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Recipes for Cooking Dinner in a Pumpkin

Make your Thanksgiving Dinner in a pumpkin with these recipes

Transform your traditional Thanksgiving feast into an unforgettable dinner when you make some (or all) of your dishes in pumpkins! These fall staples double as a way to prepare and season your dinner.

Want more Thanksgiving recipes, tips & ideas? Our Free Thanksgiving eBook will be available to download November 1, 2015! Join our mailing list to be one of the first to get your copy.


Mac & Cheese-


  • 1 sugar pumpkin, or other sweet variety (not a carving pumpkin), about 5 pounds
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 pound mild Italian pork sausage
  • 4 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 5 ounces Fontina, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 ounces Gruyère, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Cut a circle from the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle, the way you would cut open a pumpkin to make a jack-o’-lantern, and set aside.
  2. Scoop out the seeds and strings as best you can. Generously salt and pepper the inside of the pumpkin, pop the top back on it, place it on a rimmed baking dish (since the pumpkin may leak or weep a bit), and bake for 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. If the sausages are in their casings, remove the meat and discard the casings. Crumble the sausage meat into small chunks and cook until lightly browned. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Discard the drippings, or save for gravy or what have you.
  4. Also while the pumpkin bakes, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.
  5. In a bowl, toss together the Fontina, Gruyère, sausage, pasta, scallions, and herbs.
  6. Once the pumpkin is done baking, take it out of the oven and fill it with the macaroni and cheese. Pour the cream over the filling. Place the top back on the pumpkin and bake for 1 hour, taking the top off for the last 15 minutes so the cheese on top of the filling can properly brown. If the top cream still seems a bit too wobbly and liquid, give it another 10 minutes in the oven. The cream may bubble over a bit, which is fine.
  7. If the pumpkin splits while baking, as occasionally happens, be thankful you set it in a rimmed baking dish and continue to bake as normal.
  8. Allow the pumpkin to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Be careful moving the dish, as the pumpkin may be fragile. You can serve this dish two ways: Cut it into sections and serve them, or just scoop out the insides with scrapings of the pumpkin flesh for each serving. Either way is just dandy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Culinary Life.  


Savory Vegetable Medley-


  • 4 sugar pie pumpkins (about 1 pound each)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (5-ounce) package Earthbound Farm Baby Spinach
  • 1 stale French demi-baguette, cubed (mine was about 6.5 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Use a sharp knife to remove the tops from each pumpkin. Scoop out the insides and discard them (or save the seeds for roasting!). Rub salt and pepper on the inside of the pumpkins.
  3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and cook them for about 5 minutes, until they’re softened. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook about 5 minutes more, or until the mushrooms are browned. Stir in the spinach and continue to cook until it wilts. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Transfer the veggie mixture to a large bowl. Add the bread, cheese, nutmeg, and cream and stir until combined. Divide the the filling into the pumpkins, then place the top back onto them. Put the pumpkins on a baking sheet or baking dish that’s been sprayed with oil or lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake the pumpkins for about an hour, then remove the tops and bake for 20-30 minutes more, or until the filling is browned and crispy on top and the pumpkins are easily pierced with a knife. Replace caps and serve.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Oh My Veggies.


Cinnamon & Apple Pumpkin Pie-


  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon clove
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar or 1⁄2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 small sugar pumpkin (3-6lbs)
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 3 pears, any variety
  • 1 cup pecans or 1 cup walnuts
  • 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1⁄2 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel, plus
  • orange juice, from orange
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons rum


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix spice mix together by combining the first five ingredients.
  3. Cut the top of the pumpkin off leaving a lid but enough room to stick your hand in and clean out the seeds and stringy pulp.
  4. Mix 2 tablespoons butter and ½ of the spice mix into a paste and rub it all over the inside of the pumpkin and pumpkin lid.
  5. Bake the pumpkin with the lid on for 15 minutes on a cookie sheet.
  6. In the meantime, coarsely chop the apples and pears, then mix with the last of the spice mix, butter (cut into chunks), and remaining ingredients.
  7. Stuff the pumpkin tightly with the mix and place the lid back on. The inside stuffing will bake down a bit as the apples and pears soften.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes and check for doneness based upon how soft the flesh is when pierced with a fork. Continue baking until pumpkin is cooked, covering the top loosely with foil if it starts to blacken.
  9. Cool with the lid off for 20 minutes and serve scoops of the pumpkin flesh and stuffing next to vanilla ice cream and a slice of pound cake.

