We love a good cabbage roll, but let’s face it, there is so much work to go along with making them from scratch that we don’t often have enough time or energy, especially during the week. That doesn’t change the fact that we all want to serve our family healthy foods so we’re always in the search for meals that can be prepared when we’re busy.
Everywhere we turn, it’s a fact: adults are overworked and overwhelmed. Whether you are a successful business person or a stay-at-home parent, there are never enough hours in the day!
Back in the Day: How did they get it all done?
I’ve asked elders how they did it so long ago, managed to run farms and families and have meals on the table, clean houses, well mannered children and so forth. The answer I keep getting is that it wasn’t like it is today.
Everyone in the family was a team, they had their jobs and there was no question as to whether or not it would get done. I was told, “You just did it. Plain and simple.” No worrying about communicating with people via phones and computers, just getting work done and socializing on Sundays or at gatherings.
Then I was informed young people these days (which seemed to include pretty much anyone below the age of 65), worry too much about everyone else, we all needed to worry about our homes/family first . That being said, I have also been told about how back in the ‘day’ everyone helped each other, so it seems the community was your family.
Why turn cabbage rolls into a casserole?
If the time thing isn’t a problem for you, by all means make cabbage rolls! After all, they are delicious and appreciated! For me, it’s just too much. I don’t necessarily enjoy prepping, cooking and then cleaning the kitchen for 4+ hours at a time. There’s just far too much other stuff to get done. In general, I prefer to prepare, forget about it for a while, then serve a fantastic meal. This is why I love casseroles and soups/stews!
If time, energy or whatever is a constant in your life, this is perfect for you.
Why, you ask?
Not only do you prepare it and just toss it in the oven, but can be made ahead of time! My bestie, who is also a wife, mother of three and full time kick butt nurse, likes to spend her ‘days off’ (there are no real days off, let’s face it!) preparing meals for the week so that she doesn’t have to worry about cooking the rest of the time. She’s absolutely amazing! Anyway, this recipe is perfect for that.
If you’d rather not prepare the whole thing in advance, you could cook the bacon and ground meat, then all you’d have to do is layer and bake!
Cabbage Roll Casserole Recipe
- 8 Strips Thick Bacon
- 2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
- 1/2 c chopped onion
- 1 med head of cabbage (approx 2 lbs)
- 2/3 c uncooked rice
- 46 oz of tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- Fry bacon lightly, it should be very under cooked. It will cook the rest of the way later, I promise! Then set it aside.
- Brown ground meat and chopped onion in the bacon grease, drain. Mix the rice in with the ground beef. Divide in half if it would make it easier for you.
- Cut the bacon into about 1/2 inch pieces. It doesn’t have to be exact. Separate it in half.
- Peal outer layers off of the cabbage and cut off the end.
- In a 9×13 inch pan, start layering! To make it easier, here are your layers:
- 1st half of bacon
- Half of ground meat/rice mixture
- Peal off pieces of cabbage (taring off and discarding the thick white parts) and add a thick layer of cabbage. I used about half so that I’d have extra for another meal)
- Other half of ground meat/rice mixture
- Last half of bacon.
- Pour tomato sauce over the entire mixture.
- Cover with tin foil.
- Bake at 350 degrees, set the time for 1 hour. When the timer goes off, pull up the foil and make sure it isn’t dry. If it is, add in the water (you could also use broth if you wanted to!), then recover and cook for 1 more hour. If you’d like a slightly different texture on the top layer of tomato sauce, remove the tin foil about 20 minutes before it’s done!
- Pull out of the oven and let it sit covered for about 5-10 minutes if you please.
Cabbage Roll Casserole Side Dish Ideas
There are many things that can go with the Cabbage Roll Casserole! Almost any vegetable: green beans, coriander carrots, cauliflower, roasted bell peppers or even peas! We also paired some delicious yeast rolls with it!
Please share your thoughts, what you’d have with it or any modifications you make! We love making food even better!