Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Recently we went to our aunt’s annual pool party. It’s a blast as usual and our kids love spending all day in their pool, along with eating grilled burgers and hot dogs. Upon leaving their party, I was asked if I wanted a cabbage. I wasn’t about to turn it down, but in all honesty I had no clue what the heck I was going to do with it. So I thanked them for the cabbage, and then thought long and hard what the heck I was going to make with it. That’s when the light went off, and that’s when I decided to make stuffed cabbage rolls. When I mentioned that to my wife, I did not realize how excited one could get over the idea of stuffed cabbage rolls, but low and behold she did.

This was not only a great use of using up a lot of cabbage, but these things were delicious to boot.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

This recipe is way too easy to make, plus it is one that is totally hearty, great for a busy work week and one that I was able to use up another batch of my tomato sauce.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole head of green cabbage
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup of onion, diced
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • additional salt for boiling cabbage

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Generously season with salt. Once boiling, carefully add in the whole head of cabbage, and cook for about 4 minutes. The goal here is to soften the leaves, leaving them tender for rolling.

Carefully remove the head of cabbage and remove 6 of the outer, larger leaves. Set aside, and then return the cabbage back to the salted boiling water, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove again, and set the cabbage aside.

Next, make your meat mixture. To a mixing bowl, add the ground chuck, salt, pepper, onions, garlic powder, egg, rice, and worchestershire sauce. Mix well.

Now it is time to roll the cabbage rolls. Take one of the reserved cabbage leaves and lay it on your work surface.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

 

Add about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture into the center of the cabbage leaf. Now it’s going to be like rolling a burrito or egg roll.

Fold over the meat mixture, fold in the sides, and continue to roll. Place seam side down onto a place. Repeat with remaining leaves and meat mixture.

Take the remaining cabbage leaves, about 10 or so, and place onto the bottom of your slow cooker. This helps to prevent the cabbage rolls from burning.

Arrange your cabbage rolls in the bottom of the slow cooker, pour over the tomato sauce, place the cover on, and cook for 6-7 hours. This is a perfect way to cook while you head to work.

Serve each cabbage roll on a plate and spoon over any additional tomato sauce.

These cabbage rolls rocked. Not only were they super tender on the inside, but the cabbage lent the perfect vehicle for stuffing. Was my wife still excited? You bet, and she even took one the next day for lunch, they were that good.

If you are looking for an easy meal, and have some cabbage laying around, give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy!

Beer Braised Taquitos

The taquito. What’s not to love? It’s one of those menu items that often gets overlooked due to all of the other delicious items on a Mexican restaurant’s menu, but take a pause, slow down, and look at that name. The taquito. Some know the taquito as a flauto. Fine. But at the end of the day, the taquito is essentially a corn tortilla stuffed with meat and cheese, and typically deep fried. It’s crisp. It’s perfect, and I’m pretty sure I do not know anyone that would not pick one of these up and devour it. This is how my taquito started. A mistake if you will, but a great mistake at that.

Beer Braised Beef Taquito Recipe
Beer Braised Beef Taquito Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs beef chuck roast, exterior fat trimmed and removed
  • 12 oz can of your favorite beer (I used Oskar Blues Priscilla)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 package of fresh corn tortillas
  • 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • cooking spray
  • Guacamole, optional
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Your favorite hot sauce or salsa, optional

This is a slow cooker recipe, however if you decide to braise, by all means get in and go for it.

I initially started this slow cooked beef as my wife wanted kebobs on the grill one weekend. Well, time got away from me, and as I was not up for kebabs on the grill (laziness), I made something else, but decided I would add keep the beef cooking and use it the following day. Did I mention I love the slow cooker?

Start by cubing your beef. It does not matter how large or small. This stuff is going to cook for more than eight hours, if not longer. Did I mention I love the slow cooker?

Add the beef, along with the salt, pepper, and beer to the slow cooker. Set to low. Forget about it for about 6-14 hours, then return to it.

Slow Cooked Beer Braised Beef Taquitos Recipe
Slow Cooked Beer Braised Beef Taquitos Recipe

With a slotted spoon, or spider, strain the beef, reserving about 1 cup of the liquid mixture, add in the garlic powder, and shred the beef with a couple of forks. It should be falling apart tender.

Add in the reserved liquid, stir, and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take your package of corn tortillas, add them to a plate, and microwave them for about 1 minute.

Remove and cover with a clean towel, or place into your tortilla warmer.

Take a tortilla, add some shredded beef, a bit of cheese, and roll into a log. Place onto a baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with all tortillas, beef, and cheese.

Spray the taquitos with cooking spray and place into the preheated oven, and cook until golden brown, roughly 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on them as you don’t want them to overcook.

