditionalist, I used milk chocolate kisses.

You can make pumpkin cookies with a glaze, with cream cheese frosting, with maple frosting (Mmmmm, that sounds good!) , with chocolate chips and/or nuts inside the cookies or leave them clean.

While you can find several recipes on line, I particularly like this one because it offers a solution to how in the world can you store cookies with kisses on top?  After all they have a pretty point on top and that is bound to get broken when you stack the cookies with the tip pointing up.

[Spoiler Alert] Brilliant solution:  turn the kisses upside down.

Pumpkin Cookies

Serves 24-30
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 22 minutes
Allergy Egg, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (canned or freshly baked)
  • 2 cups flour

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease.
2. Beat butter with electric mixer until smooth.
3. Beat in brown sugar
4. Stir or beat in pumpkin, spices, vanilla, egg
5. Whisk together baking soda and baking powder with flour, and then beat the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture.
6. Drop by tablespoon unto cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned on edges and firm on top.
7. Take from cookie sheet onto cooling rack. Place a chocolate kiss upside down in center of each cookie and let cool.

 

Stuffed Pumpkin: Savory or Sweet

Pie Pumpkins

Pie Pumpkinsl for baking stuffed pumpkin

Our pioneer grandmothers cooked a lot of pumpkins before they could get their proper gardens going.  Do you suppose they ever got bored with plain slices of pumpkin or mashed pumpkin?

I have been experimenting with some of those cute little pie pumpkins, and decided to share with you two stuffed pumpkin recipes, although the directions are pretty vague.  You may have tried out the macaroni baked in a pie pumpkin, but if you did not, you might want to look back there for more info on pie pumpkins and how they differ from the Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins.

Not only did I make stuffed pumpkins, I  also baked a couple of the pie pumpkins and scoop out the meat, which I pureed with my hand blender. I used the puree in cookies (recipe coming soon) and waffles.

Now that you understand the benefits of pie pumpkins–here we go with two other ideas for using the pie pumpkins for stuffed pumpkin dishes.

Savory Stuffed Pumpkins

My savory stuffed pumpkins started with a box of Baby Bella Mushrooms. I only needed seven for one pumpkin.

Mushrooms

Baby bell mushrooms

After buttering the inside of the pumpkins, I chopped the mushrooms and added a little salt, a little thyme and a lot of parsley.

Mushroom mixture for stuffed pumpkin

Mushroom mixture

Next, I cut the tops off the pie pumpkins, the same way I would if making a Jack-o-lantern.  Then I scooped out the seeds and stringiest part of the interior. [Note: this is the only hard part of these recipes.  Some people keep the seeds and roast them.  Personally, I don’t want to keep finding the stringy stuff connected to the seeds. If you have found an easy way to clean the seeds, please let me know!]

After I loosely packed the mushrooms into the pumpkin shell, I poured in about 1/3 cup of half and half. Then it occurred to me that a bit of cheese would be good, so I added what I had on time–a slice of mozzarella. [NOTE: BAD CHOICE.  Next time I will use a more melty cheese like Gouda or maybe goat cheese.] I topped the pumpkin/cheese stuffed pumpkin with the “lid”.

Stuffed pumpkin with lids

Two pumpkins with lids ready to bake

After baking on a foil-lined cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, it looked like this. (Time will vary. Check by sticking a fork into the meat of the pumpkin. When it goes in easily, the pumpkin is done.)

Baked stuffed pumpkin

Baked mushroom-cheese pumpkin

Sweet Stuffed Pumpkin

Next, I decided to use up a single large apple I had in the refrigerator.  I chopped it and mixed with a little brown sugar, some cinnamon and nutmeg. It went into another pumpkin that I had hollowed out and smeared on the inside with some butter.

 

Stuffed pumpkin ready to bake

Popped the lid on the top and baked the apple-stuffed pumpkin along with the mushroom-stuffed pumpkin.

apple stuffed pumpkin

baked apple stuffed pumpkin

Both of these dishes turned out pretty well, but don’t make my mistakes:

Mistake number one:  I let the pumpkins sit on the shelf too long before I baked them, and they got stringier than they should have been.  Use them when they are fresh as possible.

Mistake number two:  As mentioned above–use a melty cheese on top of the mushrooms.

One more warning–you must have mushroom fans in your family if you serve the savory version of stuffed pumpkin.  This is all about mushrooms!!

I confess this is not a vintage or historic recipe, however, I can imagine grandmothers actually baking apples in pumpkins, since they relied so much on pumpkins in the frontier. Plus I mentioned once before a pumpkin-apple pie recipe so we know that combination would be one that earlier ancestors in aprons would have used.