Dinner in a Pumpkin
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced green pepper
1 cup finely diced mushrooms (optional)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 can (15 ounces) french style green beans, drained
1 box Uncle Ben’s Original Long Grain and Wild Rice prepared according to pkg. directions (I use about 1/4 cup less water)
1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of celery soup
1 can )10/75 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup panko or Italian breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 medium size pumpkin (big enough to hold a casserole but, small enough to fit in the oven)
Cut off top of pumpkin and thoroughly clean out seeds and pulp. Drizzle inside of pumpkin with 2 melted tablespoons butter and season inside with a little salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet brown beef. Add onions, celery and green pepper. Cook a few minute and add mushrooms. Cook until the beef is crumbly and no longer pink. Season mixture with a little salt and pepper. Add both cans of soup. soy sauce, rice, beans, and water chestnuts and milk. Stir to combine. If mixture looks too dry add a little more milk.
Spoon mixture into the cleaned pumpkin shell. Place pumpkin top on and place entire pumpkin, with filling, on a baking sheet. Bake about an hour or longer until the filling is hot and the inside meat of the pumpkin is tender. Remove pumpkin top. Mix together remaining melted butter, breadcrumbs, and parsley. Sprinkle on top of the pumpkin and bake another few minutes until top is golden. Put pumpkin on a plate with lid to the top side of pumpkin. Scoop out cassreole and cooked pumpkin to serve. You can also bake this casserole in several smaller pumpkins so that everyone gets their own casserole.