Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

These Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs are a fun topping to a garlicky, buttery base of spaghetti squash. Though this dish takes awhile to prepare, it’s totally worth it!

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash | thepajamachef.com

I don’t know about you, but I’m on a quest to eat as much pumpkin in the next three months as possible. It’s my goal to make/blog about at least one pumpkin dish per week! We’ll see how I do. :) So first…I have a confession to make. I made this dish last year. In fact, it was one of the first new recipes I made in our new Nashville kitchen after we moved here last year. And it just didn’t make it on the blog. Oooops! Moving to a new state and starting a new job kinda takes a lot of time. :) But despite the length of time between eating this dish and sharing it here, I think it’s utterly fabulous! Most people think of pumpkin as a sweet ingredient [helllooo pumpkin pie, cookies, bread, muffins, yada yada yada] but I love it when used at dinnertime. Though pumpkin by itself is actually a little bland, it can add some color, moisture, and substance to sauces, meatballs, or soups when used in a savory sense.  This was my first time using pumpkin in meatballs and I must say I’m super impressed! These meatballs were sooo flavorful and indulgent… if meatballs can be indulgent, haha.

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash | thepajamachef.com

And don’t forget about the spaghetti squash! It’s garlicky and buttery and just plain perfect. It was Ben’s first taste of spaghetti squash and he loved it… especially because of the bacon. Everything’s better with bacon, right? Even pumpkin! With this dish you’ll certainly have one of the more unique ways to enjoy pumpkin. And it’s awesome! Hope you enjoyyy!

one year ago: Autumnal Muffins
two years ago: Peach Raspberry Clafouti
three years ago: Peach Shortbread
four years ago: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 2 hours, most of that not active so don't freak out
  • Print

from We are not Martha

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound ground chicken [ground turkey would also work too]
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Star Fine Foods Butter Olive Oil – or regular butter or olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully poke holes all over the spaghetti squash with a sharp knife. Place in a baking dish and bake for 80 minutes, rotating halfway through.

While spaghetti squash is cooking, prepare meatballs. In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken, pumpkin, ginger, thyme, panko, parmesan, and egg. Scoop mixture into golfball-sized balls and place in a baking dish that has been greased with cooking spray. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and crisp on the outside. [Hint: put the meatballs in the oven after the squash has cooked for about 65 or 70 minutes--that'll be good timing so everything is finished about the same time.]

After 80 minutes, remove squash from oven and let cool.

When cool enough to touch, carefully cut in half. Scoop seeds out, then use a fork to remove the “spaghetti” and set aside.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, add olive oil and cook garlic for one minute. Add squash, sage, and crumbled bacon, then cook for about 3 minutes until tender.

Serve meatballs over spaghetti squash with parmesan on top.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friends Friday.

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Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

This pumpkin pie spice is the perfect seasoning for all of your fall baking. Be sure to check out my secret ingredient that gives it a special POP. :)

Pumpkin Pie Spice | thepajamachef.com

Before last fall, I swore by store-bought pumpkin pie spice. Specifically, from Trader Joe’s. But then I ran out and didn’t have time to drive across town to my friend the Trader. Soooo I made my own. Let me confess, I was scared I wouldn’t like it. But guess what! I did. And now I won’t go back to the store-bought stuff.

Pumpkin Pie Spice | thepajamachef.com

My special blend of pumpkin pie spice has all the usual suspects–cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger… and when you’re measuring them, it smells like the essence of fall in your kitchen. Nothin’ better! I’ve spent some times playing around with the ratios of spices and have deemed this recipe my favorite for now. :) But wait… there’s more! I added a lil secret ingredient to give this pumpkin pie spice blend a special pop, a little wow, a big bang, a bunch of deliciousness to all your pumpkin goodies: dried lemon peel! It’s just a tiny amount in the grand scheme of this spice blend, but it adds some citrusy zing that elevates the flavor so much. I will tell you that my buddy the Trader did add lemon peel to his pumpkin pie spice first, but I’m glad I could capitalize on that success. Thank goodness for ingredient labels! :) You can find dried lemon peel in the spice aisle, but I will warn you it’s a little pricier than most spices. However, a little goes a long way so it will last. If you have cardamom I’m sure that would be a good addition too.

