Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mom, What's For Dinner?

Good Morning and Happy Thursday!

As I mentioned yesterday, I will be dedicating part of this blog to food.  Is it a good fit?  Of course, one of the most important roles we have as adults/parents is providing a healthy home life and cooking is a huge part of that. 

I have always tried to cook as healthy as possible on a budget.  I spend a decent amount of time reading blogs and checking "food" websites for new ideas, so if nothing else...maybe this will help to give my readers some ideas of what to have for dinner.

A couple of weeks ago, I made the REAL "Pigs in a Blanket."  I asked Chris, "Do you know what a real pig in a blanket is?" 

He replied, "Isn't that a hotdog wrapped in a biscuit?"  Yes, that is what most of us know them as.  The authentic "Pig in a Blanket" is actually a mixture of ground beef (or pork) with a tomato-based sauce, wrapped in a cabbage leaf.

Now, please keep in mind that I like to cook without measuring very much.  I have always cooked that way.  I also like to cook meals that can be made for 2-3 people, or as many as 10-15.  I have a huge family and we like to get together and EAT.

Back to the "Pigs"...

What inspired to make these?  Cabbage was on sale.  Yep, that's it.  Well, plus I had a craving for them while pregnant with Braelyn.

Ingredients Needed:

1 Medium-Large Head of Cabbage (As I said, depending on how many people you're serving)
1-2 Pounds of Lean Ground Beef, Ground Turkey, Ground Pork (I used beef)
1 1/2 - 2 cups of Instant Rice (Cooked)
2 Cups Spaghetti or Pizza Sauce (This can be adjusted, depending on how "saucy" you like your PIAB (Pigs in a Blanket)
1 Medium Diced Onion
Optional:  Canned or fresh diced Tomatoes (I could add tomatoes to almost anything)
Optional:  Diced fresh bell pepper

Directions:  Remove core from cabbage.  Place whole head of cabbage in a pot of water.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes.

While cabbage is simmering, brown ground meat and diced onion (and optional bell pepper) in a frying pan large enough to add additional ingredients.  In a small pan or microwavable bowl, cook instant rice as directed on box.  After meat is fully cooked, add cooked rice, HALF of the spaghetti or pizza sauce (1 cup, you'll need to save the other cup for the end) and optional diced tomatoes and bell pepper.  Season to taste with pepper. *NOTE: You will hardly ever see added salt in my recipes.  I have never really cooked with salt.  I used to do medical transcription for a Nephrologist (Kidney Doctor) and he always strongly suggested to cook without adding salt.  There is enough sodium in the sauce that we are using, for example.  You certainly can salt to taste, if you would like.

It is not necessary to heat meat mixture after ingredients are blended.

Next, drain hot water off of the cabbage and replace with cold water.  Let this sit for 5-10 minutes so you do not burn yourself while handling it.

When cabbage has cooled somewhat, begin peeling off the layers of leaves and stack on a plate for easy assembly. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You will need a large cake pan (or glass casserole dish or small roasting pan) to bake the pigs in.  Coat pan with cooking spray.

You're ready to assemble!  Much like a softshell taco or burrito, place one medium scoop of meat mixture onto center of cabbage leaf.  Roll by first folding in ends and then each side, again, like a burrito.  Place seam side down into pan.  Continue with each cabbage leaf until all meat mixture is used.  (I sometimes have leftover cabbage, but you can certainly store in a plastic container or Ziploc Bag in the fridge for future use.  Do not store more than a few days, though.)

Pour 1 cup of water over the Pigs.  This will help to steam the cabbage during the baking process so the Pigs are nice and tender.  Take the 1 cup of reserved sauce and pour over the cabbage rolls.  Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.

Traditionally, these are known to be served with mashed potatoes.  I thought they would be "filling" enough and did not wish to add the extra carbs or calories, but potatoes are definitely a nice way to compliment them on a cold, winter day.

Whew!  That was a longer post than I thought it would be!  Please don't forget to sign up for my giveaway!  After becoming a follower, you can enter once per day by clicking the "Top Mommy Blogs" icon at the top of my blog...but be sure to comment that you voted so your entry is counted.

Have a wonderful day!!!

Jaime "Peanut's Mom"

(Photos By Christopher Hanson)  Thanks Honey!!! =)


  1. Sounds good and not any harder than tacos or spaghetti. My husband wouldn't eat it because he is super picky but I might try it and make him eat a sandwich that night. :) That's what he gets for being picky!!

  2. Never been a huge cabbage fan, but this actually looks pretty good. Always looking for healthy yet inexpensive meal ideas..keep up the great work!

  3. How is everything, Bill? Tell Jane hi for me! We miss you guys! Yes, Lori, I know all about pickiness...hahaha!!! And thanks, Tom! Can't wait to see you next weekend!!! =)