Recipe courtesy of KBaker.

Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops


With the cold weather setting in preparing savory fall comfort food is a must! Use your freshly-picked apples for a dish other than apple pie.

Its still Pork Month, which means there is still time to enter to win our Pork Month GIVEAWAY by commenting on this post with your favorite fall comfort food! Our TEN winners will be chosen October 30, 2015. Don’t forget to stop by your local Shed to try all of this month’s pork features! Look at the menu here.






Serves 4

Generously season the chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Immediately add the pork chops and cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Immediately add the apples and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne. Stir in the apple cider and cream. Add the pork chops, nestling them into the liquid, and cook until the internal temperature of the pork reaches between 145 degrees F. (medium rare) and 160 degrees F. (medium), 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Serve the chops with the apple mixture spooned on top.


Check out porkbeinspired.com for more fall pork recipes! 

Becker Lane Organic- Raising Better Pigs From the Ground Up

sow and piggies

Raising better pigs from the ground up. Start with great soil, end with a superior product. Sounds like common sense but Jude Becker at Becker Lane Organic will surly tell you different! He has traveled to Europe to study and perfect this method for pasture raising piglets year round.

From the Ground Up-

Jude wanted to develop a system so his Dyersville, IA farm could sustain its own needs, which starts with ground that grows much of the organic grain that feeds his pigs. With the well-developed plan every input comes full circle to continually maintain the system.

“The process is interesting because you can grow grain and add value to it.”

A crucial element is farrowing (birthing) year round. Part of Jude’s practice of good animal welfare is providing uninterrupted access to the outdoors so pigs are able to engage in their instinctive behaviors.

Before learning about England’s method for raising hogs Jude was unable to birth piglets in cold winter months because it would require him to confine them within the barn in order to ensure their survival.


The Key to Pasture Raising-

Jude was introduced to England’s outdoor system of farming during a college study abroad trip. He was instantly captivated by this method and knew it would be the perfect fit for his Iowa farm and allow him to provide fresh meat to his consumers no matter the season.

The key is the galvanized steel farrowing huts, which are strong and well insulated with the ability to keep animals warm in temperatures as low as -20ºF and cool is the summer heat.

Why Jude Loves Being a Hog Farmer-

“We believe our products are good for nature, good for animal welfare, good for the economy, and ultimately safer for your family to eat while tasting better.”

He enjoys watching his pigs in their natural habitat because they are so curious, smart and have unique personalities like people do. Observing the group dynamics and their ability to manipulate objects is fascinating.

Learn more about Becker Lane Organic on their website.

Tips for Thawing & Cooking Pork

Get Your Forks in Pork- Pork Month

At the beginning of Pork Month we gave you tips for buying & selecting quality pork, now we have tips for thawing and cooking pork. Enter to WIN our Pork Month GIVEAWAY by commenting on this post with your own pork tips or questions! Don’t forget to stop by your local Shed to try all of this month’s pork features! Look at the menu here.


The best way to defrost pork is in the refrigerator in its wrapping. Follow these guidelines for defrosting pork in the refrigerator:

  • Small roast will take 3-5 hours per pound
  • Large roast will take 4-7 hours per pound
  • One-inch thick chop will take 12-14 hours
  • Ground pork needs to be estimated by package thickness



Click the link below for a printable chart for cooking pork.


