Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Last week, we received a small savoy cabbage in our CSA box. This is a rather pretty, leafy vegetable and I was excited to use it! My initial thought was ‘Stuffed cabbage! Of course!’, until I pulled the cute little thing out of the refrigerator again and realize its leaves were entirely too small to stuff and roll into any functioning cabbage rolls. So on to Plan B…

I wanted to make sure I was still using all the same ingredients since the whole reason I thought of Stuffed Cabbage in the first place was to a) use the savoy cabbage, but also b) use some more of the ground venison I need to get through in the next few months. Luckily, I found this wonderful recipe from Everyday Dishes! Tried it, loved it, and will definitely be keeping around to make again!

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Admittedly, casseroles are never the prettiest of dishes, but I promise it was yummy!


Ingredients:

1 lb. lean ground beef or venison
1 lg. onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
14.5 oz. can petite tomatoes diced with juice
8 oz. can tomato sauce*
(*Note: I opened a full 15 oz. can and reserved the other half for a sauce when serving.)
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. long grain rice, uncooked
1 head savoy cabbage, chopped into 1/2″ pieces*
(*Note: As mentioned, the savoy cabbage head I had was quite small, so I substituted with some regular green cabbage as well.)
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. kosher salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add ground beef/venison and cook until browned. Remove the meat from the heat and drain the grease. Return to the heat and add chopped onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, salt and pepper and cook about 2 minutes more. Pour in the can of diced tomatoes including the juice, tomato sauce, chicken broth and the uncooked rice. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the skillet and let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. While the meat mixture is simmering, remove the outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut it in half and cut out the core then chop the cabbage into ½” pieces.
4. Once the meat mixture has finished simmering, transfer it to a bowl and return the skillet to the heat. Add the cabbage, water and kosher salt to the skillet, cover and cook over medium-high heat until the cabbage is wilted slightly. Uncover the skillet and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Set the cabbage aside.
5. Place cabbage in a clean kitchen towel and wring the excess water out.
6. Begin assembling the casserole by layering half the meat mixture, half of the cabbage and then repeating with the other half of the meat mixture and ending with the cabbage. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven, remove the foil and serve while hot. (Like I said, I used other other half of the tomato sauce can as sauce when serving.)

(Recipe loved & found on Everyday Dishes.)

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Easy Egg Salad

I was feeling rather lazy last night so decided to make something quick and easy. Or so I thought…

Having not boiled eggs in a very, very long time, I admittedly had to look up how to boil them just to make sure I wasn’t doing something horribly wrong. I just clicked on the first instructions I found (first mistake) and went to work. Put the eggs in water, bring to boil, cover, let sit, drain, peel. Cool. Easy-peasy.

Well when I got to the “drain then peel” step I suddenly thought, ‘Wait a minute…aren’t you supposed to cool these down first?’ After a couple seconds of pondering I figured, ‘Nah, there wouldn’t be directions on the internet that didn’t actually work’ …second mistake. So I let them cool (at room temperature) just enough to be able to handle and started peeling.

30 minutes later I was STILL peeling those damn eggs! It was nothing short of a nightmare.

So long story short, lesson learned! After finishing what seemed like hours of egg-smushing (I can’t even really call it “peeling”) I decided to look up a better way to make easy-peel boiled eggs and came across this wonderful article. The writer and his husband did all the hard work for me and figured out the “best” way to boil eggs. So I will be trying their method next time and not whatever horrendous act I attempted last night.

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Ingredients:

Approx. 4 c. water
1 T. vinegar

8 eggs
1/2 c. mayo
1 T. sweet yellow mustard
1-2 chopped green onions
1 chopped garlic scape (optional)
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. pepper
salt to taste

Directions:

1. Boil your eggs, whichever method you like; I would recommend this method for boiling the eggs: Add 1 T. of vinegar to about 4 cups of water. When it starts to boil, add the eggs to the water and gentle boil for 12-14 mins. Remove eggs and immediately put them in an ice bath. When the eggs are cool/chilled, peel away!
2. Chop the eggs and leave them to the side momentarily. (I also removed 2 out of the 8 egg yellows.)
3. Combine the mayo, mustard, green onions, garlic scape, paprika, pepper, and salt to taste in a large bowl and mix well. (Taste test!)
4. Add chopped eggs to the mixture and gently fold together. Enjoy!

(These sandwiches were complimented nicely by a side of my Sour Cream Cucumber Salad. A perfect summer meal!)

Sour Cream Cucumber Salad

This was one of my favorite summer-time side dishes growing up – and still is! Cool, crisp, and predominantly sour cream! Yum!

My dad claims it’s “an old family recipe”, past down by his Great Grandma Ethel, that was then “stolen by those bastards at Better Homes & Garden’s cook book…”. (Yes, that is a direct quote.) But to take the less extreme side of things, I’m sure it has been a family favorite for a long time and there are many others out there who feel the same. To me, it doesn’t matter as much who created it, but with whom I can share it. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. sour cream
1 T. vinegar
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt

Directions:

1. Combine the cucumbers and onions in large bowl. (I used my food processor to slice them thinly.)
2. Stir together sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and salt; toss with vegetables.
3. Cover and chill for 2 hours, mixing occasionally (if you remember – I never do).


