Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Cabbage 6This is one of my all time favorites! I really can’t think of one person in the family that didn’t love my moms stuffed cabbage. I always ate mine the way my father ate his, cut in half, smashed with a fork and then drowned in tomato broth. They take a little bit of work, but they are worth it.

 

 

Recipe:
1 Jumbo Cabbage, core removed, (do not cut cabbage in half-leave whole)
4 lbs ground beef
5 eggs
1 TBSP Salt
1/2 TBSP black pepper
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
1/2 TBSP granulated garlic
1/2 C. grated parmesan cheese
1 handful of fresh parsley chopped
1/2 tsp Oregano
2 cups of Instant cooked rice ( I like to use Annie Chuns sprouted brown rice that is fully cooked, just needs to be heated in the microwave)

60-80 ounces of tomato juice, warmed
(I like to use Pomi strained tomatoes, as they are GMO and BPA free)
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
mix together and set aside

Stuffed cabbage 1Steaming the Cabbage
Bring a large pot half-full of water to a boil. Place the cored Cabbage in the water. As the outer leaves begin to steam they will pull away from the cabbage, remove them as they do and place on a plate. Continue to cook and remove layer by layer, cutting away when necessary from the whole head. If there are any very thick stalky parts of the cabbage, thin them out by cutting with a knife the thickest parts so they will not be tough when eating. When you have removed the best leaves of the cabbage and feel there are no more big enough to stuff, turn off the water and reserve the small head for another meal.

Stuffed Cabbage 2Filling:
In a large mixing bowl or a table top mixer with paddle attachment, mix up the ground beef, salt, black pepper, onion, garlic, parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, and cooked rice.

Prepare a large enough work surface to roll up the cabbage with the beef mixture. Lay the piece of cabbage on the work surface, fill with a generous amount of filling, roll and tuck the sides in as you roll up the cabbage. Place in a large covered pot so they cannot open up open side down. Layer until all the cabbage and beef is used up.Stuffed cabbage 3

Stuffed Cabbage 4Pour the tomato juice mixture into the pot and completely submerge all of the cabbage rolls. Cover and bring to a bubbling simmer between low and medium heat. Leave covered for approximately 1 hour. Be sure that the temperature is not too hot so they do not stick and burn on bottom. Stir in a circle (like spinning the cabbages clockwise around the inside of the pot) occasionally to keep them from sticking to bottom.
Any tomato juice leftover can be added as the cabbage cooks and the juices begin to evaporate, add as needed. After and hour of cooking, check a cabbage roll for doneness, if the cabbage is really tender and the center is done, turn them off. If they need a little longer, cook as necessary. Plan on a two hour window of cooking time. They will stay piping hot in the pan for a long time, at least an hour, after they are cooked.

Bread Pudding

bread pudding 2I love to make bread pudding. We always have left over bread and rolls and turning them into dessert is just satisfying. There are so many variations on bread pudding. Basically, anything you have leftover can be turned into a bread pudding, be it savory or sweet. I once went to Canada with my husband on a romantic getaway. We stayed at this really nice hotel and they served a mushroom bread pudding. I have never forgotten how good it was. They also made a layered potato gratin that was the best I ever had, but that’s another post. This time around, on request from my dog’s grandpa-Bob, I made a regular bread pudding with craisins and a salted caramel sauce with fresh whipped cream. I made two pans, one for Bob and one for our dinner too.

Recipe:

preheat oven to 350 degrees, one pan approx 1 hr. If divided into two pans about 50 min. It’s done when it is puffed in center ¬†and browned on edges and firm to touch. You can always slide a knife into the center to see if it is eggy still. Every oven is different so keep an eye on it.

Batter:
6 eggs
4 c. 1/2 and 1/2
1 c. Milk
1 c. Heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. Sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

bread pudding batter

 

 

 

 

 

 

mix well and add:
3/4 pound of bread cut into 1″ cubes (stale bread is fine)
1 heaping cup craisins

bread pudding soaking

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add bread and craisins to egg batter and let soak for 1/2 hour.

bread pudding cooked

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divide evenly into two buttered 9×9 pans or 1-13×9¬†buttered pan. Bake until golden brown and puffed in center and firm to touch approx 1 hour at 350 degrees. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Spoon into a pretty glass or dish, top with caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream.

 

Caramel sauce:
Use store bought caramel or make a homemade hard sauce if you want. I just add 1/4 c. bourbon to 1 cup of carmel sauce and it is really delicious.

Fresh whipped cream:
1 c. heavy cream ( be sure and buy a brand that does not get milk from cows treated with RBGH or RBST, antibiotics and hormones, I know Oakhurst is a great source, but there are others.
1/4 cup of confectioners sugar
1 tbsp bourbon
whip until stiff and place a dollop on top…Enjoy!

bread pudding 3

Lentil and Fennel Soup with Ham

Lentil & fennel SoupSoup is just a perfect meal! And when you add in some life giving Lentils it gets even better. Lentils are high in folate and high in fiber. Another addition to this healthy soup is Fennel Bulb, touted as one of the worlds healthiest foods. The combination of Fennel and Lentils is just plain delicious. We are told that we should be getting about 25-35 grams of fiber per day. That’s hard to do today. If you are not eating fresh vegetables and cooking your own meals daily then you are probably eating some processed foods. Processed food are pretty much devoid of any fiber and don’t get me started on what actually is in processed foods. However, this soup, although not the traditional soup made after a ham dinner, is awesome. Split pea soup is a great soup also, but if you are looking to change it up a bit, here it is.

Recipe:

3 qts water in a 6 qt pot
leftover hambone with excess ham removed.
Dice up any ham removed from bone and set aside until end. Any excess fat can simmer for two hours with hambone
Add
2 carrots diced 1/4 ”
2 stalks celery diced 1/4 ”
1 onion peeled and diced 1/4″
3 c. Dried lentils
1 fennel bulb, diced 1/4″
4 small bay leaves

Simmer for two hours, remove fat and bones.
Add diced ham, as much as you like.
Turn off heat
Season with…
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 stick butter
1 to 2 tsp Chicken base, as needed.
fresh chopped Parsley

Enjoy!