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Thursday, July 21, 2011

New twist on an old favorite

I do not normally post recipes, but this one is so simple, and anyone whom I've served it to just loves it, so maybe you all will enjoy it as well.

Growing up where I did Polish and Polish inspired foods were very common, and we ate a lot of them. To this day I still love many of those same dishes, and one such favorite is stuffed cabbage. I love stuffed cabbage, though I must admit as a child I thought it left much to be desired! Now if you've never made stuffed cabbage before you probably don't know that it's a very long process, and you are going to burn your fingers, and frankly it's a real pain in the hind end.

Living in the Southwest, there just isn't anywhere to purchase these treasures of my childhood so if I want them I have to make them! I personally refuse to make stuffed cabbage simply because I don't have the time to dedicate to boiling, and stuffing, and rolling, and baking just to get one meal on the table. What I do have however, is a crock pot, about 20 minutes, and all the same ingredients (or reasonable facsimiles thereof). So for anyone interested, here is the recipe. For anyone trying to stay away from prepackaged foods try this as a substitution for the canned soup, though your results will be less sweet than my own. I am not sure what to call this recipe, so it currently has no name, feel free to suggest one in the comments. :) I have also included my prices so you can see how inexpensive this meal really is, your prices may be higher or lower depending on region.

1 3-4lb head of green cabbage (.39 per pound, total 1.32 for 3.39lbs)
1 - 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef, or any other lean ground meat (1.99)
1 egg (.08)
1/2 of a large red onion diced fine (.15)
1/2 - 1 cup of uncooked white rice (.33)
1 12 ounce can of tomato paste (.78)
2 cans of condensed tomato soup (1.84 for Campbell's brand)
Salt and Pepper
Garlic powder
1 - 1 1/2 cans of water

Total cost: $6.49 and this will feed my family of 5 for dinner with enough leftover for lunch later in the week!! I may spend slightly more if I serve it with salad and bread, though most of the time we just eat the cabbage and meatballs.

In a bowl mix the ground beef, egg, onion, rice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Form into 1 inch meatballs.

Remove the core from the cabbage, then slice the cabbage into 1 inch by 2 inch pieces

In a bowl combine the soup, tomato paste, and enough water to thin the mixture to somewhere between the consistency of whole milk and heavy cream.

Then in your crock pot put a thin layer of the sauce, followed by cabbage, then some meatballs, then sauce, cabbage, meatballs, continue until you have use all of the sauce, cabbage and meatballs. Turn on your crockpot (I use the high setting, though your crockpot may be better than mine and low will be just fine) and cook for 6-8 hours.

Basically this tastes exactly like the stuffed cabbage I ate growing up, just without the added hassle of boiling cabbage and trying to stuff the steaming hot leaves.

I hope you enjoy this one. It makes a great meal on a hot day because I don't have to use my stove or oven.

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