Pumpkin Pie Spice | thepajamachef.com

I keep this pumpkin pie spice in a small mason jar in my spice cupboard all year long and add it to anything and everything that can use some fall spice love: pumpkin quick breads and desserts of every kind, of course, but also oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce, and even on toast [a la cinnamon toast]. Some of my favorite pumpkin recipes include: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins, Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting, and Pumpkin Brownies. To see all my pumpkin recipes, click here. I’ll be adding many more this fall so stay tuned! You’ll want a jar of this stuff in your pantry to enjoy the deliciousness. :)

one year ago: Pumpkin Coconut Soup
two years ago: Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
three years ago: Pumpkin Granola
four years ago: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon allspice
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.

Use in anything and everything this fall–breads, pies, muffins, cakes… yogurt, applesauce… the possibilities are endless!

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup

Updated March 30, 2014… so today, I was looking through some blog pics and realized I made a terrible error! The soup that had been pictured here was NOT this wonderful Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup, but rather a Minty Tomato Soup. Whoops! Somehow I mixed up my labels. Sorry about that! This soup is still delish no matter how it looks, but I wanted to come back and make it right with you. :) Forgive me? 

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup | thepajamachef.com

I hope you’re okay with another soup recipe this late in March! If you aren’t, look away. But be forewarned: you’ll miss some awesome soup. It was snowing in Nashville yesterday [not enough to stick, but still], so soup is entirely justified I think!

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup | thepajamachef.com

Earlier in the year, my mom texted me a picture of her dinner: a delightful orange-y colored soup. I asked for the recipe and received a text with a picture of the recipe, which I immediately made for lunch the next day. Yay for iPhones and technology! :) That soup is the one before your very eyes now… a creamy, flavorful, filling Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup. I’ve made plenty of black bean and pumpkin soups in my day–but never together, and never this good. The soup is a cinch to throw together and definitely gets better as it sits. With just a hint of spice and a bit of sweetness, this soup is unlike any I have ever tasted. Next time I make it I will be sure to stock up on sour cream, green onions, and pumpkin seeds because the [unpictured] toppings are the very best part! Enjoy!

one year ago: Roasted Chickpea, Carrot, & Radish Salad with Lemon-Dijon Dressing
two years ago: Cinnamon Curry Tuna Wraps
three years ago: Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup [slightly adapted from a magazine via my mom]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil [STAR Fine Foods Grilling Cuisine Cooking Oil is what I used; extra virgin would also work]
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded [optional]
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups chicken [or vegetable] broth
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons molasses or bourbon [optional]
  • sour cream, for topping
  • sliced green onions, for topping
  • pumpkin seeds, for topping

Directions:

In a food processor, combine black beans, tomatoes, and spinach. Process until smooth.

In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium. Add onions and jalapeno [if using] and cook until soft. Add garlic and cumin and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Then stir in broth, pumpkin, vinegar, and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in molasses if using, then serve with sour cream, green onions, and pumpkin seeds as desired.

Time: 35 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 8 servings [about 2 quarts]

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls

Last week, I texted Ben randomly during the day at work and asked if he wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner a little bit early. As I expected, he was ALL in. So this weekend, we got to cookin’, and had ourselves a delicious feast on Sunday afternoon. Turkey, chipotle-cilantro mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, mixed vegetables mornay, pumpkin cloverleaf rolls, and harvest pear crisp with candied ginger. It was GLORIOUS! For my dream meal I would have had stuffing too–but Ben doesn’t like it, and I couldn’t find the kind of bread I wanted, so that didn’t happen, but everything else was divine and I can’t wait to share the recipes with you this week! So, I officially declare this to be THANKSGIVING WEEK on the blog and I will do my absolute best to post all five new recipes this week. I’ve already shared my cranberry sauce before so I won’t repeat that… but just because it is old doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying! :)

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls | thepajamachef.com

I had a hard time deciding what to share first, so I just picked my absolute favorite thing… bread. Ahh, delicious carbs! :) With pumpkin too! Doubly good, huh? I seriously am not sure if there is anything I could love more than soft, pillowy rolls, warm out of the oven with just a touch of butter.

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls | thepajamachef.com

I made the dough for these rolls in my bread maker. If you don’t have a bread maker, definitely consider investing in one if you have the space. I bought mine from a Craigslist post for $20. It was a wedding gift that had never been used, so that couple’s loss was our gain! I am not a huge fan of how bread bakes in it, but it is super convenient for preparing dough while you are doing other things, like pulling together a huge meal for two people just for the heck of it.

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls | thepajamachef.com

Please don’t judge how these Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls were shaped. It takes a time or two [or four] to get the hang of shaping the balls, and I will warn you–the dough is really sticky, so use flour and/or cooking spray liberally. I read too late that cooking spray is better for shaping rolls than flour is because it won’t dry the dough out… so I will try that next time. Regardless of how the rolls are shaped, the taste will be out of this world!

