Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sneaky dog

Ravings: Laundry. I hate laundry! And it seems like it’s never done. This might be another one of those ways Shadow tortures me when I’m not home. I really need to get that nanny cam so I will have proof that he turns into Mischievous Dog when no one is looking! So besides cluttering up my dining room table, I think he might be putting perfectly clean clothes into the hamper.

                                                    He just looks way too innocent!!!

Cravings: I still haven’t been to the grocery store, so we are pushing the limits of my creativity. As of last night my selection of fresh produce consisted of a couple lemons, a ½ bag of cranberries, 4 carrots (on the soft side), 3-4 green onions, and a ½ head of green cabbage. Not much to work with, right? The task of creating a healthy dinner seemed daunting, even to me, but my girlfriend, Leslie, had recently brought some leftover Stuffed Cabbage Casserole to work for lunch and raved about how good it was. I had cabbage. I have ground beef. I have diced tomatoes. Dinner was saved, and super yummy!

Some food notes:

  • We buy grass fed beef and keep it in the freezer. I try to use red meat only once per week, so it lasts a long time. We purchased 1/4 a side of beef (171 lbs) in June and still have at least ½ of it left. We also purchase Boy Scout chickens, although I only have whole chickens left at this point, so I sometimes need to supplement those. We are hoping to split a hog with my dad and sister when we can find an organically raised one for a good price.
  • I have decided to eliminate canned goods from our pantry because of the BPA that leaches into the food from the lining of the can. I have read that tomatoes are the worst thing to store in a can because of the high acidity. I used the last can of diced tomatoes in this recipe. I found Pomi tomatoes that come in a carton and purchased a case on Amazon, but I recently found them at our new Earth Fare supermarket.
  • I think I’ve already mentioned that you can freeze beans, so I’ve also eliminated canned beans from the pantry. And because my sister is a prize winning gift giver, she gave me a ton of beans all prepped and frozen for Christmas.
  • I try to buy primarily organic produce, but it can get really expensive. If you are anywhere near Cleveland, Oh you have to check out The Basketeria at the West Side Market. Cheapest organic and locally grown produce I have found. Often the prices are better that the non-organic produce at the grocery store. I don’t always make it there so I have to suffer through the high prices at the grocery store. If I have to pick and choose what to buy organic, I follow the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, and buy organic of what we eat the most.

On to the recipe:

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

1 cup brown rice
2 cups beef stock
1 lb ground beef
1/8 cup dried onion (only because I didn’t have any onions)
1 Tbsp granulated garlic (also didn’t have any fresh garlic)
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 can diced tomatoes
½ head green cabbage, chopped
2 small cans v-8 juice (leftover from my mom’s visit)
Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley

Boil the rice in the beef stock. While the rice is cooking, sauté the ground beef until just before cooked. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and diced tomatoes. Chop the cabbage. Once the rice is done, mix it into the ground beef. Spread about ½ one can of v-8 juice into a casserole dish. Add a layer of cabbage, then a layer of beef mixture, another layer of cabbage and another layer of beef mixture. Cover with the rest of the V-8 and sprinkle top with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes. I served it with a bit more parmesan cheese on top and sprinkled with some fresh parsley. We had a ton leftover, so it got thrown into a freezer bag for a rainy day meal!

Note: The cabbage was still be fairly crunchy, but we liked it that way. If you want the cabbage to be soft, I would suggest boiling it a bit before assembling your casserole.

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