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!

Homemade V8 Juice

I don’t know about you, but our vegetable garden is officially in full bloom. We are picking tomatoes, like big bowls of them, every day, along with cucumbers, beans, peppers, chilies, and broccoli, and I love every minute of it. It’s something I like doing after work, and at the end of the week I look at all of the bowls of tomatoes, peppers, and chilies, and think of things to make with them. So on a recent trip to our local farmer’s market, and while as was chatting it up with a couple of the local farmers, a lady approached them and asked to buy a huge basket of tomatoes. Of course I was going to ask this lady what she was going to do with all of those tomatoes, and her response was ‘I batch out large quantities of spicy v8 juice for bloody mary’s for football season’. As one of the farmer’s chimed in regards to the same process, I was intrigued to say the least.

So as I went back home, I decided to give my take on a v8 style juice, and man oh man was it ever good, and fresh to boot.

Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

    Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

This recipe, as it may not be the prettiest of juices, is not only easy to make, put it has just the right amount of spice (in my opinion) and you know that you put all of that fresh produce into it.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 lb of tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden)
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 whole red onion, quartered
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds if you do not want it too spicy)
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups of water, divided

To a medium sized saucepan, add 1 cup of water and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, covered.

Remove the cover, add in the remaining cup of water, give a good stir, then remove from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.

Homemade V8 Juice Recipe
Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

Add the mixture to a blender, and blend until you think everything is nicely pureed.

Next you will need to strain the mixture. I use a chinois but if you do not have that then try and use a fine-mesh sieve, and place in a large mason jar. Discard or compost the remaining solids.

Chill the juice in the refrigerator, and when you are ready to serve, pour over some ice or a virgin bloody mary, or add a bit of vodka if you are making a cocktail.

The result is really, really good. I typically have to add stuff to my v8 drink to make it a bit spicy, but this combination was perfect. So if you are looking to use up some of those vegetables from your garden, or better yet supporting your local farmers, then give this one a shot. It’s well worth it. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade V8 Juice
Author: 
Recipe type: Juice
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb of tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden)
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ whole red onion, quartered
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds if you do not want it too spicy)
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • generous pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups of water, divided
Instructions
  1. To a medium sized saucepan, add 1 cup of water and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, covered.
  2. Remove the cover, add in the remaining cup of water, give a good stir, then remove from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the mixture to a blender, and blend until you think everything is nicely pureed.
  4. Next you will need to strain the mixture. I use a chinois but if you do not have that then try and use a fine-mesh sieve, and place in a large mason jar. Discard or compost the remaining solids.
  5. Chill the juice in the refrigerator, and when you are ready to serve, pour over some ice or a virgin bloody mary, or add a bit of vodka if you are making a cocktail.
  6. The result is really, really good. I typically have to add stuff to my v8 drink to make it a bit spicy, but this combination was perfect.

 

Lasagna with Quark Cheese

This quark cheese could not have come at a better time. My colleague had sent me a text stating he was bringing in 12 ounces of quark cheese and it was all mine. He had recently worked at a farm to table dinner and a lot of food was leftover for the taking, and one of them being quark cheese. It was awesome quark cheese at that and from Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They make awesome cheese curds, so I was excited to try their quark cheese.

When I took the cheese home, I gave it a taste, and it was confirmed how awesome it was. The quark cheese was soft, a bit tangy, and reminded me a bit of ricotta cheese in texture. That’s when I knew what I was going to do with it, and what a better way to use up a lot of my tomato sauce that I have been freezing from an abundance of tomatoes from my garden. What’s better is my kids did not know I was putting in this cheese, so it was a new experience to a meal they already love, lasagna.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 lb ground chuck, cooked, and fat drained
  • 5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (I made my own)
  • 12 pasta sheets, I tried the ‘Oven Ready’ type
  • 1/3 cup shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 12 oz Quark cheese
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • aluminum foil

Start by cooking your ground chuck. Once cooked and drained, return back to the stove on medium-low heat, and add in your tomato sauce, garlic, shallots, and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetable soften, and the sauce is cooked through. Once cooked through, set aside.

To a mixing bowl, add the quark cheese, eggs, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix until everything is blended through.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

To a baking dish, lightly spray with cooking spray.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Ingredients
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Ingredients

Now time for assembly. Ladle about a cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and evenly spread out.

Top with 3 sheets of the lasagna shells. Add dollops of the quark cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Ladle a bit more sauce, top with pasta, cheese mixture, pasta, cheese mixture, meat sauce, pasta, and finish with covering entirely with the meat sauce. Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the meat sauce, then cover with aluminum foil, and place into the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, remove, take off the foil, and return back to the oven to get the cheese nice and bubbly. Remove, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes (I know that is the hardest part).

Now you are ready to serve. Slice into squares, shower with more parmesan cheese if desired, or shower with some chili flakes.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe

The end result, and I don’t say this because I made this recipe with quark cheese, was spectacular. It had everything you love about a great lasagna, but there was something about the quark that really made it special.  So if you have never tried quark cheese, do so, and if you have plenty to spare give this recipe a shot. I hope you enjoy!

Lasagna with Quark Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Lasagna
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ lb ground chuck, cooked, and fat drained
  • 5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (I made my own)
  • 12 pasta sheets, I tried the ‘Oven Ready’ type
  • ⅓ cup shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup bell pepper, diced
  • 12 oz Quark cheese
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ½ tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • aluminum foil
Instructions
  1. Start by cooking your ground chuck. Once cooked and drained, return back to the stove on medium-low heat, and add in your tomato sauce, garlic, shallots, and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetable soften, and the sauce is cooked through. Once cooked through, set aside.
  2. To a mixing bowl, add the quark cheese, eggs, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix until everything is blended through.
  3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  4. To a baking dish, lightly spray with cooking spray.
  5. Now time for assembly. Ladle about a cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and evenly spread out.
  6. Top with 3 sheets of the lasagna shells. Add dollops of the quark cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Ladle a bit more sauce, top with pasta, cheese mixture, pasta, cheese mixture, meat sauce, pasta, and finish with covering entirely with the meat sauce. Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the meat sauce, then cover with aluminum foil, and place into the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
  7. After 35 minutes, remove, take off the foil, and return back to the oven to get the cheese nice and bubbly. Remove, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes (I know that is the hardest part).
  8. Now you are ready to serve. Slice into squares, shower with more parmesan cheese if desired, or shower with some chili flakes.