If you are planning a Halloween dinner or just want to impress your family, look no further.
During my freshman year of college, my roommates and I needed to make dinner for a big group date we were planning. One of my roommates raved about this pumpkin dinner her family would make. It was early November, so pumpkin food sounded seasonal and fun. I enjoyed the meal well enough, but other than the visual “wow” factor, I wasn’t impressed with the food itself.
Despite the lack of flavor appeal, that meal stuck with me. I’ve made it around Halloween a few times. Each time, I’ve tried to improve the ingredients so the taste matches the visual impression. I think this recipe gets it right.
Pumpkin Dinner (Serves 8-10)
1 small(ish) pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 pound lean ground turkey (85/15 or better)
⅓ cup unpacked brown sugar
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 can low fat cream of chicken soup
1 cup low sodium beef broth
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
6 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
1 small zucchini, sliced
2 cans sliced water chestnuts, drained well
2 cups cooked brown rice
1. Preheat oven to 350. Remove 1 rack from oven and move remaining rack to lowest setting.
2. Cut large opening in top of pumpkin, retaining “lid”. Clean out seeds and strings. Place cleaned pumpkin on large baking sheet.
3. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When hot, add onion, carrots, and mushrooms. Saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms are slightly browned and tender. Add in turkey. Cook until browned.
4. Stir in brown sugar, soy sauce, soup, broth, pepper, sage, cranberries, and zucchini. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in water chestnuts and rice.
5. Spoon mixture into cleaned pumpkin. Bake for at least 1 hour, until pumpkin is tender and interior scoops out easily with a spoon. As serving, make sure to scoop sides of pumpkin with filling.
Nutritional Information: (Amount per Serving)
Protein: 18 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 39 mg
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 571 mg
Recipe Notes: Make sure to get a pumpkin that will fit inside your oven. This can be harder than you initially think, since most smaller pumpkins are tall. Err on the side of a short fat pumpkin. If you don’t want to mess with a pumpkin, this would be yummy filling for putting in halved acorn squash, although I would leave out the broth. Bake for about an hour as well, but cover for the first 45 minutes with foil. I have used about a cup of frozen peas instead of zucchini. Either is yummy. The pumpkin may sag a bit while baking, and the lid may fall in. That’s ok, but it is done if that is happening.
Recipe source: Adapted from my friend’s family recipe
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