Monday, October 31, 2011

Stuffed Pumpkin Dinner

Last November, I attended a dinner party thrown by some women at church for those who serve in the Primary program. As a Primary Sunday School teacher, I was lucky to be able to attend. The theme of the dinner was centered primarily around pumpkins... there were pumpkin dinner rolls and something else I had never seen before: "Dinner in a Pumpkin". The woman who cooked it said that she made it every Halloween for her family. It was one of the cutest ideas I had ever seen and I hadn't forgotten about it so I decided to attempt it this year for our Halloween dinner. Over the weekend, my husband and I took our 2-year-old to the local pumpkin patch and we picked out a pumpkin special for this meal. I then got home and looked all over the internet for recipes and they were all so different. Keeping in mind my husbands picky eating habits, I combined and edited a few of the recipes I found and this is what I came up with!

Stuffed Pumpkin Dinner

Recipe Source: Creation by Jenny, with inspiration from Marcie

1 medium pumpkin (5 ½ - 6 lbs.)
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 c. rice, cooked
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. cider vinegar

Wash the pumpkin and cut a 6” circle around the stem. Remove seeds and loose fibers. Place pumpkin in a large pot and fill about half way with boiling water. Add ½ tsp. salt, cover pot, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender but still holds its shape. Remove the pumpkin and drain well.

In a large skillet, cook the ground beef, onion, and bell pepper. Drain oil and place in large mixing bowl. Add cooked rice, tomato sauce, eggs, garlic, oregano, pepper, vinegar, and ½ tsp. salt. Mix well.

Spoon this mixture into the pumpkin, packing it down firmly. Replace the top of the pumpkin and place the pumpkin in a shallow baking pan. Put it in the oven and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

My husband (who HATES anything pumpkin) loved the dinner and also commented on the presentation of it. I also thought it turned out very well. I do wish I had cooked the pumpkin a bit longer in the pot on the stove to make the inside that much more tender to be able to scoop out and eat with the rice (because pumpkin IS a vegetable, you know... and we all could use more veggies in our diet). This will most definitely become a Halloween/Fall dinner in our family! Who knew... there are more to pumpkins than just pie.

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