Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dinner in a Pumpkin!

Hello!  Thanks for stopping by and seeing what is new.  Today, with Halloween almost upon us, I wanted to share a recipe that has been a family tradition for us for almost 30 years.  Even today, my adult children who are nearby ask if I am going to make the pumpkin dinner on Halloween!
When my children were young, I made this dinner so it was ready before they were heading out to Trick or Treat.  They had to have a good dinner before rounding up all that candy!  I served the Dinner in a Pumpkin, green beans and an Orange Jello Salad before the kids set out with Dad (usually, I got to hand out candy and stay home with the baby).  I never had a problem getting them to eat this delicious meal.  What is a plus also is the "dinner" is cooked in the pumpkin in the oven and you can scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin for added nutrition and fiber, too.  

First, you want to select a small to medium-sized pumpkin--I always used a medium-sized as I had several kids to feed at once.  Make a "lid" by cutting off the top of the pumpkin (yeah, just like when you cut your Jack O'Lantern) and then scoop all the seeds and fibrous material out.  I rinse my pumpkin out at that time, just because I am weird, I suppose, plus it gets any odd stringy parts out, too.
Next, paint with acrylic paints or a Sharpie a face or design on your pumpkin.  You don't have to but this was always a highlight for our family.  The above face was done today by my son Eric using my Sharpies and even a chalk marker (the blue).  The acrylic paint or a permanent marker will stand up to the heat in the oven.
Here are the ingredients for the Dinner in the Pumpkin:
Pumpkin as above
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 or 2 four ounce cans of sliced mushrooms, drained
1 can cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 oz.)
1 1/2 to 2 cups COOKED rice
1 eight ounce can water chestnuts, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large skillet, saute onions in small amount vegetable oil.  Add ground beef and brown.  Drain fat from meat or rinse with water and return to skillet.  Add soy sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms, and soup--simmer all for 10 minutes.  Add cooked rice and water chestnuts and stir to mix.  Spoon all into clean pumpkin shell.  Place lid on top and place pumpkin on foil-covered baking sheet, place in oven and bake for approximately one hour or until the "meat" of the pumpkin is tender and can be scooped out.

I don't have a photo of the actual dinner itself--I have never taken a photo of our dinner before lol.  Take my word for it (and that of my husband and my seven children) that it is a great dinner and so tasty.   As a bonus, here is the recipe for the yummy Jello salad that I serve with it:
Orange Jello Salad
One 9 ounce container Cool Whip
One 3 ounce package orange Jello, DRY
One small can mandarin orange sections, drained
One cup cottage cheese
2 cups miniature marshmallows
Lightly fold all ingredients in, chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Happy Halloween to all!
Guest hosting at Turn It Up Tuesday!

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