Pumpkinpalooza—-A Meal Made of Pumpkins

Here’s a themed meal that you don’t have to wait until Halloween to make. Fresh pumpkins are prime for the picking right now. And even if you don’t live near a u-pick farm, local discount stores (Wal-Mart, Target) and supermarkets from coast-to-coast are offering great deals on the vibrant and versatile orange fruit.

If you are looking for a way to get into the holiday spirit consider adding the following pumpkin recipes to your fall menu. The first recipe for The Ultimate Pumpkin Casserole will be the talk of the table, especially since the dish is cooked and served inside an actual pumpkin. The second recipe is ideal for kids to make. It features pumpkins paired with cookies and fruit in a dish that’s sure to please diners of all ages.



1 medium size pumpkin, or two small pumpkins, cleaned out

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced green pepper

1 small onion diced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 package wild rice, prepared according to directions

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 cup milk

1/4 cup butter melted

Salt and pepper

Shredded cheese, for garnish

Crushed croutons, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large soup pot brown beef with celery, onion and green pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Add sliced mushrooms and soy sauce and cook a few more minutes. Add cream of mushroom soup, milk, rice and water chestnuts and cook.

Melt butter and swirl it around in pumpkin. Season pumpkin with salt and pepper.

Spoon beef mixture into pumpkin. Place top on pumpkin.

Place pumpkin on cookie sheet and into oven.

Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on the size of your pumpkin.

Remove pumpkin from oven. Lift top off pumpkin and sprinkle top of casserole with shredded cheese and croutons.



8 oz. cream cheese

2 jars (7 oz.) marshmallow fluff or cream

1 can pumpkin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon grated orange peel or orange juice


Combine all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until smooth.

Serve dip with Gingersnap cookies, graham crackers, or sliced apples.

Related Articles:

Variations on the Traditional Pumpkin Pie

Bring On the Pumpkins: How to Cook with Fresh Pumpkin

Post Halloween Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

Pumpkin Waffles with Brown Sugar Syrup

Two Thanksgiving Sides: Grandma Delp’s Pumpkin Casserole and Sweet Potato Casserole

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.