Suggested Holiday Recipes for Cancer Patientspumpkin

It can be a challenge to cook healthy meals that are easy to eat around the holidays if you are undergoing treatment for cancer of the head and neck. Try a few of our favorite time-saving recipes that your whole family will enjoy.

Winter Pumpkin Pasta Bake

This is true comfort food. It combines a favorite winter vegetable, pumpkin, with the idea of mac n’ cheese. It is so easy to make, it requires virtually no effort, a bonus if you are fatigued from cancer treatment. It’s time to get cooking.


  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the box instructions. Once cooked, drain and place back in pot. Toss with olive oil.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin puree, milk, gruyere cheese, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Fold in the pasta until everything is combined
  4. Pour the pasta mixture into a greased baking dish. Top with parmesan cheese and bake for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the middle is warm.


 Pumpkin Pancakes

In the fall pumpkin pancakes are one of my favorite Sunday morning breakfasts. Not only are they super easy to make, they bring all the deliciousness of Thanksgiving to the breakfast table along with a nutrition profile that makes them sound more like a multi vitamin than a breakfast treat. Just from the pumpkin alone you’ll get vitamins A, K, E & C, minerals iron, copper, manganese and potassium not to mention lots of fiber. The whole grains are not only rich in minerals but the B complex vitamins thiamin, niacin, B6 to name but a few.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 4 Tablespoons canola oil, plus more for greasing griddle
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-15oz can pumpkin puree
  • Maple Syrup for serving


  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, buttermilk, canola oil, eggs, and pumpkin puree. Whisk together ingredients until smooth.
  2. Heat an oiled griddle pan on medium heat. Portion the pancakes using a ¼ cup measuring cup onto the hot pan.
  3. Cook until bubbles form on the sides of each, then turn over and cook until golden brown. Cook the rest of the batter in batches.
  4. Serve with maple syrup

Pumpkin Pudding with Cinnamon Yogurt

If you are feeling tired from treatment and need a comforting yet tasty treat, this is just what the doctor ordered. It’s simple, nutritious, and easy to make and eat. Plus you can use the yogurt topping to jazz up a dish of applesauce or oatmeal too.


  • 2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup non-fat milk
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. In a double broiler, combine flour, salt, sugar and milk. Stir constantly with wire whisk until it has thickened. Cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add egg yolk. Stir to blend and cook for 1 minute more.
  2. Remove the pan from heat and add the pumpkin. Mix until well blended. Let cool. Refrigerate until pudding has set, about 1 hour.
  3. In a small bowl mix together Greek yogurt, honey and cinnamon. When ready to serve place a dollop of cinnamon yogurt on each portion.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

This is a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit at breakfast time, not to mention a whole load of cancer fighting nutrients too. This is a perfect recipe for almost any stage of treatment and tastes so very good. Enjoy!


  • ½ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1½ cups regular, almond milk or soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped roasted pecans or walnuts
  • Maple syrup


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin puree, milk, raisins, pumpkin pie spice and salt until smooth. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the oatmeal, then turn down the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oats are tender, about 8 minutes.
  3. Serve topped with pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup.


For additional recipes for cancer patients to try, go to .

If you or a loved one has a favorite recipe that those going through cancer treatment might enjoy, please feel free to let our office staff know so we can spread the word!



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