Admittedly, I grew up in a home where there wasn’t a ton of cooking going on. It was the 80s and 90s, both parents worked outside the home, and it was a time to shine for convenience foods. As a result, I have an ongoing soft spot for Shake n’ Bake, Rice-A-Roni, Ragu pasta sauce and a variety of other packaged wonders.
But one thing I do remember my mother making from (almost) scratch, were cabbage rolls.
I would like to give my mom a belated slow clap for making those happen.
I’ve made cabbage rolls myself a number of times over the years. Since having a little one and going back to work full time, though? I’ve made them a total of zero times. It’s no secret these are a time and labour intensive endeavour. Especially for a weeknight. Especially for a weeknight with a hangry child who is having a hard time adjusting to a school routine.
My blogger buddy Jenny Jack posted about ‘lazy’ cabbage rolls on IG a while back and that peaked my short-on-time interest. She was kind enough to send me her perfect recipe, on which this one is based. I won’t lie, I’ve taken liberty with a few shortcuts.
You’ll notice, I’ve got a bag of frozen ground beef here. I don’t buy ground beef all that often, but when I do, I’m buying in the 4lb bulk packages, cooking it up all at once (usually with some onion and little salt) and portioning it into 3-4 bags for the freezer, where I lay them flat to freeze. It’s a really great time saver for a weeknight. Heat it up and add to pasta sauce, serve in tacos, make sloppy joes, all in under 15 minutes.
This is a flexible recipe, too. I’ve given you the proportions of liquid vs. other ingredients that I like, but you can add more rice if you prefer, more sauce if you’re a saucy fellow, or go heavy on the cabbage if that’s your deal. Don’t have broth? Sub for water. Only have tomato puree? Cool, that’s fine. Want to sub Campbell’s tomato soup for tomato sauce? yup! that’s what my Mom did!
This one’s for you weeknight parent who cooks!