Perfect pumpkin recipes for Halloween

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I’ll tell you right up front - this is a pumpkin column. Pumpkins are so versatile they appear in dishes savory or sweet. My grandpa Dillon grew pumpkins in his garden, and my grandmother canned, dried and froze the results. I’d even get to pick out a perfect pumpkin for my jack-o-lantern.
I have lots and lots of pumpkin recipes. Here are a few. Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Soup
2 T. butter or margarine
2 c. chopped onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 c. chicken broth
1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped
1 ¼ t. salt
½ t. chili powder
½ t. ground cumin
1 (15oz) can pumpkin
¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 c. milk
3 T. lime juice
Sour cream for garnish
Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno, and garlic; sauté 15 minutes. Add chicken broth and next four ingredients; cook, stirring often, about 30 minutes, or till potato is tender.  Remove from heat and cool slightly (10 minutes.) Process potato mixture, pumpkin, and ¼ c. cilantro, in batches, in food processor or blender until smooth. Return to Dutch oven; stir in milk, and simmer 10 minutes or till thoroughly heated. Stir in lime juice; garnish with spoonfuls of sour cream. Serves eight to ten.

Pumpkin Empanadas (Empanadas de Calabaza)
2 (16oz) cans pumpkin
2 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
½ t. ginger
3 c. flour
1 ½ t. salt
1 c. shortening
¾ c. beer
Combine first five ingredients in large heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer one hour or till thickened, stirring occasionally. Cool. Combine flour and salt; cut in shortening till mixture is crumbly. Make a well in the center and add beer, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Flour hands, and shape dough into 1 ½ inch balls and flatten each one a little bit on a floured surface. Let stand 30 minutes. Roll each dough ball into a 4-inch circle. Place about 3 T. pumpkin mixture in center of each circle and fold pastry in half. Moisten edges with water and press with fork to seal. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or till edges are lightly browned. Makes 1 ½ dozen.

Pumpkin Bread
2/3 c. shortening
2 2/3 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 (16oz) can pumpkin
2/3 c. water
3 1/3 c. flour
2 t. soda
1 ½ t. salt
½ t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
2/3 c. chopped pecans
2/3 c. raisins (optional)
In large bowl, cream shortening and sugar till fluffy. Stir in eggs, pumpkin and water. Blend in flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix well and stir in nuts and raisins. Bake in two greased loaf pans at 350 degrees for about 70 minutes, or till toothpick comes out clean. Makes two loaves.

Pumpkin Cookies
½ c. shortening
1 ¼ c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 ½ c. pumpkin puree
2 ½ c. flour
4 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
1 c. raisins *optional
1 c. chopped nuts *optional
Cream together shortening and sugar till mix well; add eggs, then vanilla and pumpkin. Mix together dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture. Mix well. If desired, stir in chopped raisins and nuts. Drop by heaping teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Makes five dozen.

Pumpkin Preserves
4 lbs. pumpkin
2 lemons
Pinch salt
Peel pumpkin and remove seeds.  Cut in ½ inch cubes.  Slice lemons, remove seeds, but leave rind on.  Put pumpkin and lemon together in large kettle.  For every cup of pumpkin, add ¾ c. sugar and pinch of salt.  Let stand overnight.  Next day, boil slowly till pumpkin is tender.  Pour into sterilized jars to within ½ inch of top.  Put on cap, screw band firmly tight, and process in boiling water bath 5 minutes.

Pumpkin Cream Pie
1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust, baked 8 minutes and cooled
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese softened
1 (15oz) can pumpkin
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. allspice
½ t. ginger
¼ t. nutmeg
½ c. whipping cream
1 ½ c. powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese in large bowl till creamy. Add pumpkin and next four ingredients; beat until blended.  Beat whipping cream until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating well until stiff peaks form. It will be very thick. Fold into pumpkin mixture until well blended. Spoon into crust. Cover and chill pie at least 8 hours (can also be frozen.) Serves eight.