April 14, 2011

Galumpkis or Halupkis...or simply Stuffed Cabbage!

No matter what you call these cabbage rolls, they are a delicious Eastern European dish that my family loves! I made them the other night using a slow cooker or crock pot and they were the best I ever made. I swear the time cooking helps to meld the flavors together and that is why they were so yummy. 

Total cooking time 7 hrs....total cooking time in slow cooker 6 1/2 hours.

1 lb ground meat ( I use Turkey)
1 onion chopped
1 cup cooked rice (I cook mine in chicken bullion or stock)
1/2 c bread crumbs
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 head of green cabbage
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
2 c. chicken broth (or beef if using ground round or sirloin)
salt and pepper to taste

In large pot bring water to a boil and add the cabbage whole to the water. Let boil for about 3-5 minutes, just long enough for the leaves to become soft and mailable. Remove cabbage from pot using tongs or you can drain off the hot water reserving a cup and cool cabbage by adding cold water to the pot.

In mixing bowl, mix the meat with the cooled rice and bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Place one cabbage leave on surface of the working area. Make a small meatball and place in the center of the cabbage leaf and then fold the sides up and then beginning with the end opposite the spine of the leaf, begin to roll up the meatball with cabbage and secure with a toothpick. Repeat until all the meat is used. 

Then take remaining cabbage and chop. In large pan saute the onion and garlic in 1/4 cup of the broth until soft. Then add remainder of the broth along with the tomatoes and let cook on the stove top for about 30 minutes.

In a slow cooker, place the wrapped cabbage leaves on the bottom and then pour the tomato mixture over top to cover. If it doesn't cover add some of the reserved cabbage water and season with salt and pepper. Cook on high for 3 hours then cut back to low for the remaining 3 1/2 hours.

I had made 13 Galumpkis and all but two were gone at the end of dinner Tuesday night. I actually had to stop the kids from eating them so Chris had some to take for lunch on Wednesday. This is a great comfort food and very inexpensive to make. It just takes a little practice in rolling up the meat in the cabbage, but otherwise a very simple meal. 

Serve with mashed potatoes and loads of love!!!


April 13, 2011

Evan's PB & J Cupcakes

My little nephew, and my husband's God son, just celebrated his 5th birthday last week so I came up with this cupcake in his honor. Every kid loves peanut butter and jelly right? So what better way to honor this long time favorite than by making it into a cupcake. These little critters have a buttery peanut butter frosting and a squirt of jelly inside!


1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. superfine sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 c. self-rising flour
5 T milk
Good old-fashion Welch's jelly

For the frosting:

1/2 c. butter
1 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
4 T milk


Preheat oven to 350 F. Place muffin cups in muffin pan. Beat the butter, sugar and extract until light and fluffy and then add each egg blending well after each addition. Then add the flour and blend, and then using a spatuala, fold in the milk. Evenly distribute the batter into 12 muffin cups and bake for 15-17 minutes or until the cakes are golden in color and a toothpick, when inserted into the cake, comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool, then remove from the muffin pan to allow them to cool completely before adding the jelly and frosting. 

Once cooled take a knife and make an X on the top of each cake.  Using a decorator bag or other decorating device, use the narrow adaptor and fill bag or canister with jelly. Place the tip into the cupcake and fill until you see the cake slightly expand.

To make the frosting simply whip butter until it is fluffy and then add the sugar and blend. Then add the peanut butter and blend again. Add milk to attain the desired consistancy.

Note...if the frosting is too thick you will have difficulty using a decorator bag or other device to put on the frosting.

Travel - The American Southwest and Durango, Colorado

Sedona, Arizona

View of the Grand Canyon from a helicopter

A few years back my husband Chris and I took a trip out to Arizona to attend a wedding in Phoenix. We decided that after the nuptials we would rent a car and drive from Phoenix up through Flagstaff and Sedona to see the Grand Canyon. After experiencing (and I say experiencing because there is nothing like the bird's eyeview you get when you see the number one natural wonder of the world from a helicopter!) the magnificent Canyon we then drove through the Painted Desert and Monument Park in Utah until we reached The Four Corners. From there it was just a short trek to the quaint Victorian town of Durango. Durango is located in the southwest Colorado and is considered part of the Four Corners region. It was established as a mining town in 1881and is the home of the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Driving to Durango, Colorado

While staying in Durango Chris and I had a great time perusing all the specialty shops, most notably the millinery shop. We were so moved by the spirit of this little town and the old west that we actually bought matching cowboy hats! And how could our stay in Durango be complete without a horseback trail ride near Mesa Verde National Park guided by an old cowhand from the Rimrock Outfitters?