 

Venison Meatballs

I never cooked with venison growing up. Mainly because a) I didn’t have any hunters in my family, and b) it’s not really a meat you can buy at the local grocery store. (Although I’m sure Jungle Jim’s would have it!)

So I only started using venison about a year ago when my boyfriend finally went out for deer-hunting season. Where we live, deer hunting is quite a “family affair” to say the least; so his close family and a handful of family-friends all put their deer together to be butchered and processed into various things (roasts, loins, jerky, Bologna, etc.) and then everyone gets a share of it all. So need-less-to-say, since the fall I have had a very steady supply of various venison cuts and products.

I’ve made a few roasts so far and maybe burgers once or twice (but my boyfriend likes to make those so I can’t claim in making them), but I hadn’t really cooked with the ground version yet.

We have a spaghetti squash laying around that needs to be made soon, so I figured now was as good of a time as any to try my hand at home-made meatballs. And might as well use some of the mountain of venison in the freezer as well.

So the recipe below is a bit of a mix of one I found on The Food Charlatan‘s website, as well as some welcomed suggestions and guidance from my best friend’s mom who probably cooks with venison more than anyone I know. (Context: My best friend didn’t like the taste of beef growing up because she thought that tasted different.)

Venison Meatballs


Ingredients:

1.5 lbs. ground venison
2 large eggs
3/4 c. milk
1 c. breadcrumbs
1 & 1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. pepper
3/4 t. onion powder
3/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. red onion, finely diced
small handful of grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with butter.
2. Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together.
3. Shape the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs.
4. Place the meatballs close together (but not touching) on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until browned on the bottom.

This recipe made about 32 golf-ball sized meatballs.


After letting the meatballs cool, I just bagged them and threw them in the freezer. We will be having spaghetti squash with marinara and meatballs later this week, so I didn’t really follow the correct method for freezing them. I figured a few days wouldn’t hurt…

Cheesy Parmesan Risotto with Beet Greens

A few months ago I was introduced to home-made risotto for the first time. I think it goes without saying that it was delicious, but I was even more intrigued by how it was made. It very quickly turned into a cooking “bucket-list” item for me.

So I’ve been looking forward to “taking a stab at it” for a while now, and finally got my chance last night. Our CSA box this week came with some gorgeous beets and one of the recipes our farmer shared was a Beet Greens Risotto. Ah-ha! The moment had come!

Reading through his instructions I had some trouble understanding exactly what he meant, so I took to the Internet to see if I could find something similar. And that’s how I stumbled upon Katie’s Cucina‘s Cheesy Parmesan Risotto with Beet Greens recipe.

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Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Beet greens (from at least 3 beets), rinsed well and chopped
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup arborio rice
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp crushed rosemary
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:

1. In a large pot, on medium-high heat add olive oil, diced onion, and garlic. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes. Then add beet greens, mix well, and sauté for 5 minutes until wilted. Remove from the skillet and place in a bowl (set to the side).
2. Add butter to the same pot and let it melt. Then add the arborio rice to the pot. Let it toast for 1 minute, mixing well. Add 1/4 cup of the chicken broth, mix well until all the broth has evaporated, then add another 1/4 cup. Repeat until all the broth is used, evaporated, and rice is almost cooked.
3. Add the crushed rosemary, black pepper, and heavy cream. Mix well until cream is almost evaporated then mix in grated parmesan. Plate the risotto and nestle the beet greens on top. Drizzle a half tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over the greens.


The only things I changed/adjusted from this recipe was: 1) I used a bit more than 1/2 c. of arborio rice, 2) I used fresh rosemary (also from our CSA) instead of crushed, dried rosemary and just chopped it very finely, and 3) I ended up using half-n-half instead of heavy cream because I had forgotten to get that ingredient at the store.

So there you have it. All-in-all I’d say it was a “cooking adventure” success!

(Recipe loved and found on Katie’s Cucina‘s website.)

 

Lemon Arugula Pesto

I decided to get a little more creative with the greens from our CSA last week. Arugula is a very peppery, bitter green – you can have it in/as salad, but it tends to be a little too potent for my liking. So I used it to make a Lemon Arugula Pesto to have with linguine.

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Ingredients:

2 c. baby arugula
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c. almonds
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
pepper/salt to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 c. olive oil (I didn’t really measure – I just added the oil based on what I could see with the consistency.)
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients except the oil and cheese into a food processor.
2. Turn on food processor. While it is running, gradually drizzle oil into mixture.
3. Once well blended, add cheese and pulse to combine.


Like I said, I used this for a pasta dish, but pesto can also be great on toast with cream cheese or as a marinade for meats. Enjoy!

(Recipe loved and found on Bowl of Delicious.)