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Pumpkins aren't just for Jack o' Lanterns or Halloween decorations. These bright orange orbs are packed with nutrients and vitamins and are low in calories.

This fruit is also versatile and can be made into dessert, soup, bread, muffins and more. Here are a few recipes to try using either fresh or canned pumpkin.

Pumpkin Bread

3 c. sugar

1 c. vegetable oil

4 eggs, beaten

2 c. pumpkin (1 lb. can)

1 t. baking powder

2 t. baking soda

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. nutmeg

1 t. vanilla

2/3 c. water

1/2 c. chopped nuts

3 1/2 c. flour

Combine sugar, oil and eggs. Add pumpkin. Add dry ingredients, then add vanilla and water. Fold in nuts. Pour into two 5x9-inch greaded loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes.

Pumpkin Pineapple Cheesecake

1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

1 T. sugar

1/4 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg

Dust bottom and sides of greased 8-inch springform pan with above mixture.

20 oz. can crushed pineapple

16 oz. can solid pack pumpkin

1. cup light brown sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. ground ginger

1 envelope unflavored Knox gelatin

2 pkgs. cream cheese, softened

1 T. vanilla

1 small carton of Cool Whip

Drain pineapple well, reserve 3/4 c. of the juice. Cover pineapple and refrigerate. Combine juice with pumpkin, sugar, eggs, spices and gelatin in medium saucepan. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Beat cream cheese and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually fold warm pumpkin mixture until well blended. Pour into prepared springform pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove sides from pan and place cheesecake onto serving plate. Fold chilled pineapple into whipped cream. Spoon onto top of cheesecake.

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Pumpkin Custard Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix

1 1/3 c. of water

3 eggs

2 c. pumpkin pie filling*

2 eggs

1/2 c. boiling water

Grease bottom only of a 9x13-inch pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, water and 3 eggs. Blend and beat as directed on package. Pour into prepared pan. In a smaller mixing bowl, beat pumpkin and two eggs. Pour into prepared batter. Pour boiling water over all. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

* If pumpkin pie filling is not available, season solid pack pumpkin or fresh cooked, mashed pumpkin with 1/2 c. brown sugar, 3/4 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. salt, 1/4 t. ginger, 1/8 t. ground cloves and 1/2 c. milk.

Pumpkin Bars

1/2 c. butter

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 c. pumpkin

1 1/4 c. sifted flour

1 t. baking powder

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. ginger

1 t. nutmeg

3/4 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Add pumpkin; mix well. Sift dry ingredients, add to mixture. Mix well, fold in nuts. Bake in a 9x13-inch greased baking pan at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. When cool, dust with powdered sugar or frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Frosting:

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese

1/4 c. butter

2 t. vanilla

1 lb. powdered sugar

Sift flour if lumpy. Let cream cheese and butter warm to room temperature. Beat together and add vanilla. Gradually beat in sugar. Add more sugar to thicken, or milk to thin frosting if needed.

Frozen Pumpkin Squares

16 oz. can solid packed pumpkin

1 c. sugar

1 t. ginger

2 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. nutmeg

1 t. salt

1 c. chopped pecans

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

3 doz. gingersnaps

Combine first six ingredients and pecans. In chilled bowl, fold pumpkin mixture into ice cream. Line bottom of 13x9-inch pan with half of the gingersnaps. Repeat layers. Freeze until firm (about 5 hours). Cut into squares. Garnish with whipped cream and pecan halves.

Pumpkin Torte

Crust

24 crushed graham crackers (about 2 cups)

1/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. melted butter

Mix and press into 13x9-inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes in 350 degree oven. Cool.

Layer 1

2 eggs

3/4 c. sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

Beat together and spread over crust. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Cool.

Layer 2

2 c. canned pumpkin

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 t. salt

3 egg yolks (save whites)

1/2 c. milk

1 T. cinnamon

1 envelope of Knox unflavored gelatin

1/4 c. cold water

3 reserved egg whites

1/4 c. sugar

Whipped cream or ice cream

Combine first six ingredients in large saucepan. Boil until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Dissolve gelatin in 1/4 c. cold water and add to mixture, allowing to cool. Beat reserved egg whites, gradually adding sugar, until stiff. Then fold into pumpkin mixture. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Pumpkin Apple Pie

9-inch unbaked pie shell

1/3 c. brown sugar, packed

1 T. cornstarch

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. salt

1/3 c. water

2 T. butter

3 c. sliced tart apples

1 egg

1/3 c. sugar

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. canned or cooked, mashed pumpkin

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. ginger

1/4 t. cinnamon

1/8 t. ground cloves

3/4 c. evaporated milk

Combine in large saucepan brown sugar, corn starch, cinnamon and 1/4. t. salt. Stir in water and butter. Bring to boil; add apples and cook 4 minutes over medium heat. Set aside. Beat egg in separate bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Blend well. Spoon apple mixture into pie shell. Carefully spoon pumpkin mixture over apples. Bake at 375 for 50-55 minutes. If desired, top with whipped cream and walnut halves.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

9-inch unbaked pie shell

2 eggs (room temperature)

3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed

1 lb. can pumpkin

1/2 t. salt

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 to 1/2 t. nutmeg

1/4 t. ground cloves

12 to 14 oz. can evaporated milk

1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans

1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed

2 T. softened butter

Heat oven to 425. Prepare pastry crust according to directions. Beat eggs slightly in a large bow. Add 3/4 c. evaporated milk. Pour mixture into pastry shell. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 375. Bake 30 minutes longer or until thin-bladed knife comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.

Combine pecans, 1/2 c. brown sugar and butter; mix well. Spread gently over cooled pie. Be certain all custard is covered. Place under broiler, 5 inches below heat, for three minutes or until mixture begins to bubble. Watch carefully! Do not overcook. Cool completely.

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