Remove, and serve with your favorite side items.

The end result is not only an awesome taquito, but when taking a bite has you thinking ‘what the heck is that flavor in that beef?!’. Yep, that’s the beer, and the salt and garlic. It’s pretty slick to say the least.

So if you are looking for a great snack, lunch, or dinner, heck even breakfast, these taquitos are your go to. Hope you enjoy!

Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich

Do you love sandwiches? I know I do and as a matter of fact I really was craving a BLT the other day, but you know what, tomatoes are just not in season here. This sandwich however is in season as it is comfort food season! This one is the Italian style pulled pork sandwich, and one that screams comfort, and as a matter of fact my kids devoured this sandwich and came cruising back for another one.

Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe
Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe

The pork is slow cooked in a great tomato based mixture until fall apart tender, then served on some crusty bread with melted provolone cheese and sauteed greens. What’s not to love!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder, fat trimmed
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried red chili flakes
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, stem removed, finely chopped
  • 1 whole head of garlic, finely diced
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 whole yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of beef stock
  • 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of rapini
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 1 cup additional beef stock
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • bolillo rolls, to your serving
  • Chicago style sport peppers, optional
  • 2 slices provolone cheese, per serving

Start by making your rub for the pork. To a small mixing bowl, add the fennel seeds, red chili flakes, chopped rosemary, parsley, and garlic. Give a good mix, and season with some salt and pepper.

Add the pork shoulder to a large cast iron skillet, or dutch oven, large enough to hold all of the broth and tomato mixture. Make sure it is fat side up.

Add the garlic mixture to the top of the pork shoulder. Next pour around the shoulder the beef stock, add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and onions.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and let the pork shoulder rest on the counter as the oven heats up. Your goal here is to build a nice crust, then either cover with foil and reduce the heat to 300 degrees and braise for 2-3 hours, or what I did was simply transfer everything to a slow cooker, covered it and forgot about it until the next day (I recommend this approach as it was like butter).

Once the oven is heated, add the pork, and build a nice crust, about 25 minutes or so. Next, carefully remove from the oven, then place in a slow cooker, on low, and cook for about 10 hours or so. I simply did this overnight.

Ingredients for making Italian style pulled pork sandwiches
Ingredients for making Italian style pulled pork sandwiches

Now let’s make the greens. To a stock pot, add the rapini and spinach. Give a pinch of salt and crushed red chili flakes, and the additional cup of beef stock. Bring to a simmer, stir, and cover, cooking until the greens are completely wilted. They will not be pretty, but they are super delicious, and great for you to boot.

Now let’s make the sandwich. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice your roll, but not all of the way through. Layer in the cheese, and place in the oven, cooking until the roll is crusty and the cheese is nice and melted. You want a crusty roll here as when you fold in the pulled pork and greens, it gets pretty darn saucey. You’ll see. It’s like the best gravy for swiping your sandwich into.

During this time shred the pork. It should simply fall apart. Once shredded, mix everything together. Remove the roll from the oven, then add some greens, fold in the pork mixture to your liking, and top with a couple of sport peppers. I liked adding the peppers as that vinegar and subtle heat cuts through that savory pork.

Eat this one over a plate people as that pork is so super juicy and it will run out all over your plate. This sandwich is a real homerun, feeds a ton of people (We ate it for two days and I ended up freezing a ton of it), and is super delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Sandwiches
Cuisine: Italian Style
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder, fat trimmed
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried red chili flakes
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, stem removed, finely chopped
  • 1 whole head of garlic, finely diced
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 whole yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of beef stock
  • 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of rapini
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 1 cup additional beef stock
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • bolillo rolls, to your serving
  • Chicago style sport peppers, optional
  • 2 slices provolone cheese, per serving
Instructions
  1. Start by making your rub for the pork. To a small mixing bowl, add the fennel seeds, red chili flakes, chopped rosemary, parsley, and garlic. Give a good mix, and season with some salt and pepper.
  2. Add the pork shoulder to a large cast iron skillet, or dutch oven, large enough to hold all of the broth and tomato mixture. Make sure it is fat side up.
  3. Add the garlic mixture to the top of the pork shoulder. Next pour around the shoulder the beef stock, add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and onions.
  4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and let the pork shoulder rest on the counter as the oven heats up. Your goal here is to build a nice crust, then either cover with foil and reduce the heat to 300 degrees and braise for 2-3 hours, or what I did was simply transfer everything to a slow cooker, covered it and forgot about it until the next day (I recommend this approach as it was like butter).
  5. Once the oven is heated, add the pork, and build a nice crust, about 25 minutes or so. Next, carefully remove from the oven, then place in a slow cooker, on low, and cook for about 10 hours or so. I simply did this overnight.
  6. Now let’s make the greens. To a stock pot, add the rapini and spinach. Give a pinch of salt and crushed red chili flakes, and the additional cup of beef stock. Bring to a simmer, stir, and cover, cooking until the greens are completely wilted. They will not be pretty, but they are super delicious, and great for you to boot.
  7. Now let’s make the sandwich. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice your roll, but not all of the way through. Layer in the cheese, and place in the oven, cooking until the roll is crusty and the cheese is nice and melted. You want a crusty roll here as when you fold in the pulled pork and greens, it gets pretty darn saucey. You’ll see. It’s like the best gravy for swiping your sandwich into.
  8. During this time shred the pork. It should simply fall apart. Once shredded, mix everything together. Remove the roll from the oven, then add some greens, fold in the pork mixture to your liking, and top with a couple of sport peppers. I liked adding the peppers as that vinegar and subtle heat cuts through that savory pork.