Tips for Buying & Selecting Quality Pork

Get Your Forks in Pork- Pork Month


Since its Pork Month we wanted to give you some tips for buying and selecting quality pork. Enter to WIN our Pork Month GIVEAWAY by commenting on this post with your own pork tips or questions! Don’t forget to stop by your local Shed to try all of this month’s pork features! Look at the menu here.


Consider your needs: 

  • The average serving 3 ounces of cooked meat (about the size of a deck of cards). Start with 4 ounces of boneless, raw pork to yield 3 ounces of cooked pork. 
  • If time is limited, select smaller quick-cooking cuts such as pork chops, cutlets, cubes or strips.
  • If its for a holiday and have several other dishes to prepare, choosing larger, slow-cooking cuts that require little attention such as roasts. 


What’s on the label:

  1. Type of meat — Listed first on every label, this indicates whether the cut is pork, beef, lamb or veal.
  2. Primal/wholesale cut — This specifies which section of the animal the meat comes from. It is a good indicator of the relative tenderness of the cut and can help the shopper decide which method of cookery to use when preparing the cut. This part of the label may read shoulder, loin, leg, etc.
  3. Retail cut — This gives the shopper the specific name of the smaller cut taken from the primal cut. This part of the label may read blade roast, rib chop, sirloin roast, etc.
  4. Cost — To get the most for your money, calculate the cost per serving. Some boneless cuts may seem more expensive, but actually are a better buy because you are not paying for the bone. Cost per serving = Cost per pound / # of servings per pound.


  1. Pork that is a pinkish-red color will provide a better eating experience. Avoid choosing meat that is pale in color and has liquid in the package.
  2. Look for pork that has marbling, or small flecks of fat. Marbling is what adds flavor.
  3. Avoid choosing any meat that has dark colored bone.
  4. The fat of the pork should be white with no dark spots.


Find more pork tips at porkbeinspired.com

The Shed’s Baked Potato Soup Recipe

We’ve been getting so many requests for our Famous Baked Potato Soup, so we’re posting it again for you!

For a printable version and more Shed recipes go here

The Machine Shed's Famous Baked Potato Soup Recipe


Kitchen Basics: most commonly called for seasoning cheat sheet

Knowing what to have on hand in your spice cabinet can be a bit tricky, that’s why we created a cheat sheet of the most commonly called for seasonings & spices. Just print it out and tape it inside your cabinet door to always be prepared.

Kitchen Basics

The Best School Lunch for Your Kids

The best school lunch for your kids

Packing a school lunch for your child can be one of the most difficult morning activities because finding a balance between nutrition and what your child will actually eat is nearly impossible! Thanks to our friends at the Beef Checkoff we have some great lunch options for your family. Enjoy!

TIP: Did you know lean beef is a great source of vitamin B6 and B12.  These two vitamins are ideal for school lunches because they help your body convert food to energy and help to maintain brain function.

Roast Beef & Vegie Wrap












Click for Recipe


Greek-Style Beef Pita












Click for Recipe


Beef & Cream Cheese Bagelwich












Click for Recipe

Learn more about beef at www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com



Homemade Laundry Scent Boosters

Laundry Scent BoostersSay goodbye to expensive, chemical-ridden laundry scent boosters and hello to this simple, easy and effective DIY alternative.

You will need …

  •  6 cups of Epsom Salt
  • 60 drops of Pure Essential Oil (any scent)
  • Medium Sized Bowl with Lid

To Make: 
 Pour 1 cup of Epsom Salt and 10 drops of essential oil in a bowl. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds to combine the two ingredients. Add another cup of Epsom Salt and 10 more drops of essential oil to the mixture, then shake vigorously for 30 seconds to combine. Repeat 4 more times.

To Use:
  Add 1/4 cup to every load of laundry, placing it directly on your clothes. *Do not use in your dryer. The crystals do not dissolve with the damp clothes, like they do when saturated in the washing machine.*

  We recommend using any pure essential oil because they lack chemicals and other additives that can irritate skin, especially for babies and those with sensitive skin.


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