My neighbors know I like pumpkin. Last year I told them I'd give them one bottle of home-made pumpkin pie filling if I could have their jack-o-lanterns when they were done with them on Halloween night.
This year I still have pie filling left from last year, so I didn't go pumpkin gathering. But I did take our own jack-o-lanterns and turn them into a different tasty treat. Pumpkin Casserole.
Here's the recipe:
1 medium pumpkin (or two butternut squash), cooked, peeled, and mashed, about 4 cups
1 cup white sauce OR 1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup diced ham
1/4 lb saltine crackers, coarsely crushed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
If you use a left-over jack-o-lantern, carefully scrape out any smoke spots or candle wax drips.
To cook the pumpkin I've used various methods. I've cut it up and put it in the crock pot. I've roasted it whole in the oven. This year I cut it in half and microwaved it, six minutes at a time, until it was tender and the peel came off easily. That didn't heat up the kitchen at all, which is very important in Hawaii, even in November! I always peel the pumpkin after I cook it. It's easier that way.
To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and cook and stir until bubbly. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the salt, and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the white sauce with four cups of pumpkin, then stir in the diced ham. Spread the mixture in a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the crackers on top and bake for 30 minutes.