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls | thepajamachef.com

The rolls are slightly sweet, with a delightful orange flavor. The flavor is really strong at first, but after a day it tones down a bit. But if orange isn’t your thing, feel free to leave that out and add a little bit of warm spice like cinnamon or nutmeg, some vanilla, or even something a little more savory like garlic powder.

Thanksgiving Meal | thepajamachef.com

Ben and I absolutely adored these rolls! I’m sure you didn’t need clarification on that, but for what it’s worth–they were great! I can’t wait to enjoy one for breakfast with some jam. Yum! As much as I would love to say that they were so amazing because they included pumpkin [aka my favorite thing about fall], I really don’t think that was it. They are just super soft, melt-in-your-mouth rolls. Even if you are scared of baking with yeast, try these rolls! In a bread maker, they are so simple and easy–almost foolproof. Since the dough is so sticky, I think it would be hard to knead this dough by hand, but you could try it in a stand mixer–just use these tips on converting the recipe. I hope you give these rolls a try for your Thanksgiving table! They’re so appropriate for the season. I know they will be my go-to for many years to come! Enjoy, and be sure to come back all week long for more Thanksgiving recipes. :)

one year ago: Pork, Apple, & Ginger Stir Fry
two years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bars
three years ago: Balsamic Roasted Chickpeas

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls [from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour [562 grams]
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast [1 package]

Directions:

Place ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. For me, it is: liquids and salt, dry ingredients, and yeast in a well.

Set bread machine on dough cycle. Grease two muffin tins with cooking spray.

When finished, turn dough out onto a floured surface. With floured hands, divide dough in half, then divide each piece in half again. You should have four pieces. Then divide each of those pieces in half again–making eight. Finally, divide in half again so you have 16 pieces.

Roll each piece into three equal sized balls. Gently place in a muffin cup, and repeat with remaining dough.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes, until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and then bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Time: 2 1/2 hours.
Yield: 16 rolls.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.

SRC: Pumpkin Graham Muffins

Pumpkin Graham Muffins are a fun twist on everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving pie! 
Pumpkin Graham Muffins | thepajamachef.com

I love muffins! I think I’ve said that about every single time I post a muffin recipe, but I really really do. I love that muffins can be healthy, indulgent, interesting. I love that muffins are so quick to make and that they can be enjoyed for a snack or breakfast or dessert. Yum yum yum. So when I found out that my Secret Recipe Club assignment for the month, the wonderful Kate of Food Babbles, had been an avid participant in Muffin Mondays, I immediately knew that I NEEDED to make a muffin recipe.

Kate is a mom to three and is always whipping up a new, creative concoction in the kitchen. Her photography is excellent, much like her taste in food. These Pumpkin Graham Muffins are no exception. They are basically pumpkin pie, muffinified! Is that a word? It is now! [Kate used the term 'muffinizied.' I like that one too!] Using graham crackers in muffins is a genius trick that I will definitely be stealing for the future. These muffins have a great texture and nutty taste that pairs wonderfully with pumpkin and a smattering of fall spices.

Pumpkin Graham Muffins | thepajamachef.com

The best part of the graham cracker goodness is in the crumb topping–just look at it! Yum yum yum. I couldn’t get enough of it, and neither could Ben. He gobbled his first one down in four bites, if that’s any indication of their deliciousness.

Pumpkin Graham Muffins | thepajamachef.com

Pumpkin Graham Muffins are a crowd pleaser, so I hope you try them soon. As a lasting testament to their greatness, I think my pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving will feature a graham cracker crust instead of my traditional all-butter crust. I am so excited to try it out because in my book, graham cracker + pumpkin = love. Thanks, Kate!

one year ago: Lemon Herb Eggs in Ciabatta 
two years ago: Candy Corn Pretzel Bites
three years ago: Pumpkin Ginger Bread

Pumpkin Graham Muffins [from Food Babbles]

click to print

Ingredients:

for the muffins

  • 2 cups flour [I used white whole wheat]
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • dash of cloves
  • 1 cup buttermilk [I used 1 cup skim milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice]
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin [not pumpkin pie filling]
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the topping

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin,oil, egg, and vanilla. Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full.

Stir together topping ingredients in a small bowl then distribute evenly on top of muffin batter.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 12 muffins.

Be sure to check out other recipes from other SRC members here today too! :)