Dinner in a Pumpkin (Cute Mini Versions)

by Mel

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How to make a delicious dinner in a pumpkin your whole family will love!  Although you can use a regular-size pumpkin, making these cute mini versions are perfect for individual servings. 

Dinner-in-a-pumpkin

Have you ever wanted to make dinner in a pumpkin? Making dinner in a pumpkin has always been on my Fall bucket list, but I was so intimidated to try!  

Until that is, my friend invited us for dinner a few years ago and introduced us to this easy dinner in a pumpkin recipe

That recipe has been shown up on our dinner table for years now and it’s still a favorite. But last year, I had mini pumpkins galore from our garden, so spontaneously decided to make individual servings. 

However, since I don’t regularly cook with canned cream soup, I didn’t have any on hand that day. I didn’t want to run to the store, so I started browsing recipes online and came across one from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. 

I had all the ingredients her recipe called for, so I gave it a try!  

It. Was. Delicious. And in those mini pumpkins…be still my pumpkin-loving heart. 

Dinner-in-a-pumpkin

WHAT YOU NEED FOR DINNER IN A PUMPKIN 

This recipe is pretty forgiving, meaning if you don’t have all the ingredients, you can improvise, adding the veggies you like. Here’s what I used: 

  • cooked shredded chicken
  • brown rice
  • carrots
  • corn
  • spices
  • cream cheese
  • onion
  • chicken broth
  • flour
  • milk (almond or dairy)

Dinner-in-a-pumpkin

PREPARATION

Unlike this easy dinner in a pumpkin recipe (which is good, easy, but requires cream soup), this from-scratch recipe is still simple, but requires a few extra steps. 

The good news is that many of the preparation can be done ahead of time, so that when you are ready to cook dinner in a pumpkin, you can just throw all the ingredients together. 

Here’s what you can do ahead of time: 

  • Cook rice and keep in the fridge up to a week in advance.
  • Cook and shred chicken. Keep in the fridge or freezer.  
  • Make the sauce and use directly from the fridge. 

With just a little planning ahead, this recipe won’t take you hours to make the day of! 

Dinner-in-a-pumpkin  

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COOK?

Once all the pieces of your dinner are prepared (which see above for all you can do ahead of time!), you’ll add it to the inside of your pumpkin. 

For small pumpkins (like these wee-b-little ones), cook for about 45 minutes. Check and return to the oven until the pumpkin meat is tender. 

For a regular, medium-sized carving pumpkin, you’ll cook it for about 90 minutes. 

Dinner-in-a-pumpkin  

I always like to clean out the pumpkin(s) the morning of, so that it’s one less step to do during the witching dinner hour. Please tell me I’m not alone in having craziness during dinner prep? 

WHERE TO GET THIS CUTE BAT DECOR 

Decorations are totally optional, but since your pumpkin dinner will take about an hour to bake, you’ll have time to add a  few decorations to make your Halloween dinner even more festive! 

I’m a fan of simple decorations, so I just hung some black bats (similar to these) above our table, used these Bat Paper Plates, and pulled out some orange paper straws. 

Dinner-in-a-pumpkin

WHAT TO SERVE WITH DINNER IN A PUMPKIN

Dinner in a pumpkin is a pretty balanced meal if you ask me…you’ve got protein, grains and veggies all inside! But it never hurts to have a few side dishes to compliment your Halloween dinner. 

I hope you’ll be brave enough to try making dinner in a pumpkin this year! It really is quite fun, quite simple, and simply delicious!  

Enjoy! 

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Dinner-in-a-pumpkin

Dinner in a Pumpkin (Mini Versions)


  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x

Description

Dinner in a pumpkin is a festive meal for Fall or Halloween! This recipe uses chicken, cooked rice or quinoa, veggies, and a simple creamy sauce that makes this casserole so tasty!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 medium pumpkin or 6 small ones

SAUCE

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese

CASSEROLE

  • 1/2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups cooked rice or quinoa
  • shredded cooked chicken (optional)
  • 1 cup diced brocolli (optional)

Instructions

  1. To prepare the pumpkin(s), cut off the top. Scrape out the seeds until the sides are smooth. (I like to do this step in the morning so that it’s ready to go when I’m ready to add the casserole. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to add).
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. To make the sauce, bring the chicken broth and spices to a simmer over medium heat.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk and flour together until very smooth. Then gradually pour into the simmering broth. Whisk quickly and cook until bubbly and thick.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the cubes of cream cheese. Let melt while you prepare the rest.
  6. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, carrots, broccoli and corn. Stir often and cook until onion is translucent.
  7. Combine the quinoa or rice, chicken, and cooked vegetables. Stir the sauce to make sure the cream cheese is mixed in and then pour over the ingredients. Mix well. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Lightly salt and pepper the insides of the pumpkin.Spoon the casserole inside.
  9. Replace the top of the pumpkin. Place on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil and place on the bottom rack of your oven.
  10. Bake for 60 minutes (up to 90 for larger pumpkins). Check after 45 minutes. It is done when the pumpkin insides are tender.
  11. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Scoop out the casserole and pumpkin to eat! Enjoy!

Notes

You can use one medium pumpkin (make sure it fits in your oven) or small Jack-b-little pumpkins. For the smaller ones, reduce the cook time by 30 minutes.

To save time during the “witching” dinner-prep hour, prepare the pumpkin and casserole the morning of.  Add the casserole to the pumpkin just before you are ready to bake.

  • Category: Main Dish

Keywords: dinner in a pumpkin, casserole, rice, halloween dinner, pumpkin dinner

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