It's officially Fall! This is hands down my favorite season. I love cooking with fall flavors and nothing is better than pumpkin. Not only does it add a delicious autumn flavor to your food but it is also a great way to add more fiber, Vitamin A (for your eyes!) and beta-carotene to your diet. And bonus for the moms out there - you can often add it into dishes that your kids will eat.
I've collected quite a few pumpkin recipes over the years and would love to share them with you. Since I use my slow cooker A LOT, many of these dinners can be adapted for the crock pot. I've noted how I've adapted them for slow cooker use below. Also, I am very into freezer meals these days, and many of these are good for freezing too! If you're new to freezer meals, check out this post for my tips and most recent menu list.
My Top 10 Pumpkin Dinner Recipes:
1. Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (allrecipes.com). This is a Fall tradition in my house. It is so good and comforting on a chilly day. I do a few modifications and make this in the slow cooker. I use apple cider vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, and I cut down the broth to about 2 cups. You can always add more to get the consistency to your liking. I use vegetable broth instead of beef, and omit the ham. This recipe makes a lot of soup but it also freezes well. Serve with a nice crusty bread and a green salad, yum!
2. Pumpkin Sausage Lasagna (Rachael Ray). I remember watching Rachael make this on her show and making it myself the next day. It was absolutely delicious! This is a wonderful recipe for a Fall dinner party or perhaps a get together before trick or treating.
3. Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce (food.com). Similar to the lasagna but not as time consuming and a little more versatile. With cheese or spinach ravioli it makes a great vegetarian meal, or you can add some sausage or cooked chicken as well.
4. Pumpkin Tomato Sauce (about.com). This is a lighter alternative to the creamier sauce above. It cooks beautifully in the slow cooker. I have used it as a freezer meal with ravioli but it would be yummy over any of your favorite pasta.
5. Pumpkin Maple Pulled Pork (tablespoon.com). This is so good. It's another great freezer meal and a delicious alternative to barbecued pork.
6. Turkey Pumpkin Chili (Whole Foods). I make this in the crockpot and it can also be a freezer meal. Just cook your ground turkey first, then place all ingredients in the slow cooker. I use chicken broth instead of water for more flavor. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
7. Pumpkin Pizza Crust (Take a Megabite). We have Pizza Friday in our house, and I've experimented with a few different takes on crust. This one is tasty and fun! Use your favorite toppings.
8. Pumpkin Quesadillas (Rachael Ray). This is a quick, easy recipe when you're looking for something light. I love this with a hearty tomato soup and a crisp green salad.
9. Chicken & Pumpkin Goulash (allrecipes.com). I always think Goulash sounds like something awful when it really is so tasty. This is another easy one to adapt to the slow cooker or freezer - just dump everything in, set it and go!
10. Pumpkin Sloppy Joes (Taste of Home). These are technically called Pumpkin Burgers but they are more like sloppy joes. I like to make these with ground turkey. They are great to make in the slow cooker for a football Sunday - just keep them warm and help yourselves. To adapt to the crock pot, just brown the meat first, put all the ingredients in the crock pot, and cook for 4-6 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.
And if you still need a little more pumpkin for dessert... how about 2 ingredient pumpkin cookies? I love these cookies from Wannabite. I cheat and add a little vanilla so it's technically 3 ingredients for me. These are so easy and perfect for a little sweet treat after dinner or an afternoon snack.