Dads Cook – Stuffed Cabbage Rolls!

Whether you call them ‘Pigs in a Blanket’ or ‘Stuffed Cabbage Rolls’ the same is true that admittedly, these can be pretty labor intensive, but if you have a cold day outside and are hunkered in for the afternoon, pull out the pots and pans because this is a great way to prepare some meals to freeze and enjoy one that day as well.

The ingredients to this dish are pretty simple, just increase amounts if you are preparing several pans for freezing.

One head of cabbage – remove tough outer few leaves

1 1/2 cups white rice (uncooked)

4 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 tbsp. cumin

1/2 tbsp. paprika

salt and pepper

1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

Cook the rice according to the directions and set aside. Cut the core deeply out of the head of cabbage.  Place in a large pot and fill with water.  Bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, sauté the onions, add the meat and brown completely.  Add the peppers and garlic and cook until the peppers are completely softened.  Stir in the tomato paste and seasonings.  Cook thoroughly, remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice mixing well, set aside.  As the cabbage cooks, the outer leaves will gradually peel off.  Gently lift them with tongs and put aside.  Place the cabbage back into the boiling water and continue to cook, removing the outer leaves as they cook.  As the cabbage gets smaller you may need to score the bottoms of the leaves near the core in order to remove them, they should easily peel off.  Continue this until you have used almost the entire head of cabbage, there should only be a small grapefruit-sized piece left that is usually too difficult to get apart – set that aside.  Take one of the cabbage leaves and place about scant 1 cup of the meat filling in the center of the leaf, fold the sides in and roll up.  Place in a prepared ‘lasagna style’ baking dish.  Place the rolls in a single layer, they can be packed firmly together.  Spread about 1/2 jar marinara sauce on the rolls and cover with foil.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 40 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake another 15 – 20 minutes.  Serve with a fresh loaf of crusty bread and an extra dish of warmed sauce to spoon on if desired.  Enjoy!

*If you are going to freeze the cabbage rolls, do not add the pasta sauce.  When you remove them from the freezer to cook, add the sauce at that point