Posts Tagged ‘peppers’

Cabbage Rolls

January 16, 2010

What a lovely Saturday!

We woke up somewhat early, did a little cleaning and went for a stroll around town. I can’t believe that  it’s mid-January and +4 degrees out. Us Toronto folk really can’t complain too much about winter thus far. I know I have been guilty of complaining  myself, but with the sun setting later and the days getting longer, life in Canada really ain’t so bad. Only a couple more months until Spring is officially here!

I love weekends for many reasons. A break from work, extra sleep time, chance to catch up with friends and most importantly…do whatever it is that you feel like doing. Freedom is bliss!

Weekends are also great for cooking. I like to choose dishes that are easy, but ones that may take extra cooking time that I often don’t have during the week.

Today I wanted to cook up a bunch of food for my dad and freeze it in individual sized portions. I don’t get to cook for him often and wanted to make his life a little easier by filling up his freezer with some homemade grub. I haven’t made cabbage rolls before, but have seen my grandma and mom do it a handful of times. Having European roots, this dish was a pretty traditional meal in my household. I didn’t mind though, because it’s one of my top favourites.

*For the non-cabbage lovers, the filling also makes for a tasty stuffed pepper. I had a bit of extra filling, so I made both cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers.

Cabbage Roll Filling:

  • Ground sausage (I used 4 sausages that I took out of their casings)
  • 1 package ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups rice, already cooked
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4-6 cups tomato sauce

Remove the core of one green cabbage and place it in salted, boiling water. Cover and boil until leaves become tender. Remove leaves and let dry. Use the outer, tough leaves to line a baking dish. This will make sure that the cabbage rolls don’t  stick to the pan. Pour a bit of tomato sauce to coat the cabbage leaves.

In a pan on medium high heat, sauté the garlic and onion in a bit of oil or butter until tender. Add all the oregano, basil, salt and pepper to the onion and garlic and let cool a bit. 

In a bowl, combine ground sausage, ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, rice, tomato paste, onion and garlic mixture, and a few spoonfuls of  tomato sauce. Use your hands to mix everything together. The mixture is now ready to be stuffed into halved peppers or cabbage leaves.

With the cabbage leaves, make sure to cut the tough stem out, which is at the bottom of the leaf. Lay the leaf flat, fill with about 3 tbsp or so of the mixture and roll up like you would a spring roll. Fold in the edges as you roll so that the filling stays inside.

Place each roll seam-side down in the cabbage  lined pan. Pour the remaining tomato sauce on top. I also like to add about 1 cup of the cooking water from boiling the cabbage to help steam the cabbage as it cooks. Cover with foil and make in a 350 degree oven for about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Here’s a shot of my cabbage roll with my stuffed pepper. I added a slice of provolone on the stuffed pepper and put it under the broiler for a few minutes for a little something extra. I think my dad will enjoy these!

Opa!

January 2, 2010

It may be minus 20 degrees out there today, but it was a summer inspired dinner chez moi tonight!

You see…winter and I don’t always see eye to eye.  Today, I got really angry at the cold winds, salt stained roads and bitter air. Yes, I am Canadian, and yes we have had a pretty “mild” winter (so far), but I’d be lying if I said I don’t complain about it. I do.

How long until summer again?

My day started off with my mom dropping off my kitty cat (she’s been vacationing at my dad’s for the past month) and also brought us a bag of fresh chicken. I packed and froze most of it, but did set some aside for dinner. I decided to whip up a quick and easy Greek inspired marinade so that I could grill up some souvlaki later on. Living in a condo, I don’t really have a grill, or a bbq, but improvised a summer fresh meal quite easily. This brought us a little bit of sunshine on this beautiful winter day (I write this with a bit of sarcasm).

Chicken Souvlaki

  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt (sour cream also works well)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and coat cubed chicken. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. The longer the better.

Soak wooden skewers in hot water for 20 minutes and then skewer the marinated chicken. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a frying pan, heat a bit of olive oil on high. When hot, add chicken skewers and turn to brown all sides. Finish cooking in the oven (about 10 minutes). Be careful not to overcook. Dry chicken is the worst!

I also marinated some chopped bell peppers and onion in our favourite salad dressing, mixed with a bit of bbq sauce for sweetness. I skewered and cooked these in the oven with the chicken and finished them off by putting them under the broiler for a few minutes to get some extra colour.

I cooked my rice in chicken broth, instead of water and added about a tbsp of lemon juice for extra freshness.

Opa!