My mom is a rock star. I’m pretty sure that I’ve already told you she’s amazing in about a million ways -knowing how to cook is just one of them. She makes the most delicious cabbage rolls ever. Everyone loves them. They are requested for birthdays and other holidays, Super Bowl parties, funeral dinners, and new baby and get well dinners. She even made them for our wedding reception. They are one of my favorite meals, and while I love everything about the way she makes them, I am just not a point in my life where I am willing to find time to put everything together into neat individual meat stuffed cabbage pockets. It’s just not going to happen. Priorities, right? I also don’t feel right asking my mom to make a batch every time I get hungry for them (she probably would, she’s always spoiling me like that), so I created my own unstuffed lazy cabbage roll casserole. My Cabbage Roll Casserole has all the flavors, ground beef, bacon, spices, and sauerkraut, in a light tomato based sauce that her beloved cabbage rolls have, but layered like lasagna rather then all rolled up individually. It doesn’t take nearly a fraction of the time to make, and I love it just about as much as I do the real things (I said “just about,” everything tastes better when mom makes it). The only thing missing is the rice in the meat mixture, which I leave out due to family allergies (FPIES) to rice. I’m sure you could add a cup or two, maybe a cup and half of COOKED rice to the meat mixture and it’d turn out great, but I’ve never tried it yet because I don’t want to make my daughter sick. This is one of those recipes that is almost better as leftovers and freezes really well. I’ve assembled it the day before and kept it covered in the fridge until it’s time to bake, and always been extremely happy with how it turns out. I love to pop frozen leftovers in the microwave for lunch too (so good). You are going to love this delicious recipe because it is such an easy way to take care of your cabbage roll cravings.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil or other cooking oil
- 1 16 oz bag of coleslaw mix (from the prepared salad section at your grocery store)
- salt and pepper
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 1 lb bacon sliced into quarter inch pieces
- 1 onion diced,
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika I like smoked
- 2 lb bag of sauerkraut drained
Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add coleslaw mix and cook stir frying until the cabbage is wilted and translucent. Season with salt and pepper. I use very little salt here because the sauerkraut adds quite a bit of salt and I don't want the dish ending up too salty in the end. Spread cooked cabbage over the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish or 3 quart casserole dish. Set aside.
Rinse and dry skillet. Add bacon, onions, and garlic and fry over medium heat, stirring frequently until bacon is nearly done. Add hamburger and brown. Drain grease. Stir in tomato sauce, thyme, rosemary, and paprika and simmer for a few minutes. Spread over the cooked coleslaw. Top with drained sauerkraut. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until edges are bubbling. Cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!
A few things to consider:
Most prepared coleslaw mixtures contain carrots and sometimes red cabbage and are usually in 16 oz bags. If this is what is available, I use only one bag because I find 32 oz. to be more than I like. Sometimes (at WalMart) I can find 10 oz bags of coleslaw mix that is 100% shredded cabbage which I actually prefer. When I can find this type of coleslaw, I use two (10 oz) bags and it's perfect. 10 oz seems to be too little on its own and 32 oz too much so I adjust what I use depending on availability.
On the spices, if you prefer, you can substitute all of the rosemary for thyme, depending on what you have on hand and also according to your taste preferences. I make it both ways, depending on what is stocked in my cupboard and what mood I'm in when I prepare the dish and actually like it both ways.