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Ahhh – Autumn – Pumpkins & Onions by Johanna Hicks

Ahhh – Autumn – Pumpkins & Onions by Johanna Hicks
  • PublishedOctober 20, 2017

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Greetings from Omaha, Nebraska!  As I prepare this week’s column, I’m enjoying the cool temperatures on the second day of the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences conference.  It has been an adventurous trip, but I won’t go into that for now.  However, the cooler temperatures have inspired me to share a recipe from Extension’s “Dinner Tonight” website.  I hope you will try this recipe as a main dish!

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

  • 12 ounces bow tie pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped coarsely
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped


1)      Cook pasta according to package directions.

2)      In a large skillet, heat olive oil.  Add garlic and stir.  Add mushrooms and stir until softened.

3)      Add milk and cream cheese; stir until cream cheese is melted.

4)      Stir in pumpkin and spices until well combined.  Heat thoroughly.

5)      Add pasta and stir until pasta is coated.  Serve immediately.

This recipe makes 6 servings.  Each serving has 340 calories, 8 grams total fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 370 mg sodium.


Onion Differences are More than Skin Deep

Have you ever wondered about the difference in onions, other than the color?  Actually, each variety has a slightly different flavor and works best in different types of dishes.  If you’re in the habit of snagging the cheapest onion at the store, the following information from will help you use the best onion for the best flavor:

Yellow Onion:  The yellow onion has the strongest flavor out of all onion types.  For most dishes, the yellow onion is the best choice, especially if you want to try caramelizing since it is high in natural sugars.

Red Onion:  The red onion tastes best uncooked.  It is popular on most burgers and sandwiches when you eat out.  You can also chop it up for a salad.  The red onion has less sugar than the yellow onion and contains antioxidants that may help prevent cancer.

White Onion:  The white onion is your best bet for a little crunch.  Use this onion in dishes where you want a little more texture.  You’ll find this onion on pizza and in Mexican dishes.  It has anti-inflammatory properties.

Sweet Onion:  A sweet onion looks a bit like a yellow onion, but the peel is more orange than yellow.  Walla Wall and Vadalias are sweet onions.  The flavor is mold, so you can eat them raw.  The high water content makes this a great option for salsas.

Green Onion:  These are easy to tell apart from other onions because they are tall and green.  These can be cooked, but they’re commonly served raw.  The green onion is actually the stalk of a bulb onion plant, so don’t hesitate to dice the whole thing when cooking.

Shallot:  Shallots are small almond-shaped onions with a golden-pink colored peel.  This type of onion is sweeter and milk, so it works well raw in salads or as an additive in salad dressings.  The shallot costs more than other onions.  To chop a shallot, slice off the ends and remove the peel.  Dice as you please.

So, there you have it!  All onions are not created the same, so enjoy experimenting with your favorite recipes to come up with the perfect combination!


Fall Festival Creative Arts Contest Reminder

The 2017 Hopkins County Fall Festival is upon us!  I invite you to enter something in the Creative Arts Contest.  We hope to surpass 300 entries this year.  Here are a few  reminders:

–          A list of categories can be picked up at the Extension Office, or found on the Hopkins County Fall Festival website or at  Click on publications.

–          Items will be accepted at the Sulphur Springs High School Conference Center, Thursday, October 26 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., or Friday, October 27, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.  If these times are not possible, you may bring them to the Extension Office Monday thru Wednesday, October 23 thru 25, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

–          There are entry categories for children, youth, adults, and older Texans.  Entries are limited to Hopkins County residents due to limited display space.

–          Entries will be judged on Friday, October 27, and open for public display that afternoon, from approximately 1:30 p.m.  to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

–          Best of Show winners’ pictures (purple rosettes) will be taken at 1:30 on Saturday, October 28, after which all entries may be picked up.

Be sure to check requirements for each entry category.


Closing Thought

Enjoy the simple joys in life, because they soon become the calming factors in a complicated life!



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