African Style Chicken Sandwich – Chicken Suqaar

It was not too long ago when my colleagues and I ventured out to try a new restaurant, only due to the fact that someone did a writeup on them in regards to one of their sandwiches.  The place was called Blue Star Cafe, and is located on the east side of Milwaukee. The three of us ordered sandwiches, and I decided on getting their chicken sandwich with green sauce. Not really knowing what I was going to get, beyond chicken on bread, I was completely blown away by the flavors, tenderness of the chicken, and their bread. It was known as Somali food, and I was down with it. After recognizing all of the awesome flavors, I decided to take a stab at making my own, and boy was it ever good.

African Style Chicken Sandwich Recipe
African Style Chicken Sandwich Recipe

When I was eating this sandwich, it really took me to a similar sandwich, the Banh Mi, a sandwich that is packed with tender meat, fresh herbs, and seasoning.

My kids devoured this sandwich and were wanting more. That’s always a good sign, of great food in my book, plus it is super simple to make.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 whole potato, peeled, cooked, and cubed
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 whole onion, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 head lettuce, shredded
  • 1 whole tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced, optional
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Thin, soft French baguettes

Start by adding the chicken thighs to a slow cooker. You can do this in the oven if you desire, but during a busy work week, I find that throwing these in a slow cooker was the real trick.

Toss with the garlic, salt, cumin, cinnamon, lemon pepper, chicken bouillon, and allspice. Drizzle with some olive oil, add in the water, and cook on low for 8 hours.

Once cooked, pull apart with a fork, and remain cooking until it gets folded into the vegetable mix.

To a large skillet, drizzle in some olive oil, then add in the onions, cubed potato, and carrots. Cook just until slightly tender, then fold in the chicken mixture. Gently stir, and cook on low heat.

Make the curry mayonnaise for the sauce. Add the mayo and curry powder to a bowl, and stir to combine.  Now let’s make the sandwiches!

How to make African Chicken Suqaar Sandwiches
How to make African Chicken Suqaar Sandwiches

Take one of your French baguettes, and slice lengthwise. Slather on the curry mayonnaise on both sides. Top with the chicken suqaar mixture, then add in the chilies, lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro.  Fold, give a good push down. Open wide and dig in.

There’s something to be said about this African chicken sandwich. It’s ultra tender chicken, that is just seasoned perfectly really balances out with the curry mayonnaise, and fresh herbs and chilies. I’m really glad my colleagues turned me onto the Blue Star Cafe, as without going there, I would have no idea about this type of African cuisine. Give this one a try, I’m sure you will love it!

African Style Chicken Sandwich - Chicken Suqaar
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken, Sandwiches
Cuisine: African
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 whole potato, peeled, cooked, and cubed
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 whole onion, cut into matchsticks
  • ½ head lettuce, shredded
  • 1 whole tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced, optional
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Thin, soft French baguettes
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the chicken thighs to a slow cooker. You can do this in the oven if you desire, but during a busy work week, I find that throwing these in a slow cooker was the real trick.
  2. Toss with the garlic, salt, cumin, cinnamon, lemon pepper, chicken bouillon, and allspice. Drizzle with some olive oil, add in the water, and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Once cooked, pull apart with a fork, and remain cooking until it gets folded into the vegetable mix.
  4. To a large skillet, drizzle in some olive oil, then add in the onions, cubed potato, and carrots. Cook just until slightly tender, then fold in the chicken mixture. Gently stir, and cook on low heat.
  5. Make the curry mayonnaise for the sauce. Add the mayo and curry powder to a bowl, and stir to combine. Now let’s make the sandwiches!
  6. Take one of your French baguettes, and slice lengthwise. Slather on the curry mayonnaise on both sides. Top with the chicken suqaar mixture, then add in the chilies, lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro. Fold, give a good push down. Open wide and dig in.