The weather has been rather crummy the last few days, leaving me uninspired! I was happy to get out of the apartment to spend the day with my good friend Heather as we worked away on our project reports, but I returned home with soaking boots and a general feeling of dampness. I love Vancouver, but being unemployed AND stuck in an apartment while it rains definitely isn’t my favourite. I do have to say, I’d be a lot less happy in a snow-blanketed city, so there is that!
Hospice Yukon approached my mom about writing a piece for their newsletter about how our family celebrated dad’s life without having a typical service. Mom wasn’t comfortable writing it but asked if me and Kel would be able to. So we are going to start working on that tomorrow and I am going to check with them about the right to post it here as well. I know that there is a growing trend towards non-religious celebrations for both good and tragic things, so I am excited to share our experience and what the gathering of friends meant for us and our father’s memory. So, hopefully more on that later!
Sorry guys, I am in a cabbagey place lately and this is just another cabbage-loving creation. I can promise you something super sweet and amazing for Wednesday (it is the Food Blogger Cookie post), so if you are hating on the cabbage, wait until then for a switch up. BUT, if you are down with awesome cabbage-loving dishes, scroll on down and get all up in this recipe. Kel and I are something like 25% Ukrainian and have always taken pride in cooking up great Ukrainian dishes (like Kel’s Chicken Paprikash), in particular we try to get together once a year to make up a huge batch of perogies and cabbage rolls to split (look forward to this post after Christmas). But, when this supplies runs out, immediately after Christmas, they are too good to keep, I have to come up with quick alternatives that offer the same flavours. This one-pot wonder is easy and delicious and makes a batch big enough for a family, or great for many lunches.
Cabbage Roll Casserole
3 lbs ground beef
1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes *optional
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 head of cabbage, roughly chopped (about 4 cups raw)
1/2 cup strained tomatoes (I used Pomi, it is essentially nothing-added tomato sauce, feel free to substitute your own brand, or 2 minced tomatoes)
3 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil and brown your ground beef. Break up the meat as it cooks to get an even crumble.
Add the spices to the meat and stir well to evenly distribute.
Create a well in the centre of your pot (move the meat to the sides) and add your garlic. Allow to cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, until fragrant.
Add the cabbage and tomato to the pot and stir well to combine. Dollop the cream cheese on top of the mixture, cover with a lid and cook everything for 15 minutes, until the cabbage is tender.
Stir the, now softened, cream cheese into the meat and cabbage mixture, taste and adjust spices if needed.
Sprinkle the mixture with the cheddar cheese and allow to melt before serving.
Serve alone or over rice. Top with a dollop of sour cream of creme fraiche.
This dish is an easy and hearty dinner creation. The cabbage is buttery and understated while the bacon and jalapeño punch up the flavour in an awesome way. I love the combo of cheesiness with bite and this dish is packed with both. Feel free to lessen the spice, half a pepper will do the job, but it is pretty glorious. Also feel free to punch of any of the flavours with a few more slices of bacon or a second pepper! This dish is flexible and a two-pot creation worthy of a weeknight dinner schedule. This easily serves 4 people with a side salad.
Cheesy Chicken Bacon Cabbage Casserole with ranch dressing
2 lbs chicken, cubed (three large breasts)
4 slices bacon
2 cups cabbage, chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 jalapeño, minced
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 oz cream cheese
1 cup cheddar (or mozzarella, or both), shredded
3 tbsp creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1 tbsp ranch dressing
In a large pot (dutch ovens are great), cook the bacon. I cook my bacon with a little bit of water to keep it from getting too crispy while I am preparing everything else.
Once the bacon is slightly crisped and cooked through, 5-8 minutes, chop up.
Add the cubed chicken to the pot with the bacon and sauté over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
In another pan, melt the butter and sauté the cabbage over medium-high heat for 10 minutes until it starts to become translucent.
Back in the large pot, add the jalapeño and sautéed cabbage, stir well.
Stir in the salt and pepper, onion powder, and cream cheese, letting the cream cheese melt into the mixture.
Spread the mixture evenly across the bottom of the pot and sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
While the chicken mixture is cooking, stir together your creme fraiche and ranch dressing. Set aside.
Serve up on a plate and drizzle with the ranch dressing.
These are the GIANT chicken breasts I picked up at the market. They were bone-in, but still remarkably huge. P.S. My hands are not tiny.
Sautéed cabbage added to the pot (jalapeño below).