It’s the time of year when squash and pumpkins are everywhere in Bettendorf, and we’re all looking for recipes and ideas for how to use them. We won’t lie; we love it, and we’re excited for all the seasonal decor and hearty fall meals. We’ve found a few delightful recipes, and some creative crafts, to compliment your seasonal decorating. We’ve also got a wide assortment of pumpkins in various sizes and shapes at Wallace’s—perfect for trying them all out! Come pick out a few gorgeous gourds, and give some of these recipes and crafts a try.
These recipes make winter gourds the star of the show. Decadent and hearty, each of these dishes will stick to your ribs when the weather gets cold!
Squash Cheesecake Bars
If you love cheesecake (and who doesn’t?), here’s one more way to sneak it into celebratory seasonal meals. You can mix butternut squash purée straight into the cream cheese mixture of a recipe, or you could make two separate batches of cream cheese mixture, one with the puree and one without, and then swirl them together for a unique look. Try this recipe:
For the crust:
- 10 graham crackers, crushed
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. white sugar
- 3 Tbsp. milk
For the filling:
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 16 ounces nonfat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butternut squash purée
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 ̊F, then rub a 9×13 baking pan with grease.
- Pulse all crust ingredients in a food processor.
- Press the graham crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking pan.
- Bake crust for 10 minutes and set aside to cool before preparing the filling.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 ̊F.
- Beat together cream cheese and sugar until velvety smooth.
- While beating, add eggs one at a time, followed by remaining ingredients.
- Pour into crust and gently tap the pan on the counter to even out the filling into a uniform layer.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until your cheesecake bars are set in the middle with golden brown edges.
- Chill cheesecake bars for at least 2 hours before serving.
Pasta with Creamy Winter Squash Sauce
Squash or pumpkin purées make a perfect base for easy and delightful pasta sauces. Cook your favorite pasta as usual, but reserve 2 cups of the cooking water and set aside. In a pot over medium heat, pour a generous “glug” of olive oil, and fry a sprig of rosemary in the oil for two minutes. Remove the rosemary, then add two crushed garlic cloves, 1/2 cup cream, 15 ounces of puree, a splash of white wine vinegar, a generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and half of the pasta water you set aside. Cook on medium-to-low heat until the sauce is heated through and season liberally with salt and pepper. If your sauce is a bit too thick, add some more pasta water. Serve over pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan and enjoy!
Pumpkin butter is a delightful way to use up sweet pumpkin varieties. In a pot, combine about 2 pounds of roasted pumpkin (seeds removed), 1/2 cup brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer, occasionally stirring, until it starts to thicken up. Then, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Make this recipe your own by adding an apple, a pear, cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger (or a mixture of your favorite fall spices). This delicious fall condiment goes very well with meats like pork.
Butternut Squash Soup
You can’t beat classic butternut squash soup. To make this traditional winter soup, remove seeds from one butternut squash and roast at 425˚F for about 30 minutes, or until the flesh is soft enough to pierce with a fork. In a pot, sauté one diced onion with oil until translucent. Peel and chop up an apple (any kind) and add it to the onion. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons each of cumin and cinnamon, and 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth. Scoop the roasted squash flesh into your soup pot. Simmer until it mashes easily with a fork. Use an immersion blender, or transfer to a standing blender in batches, and blend until smooth. Serve with a large dollop of creme fraiche.
Acorn Squash Breakfast bowls with Yogurt
Acorn squash is filled with dietary fiber and is the perfect size for a fun breakfast bowl. Cut the acorn squash in half, then remove all the seeds. Brush olive oil over the exposed flesh, and roast at 425 ̊F for 45-60 minutes, or until the flesh is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Let the roasted halves cool for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, collect your favorite sweet breakfast toppings like sunflower seeds, granola, dried cranberries or raisins, chocolate chips, and even maple syrup. Fill the center with vanilla yogurt, and then sprinkle with whatever toppings you like and enjoy!
Pumpkin & Squash Crafts
Carving pumpkins is plenty of fun, but it’s not the only crafty thing you can do with gourds! You can use mini-gourds in seasonal decorating or table centerpieces, or you can decorate them without carving them.
Painting is a fun way to decorate without the goopy mess and fast decay of carved fresh pumpkins. It’s a good idea to give your gourd a surface coat of clear sealant spray paint or mod podge before you start painting. You can also bedazzle them with glue and gems, or stick pretty paper doilies onto them. Get creative!
Squash Bird Feeder
Cut any squash in half, dig out the seeds, and fill the middle up with birdseed. If you’re crafty, you can create a simple macrame hanger out of twine to hang it, or you could slice the bottom flat and set the feeder on a flat surface. Don’t be surprised if the local squirrels love your fancy feeder as much as your feathered friends do!
Succulent Pumpkin Planter
You can even use a pumpkin to create a striking succulent centerpiece for seasonal decorating. You’ll need a glue gun, decorative moss, and a variety of succulents or air plants. Glue a good layer of moss to the top of your pumpkin, then start adding succulents. (You may find it easier if you chop off the stem.) A little dab of hot glue on the stem of a succulent won’t hurt it. You can even add other seasonal home decor items like acorns, other mini gourds, or mini dried Indian corn. Once you get tired of the display, or if the squash is starting to decay, you can simply cut your succulents free and plant them into a planter.
Ready to get crafty? Stop by our garden center in Bettendorf soon to pick up a few gourds and let your imagination run wild. Don’t forget to save all the seeds to roast up a delicious after-craft snack!