Comfort food pumpkin dishes with Lisa Lewey-Shields


Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

October is here so quickly! Comfort Foods are making their way into our kitchens and homes as well as guest chef, Lisa Lewey-Shields!

Pumpkin Stew is not only pretty but yummy. Pumpkin Alfredo is not boring!

Pumpkins – A fruit or a vegetable?

A pumpkin is technically a fruit.

Botanists classify a fruit as the part of the plant that develops from a flower and contains seeds; the other parts are considered vegetables (ie stems, leaves, roots). Pumpkins are members of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew lemons, cantaloupe, and zucchini. Gourds are native to Central America and Mexico, and can now be found on six continents.

Nutrition Facts

Pumpkins are very good for you. They fit well into a health-conscious diet. And aside from that, they taste good!

Pumpkins are low in calories but high in fiber. They are also low in sodium. The seeds are high in protein, iron, and the B vitamins.

Pumpkins are very high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxident. It converts into Vitamin A, which is important to maintain a healthy body.

Researchers believe that eating a diet rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. They also believe it helps to delay aging.

Physical characteristics to look for in choosing a quality and fresh Jack-O-Lantern:

· Choose a pumpkin that feels firm and heavy for its size.

· Choose a pumpkin that has consistent coloring throughout.

· Turn the pumpkin over and place pressure on the bottom with your thumbs. If it flexes or gives your pumpkin is not fresh.

· Look for soft spots, mold, wrinkles or open cuts that would indicate damage or early spoilage.

· Choose a pumpkin with a solidly attached stem.

· A green stem indicates a freshly harvested pumpkin.

· Place your pumpkin on a flat surface to check to see if it will sit flat after being carved.

Go to the following website for fantastic information……

Pumpkins are Versatile

Nearly every part of the pumpkin can be eaten.

The cooked pulp is fabulous in pies, cookies, breads, soups, appetizers, main dishes . . . the list goes on and on!

The blossoms are excellent breaded and fried or use as a wrap.

The seeds make a great snack

Sugar Pie

Sugar Pies are the modern baking pumpkin. If you want to bake pies, and want a pumpkin instead of squash, this is the pumpkin for you! The skin is very thin, the flesh is sweeter and substantially finer-grained than a jack-o-lantern type pumpkin (they were bred for thick rinds and stability when carved . . . not eating!). It is also quite dry which makes for a more stable pie.

Pumpkin Pie Dip

Paula Deen Recipes


· 1 (8 oz) package softened cream cheese

· 1 cup confectioner’s sugar

· 1 cup canned pumpkin

· 1/2 cup sour cream

· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

· 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

· 1 teaspoon ground ginger

· for serving Granny Smith apples

· for serving gingersnaps


In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and ginger until blended.

Serve with gingersnaps and Granny Smith apples. Refrigerate leftovers.

Pumpkin Alfredo


12 oz. fettuccine

2 tbsp.butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 c. pumpkin puree

1/2 c. whole milk

1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1/2 tsp. chopped rosemary

1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg

2 tbsp. chopped parsley


  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook fettuccine according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in rosemary and pumpkin. Pour in milk and stir until evenly combined, then stir in Parmesan and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. Turn off heat and toss pasta in the sauce. Garnish with parsley and more Parmesan, if desired.

Spook Stew aka Harvest Stew (Thanks Shirley ♥)

One Pumpkin Large, small or ind. pie pumpkin . Just so it fits in your oven.

Top cut off pumpkin, clean and hollow out. Place in a roasting pan or ind. baking dish. Set aside. Save seeds for roasting later.

In the meantime:

Brown 2 lbs. ground beef or ground turkey in a stock pot with

2-3 green peppers chopped Can be red or yellow pepper or all 3

2 onions chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

Drain grease from meat mixture. Return to stock pot.

To this mixture add:

2 cups cooked rice

1-2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can or small jar spaghetti sauce

Salt and Pepper to taste

(You may also want to add a can of drained corn, or small bag of frozen peas, chopped celery, green beans, sliced mushrooms, etc) TWEAK IT !

Simmer all ingredients until warm.

Coat inside and outside of pumpkin with cooking oil. Stuff the above meat mixture in pumpkin. Put lid back on pumpkin.

Cook at 350° until pumpkin is tender and done depending on the size of your pumpkin. This could be 45 mins to 1½ hours ….. The pumpkin will be fork tender. Serve. You eat the stew and the pumpkin.

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