Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dinner in a Pumpkin

This past weekend, I tried a new recipe for a casserole baked in a pumpkin. Here is my modification of this recipe from allrecipes.com. Basically, I adjusted the quantities so I could cook one serving for myself in a pie pumpkin and freeze 2 more meals' worth for use in the future with pie pumpkins or some other form of squash.

Dinner in a Pumpkin

1 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 14-oz. can chicken stock
1 box of Uncle Ben's long grain and wild rice mix, Original Recipe, including seasoning packet
1 10.75-oz. can condensed cream of celery soup
6 oz. fresh mushrooms
3-4 pie pumpkins

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef. Drain. 

Mix in salt and pepper, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, chicken stock, rice, and flavor packet. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, until rice is tender.

Remove and reserve top of each pumpkin, being sure to cut at an angle so the top will work as a lid. Scoop out seeds and stringy pulp.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  

Mix cream of celery soup and mushrooms into the meat and rice mixture. Spoon 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the mixture into each of the pumpkins, and replace pumpkin tops. You will have about 5 cups of beef/rice filling.

Place pumpkins on a large baking sheet, and bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until pumpkin is tender (after 30 minutes, check every 10 minutes. If you're only cooking only one pie pumpkin, 40-45 minutes should be long enough).

Serve in the pumpkins, eating the meat of the pumpkin as well as the beef and rice filling.

Alternate version if you're just cooking for one: Just prepare one pie pumpkin, scoop the rest of the filling into 2-3 zip bags, and throw them in the freezer for future meals. 

Next time I make it, I will probably add some fresh celery (or at least dried celery seed) and garlic.

Before going in the oven.
With the filling inside.
Leftover filling ready to go into the freezer.
All gone!
I felt the need to get artistic with the empty pumpkin.

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