I must confess, I LOVE autumn. There’s something about the days getting cooler and the leaves changing colors that makes me so happy. Could the reason also possibly be because I have a November birthday and that means it’s just around the corner? Maybe I just like hauling out all my fall decorations and doing a really good job cleaning and decorating.
Honestly though, I think it’s the food. I love making the soups, stews, and desserts that use all the harvest fruits and veggies. I even have a favorite Autumn Sangria! If you want a hearty soup, I enjoy making this Creamy Mushroom Vegetable soup recipe and at the end of cooking the recipe, I skip the cream and I add shredded chuck roast that I’ve made in my crock pot. Stuck on how to cook that head of cabbage in your fridge? Here’s the recipe that’s the most requested by my kids:
Sunny’s Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
1 green cabbage head
2 lbs. ground beef (or ground turkey or meal loaf mix or any combination)
1 cup instant rice cooked according to directions (or other rice if you prefer – just needs to be cooked rice)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
2 cans tomato soup
16 oz. tomato sauce
salt and pepper
Begin by boiling the cabbage head to loosen the leaves. Cut the leaves away from the core every few minutes until you have at least 15 leaves (discard the first few leaves). Save the remaining cabbage to cut into pieces to use in the bottom of the baking pan. While the cabbage is being cooked, prepare the instant white rice. Allow the rice and cabbage to cool completely before assembling the rolls.
Get out 2 average size baking pans or one really big one (I always underestimate and need to get a second pan – don’t crowd the rolls too closely when putting them in the pan). Before preparing the raw meat mixture, prepare the red sauce by mixing 2 cans tomato soup, 16 oz of tomato sauce, and a big squirt of ketchup (more or less to taste). Put enough of the red sauce in the bottom of the pan to coat it. Cut the remainder of the left over cabbage head into strips and put them on top of the red sauce that’s in the pan (you don’t have to do this step of adding the cut up cabbage but I think it aids in the cooking process).
Prepare the meat mixture – using a large bowl mix together raw ground meat, cooled cooked rice, chopped onion, 2 raw eggs, minced garlic, salt, pepper, about 1/4 of the prepared red sauce. It’s gonna look like there’s too much rice, resist the urge to scoop some rice out. Once you mix the filling together grab your cabbage leaves and begin stuffing. Some people cut away the thick veins near the top of the cabbage leaves before stuffing, but I just don’t eat them if there’re too thick. It’s your call how much you want to fill them, just leave enough leaf so you can fold them over and place in pan with the seam side down. No need to do anything crazy like use tooth picks to secure them closed like I’ve seen in some recipes. When all the piggies are neatly tucked in the pan(s), cover the cabbage rolls with the remaining red sauce. Cover pan(s) with tin foil.
Baking – I prefer long and low…325 degrees for 2 hours…makes them nice and tender. As you increase the temp you decrease the time 350 degrees for 90 min, 375 degrees for 60 min, but higher temp sometimes means tougher meat. If you refrigerate them before cooking, let the pans stand at room temp for at least 30 min before baking. Let cooked cabbage rolls rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Have fun experimenting and make it your own…add other herbs or spices or mix the red sauce differently ~ I like more tomato soup, but others like more tomato sauce. Some recipes call for sugar or brown sugar to add sweetness in the red sauce. It’s not difficult to make this recipe, just time-consuming. But no matter how you prepare it, the leftovers will not last for long.
What are your favorite things about autumn? Any favorite dishes?