Last night, we had a play date dinner with our neighbor and her son. I wanted to make something that the adults would enjoy, as well as, the kids. Correction, that my friends son would eat because Emma is in the “Yea right…I am not eating that” phase. She will completely reject hamburgers, hot dogs, or even mac and cheese, but if you put play dough or tiny rocks in front of her…you’ll have a salt dough filled stomach and a trip to the hospital. I do not understand her. Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to this phase ending.
Either way, I chose to make stuffed cabbage rolls. They are slightly sweet and you can always take off the cabbage on the outside and then it is bascially meatballs in a sweet tomato sauce. I thought it would be a winner with her son and I was right! At first, he was a little cautious, but in the end he ate the cabbage and meat and I was elated. There is nothing better then watching a toddler (or anyone) eat your food and enjoy it. It is the little things that mean the most and his “mmmmm’s” and “yum’s” were the perfect way to end a day full of cooking.
This was my second time making stuffed cabbage rolls and the first time I made them I was not so happy with the results. This time they turned out great. I used a recipe by Parsley Sage Sweet and when this women means sweet she means sweet. I used half the amount of sugar called for in the tomato sauce and I definitely could have used half of that half, but it still was delicious and I definitely believe the sweetness was essential to my success with the kids. But do not forget that if you like a more savory dish definitely use 1/4 of what she calls for in sugar for the tomato sauce.
Also, when you are at the “boiling cabbage” part, make sure you remove the core before you start and I mean all the core. The leaves do not come off easy as it is and if you leave on any bit of the core, it makes it even more difficult. Also, keep the water boiling and the ice bath ready. You will have to remove and ice leaves and then reboil the cabbage head again to get more leaves to come off. This process took me like 30 minutes. Hopefully you have a little more luck then I did.
Also, this recipe is gluten free but definitely not Paleo. Be sure when you purchase your canned tomato sauce that you buy a brand that is gluten free. I use Hunts because they state that their tomato sauce, paste, and canned tomatoes are gluten free, but their pasta sauces are not. So be careful. If you are a person that has Celiacs, I would always double check if you are worried by calling the number on the can to check and see.
Well I hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know how it worked out. Be careful on the sweetness. I will probably do this recipe again, but make it my own way so that it is a little more savory and has a little more herb flavor in the meat. ENJOY!!!
Below is the Sweet Potato Bake recipe of mine. You’ll need a mandolin. Slice them as thin as you’d like. I do my 1/8 of an inch. They then get tossed in a mixture of butter, olive oil, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper. They bake, covered, in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 mins to 1 hour and then they need to go back in for 15 minutes at 450 degrees just until the tops start to brown up.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls by Parsley Sage Sweet
- 1 large head green cabbage, about 2 to 2¼ pounds
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 eggs (not necessary, you can leave them out, but they do make the meat fluffier)
- 1 medium onion, grated or minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup raw long-grain white rice *
- 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped (medium dice)
- 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce or one 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor with juice until pureed.
- juice of one lemon or 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) apple cider vinegar
- ¼ to ¾ cup light brown sugar (Depending on amount of sweetness you prefer. Start with ¼ cup and taste sauce, adding if you like it sweeter. If you prefer it completely savory, add only 1 tablespoon brown sugar and the juice from half a lemon)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup golden raisins (optional)
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. When the water comes to a boil, fill a large bowl with ice water. Cut out as much of the core as you can from the bottom of the cabbage, then drop the whole, cored head into the boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes. Once the leaves separate and are pliable, immediately remove and drop the blanched leaves that separated (keep the pot of water boiling) in the ice water. Once cooled down, remove and pat the leaves dry. Repeat with any leaves still attached to the head and not pliable, until you’ve gotten all the leaves off the head, and they are all soft and pliable.
Alternatively, If you’ve got time on your hands, you can freeze the wrapped head of cabbage for two days then defrost. When defrosted, the leaves will peel off easily and be soft enough to roll.
Here’s some other ideas from readers, although I have yet to try them so I cannot confirm that they work. 1. Place the cabbage in the microwave for 6 minutes. The core will slip right out and the leaves will be perfect for rolling. 2. Throw the whole, uncored head of cabbage into the boiling water. The leaves won’t separate on their owm, but should be easy to peel off.
- Set aside about 16 of the largest leaves (these will be your cabbage rolls. If you can only get 14 leaves, just add more meat to each roll)) and slice off any thick parts of the vein on each of them, or, just cut out the thick vein since that part will be covered once the cabbage leaf is rolled. Chop some of the remaining cabbage leaves to make 1 cup of chopped cabbage, and reserve.
- Mix the ground beef with the eggs, grated onion, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and rice. (If you use cooked rice, you can test the seasoning of the meat mixture to your liking by frying up or microwaving a piece of it and tasting, if desired). Divide the meat mixture into sixteen equal pieces, or 14 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 oz each, depending on whether you have 16 or 14 cabbage leaves. Using slightly moistened hands (or not, since it rarely sticks to my hands), form the pieces into thick cylinders. Place a cylinder of filling near the bottom of a cabbage leaf (if the vein in the leaf is really thick, shave it down more
- with a knife before placing the beef on it, being careful not to cut through the leaf itself OR, cut the thick vein out completely in a narrow V. When you roll the cabbage, that V will be covered sufficiently, as mentioned above).
- Roll the meat filled cabbage leaf up, folding both sides over the filling, (like you see in the above photos) and finish rolling to enclose the filling, like an eggroll. Continue, filling and rolling all the cabbage leaves. Place them seam side down, on a tray or baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Over medium heat, melt the butter in a heavy, nonreactive saucepan. Sauté the second onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, then add the reserved 1 cup chopped cabbage and sauté for about 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
- Add the tomato sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Increase the heat until it comes to a boil, then lower it and simmer for 5 minutes. Add raisins now, if using.
- Line of the bottom of a 13 x 9 roasting pan or glass dish with a layer of sauce. Place cabbage rolls, seam side down, on top of sauce. Top cabbage rolls with remaining sauce then cover the whole pan with tin foil. Bake for 2 hours in a preheated 350 F oven.
Sweet Potato Bake
4-5 Sweet potatoes that are pretty normal in size throughout so that the slices are even as possible
3 TBSP Butter
3 TBSP Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
3 Tsp Brown Sugar
pinch of cayenne for spice if you want
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a pan that will fit all of your sweet potato slices. I used a bread loaf pan because that is what I had on hand.
2. Peel sweet potatoes and slice at 1/8 inch or other desired thickness.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add together the melted butter, oil, and spice and mix well.
3. Add the cut up slices of sweet potato and mix well til they are all coated.
4. Arrange the slices in the pan that you greased and cover with tin foil.
5. Put in the oven, and back for 45 mins or until soft.
6. Uncover and turn temperature up to 450 degrees and bake for about another 15 minutes until the tops have browned. You are going to want to watch this part to make sure they do not burn.