One of my favorite traditions during this time of year is to serve Dinner in a Pumpkin. Kids love the idea of it first off……….and once they taste the mixture inside, they are just as wowed with the flavors as the adults are. I’ve even had people say they couldn’t even eat ANY squash come away from the table a true convert!
If you’re lucky enough to have your own pumpkin patch, go out back and bring in one that’s the size of a large serving dish. Otherwise, start at your local grocery store!
Dinner In A Pumpkin
- 1 medium pumpkin (needs to be at least the size the ingredients listed here….and it has to fit in your oven!)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 (4 ounce) cans sliced mushrooms
- 1 (15 ounce) can cream of chicken soup (I make my own from the cream of anything soup mix you can find on the net)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked rice ( fine to use leftover rice from the night before, makes this lots quicker)
- 1 (8 ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts
- Wash the outside of the pumpkin, then cut off the top and clean out the inside, removing all the seeds and the pulp. Set aside until you get the filling combined & cooked. If you feel like cleaning up the seeds, they can be seasoned & roasted for a yummy snack.
– In a large skillet sauté onions in vegetable oil until tender. Add meat and brown. Drain the drippings from the skillet
– Add soy sauce, mushrooms,brown sugar and soup. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
– Add cooked rice and water chestnuts. Then, spoon the entire mixture inside the pumpkin. Place onto a greased baking sheet. I usually bake the top for 15 minutes at the end, then sit it on the side of the pumpkin when serving.
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 1 hour or until inside meat of the pumpkin is tender.
Be cautious when removing the pumpkin from the oven. I usually just serve from the baking sheet, as sometimes, the hollowed pumpkin gets very soft when it is cooked, and the moving it to a platter business doesn’t bode well.
Any leftovers are terrific the next day! I try to clean out the pumpkin/meat mixture right after dinner, cover & refrigerate. The pumpkin skin & top will be all that’s left; toss to the chickens or the compost pile.