Monday, January 23, 2017

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp
Inspired by

  • 4-6 small pumpkins, about 4" in diameter
  • 1 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (we used baby bella)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Salt and pepper (I do about 1 tsp each)
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme 
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (we used low sodium)
  • 4 cups cooked rice, white or brown

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry the outside of the pumpkins.
  • Cut the top off the pumpkins and clean out the pulp and seeds. Place the pumpkins on the baking sheet. Save the tops.
  • In a large skillet, sauté onion and mushrooms in oil or butter. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain the grease from the beef. Add salt, pepper and thyme.
  • In a large bowl, mix soup, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Add ground beef mixture and cooked rice.
  • Empty bowl into the cleaned out pumpkin and replace pumpkin top.
  • Bake for 1 hour on the lower rack of the oven, or on the rack where the pumpkins can be most centered in the oven.
  • After 1 hour, remove the tops and check the sides of the pumpkins for doneness. The outside of the pumpkins will turn a dark orange, and the inside of the pumpkins should be tender and easily scoop off the sides with a spoon. If the inside of the pumpkin is still not fully cooked, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the pumpkin. Sometimes I've cooked the pumpkin as long as an hour and a half before it is ready. 
  • Using hot pads, place the pumpkin onto a serving plate, remove the lid, and stir. Be sure to scoop off chunks of cooked pumpkin into the casserole as it is served. That's the best part!
Notes: The original recipe was not for smaller pumpkins but I thought they were more fun in these individual serving sizes.  Also, instead of making the stuffing and then baking it in the pumpkins, I baked the pumpkins while I made the stuffing to save on time.  When everything was cooked, I put the stuffing in the pumpkins and thought they tasted great. Originally, this recipe also called for water chestnuts but we left those out. I think shredded carrots would probably be a good addition. 

One-Bowl Chocolate & Orange Cake


  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 Tbsp.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (such as Guittard or Droste), sifted if lumpy
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Large pinch ground cloves
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • Powdered sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom and sides of one 9×2-inch round cake pan with baking spray. Line the bottom of the cake pan with a circle of parchment paper. Spray parchment with baking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl stir together the 1¼ cups flour, the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, and ½ tsp. salt. Add melted butter, eggs, orange zest and juice, buttermilk, and vanilla; whisk the mixture until batter is smooth. Toss chocolate chips with remaining 1 Tbsp. flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold chocolate chips into the batter. Transfer batter to the prepared cake pan.
  • Bake about 1 hour or until the cake is firm to the touch. Cool in pan on wire rack. Run a table knife around edge of pan. Invert (you might need to give the pan a little whack). Peel off parchment; invert cake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Each serving 439 cal, 21 g fat, 79 mg chol, 344 mg sodium, 64 g carb, 4 g fiber, 7 g pro.
Notes: I saw this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens and made it in Jan 2017.  It was really good but I think the next day it was better because the orange taste was stronger.  Also - using parchment paper is a good idea as the directions indicate because it really does help it not stick to the pan. I thought it would have been good with some candied oranges on the top or something colorful. 
The directions above are from this website but I am pretty sure they are referencing the BHG recipe.