Dale Schank is known for many things.

She’s toured as a professional singer and held regular gigs at some of the area’s premier venues. For decades, she helped outfit area women for their big day in wedding or prom gowns as co-owner of Head-To-Toe in Dunmore. Schank raised five children and spends as much quality time as she can with her 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

The North Pocono woman also is an amazing cook, and anything she creates, she does it big.

This includes her recipe for Barbecued Pumpkins, a fall-inspired take on a barbecue meatloaf recipe that’s been a favorite in her family, complete with homemade sauce, which earned her a $50 grocery gift card from Riccardo’s Market, 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore.

What sets Schank’s recipe apart is the presentation; the meatloaf is in rounded, bite-sized shapes and covered in orange cornmeal to look like pumpkins.

“I didn’t want to make something that anybody could open up a book or go on Pinterest and make themselves,” she said during a recent afternoon inside the Daleville home she shared with her late husband, Fred. “I wanted to make something totally unique. So I made this up.”

She used celery stalk to make little stems and attached the leaves with a corn starch mixture. Schank advised that cooks can use chicken, beef or pork and, to yield the ideal consistency for the cornmeal coating, cooks should blend red and yellow cornmeal in a food processor on low. Schank advises that the cornmeal mixture will look brighter a brighter orange in the processor than when on final product. They should adjust the color to their preference.

For those who don’t want to create pumpkins, they can just use the meatloaf recipe, Schank said.

“But the fact that they’re little pumpkins, that’s the best part,” she said, laughing.

The pumpkins were just as delicious as they were fun to look at, and they would make a perfect appetizer at your next fall party. Local Flavor has tasted its fair share of meatloaf recipes but Schank’s is definitely one of the best. The outside was lightly crispy while the inside held tons of great flavor. The texture was perfectly moist and paired ideally with the homemade zesty, sweet barbecue sauce.

“I love to cook. It’s relaxing to me, and I really enjoy it,” she said. “It’s art form to me.”

Her other most popular dishes include a beef tenderloin recipe topped with homemade brown mushroom gravy; a creamy seafood soup and a crab stuffed flounder with cream dill sauce. She bakes just about anything, too, including all types of pies, with apple and blueberry being crowd-pleasers. Schank switches off hosting holiday parties with her ex-husband, Carlo Scotch III, though she’s always ready to entertain.

With all the titles she’s held in her life and all of her journeys, her most favorite experience is spending time with her family.
“I love my grandchildren. I have the best family,” she said. “I don’t know what I would do without them.”


Dale Schank’s Barbecued Pumpkins

1/2 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons mustard
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 medium sized eggs
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 onion soup mix, crushed
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 pounds ground meat (Schank uses beef)
McCormick’s Cracker Meal (enough to coat meatballs)
Red and yellow food coloring
Celery stalk (for garnish)

Mix ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, eggs, black pepper, brown sugar and onion soup mix in bowl. Add bread crumbs. Add meat and mix form into medium to small meatballs. Push dimple in each top. Set aside. Blend McCormick’s Cracker Meal in blender on low setting; add red and yellow food coloring, a little at a time, until desired color is achieved. Roll meatballs in cracker meal. Then place small celery stalk in dimple. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

For edible glue:

1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons white karo syrup
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Celery leaves (for garnish)

Mix together corn starch with cold water. Add white karo syrup and white vinegar. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Dot glue on cooked meatball, and stick celery leaf to glue to make pumpkin more realistic.

For barbecue sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons mustard
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix ingredients together and warm up over medium-low heat. Serve sauce warm with meatballs.