While vacationing out in this great part of the United States, Chris and I munched on a lot of beef jerky and dined on our fair share of steakhouse steaks, but the one dish I remember having for breakfast while in Durango was something called Posole. Posole or Pozole pronounced (poh-SOH-leh) is a Mexican style soup made with hominy, chillies, garlic, pork or sometimes chicken, and fresh cilantro. I'd never had or let alone even heard of Posole, but when I saw it on the breakfast buffet the idea of a spicy hot dish first thing in the morning was very appealing to me. And wow it did wake me up! The Posole I had was more of a soup but it can be made with a thicker base to make it more like a stew. Posole is often served in Mexican Restaurants, and as I had come to learn at that time, it is also very popular in the American Southwest!

The red rock of Utah's Monument Park
(I think the bird in the pic is pretty cool!)

April 12, 2011

Everything Left in the Frig Paella

This paella was made literally from things I had left in my frig and freezer. The mussels were uncooked and leftover from Sunday evening's dinner, the shrimp was in the freezer and since I didn't have any chicken I used a sweet apple chicken sausage instead. The combination worked really well with fresh cilantro and tomatoes. Even my daughter downed the rice which I know usually is not one of her favorites.


2 lbs of mussels rinsed with beards removed
(discard any already open which do not close when sharply tapped)
I/2 lb large shrimp, peeled with tails left on
12 oz sweet apple sausage, sliced
2 cups quick cooking brown dry rice
4 tomatoes diced with seeds removed
1 green pepper diced
1 onion chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
oil for sauteing


In deep sided pan, heat oil and saute the sausage, green pepper and onion until the sausage is browned pepper is soft and onion is transparent. Add broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil then add the rice, and cook for 5 minutes Add the mussels and cover pan and let simmer for 3-5 minutes. Then toss in the shrimp and cover to let simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat when the mussels are opened the shrimp is pink and the rice is cooked through. Add the fresh cilantro and serve.

This actually made enough for my crew plus a good portion leftover for my husband's lunch!

April 11, 2011

Herb Roasted Potatoes

These roasted potatoes are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and are the perfect accompaniment to any pork, beef or lamb dish! All you need to do is to toss the ingredients together and place in roasting pan. The trick to roasting your potatoes is to cook them in a hot oven, 450 degrees F for one hour! 


5 medium red potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
1 T dried thyme or 2 T fresh
1 T dried rosemary or 1 1/2 T fresh
1 T dries sage leaves or 2 T fresh
4 T olive oil
season with salt and pepper

Roast for one hour making sure to stir potatoes every 15 minutes.

April 10, 2011

Mussels Steamed with Ouzo

I love the buttery sauce Carrabba's serves their mussels in however it is way too high in calories for me. One serving is almost an entire days worth of calories so I came up with a lighter version. I use less than half of the butter and replaced the omitted butter with a low sodium chicken broth. The secret to the special flavor in this recipe is the licorice flavored Ouzo. Ouzo is a cousin to Perod which is used in Carrabba's original recipe!


2 lbs mussels rinsed with beards removed
1/4 cup butter
5 gloves of garlic minced
2 red onions chopped
1/4 parsley chopped
1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth
4 T Ouzo
white pepper and salt to taste


Melt butter in large pot and add the garlic, onion, and parsley and saute until garlic is soft and onion transparent. Add the broth and the Ouzo and season with salt and pepper. When sauce comes to a boil, place colander or the basket of your steamer filled with the clean mussels over the sauce. Cover and steam until mussels are wide open, about 5 minutes.

Placed steamed mussels in bowl and pour the sauce over the top and serve.
Note:  When you are cleaning the mussels if you come across any that are opened tap on them and if they close tight they are OK to cook, if not discard them because they are already dead.

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