Any Kitchen Will Do

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Archive for the category “cabbage”

Italian Sheet Bake

I love one dish wonders. Throw some yummy ingredients on a pan, slide it 
in the oven and viola! Dinner! 

We recently had chicken leg quarters and some hot Italian sausage in the 
fridge, which brought on this Italian feast. It was inspired by my 
mother in law. She regularly makes a delicious dish with chicken, sausage 
and a lovely tomato sauce with fresh herbs, served on top of pasta or 
spaghetti squash, or the spiffy new veggie noodles that are popular these 
days. I did not have the fresh herbs, but definitely had the other elements. 
I decided to pull out a sheet pan and fill it up with our future dinner.

Next time I will probably double the amount of cabbage, but the organic 
head I got this week was tiny, so maybe not. 

The star of this dish, surprisingly, was the tomato sauce. The low and slow 
cooking temperature roasted the tomatoes, so they had a rich, powerful 
flavor that perfectly complimented the chicken and sausage. The cabbage 
absorbed the flavors of the juices and it evolved into a great side dish. 

The recipe is flexible as well--the chicken and sausage ratio could vary 
significantly depending on your supplies, just make sure the tomato sauce 
is on top and the cabbage is below.

Italian Sheet Bake

2 cups jarred or canned diced tomatoes (about 16 ounces)
1 Tablespoon dried basil leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano Leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cabbage head, medium chop
5-6 hot Italian sausage links
4 chicken leg quarters
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Place oven rack on the second level from the top. Preheat oven to 325 

In a medium bowl (if using a stick blender) or food processor add the 
tomatoes, basil, oregano, parsley, garlic and salt. Purée tomatoes 
and herbs into a sauce. Set aside.

On a shallow baking sheet evenly spread the chopped cabbage. Make 
a slit in one side of each sausage, arranging the links around the edge 
of the pan, slit side up. 

Generously season all sides of the chicken quarters with salt and 
pepper. Arrange chicken in the middle of the bed of cabbage, skin side 
up. Drizzle tomato sauce on chicken and sausage, spreading it to 
cover the surface of all the pieces. 

Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce. Place sheet in oven and bake for 
one hour and 15 minutes, until sausage and chicken is fully cooked, 
at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Remove sheet from oven and let sit for five minutes before serving.

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

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Although the ingredients are not seasonally limited, I always consider cabbage rolls to be an autumn dish. They are a baked, one dish meal that freezes and reheats well. The other day I had a craving for thema, as the outside temperatures are gradually dropping, but I did not have as much time as needed to do them up right – blanching the cabbage leaves enough to roll them was more demanding on time than I had, so I embraced the concept of deconstructing them.

Yes, I have recently watched a few episodes of Chopped on the Food Network. I don’t watch many food shows or competition shows, but that one intrigues me. I don’t now if it is the frantic desperation of some contestants, or the odd combination of ingredients that have to use, but I get a kick out of it. If you have ever seen the show you will be familiar with the requirement that specific, typically unrelated ingredients have to be used to create an appetizer, entrée or dessert in a limited amount of time. “Deconstructed” versions of dishes are often presented on the show typically because of time restraints. It was very fitting for my brain to wander to the show concept when a rather rigid time limit was presented to me.

I think the key to this dish is the well shredded cabbage. It cooked faster than larger pieces or fully rolled cabbage rolls. Also, the small cabbage pieces helped soak up all the wonderful flavor of the fresh garden herbs I harvested before they went to seed, as well as the joyful combination of beef and tomatoes in the alternating layers. I ate too much because it was so good, Big D already asked when it will be made again, and Little B’s plate was empty when she asked for more. I hope you enjoy it too!

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 medium carrot
1 small yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
20 fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves
1 cup fresh parsley sprigs
2 pounds ground beef
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup grated parmesan/asiago/romano cheese
Sour cream (optional for serving)

Chop onion, carrot and garlic into small pieces. Roll the basil, oregano, thyme and parsley leaves into a small roll. With a sharp knife slice the herb roll. Cross chop the herbs again until the oils are released. In a large iron skillet over medium high heat add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the carrot, onion and garlic. Cook for about two minutes, until the onions begin to turn transparent and brown. Add the chopped herbs and stir, cooking for another two to three minutes.

Clear the vegetable mixture from the center of the skillet. Add the ground beef and break it up, folding in the vegetables as the beef pieces get smaller. When the meat is broken up into small pieces and beginning to brown add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir and turn temperature under the skillet to high. Let bubble and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the liquid reduces by half, about five to eight minutes. Turn heat down to medium and simmer for another five minutes. Salt and pepper generously to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9×13 baking dish place half of the shredded cabbage into an even layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg. Add a layer of the meat mixture, making sure half of it is left for another layer. Add a second and final layer of cabbage, again sprinkling with salt, pepper and the rest of the nutmeg. Add the second and final layer of meet, covering all the cabbage.

