This ground beef dinner in a pumpkin is is not only easy to make, it’s also a kid friendly dinner that will have your little ones begging for more!
HOW TO MAKE DINNER IN A PUMPKIN
There’s something so magical about serving your kids’ dinner in a pumpkin. In fact, if your child fights you when it comes to eating vegetables, this might be the kid friendly dinner that finally helps you win a battle.
You can really cook just about anything that would go well with pumpkin inside of one. Soup, goulash, stew. But because my 3 year old son Corban (who has been resisting eating any dinner for the last three months) loves ground beef and rice, this is our favorite dinner to cook in a pumpkin.
To make dinner in a pumpkin, go ahead and cut the top off the pumpkin and hollow it out, just like making a jack o’lantern. If your dinner has meat or rice, you’ll want to precook those to make sure they’re completely done by the time the pumpkin has cooked through.
Then you just fill the pumpkin up, place the top on, and cook it in the oven. Make sure to place it on a baking sheet to catch any juices that may spill out.
KID FRIENDLY PUMPKIN DINNER RECIPE
I actually really prefer cooking dinner in a pumpkin to making jack o’lanterns, because I know I’m not wasting anything. The kids can still help with carving the pumpkin and scooping out the guts, and they get to see pumpkins as food rather than just decorations.
In fact my son and daughter tried to take a bite of every decorative mini squash I brought home from the grocery store last week, so I guess I’ve taught them well!
But I also love the delight on their faces as they get to scoop everyone’s dinner out of the pumpkin.
Larkin did one scoop, but when I warned her not to touch the actual pumpkin (because it’s really hot), she decided to let her brother do the serving and just watched and cheered him on.
This is when Corban noticed the water chestnuts in the mix.
“What are THOSE Mama?!”
After I told him they were water chestnuts, and really crunchy, he exclaimed, “And we cooked the water chestnuts in the pumpkin!”. Can I make every dinner in a pumpkin from now on?
GETTING KIDS TO EAT A WHOLE PUMPKIN
While both the kids and adults loved the ground beef dinner in a pumpkin, Corban’s favorite part was definitely eating the actual pumpkin!
He cracked me up as he held it by the stem and took GIANT bites! This one is so going to become a canvas print to go in my office.
This boy is officially a pumpkin addict! If you aren’t doing your actual dinner in a pumpkin, but would still like to have your kids try eating a whole pumpkin, just roast it in the oven and then slice it into wedges for them to try eating like watermelon. It may be novel enough that they will be willing to taste it, and then end up eating more than you expect.
I like to imagine this picture is when my mini chef was thinking about what flavors would go well with the pumpkin, but I’m guessing he was actually daydreaming about Thomas.
GROUND BEEF DINNER IN A PUMPKIN RECIPE
A few quick tips before making this recipe. While you can definitely use a small jack o’lantern pumpkin, we like to use the sugar pie pumpkins because they’re typically more flavorful.
Make sure to scrape the sides of the pumpkin as you scoop out the beef and rice bake so that you get plenty of yummy vegetable goodness in your dinner.
For cream of chicken soup, we always use organic Pacific brand soups. They cost a little more but have the exact same ingredients you’d use if you made it from scratch, without all the preservatives and artificial flavors. It makes a huge difference in the taste, and is a lot better for you.
Have you ever cooked your dinner in a pumpkin before? We’d love to hear about it in the comments! You can also share pictures on social media and tag @EatingRichly so we can check it out.
TOOLS FOR MAKING GROUND BEEF DINNER IN A PUMPKIN
Here are the tools we use to make this ground beef dinner in a pumpkin. By clicking one of these links before making a purchase on Amazon, we get a small percentage of your purchase, yet it doesn’t cost you anything extra! Thanks for helping to support our family business.
- 1 medium pumpkin
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 ounces can sliced mushrooms (one can)
- 15 ounces can/box cream of chicken soup
- 1.5 cups cooked rice
- 8 ounce (one can) sliced water chestnuts
- Cut off the top of the pumpkin and thoroughly clean out pulp and seeds.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a large skillet sauté onions in vegetable oil until tender, then add the meat and cook until brown.
- Drain drippings from skillet, add soy sauce, mushrooms,brown sugar and soup.
- Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add cooked rice and water chestnuts.
- Spoon mixture into cleaned pumpkin shell.
- Replace pumpkin top and place entire pumpkin, with filling, on a baking sheet.
- Bake 1 hour, or until inside meat of the pumpkin is tender.
- Put pumpkin on a plate, remove pumpkin lid and scoop out meat and rice, then scrape the inside of the pumpkin to serve pumpkin meat on top of the beef and rice.
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.