Here's my afternoon in pictures:
I tackled cooking a fresh pumpkin for the first time.
I'd read somewhere that the smaller ones are best for eating, and have more flesh per pound inside, so I bought a small-ish (4.5 lb) "pie pumpkin". After washing it, the first task to was cut it in half. I expected it to be similar to cutting into a watermelon, but it was much harder than that--a tip I forgot 'till afterwards--microwaving for a minute or two will sometimes soften them up a bit.
The inside looked just as I was expecting--seeds and fibrous stuff. I was not expecting to be so hard to get out--I thought it would be like a cantaloupe, where the seeds and stuff just kind of slide out...
The next step is to put the pieces cut side down on a baking sheet with an edge--'cause the juice does run out a bit. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour...
You can press on the rind with the back of a spoon to be sure it's soft. (Please don't look at the state of my oven--note to self--add Easy Off to my grocery list)
After the pumpkin was done, I took the seeds, which I had rinsed and allowed to dry for awhile, and roasted them in a slower over for about 45-50 minutes. I added a tablespoon of butter and little salt and stirred them around a bit after the butter melted. I stirred them about every 15 minutes while they were cooking, then at the end I sprinkled about a tablespoon of sugar and some pumpkin pie spice and stirred them up, then let them cool down. They're good, they taste a little like kettle corn with the sweet and salty.
Overall, it was a fun experience, although a little more labor intensive than I realized to remove those insides! Money wise, I'm not sure it was any cheaper to do this than to buy the canned stuff--$3.49 ($.78/lb) yielded a quart of mashed pumpkin and about a cup of seeds. I'll have to do some comparison pricing to see what I find on that! Someday when we can actually live in our little house in the country I'd like to try my hand at growing a few--getting the pumpkins for free would make it well worth the investment of time and effort--otherwise, I'm not so sure.
Some of this will be used in a pie, hopefully tomorrow, and some will be frozen to make pumpkin bread a little closer to the holidays.
While the pumpkin was baking, I put some chicken on to cook--these are boneless, skinless thighs, which I buy at Sam's Club. They are just as easy and convenient to use as boneless skinless breasts, but less expensive and I think tastier. I've done this before with leg quarters that I buy on sale, this just happens to be what I have on hand right now.
Add whatever seasonings you like, bring to a boil, then reduce heat slightly, cover and simmer 'till the chicken is cooked all the way through. Once the chicken was thoroughly cooked, I removed it from the heat and let it cool for awhile...
...then removed the chicken and diced it up. This yielded about 4 1/2 cups of diced chicken, some of which I used to make a chicken pasta dish for supper, and the rest I froze.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment of freezer cooking/baking day.
Until then, good cooking, and good eating!