Sprinkle the cheese mixture on top of the meat layer. Place in preheated oven on the top shelf. Bake for 30 minutes. Check the top of the casserole, making sure it is not browning too quickly – if it is, place it on the middle or lower shelf. If is is barely brown or not at all, leave it on the top shelf.

Bake for 30 more minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Bright Bok Choy

bokchoysauteWhen we made lobster recently I wanted to serve something bright next to it, but not something that would overpower the sweet crustacean meat. I landed on bok choy, for it is easy to make and met the requirement for bright contrast. I was also influenced by the fact it was in the produce department of the store where we bought the lobster. They were small, very green and very fresh looking. I love wokking (is that a word?) bok choy. I love wokking greens in general – dropping some into the well to sear, then tossing them on the edges to rest, then dropping them right back into the well.

The bok choy keeps with the trend in our house of often eating green, leafy vegetables as often as possible. I like mustard greens and turnip greens and collard greens and spinach, but some variety is always welcome in my world. I have never served bok choy with lobster, but I probably will again, especially with an extra drizzle of lemon, to connect it with the lobster butter. Also, it is fun to say – bok choy, bok choy, bok choy, bok choy….

Bright Bok Choy

2 – 4 bunches bok choy, well rinsed (to equal to approximately 8 cups raw chopped)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Thoroughly rinse sand and soil from bok choy. Chop green leaves off from white stems. Loosely chop green tops. Chop white stems to bite-sized pieces. Add oil to wok or large frying pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot add ginger and garlic. Cook until it begins to brown. Add chopped white stems. Cook stems for about five minutes, tossing regularly. Add green tops and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss mixture until greens are wilted, 3-5 minutes. Season with additional salt to taste. Remove to serving bowl and serve immediately.

Creamed Cabbage Collard Mix

creamy collard cabbageLots of nights I open the fridge to figure out what needs to be cooked sooner rather than later, then I have a guide for our evening meal. Other times I go out on our balcony to see what needs to be harvested from our little container garden to use as a guide. This dish was a result of both guides. There was a partial head of cabbage in the fridge, and the collard greens on the balcony needed to be thinned so the smaller, younger leaves could thrive. The savory combination was a wonderful complement to a spicy meat dish and added the requisite fiber to the meal. I encourage you to grow your own garden, keep your fridge stocked with fresh vegetables and let them inspire what lands on your dinner plate. Cook well, eat well!

Creamed Cabbage Collard Mix

1/2 medium head cabbage, roughly chopped
2 – 3 cups collard greens, stems removed
1/2 cup mayonnaise or 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large frying pan to medium-high heat. Add mayonnaise or cream and chili powder. Heat until mayonnaise is melted or cream is bubbly. Add cabbage and greens. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Stir until vegetables are coated. Let cook for about ten minutes, stirring every few minutes until cabbage and greens are wilted, but still slightly crispy. Remove from heat and cover until time to serve.

Peruvian-ish Posole


Posole. A basic, comforting soup I have enjoyed at restaurants across America that touted Central and South American cuisine. Not having made it before, I dug around to try and identify the when and where of it’s origin. To no avail, I might add. I have most often found it in Mexican and Peruvian restaurants, so then my goal was to figure out the differences between the two versions. I also recently watched a documentary about it being a dish prepared and served in New Mexico hundreds of years ago. Was there a difference? Not much. Peruvian leans more towards tomatillos and green or serrano chiles to give it depth and spice, while the Mexican versions rely on the red chile. New Mexico, of course, relied on their extra special (read Hatch) chiles and local meats. Other variations I discovered switched between the use of pork and chicken. Finally, I decided to come up with my own, since everyone else seems to be doing the very same thing. My goal was to make it similar to the bowl of posole I had in a little, Peruvian restaurant we stumbled upon in a Las Vegas strip mall. No, not on The Strip, but in a mall that is strip like where multiple business share a parking lot. The place was decorated very basically, with varnished plywood walls, folding tables and beat up stackable banquet chairs. The decor accommodated large crowds to watch soccer games or have big parties. We were surrounded by bright posters advertising Peruvian beer, and inundated with loud, quick-paced dance music. The food was amazing and I could only imagine a pre-Colombian Incan family cooking something similar over a fire, in the shadow of Machu Picchu. They may have used alpaca instead of pig, but I am not going there, except in the wearing of a sweater. One thing I love about all my posole experiences is the fresh, raw toppings traditionally served on the side. They give a spark to the otherwise flavorful, yet basic soup. Since I was making the soup for a dinner party I wanted to make sure it was good (duh), and that the topping variety accommodated all the eating habits of guests. I love my friends dearly, but if their diet evolution is anything similar to mine, there is a need for variety in meal preparation. Here is what I came up with, and I must say it was delicious. My dear friends enjoyed it, including Little B. As you can see from the picture, the toppings were many and everyone got to make their own special soup. As usual, the leftovers got better and better a few days later. And as usual, the fun and memories of the people involved in the evening will last even longer.
Peruvian Posole
1 1/2 – 2 pounds pork shoulder
2 Tbsp high heat fat (lard or coconut oil recommended)
2 cups roughly chopped white onion
1 cup roughly chopped carrot
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups pork broth (if there is not enough from cooking the pork, add water)
1 cup dark beer (suggest Negro Modelo or a porter)
4 – 6 cups hominy, canned or prepared fresh (simmered in water for two hours, drained)
1 pound tomatillos, shucked, rinsed and roughly chopped
4 large green chiles, roughly chopped
2 limes, juiced with meat included
Salt to taste

