Cabbage Rolls, Pierogies and Banana Bread

 
There's nothing like comfort food for dinner, especially in the fall. However, I also made it in February when it was so cold outside. My Mom made us comfort food all the time. I loved her cabbage rolls and pierogies. I also loved her banana bread. So why not make my Mom's dinner for our dinner. Add a good vegetable and you have a great meal. I added asparagus because our family can't seem to get enough of it. Definitely a great supper!

Let's Make Some Cabbage Rolls...
After cooking the cabbage, start breaking off some of the leaves. If the leaves start to tear, put the cabbage back in the water for a few minutes. This will soften the inner leaves. Mix the hamburger, rice and the rest of the ingredients thoroughly. You should have enough filling for about 16 cabbage rolls.
After you have made all the cabbage rolls, place the remaining broken leaves on top. this will help with flavor and will keep the rolls moist.
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Here is Jenny Jones' video on making "Stuffed Cabbage"...she makes everything so easy!

 
Her method is simple. Plus it makes between 16-18 cabbage rolls depending on large you want them.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe...
Inspired by my Mom and Jenny Can Cook
Ingredients:
  • 1 large head of cabbage (about 3 lbs.)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 C. diced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large mushrooms, finely diced - about 1 1/2 cups (this is optional, but it sure adds flavor
  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 3/4 C. uncooked long grain rice
  • 1/4 C. chopped parsley
  • 1 C. tomato sauce or tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • pepper to taste
  • 3/4 C. liquid (cabbage water and add some leftover tomato sauce to equal 3/4 cup.)
Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut the center core out of the head of cabbage and place core side down in the boiling water. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. While the cabbage is simmering, heat oil in pan over medium heat and saute onion and garlic 3-5 minute until browned. Add mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl to cool.
  3. Remove cabbage to a rimmed baking sheet, keeping water in the pot. Gently remove leaves from cabbage, cutting away from the core with a small knife. You might need to place the head of cabbage back in the boiling water is you remove the tender leaves on top. Place it back in the boiling water for another 5-7 minutes and then remove cabbage and continue removing the leaves. Keep in mind this cabbage is going to be very hot. So use oven gloves if you need to.
  4. Set aside the best 16 unbroken leaves and cut off the thick spine in the center for easier rolling. Set all remaining cabbage leaves aside. Note: When cutting the end of the spine on each leaf, make a v-cut to remove the end of the spine. Use a small knife to shave the remainder of the thick part of the spine in the leaf.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. To cooled onion mixture, add meat, rice parsley, tomato sauce or puree, onion powder, salt and pepper. Combine well.
  7. Place about 1/4 cup of filling in each leaf, roll, and place seam side down in a 13X9 inch pan. Pour liquid over rolls and lay some of the remaining leaves on top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  8. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Place pan on cookie sheet in case it drips)
  9. Remove from oven and et rest 30 minutes. These can also be frozen. Let them cool in refrigerator and then pack them in plastic for the freezer. They taste better and better if left in the refrigerator overnight.
Note: I also like to warm them up the next day and then fry them in a little butter to give the cabbage rolls a little crispness to them. Top with a dollop of sour cream. What could be better!

Pierogies...
I would love to say that I made the Pierogis from scratch, but sometimes I take a few shortcuts. I love Mrs. T's Pierogis. They come in a variety of flavors and are delicious. So if you want pierogis without going through the hassle of making them from scratch, I recommend Mrs. T's. They are also pretty inexpensive.
Instructions:
  1. Follow cooking instructions on package.
  2. Chop up a few pieces of bacon and fry them in a frying pan until done. 
  3. Remove bacon and add a few tablespoons of butter to the bacon grease.
  4. When melted add the bacon bits back into the pan.
  5. Pour over the pierogies when plated. Add some green onions to the top.
Perfect Asparagus Every Time...
Now for my asparagus tip...I believe I wrote this in another post, so this is just good reminder of that post. 
  1. You will need one bunch of asparagus. Break off the woody parts at their natural breaking point. My Grandmother told me to hold each asparagus in two hands and bend it. It will automatically break at its natural breaking point. Wash the asparagus well.
  2. Lay out some paper toweling, large enough to hold half of the asparagus. Place asparagus on paper toweling and drizzle with olive oil. Also salt and pepper it. I also add a little Italian dressing over them and then wrap in the paper toweling. Dampen the paper toweling by running a little water over it.
  3. Place in the microwave for 3 minutes. (I usually add another minute just so I know they are done)
  4. Repeat with second half of asparagus.
  5. Add butter and lemon (optional)
The asparagus turns out perfectly. Not too hard and not too soft...just perfect!

Banana Bread Recipe-the Best!
Now for my favorite Banana Bread recipe. My girlfriend gave this one to me a long, long time ago. It's simple, like banana bread recipes are. It turns out every time and tastes delicious...
Ingredients:
  • 1 C. brown sugar
  • 5 T. butter or margarine
  • 1/4 C sour milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups bananas smashed
Directions:
Note: to make sour milk, pour about 1/4 cup of milk in a measuring cup. Add 1 T. of vinegar to it. Let stand for about 5-7 minutes, but no longer than 2 hours. 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease bread pan.
  2. Mix brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. 
  3. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add sour milk.
  5. Mush bananas and add baking soda to bananas.
  6. Add banana mixture to wet ingredients.
  7. Fold flower into the wet ingredients.
  8. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
So, that's it. Perfect comfort food. If you would like to learn how to make Pierogis, check out Natasha's Kitchen, one of my favorite websites. Also, for more great recipes and videos check out Jenny Can Cook. Both of these ladies show how easy it is to cook great meals.


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One Final Thought...
Well folks, that's it for today. I hope you enjoyed my post on "Comfort Food"...in my case comfort food is Stuffed Cabbage, Pierogi, Asparagus and Banana Bread...It always reminds me of my Mom...and that's a good thing!
What is that SMELL???
How to clean your dishwasher...

Oh how I hate those smells that seem to linger in my dishwasher. I came across this cleaning method on Pinterest.
  1. Remove the filter in your dishwasher. It is usually located in the bottom of the dishwasher. Check your owner's manual for the exact location. I never knew this before I got a new dishwasher. The service person that installed it made sure I knew where this filter was located.  He said check on it about once a month to make sure everything in there is removed. This could clog your dishwasher if left unchecked.
  2. Place a dishwasher safe bowl (the size of a cereal bowl) in the top rack of your dishwasher. 
  3. Run the hottest cycle you can.  Make sure your dishwasher is completely dry before running another cycle.
  4. After running the vinegar cycle, then run a baking soda cycle. 
  5. Pour baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher. If your dishwasher is particularly smelly, leave the baking soda in overnight. 
  6. Run another hot cycle in the morning.
You'll be totally surprised how keeping that dishwasher clean will help lingering smells in your kitchen not return so fast.

Thank you Jillee from "One Good Thing" for the helpful hint!

...always remember, Life's short...eat dessert first!