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LAMB STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

If you love stuffed cabbage rolls, then you’ll love this recipe! It takes the whole dish to a whole new level. I know some people are purists but you’ll be surprised to find there are many cultures including the Middle East that have their own variation of stuffed cabbage or some other kind of leaf. So I took the concept of the traditional Polish stuffed cabbage and used a more flavorful meat like ground lamb and complimenting it using the proper spices for it. Yet another fusion dish perhaps that is worth the prep work, I swear!

I’ll say though, it may sound like a lot of work but it really isn’t. You can make the lamb mixture the day before which is super fast. Then take care of the rest later. One major word of advice though is make sure you have a big, tall pot one you’d use to cook spaghetti in. Also, a hand held strainer that would fit a cabbage head in. This will make removing a piping hot cabbage head so much easier preventing burnt hands.

One last thing, the very end of the leaf can have a very thick spine which makes it difficult sometimes to roll the cabbage leaf. In the picture above you can see I cut an upside-down “V” to remove most of it off. It does make a big difference. Don’t worry about ruining the leaf! If you are confused and have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!


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LAMB STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a pan over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic, black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon together until the onions are softened, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the ground lamb, rice, cooled onion mixture, fresh cilantro and salt thoroughly in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Place the cabbage head carefully into the boiling hot water using a large strainer with a handle for about 5 minutes. You want the leaves to appear bright green.
  4. Remove the cabbage head into a large bowl. Peel off some of the softened leaves and place onto a plate covered with paper towels. Place the cabbage back into the boiling water for a few minutes until the next layer of leaves are ready to be peeled. Do this a few times until you peel most of the leaves off the head. Save the damaged and/or outer leaves to cover the bottom and top of the baking dish.
  5. Using a knife cut an upside-down “V” to remove the toughest part of the spine at the bottom of each leaf. This will make rolling the leaves easier. Place each cabbage leaf sideways, spoon about ¼ cup give or take of the lamb mixture onto the bottom part of the leaf. Roll it up and tuck in the sides before completely rolling it up.
  6. Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with imperfect cabbage leaves, place the stuffed cabbage rolls into the baking dish and sprinkle the top with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Add the bay leaves and vegetable broth. Top the rolls with tomato puree, the remaining fresh chopped onion and feta crumbles.
  7. Cover everything with remaining leftover cabbage leaves and aluminum foil. Bake at 350 F for about an 1h 15min to 1hr 30min. Everything should be boiling hot.

SHREDDED RADICCHIO & BRUSSELS

This is a very straight forward recipe that only takes minutes to cook. It’s so simple and so good for you. Most of the meal prepping I do is literally veggie dishes so I can easily heat up and only worry about the main deal. This recipe goes great with practically anything. Bake, pan sear/fry whatever it may be your favorite fish, or chicken breast, steak and lay it on top a bed of the Shredded Radicchio & Brussels. I’ve added a small handful of it to a rough chopped salad among whatever other random goodies I have in the fridge for a quick, lazy lunch or even dinner. BUT, my absolute fav is creating a circle of this in an oiled iron skillet, leaving a 4-5inch in diameter space in the center where I crack an egg or two in the center. Place the lid on top and let cook on medium-high heat for several minutes. Cajun seasoning sprinkled on top is divine! With toast and the oozing yolk, OH MY GOODNESS!

Sooo my point is, make a big batch of this ahead of time. Use it in all sorts of things. Make your life easy. Get your veggies. Be healthier, feel healthier. And life is good. Hey, feel free to add or replace ingredients too. I love it when you guys go outside the box, after all that’s the whole point of this food blog. Creativity and options is endless. Last thing though… To make life that much easier, I buy the bags of shredded carrot but by all means feel free to save some money by using the good ole cheese grater. You can do the same with the brussels sprouts. Personally, I prefer using a very sharp knife and making thin slices to each one. The radicchio though, you’ll have to use a knife to get the shredded effect. It’s about 1/4 of a radicchio head to get a solid cup of thin slices. Okay, I’m done babbling. Go make nowwww!

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SHREDDED RADICCHIO & BRUSSELS
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Instructions
  1. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil and add everything except the lemon juice.
  2. Stir frequently for about 5-7 minutes or until the brussels sprouts turn a vibrant green.
  3. Then, squeeze the lemon juice on top, add salt and pepper. Stir for about 30 seconds and remove from heat.

FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

This is a super quick approach to making a fresh tomato sauce. I wouldn’t give it the credit of a pomodoro sauce but if you love the fresh flavors of tomatoes and basil, this is a great go-to recipe for all sorts of dishes. This will always taste better the next day just like most sauces do. Sure canned tomato sauce is great, but some companies add so much sugar and other crap in it that’s completely unnecessary. Not only that but you really can’t compare quality from fresh to canned. It’s a matter or preference and what you plan to make with the sauce.

One of my favorite quick meals to make with the sauce is slicing a smoked chicken Italian style sausage like Aidells, saute it in a large pan with some leeks and simmer the fresh tomato sauce in it. Serve over pasta. You’ll have tons for leftovers too. Feel free to add any other of your favorite fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, marjarom and rosemary. It’s that much more yummier!

 

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FRESH TOMATO SAUCE
serves well with 1lb of pasta
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Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and run it until everything is well combined.
  2. Pour the sauce into a pan over medium and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add more salt to taste.

CASHEW CREAM WITH BERRIES

Lactose Intolerant? Vegan? Watching your junk food intake? Regulating your sugar consumption? Eating clean? Want something, sweet, satisfying and super healthy packed with protein? Well, you don’t have to deprive yourself. Indulge with lesser guilt once in a while! This Cashew Cream is one of my favorite things to make. I could literally keep batches of this stuff in the fridge at all times, but… even too much of a good thing all the time could mean, too many calories. But at least, when you do indulge, there’s no guilt or adverse affects to your efforts.

This is a decadent cream, not quite a whipped cream because it’s not light and fluffy. It’s packed with good healthy fats and has a consistency of a thick Greek yogurt but so full of rich flavor. With the lemon juice in the mix, it has a similar flavor to New York cheesecake. Hmmm, maybe I’ll have to do that soon!I know it sounds odd with cashews being the main ingredient but I’m telling you with everything else in the mix, it’s amazing. You can use this cream as a filling or layer in a cake. You can also make it as thin or thick as you like by the amount of almond milk (or any other nut milk) you use. I love switching up the flavor of extracts for this recipe too, for instance Almond Extract is great. Or Lemon. Whatever you desire. Keep in mind, feel free to use honey or agave syrup instead of maple syrup. Pair this cream with anything you want, it doesn’t have to be berries. Have fun with it and let me know what you come up with!


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CASHEW CREAM WITH BERRIES
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Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a high speed blender and run it through until everything is combined well into a thick cream.
  2. Serve over your favorite berries.
Recipe Notes

Add a splash more almond milk to make the consistency less thick if you like.

TUNA & SUN-DRIED TOMATO PASTA

Lets face it, we’re always busy regardless what time of year. But with Summer around we are busy on top of wanting to enjoy those days of perfect weather to do the things we couldn’t do otherwise. With this quick dish you can’t get anymore healthy with pasta when you throw together a bunch of tuna, spinach, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s light and filling enough to not weigh you down on those hot days we’ve been having. I eat this either cold, room temperature or warmed up depending on my mood, it’s super yummy either way.

I’ve made this with arugula instead of spinach and it’s just as yummy. There are no rules so, feel free to use any leafy green and any other favorite veggie that appeals to you. That’s the best thing about cooking is you can eat healthy and make it taste good, it’s all about using lots of fresh flavor and your favorite ingredients. If you’re gluten free, use a GF pasta or any other pasta alternative like whole wheat, quinoa pasta for more protein or zucchini noodles for low carb! You can learn about zucchini noodles and how you can easily make them on my Garlic Shrimp Zoodle recipe. Enjoy!


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TUNA & SUN-DRIED TOMATO PASTA
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot of water for the pasta and bring to boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging. When the pasta is done, reserve a glass of pasta water and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet on medium-high heat, drizzle the bottom with olive oil and saute the onions until softened. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water, lemon juice, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, sea salt, sun-dried tomatoes, sun-dried tomato olive oil, and tomato paste. Stir. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Add the tuna and fresh spinach, toss for a good minute allowing everything to warm through. Then, add the pasta, stir until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Toss the parmesano reggiano while piping hot and serve immediately.