1 small red onion, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
2 limes, cut into 1/8 wedges
1 bunch radish, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pico de gallo or salsa

In 8 – 10 quart stock pot place pork shoulder over high heat. Turn shoulder as each side browns, until all sides have color. Add water and scrape bottom of pan to release browning tidbits.  Cook pork over medium heat until pork easily shreds, about two hours. Remove pork and liquid from pot and set aside, retaining the liquid separately. When meat is cool enough to handle, shred it into bite-sized pieces. Set heat under the now empty stock pot to medium high and add lard or coconut oil. When it is melted add the onions and garlic. When they start to sweat add the carrots. Add paprika, coriander, oregano and cumin. Stir and cook longer until you can smell the spices. Add broth and beer. Cook until it begins to boil softly. Add pork, hominy, tomatillos and chiles. Stir and cook until a soft boil begins. Taste test to see if you can taste the flavors. If not, sprinkle liberally with salt and stir, then taste again. There should be a difference. if not, add more salt. Turn heat down to simmer, making sure there is still a very soft boil. Cook for an additional two hours. Place toppings in separate bowls with spoons right before serving. Serve spoon in large soup bowls and pass around the toppings!


Simple Chopped Cabbage Bake

baked cauliflourThe other day we had a busy stove top. Three of the four burners had things simmering or sauteing or boiling. I wanted to make cabbage, but the last, small burner was hidden among the pots and pans, willing to do the job, but just not roomy enough. I still wanted cabbage, so I looked around and spotted the oven. Of course! Usually I cook up cabbage on the stove top because the oven is busy, so I got a little chuckle about the reverse happening. Okay, so it is not funny, like a gag in a movie or a stand up comedian, but when I think of, say, Thanksgiving when four things need to be baked at once, including the turkey, there is always a wish to have a dish that can be done on the stove top. Okay, not actually chuckle worthy. It was so good I was surprised I had not thought of doing it sooner. Silly. Maybe it is silly. I will stop, because it actually does not matter. This dish is so simple I am not even doing an ingredients list.

Just take half a head of cabbage and chop it into one inch pieces. On a large cookie sheet toss the cabbage with 2 Tbsp of bacon grease or extra virgin olive oil (add some salt of you use olive oil). Tossing it is most effective with your hands. Place pan in unheated oven. Turn oven to 350 degrees. After about ten minutes toss the cabbage and bake for ten more. Some cabbage will be darker, beginning to caramelize, and the rest should be soft enough to eat. Serve immediately.

Spicy Pork over Cabbage Saute

spicy pork over cabbage

I’ve been having some of THOSE days recently. You know, days when I look at my work and personal schedules and cannot seem to imagine getting everything done. Or, a day when the schedule seems pretty light, but then a crisis or four surface and I long for an overly scheduled day. I cannot always see such days coming, but after I have had seven or eight in a row, like recently, I have to make sure I take a breaks. Every day. My breaks often involve cooking or exercise. I need a break for a few reasons: 1) to remind myself that a crisis is only a crisis because I chose to make it so, 2) I get tired and exercise helps get rid of it, 3) clearing my mind helps reduce said crises, and 4) I get hungry, as does my family. Sometimes THOSE days are few and far between. This time of year, pretty much every year, there is a concentration of THOSE days. Here is a dish that can be made in pieces when you have spurts of time to prep, and then thrown together quickly at meal time, regardless of what type of day I have.

