One week after my marathon (which I did indeed finish despite my right hip and the aggressive 30+mph winds) and three days post Thanksgiving I returned to Maryland to find the exact opposite of what I had just left behind. There was scarcely any food in my refrigerator, nobody was home and the whole house was silent, except the scratching of mice (which I could have done without).
I set down my over-stuffed, purple backpack, slid off my shoes, looked at the pumpkin sitting on my window sill that I had bought nearly a month ago and thought, “now what?”
Since Tuesday when I’d flown home it had been one thing after another with visiting and eating and turkey trotting (bad idea four days post marathon). But now, at just past 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning I had an entire day ahead of me without a single obligation, commitment or even “to-do” written down yet.
I changed that real fast.
Number 2 on my list was this post (which at this point in the writing process I still haven’t completed) and number 3 was to use that pumpkin sitting on the window sill. That I did complete.
I originally purchased the pumpkin while out apple picking. There was an enormous bin of sugar pumpkins and I thought, “I’ll make pumpkin pudding like my dad always does!”
This was a good idea, but as soon as I called my dad for the recipe I realized that with an entire can of condensed milk this was probably not the treat for me (a lactose intolerant girl who no longer lives with three brothers who would have willingly devoured any milk-containing sweet I made).
So I set the pumpkin on my window sill and there it sat for weeks.
Every morning I would look at it and think, “I’m going to make that pumpkin pudding today.” Then I’d remember about the condensed milk and how I shouldn’t buy any because it would simply make me sick and put this beautiful pumpkin to waste.
But now, post Thanksgiving and feeling satiated with sweets (at least for now) I thought, “Why not try to actually make something healthy with it?” It’s a squash after all, it shouldn’t only be associated with pies and puddings and girls buying Starbucks coffees in October
So I went to the internet.
I found soups and breads in abundance. Also pastas and smoothies and chili and…but none of it seemed quite right. I looked at the pumpkin. Of course, looking at a pumpkin reminded me of halloween and carving pumpkins, albeit much bigger ones. Carving pumpkins reminded me of pumpkin seeds and that’s when I thought, stuffed pumpkin!
If you can stuff peppers and zucchini, two of my favorite dishes, you can definitely stuff a pumpkin. It turns out one google search for “stuffed pumpkin” turns up dozens of recipes. Below is yet another…my variation of the stuffed pumpkin. Enjoy!
Ingredients (I apologize in advance for my lack of exactness):
- 1 sugar pumpkin
- about 4 slices of bread cut into small chunks (slightly stale often works best)
- 1 large chicken breast sliced into small slivers or chunks
- 1/2 cup broccoli crowns
- 3-5 garlic cloves
- 1/2 large yellow onion
- cheddar cheese to preference
- salt, pepper, basil and thyme to taste
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- soy milk (or regular milk, or cream, your preference)
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350F
Step 2: Slice off the top of your pumpkin and relive Halloween as you clean out all the seeds and stringy orange interior. Once you start scraping away a lighter yellow, thicker fiber that’s a good place to stop. Save the insides if you like pumpkin seeds!!
Step 3: Place the gutted pumpkin (without ton) on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil in the oven. It should stay in by itself for about 30 minutes, or however long it takes you to make the stuffing.
Step 4: For the stuffing… combine ingredients 2 through 8
Step 5: Once the pumpkin has been removed from the oven, allow to cool slightly before carefully stuffing with the chicken-bread-broccoli-cheese mixture. There will likely be left over which is just fine! Cook this in a separate metal or glass baking dish.
Step 6: Pour in the melted butter and milk slowly, allowing it to seep down through the stuffing. Add enough milk until the pumpkin is full to the brim
Step 7: Place the pumpkin top on top and transfer the tray back into the oven for between 1 hour and 1.5 hours depending on how big your pumpkin is. After that, remove the top for a final 20-40 minutes.
Step 8: Remove the tray and contemplate how in the world you are going to serve this.
Don’t worry! It’s not actually as hard as it looks. Use a spoon to scoop away the pumpkin meat toward the stuffing and pull out onto a plate. If you are planing on eating the entire pumpkin at once (with a family or guests) then you can also slice the pumpkin and serve more like a pie or cake slice. If you are doing this allow it to cool and set for at least 10 minutes.
Now eat and enjoy a non-sugary, delicious and healthy pumpkin!