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Cheesy Beef Soup Baked in a Pumpkin

The presentation is fun here. After all, no one expects a whole pumpkin to come to the table. This soup is healthy, hearty and delicious. It serves 6, but those are very generous portions. Lighter eaters may even get 8 servings from this recipe.

Prep Time: About 35 minutes
Cooking time after Prep: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Serves 6

Cheesy Beef Soup1 pumpkin, about 6 pounds
Nonstick cooking spray
1 onion, chopped
1 pound Laura’s Lean Beef 96% Lean Ground Beef
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 18-ounce carton butternut squash soup
4 cups chicken stock
3 slices low-fat American cheese, cut into small pieces
6 slices baguette
Sprinkle of paprika or chili powder for garnish
Slice green onions (green part only) for garnish

1. Heat oven to 350F. Wash/clean outside of pumpkin. Cut top off and scoop out all seeds and stringy pulp. Place empty pumpkin in pie dish (any oven proof dish big enough to hold pumpkin will do).

2. Lightly spray large nonstick skillet. Heat over medium high heat and add chopped onion. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beef to skillet and cook until all pink is gone. Drain if needed. Stir in sage and cook another minute. Add soup to skillet and stir in. Spoon this mixture into hollowed-out pumpkin. Stir chicken stock into pumpkin. Cover with pumpkin top and place in oven to bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Add cheese to soup, stir in, cover and return to oven for another 15 minutes.

3. Remove pumpkin from oven and cool slightly. Stir gently but thoroughly to make sure cheese mixes into soup. Take pumpkin to table in dish (it is a bit fragile at this point and may leak). To serve, ladle contents out of pumpkin and into soup bowls, scraping sides of pumpkin as you go, making sure to get some pumpkin with each serving. Top with baguette slice, a sprinkling of paprika or chili powder (if you want a little heat) and green onions.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Calories 253; Calories from Fat 41 (16%); Fat 5g; Saturated Fat 2g; Cholesterol 45mg; Sodium 900mg; Carbohydrate 28g; Fiber 3g; Sugars 4g; Protein 24g; Vitamin A 94%; vitamin C 28%; Calcium 11%; Iron 21%

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