Spicy Pork over Cabbage Saute

2 – 3 pounds pork roast
1 14 ounce can tomatoes and chiles
1 red onion, roughly chopped
2 limes, juiced with meat
1 cup water
Cabbage Saute for serving

First thing in the morning (or the night before if planning to eat it for lunch) toss into a crock pot the roast cut up into three or four chunks, after seasoning it with salt and pepper. Pour over the top the tomatoes and chiles, lime juice, water and onion. Move stuff around so all the meat and veggies are mixed up. Set the crock to low and leave it for eight hours or so. Serve over cabbage saute. The cabbage can be made right before serving or make in advance and reheat – it may depend on whether the day is planned to be busy or not planned.

Cabbage Saute

sauteed cabbageI noticed that my entries are absent of side dishes. Lately I have been cooking some staples for meals, because it is a hectic time of year for us. Stuff that I posted already, likebaked spaghetti squash, taco meat or a fritatta. I have cooking and baking ideas, but a lack of time to implement. I am sure I am not the only one out there that has more project ideas than time to do them. You should see my Pinterest boards! So many things to do, so little time. This is a simple side dish that is easy, high in fiber, filling and my family loves it. Great as a base for many a dish as a substitute for rice, pasta or other grains. Don’t forget the nutmeg – it sounds odd, but works so very well with the cabbage.

Cabbage Saute

3 Tbsp olive oil, butter or bacon grease
1 small head green cabbage
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper

In large saute pan heat olive oil over medium high heat. Chop cabbage in 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces. Toss cabbage in pan and stir to coat in oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Continue cooking and stirring until about half of the cabbage begins to brown. Turn down heat by half and cover. Cook for another ten minutes or so, until all the larger chunks are softened. Keep covered until ready to serve, then do so immediately while it is hot. If preparing it in advance and chilled, it is easy to toss it in a hot saute pan and serve hot.

Coleslaw Perfection


Big D and I have issues. I like tart coleslaw and he likes slightly sweet coleslaw. It makes for a challenge when making, well, coleslaw. I could make two batches, but that seems silly, so I just kept experimenting until I figured out a just right combination of sweet and tart in one bowl of slaw. I previously tried to use sweetener and wine vinegar to get a balance, but then had a revelation and tried – duh – a different kind of vinegar. The apple cider vinegar has just enough sweet and tart to get to the balance we like. Viola! The perfect coleslaw.


4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
½ cup shredded carrot
½ cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

In a medium bowl combine garlic, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined. Add green cabbage, purple cabbage, carrot and onion. Toss vegetables until coated with dressing. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Whippersnapper Soup

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Little B loves vegetable soup. I also consider her a whippersnapper. The traditional definition of the term refers to an insignificant or impertinent young person. Such a definition is not what I think of when I use the word. I think it more describes a precocious, inquisitive little one, which is much more in line with Little B’s personality. Her precociousness carries over to her view of soup. Whether it is actually chicken soup or tortilla soup or beef stew, she considers it vegetable soup. Pretty reasonable, I think, since most soup she has seen is loaded with vegetables. Big D and I like soup, too, especially if it has a bit of a spicy bite. I particularly like the limy chicken soup I make on occasion. Our ‘big people’ soup does not always go over well with Little B because her tongue is not yet attuned to hot spicy. I have never served Little B canned soup. I am sure someone has, but canned soup worries me. With the odd, faded colors of the vegetables and the grainy feel of the meat they are a bit unsettling to me. Don’t get me wrong – I grew up on Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and still sometimes crave the salty soft noodles and bright yellow tinge of the broth. I don’t think they taste bad, except for the saltiness of some types, but I like to know where my food comes from, and I feel the same for what Little B eats. My know-where-it-comes-from parameters are certainly not met by canned soup. This soup recipe is simple to throw together and freezes well. I make it regularly, with a variation on the vegetables I add, depending on what is in the fridge. Little B eats three or four bowls a week, often when Big D and I eat spicy food. She even has it for breakfast sometimes. Frozen in two to three cups per resealable bag or container is perfect – enough to have in the fridge when requested without any going bad. Our whippersnapper loves it and it is so good for her.

Whippersnapper Soup

1 pound package 16 bean soup mix, flavor pack discarded
28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
4 celery stalks with leaves
2 cups fresh or frozen green beans, cut to 1 inch lengths
¼ head green cabbage
½ small onion
8 ounces ham, finely chopped (optional)
4 cups filtered water
1 – 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped

In stock pot or crock pot combine bean soup mix, tomatoes, celery, green beans, cabbage, onion, ham (optional) and broth. Add garlic, oregano, salt and cumin. Stir until spices are combined. Add water and stir a bit more. On the stove top bring soup to a boil then turn down to simmer. Cover and simmer for about four hours until beans and vegetables are soft. In a crock pot, set to low and cook for eight to twelve hours. Serve immediately or store in the freezer for up to three months.

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