More pumpkin! Making the most of healthy fall foods

Tasty tips to make the most of punkin’ season . . .

(U.S. News & World Report) 

More pumpkin!

Pumpkin is a great source of beta-carotene, which is important for eye and lung health. In addition, pumpkin is high in fiber. If you have leftover pumpkin, freeze it in ice cube trays and use the pumpkin cubes in smoothies, or add it to sauces, soups or stews.

Canned pumpkin is a healthy, convenient alternative to scooping out pumpkin flesh from the vegetable itself.

And it’s not just for pie, but can be added to oats, muffins, pancakes, quick breads, sauces, soups and stews.

RELATED: Purple Potatoes Prevent Polyps?

Try dried.

Plums may be out of season, but dried plums (prunes) are always in. Eaten alone, they are sweet and chewy, and added to vegetable dishes, muffins, quick breads, salads, stuffing and oatmeal, they can make a dish shine. Pureed, they can replace some of the fat and sugar in baked goods like brownies, muffins, pancakes and even smoothies.

Eating five to six prunes a day may help support healthy bones in part due to the fact that prunes contain copper, polyphenols, boron and vitamin K. You may associate prunes with regularity, and indeed that is true. Prunes are naturally high in sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that can have a laxative effect and help maintain good digestive health.

Dried tomatoes, too, can be added to a pesto, pureed in a bean dip or sauteed and added to pasta to bring umami and chewiness to your dishes.

Heat it up.

Summer may have called for salads and quinoa bowls, but nothing beats a flavor-filled fall bowl of vegetable soup made with stock, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, celery and carrots. Chili can be served alone, with cornbread or over a baked potato. The good news with soup, stews or chili is that it takes the same amount of time to make a little or a lot.

If you want to be adventurous, divide the recipe into thirds and season each one a little differently. Chili, for instance, can be spiced up with cocoa powder and chipotle, with cumin and chili powder, or with Tabasco, jalapeno pepper and garlic. Three different tastes out of one recipe.

READ THE FULL STORY AT USNEWS.COM. Also of interest: A Whole New Reason We LOVE Pumpkin