One of my husband's favorite dinners are Cabbage Rolls. They are like little Hungarian Meat loafs stuffed into a soft cabbage leaf and simmered in a sweet tomato sauce. This recipe for deconstructed cabbage rolls cuts the time in half and has the same tasty ingredients and flavors as the original. My mom calls it 'lazy cabbage rolls' and I suppose she's right on this one. ;)
“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
Beef and pork are the most common meats used in cabbage rolls but I used ground lamb which is super lean and has a very distinctive taste. I also chopped a big handful of mushrooms to add flavor and a bit more bulk to the mixture. Instead of the using the traditional American version of canned tomato soup, simply simmer a big can of crushed tomatoes and a bit of brown sugar and spices for a mouth watering sauce. Chopped cabbage is steamed into this dish so there's no bothering with making small meat loafs or rolling them into individual leaves, something I haven't quite mastered without breaking half of them.
Why I use rice in many of my meals. Well, first of all it's definitely a frugal food option. With 4 hungry kids and a husband rice is one of my favorite low cost ways to really stretch a meal. More importantly however are the many health benefits of rice. When you choose a good quality, non GMO rice grown in the U.S. your getting a lot more that whole grains.
Rice is a great source of immediate energy making it a good choice for athletes or to get you through the rest of your day in high gear. It's high in healthy carbohydrates and acts as fuel for the body and aids in the normal functioning of the brain. Rice naturally low in sodium and cholesterol which helps (people like me) with high blood pressure and supports cardiovascular health.
My husbands older sister was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's a few years ago. She deteriorated very quickly and died within a couple of years leaving behind 3 young children and devastating the family.
Brown rice is said to contain high levels of nutrients that stimulate the growth and activity of neurotransmitters, subsequently helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease to a considerable extent. Various species of wild rice have been shown to stimulate neuroprotective enzymes in the brain, which inhibit the effects of free radicals and other dangerous toxins that can cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
TIME 20 MINUTES SERVES 6
YOU WILL NEED
1 pound ground lamb (or beef or pork)
1 small head of green cabbage, core removed and chopped
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cups of U.S. grown cooked brown rice
1 32 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for a couple of minutes. Add oil and then onions, cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until. lightly browned and translucent. Add lamb and crumble with a spatula. Cook 5-7 minutes until browned. **Lamb is very low in fat so it will cook much faster than beef or pork, be careful not to over cook or it will be dry.
Remove the mixture from the pan and place in a large bowl, cover with a plate. Using a paper towel, carefully wipe the pan clean. Put back on medium high heat, add water and cabbage. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, garlic powder, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Stir to combine. Add the lamb mixture, stir. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes till heated through.
Serve hot over brown rice which is sturdy enough to handle this thick mixture.