How to- Dinner in a Pumpkin   1 comment

So I’m all for trying exciting, festive things for the holidays. You know, I want to be that cool mom who makes cool stuff… so I might as well start now.

A while ago I found this recipe and figured this would be great for Halloween. Althought, honestly it would look pretty cool on a Thanksgiving table too!

The whole idea is that you cook your dinner inside the pumpkin (using the oven obviously) and you have both a yummy dinner and a cool display!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice

LA helping pick out our dinner pumpkin!

Now, while reading the comments I found three things that seemed relevant. Some people advised against using the green beans at all…. so we omitted them. Others reminded that you really must use instant rice or it might not cook all the way…. I used instant brown rice. And I didn’t see any reason to use tomato juice and put in italian seasoning when I could just use spaghetti sauce.

I’ll walk you through the steps with any variations I made and how it worked out for us 🙂

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)…. easy
     2. Wash pumpkin, cut off top, scrape out seeds and discard.

           Always a fun, messy job…. if your kids are old enough this is best their job. I saved the seeds for yumminess later.

      3. Next place hamburger in a large, deep skillet. Crumble and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain fat, add onion and garlic; saute slightly.
       I bought lean ground beef and avoided the whole draining thing.


4. Add sugar, Italian herbs, salt, pepper, tomato juice and rice; mix thoroughly. I used spaghetti sauce… in retrospect I might have used a bit more. But I like things saucy 😉

5. Layer inside of pumpkin with 1/3 of cabbage, green beans and beef and rice mixture. Repeat layers, replace lid and bake for 2 to 3 hours.

Here it goes all stuffed….

And going in the oven!

Next step… wait and wait and wait!!! I used this time to make a really yummy apple streudal cheesecake dessert, corral a 1 year old and attempt to straighten my house for company.

Voila it was done!

I did not really shred my cabbage and I feel I should have. Some of the cabbage was a bit firmer than it should have been. I also think green beans would have been fine but perhaps INSTEAD of cabbage. My other thought was that I only baked it for 2 hours and I think the rice could have used a bit more cooking.

Everyone really enjoyed it… even the baked pumpking was delicate and lovely. It didn’t taste “pumpkin-y” at all…. It got us talking about variations you could do. Vegetable Stoup. Turkey and white beans. Sweet turkey sausage, apples, rice and sauce…. all sorts of things.

Oh and we did discuss how if you were really good at that half carving thing you could probably decorate it before you bake it… although I might worry about the structural integrity of the cooked pumpkin. BUT you could give your kids a sharpie and let them go to town before it’s cooked 🙂

AND I was thinking that using pasta instead of rice might make for an interesting ghoulish visual when you scoop it out… especially if the pumpkin is decorated like a head! 🙂

It makes for a very cool presentation and I look forward to making it again next year for Halloween!!!! Maybe next year LA will eat more of it… she was only interested in the corn on the cob!
Happy Halloween!


Posted October 29, 2011 by etainl in Arts & Crafts, Celebrations and Milestones, Food, How To

One response to “How to- Dinner in a Pumpkin

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  1. that is such a great idea! i love it! thanks for sharing 🙂

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