Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not using my noodle, but using my head instead

Okay , show of hands. How many times have you made a quick sort of dinner that involved a skillet, a pound of ground meat, some kind of veggie for seasoning and a sauce ? Be it Hamburger Helper, some kind of goulash, this seems to be a lot of people's goto meal , and why not? It's filled with pantry ingredients, cooks fast, uses one pot and usually contains less than 5 ingredients.Problem is , it is carby, has few veggies and is pretty high in calories. Empty calories at that. How about a healthy alternative ?

May I suggest Cabbage Kohaven ?
It is a very simple, inexpensive, tasty, hearty, low carb , few ingredient meal. Take a small head of cabbage ( about 1 1/2 cups per person before cooking) and cut into thin strips. Then take one onion, peel it and slice it thin. In a large skillet, pour 2 T olive oil and saute the cabbage and onion till they get a slight brown tinge. At this point cabbage begins to taste mellow , sweet, and palletable to most people. Place the cabbage in a greased casserole dish, and in the same skillet brown a pound of ground turkey,chicken, beef, lamb, pork- whatever you have on hand.Season as you like - I add garlic powder to mine. Drain and mix with the cabbage, add a jar of alfredo sauce ( I used Newmans Own), mix and sprinkle the top with 2 T Parmesan cheese. Cover and put in a 350 oven for 30 min- if you are in a rush you can skip this step , but the oven time helps the flavors blend better.

We have all been told cabbage is healthy, and cabbage is usually one of those dirt cheap veggies in the store. Most people think cole slaw when they see cabbage, but it can be used for so much more. When it is lightly fried it develops a sweet , mellow taste. If boiled it also becomes mild, but not sweet. Cooked cabbage makes an excellent noodle alternative. Consider the following health facts about this green or red ball of goodness-

Phytonutrients in crucifers, such as cabbage, work at a deep level. These compounds actually
signal our genes to increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification,
the cleansing process through which our bodies eliminate harmful compounds.

Recent studies show that those eating the most cruciferous vegetables have a much lower risk
of prostate, colorectal and lung cancer-even when compared to those who regularly eat other vegetables

Cabbage is nutrient-packed and low in calorie. It is impressive with its high content levels of calcium, iron,
iodine, potassium, sulfur, and phosphorus. In the vitamins department, it is loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2,
B6, C, E, K and folic acid.

1 cup of raw cabbage contains 17 calories,
Protein: 1.01 g
Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
Fiber: 1.6 g
Total Fat: 0.08 g

Compare that to 2 oz whole wheat noodles
197 to 220 calories ( depends on the brand)
37.2 grams carbohydrates
3.9 grams fiber
0.8 grams fat
7.5 grams protein


Diane Fit to the Finish said...

I've never been a cabbage fan but then I usually have had it with mayo! (Which I don't eat anymore.)

This sounds like a great, tasty dish. I'm willing to give it a try. And I really like your point about the relatively nutrient-free skillet meals. It's amazing how, with a little thought, you can really make something nutritious and tasty!

I wish more people did this!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

sounds like a good dish. I'm thinking if you don't have the alfredo on hand, maybe a canned soup - cream of _______ may work in it's place.

One of my favorite things in the world is a good cabbage casserole.

.::. Jennifer .::. said...

Now, I love cabbage, but I had never thought to use it in place of noodles before. I'm going to have to try that some time, and see if I can get my family to eat it. *laughs* (I seem to be the only cabbage lover.)

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

Diane- I think a lot of people would do more cooking at home and from scratch if the technique was more talked about. Many days it is not following a recipe to a tee, but rather grabbing what you have on hand and knowing how to combine thing A with thing B. There is a whole generation out there who were raised in homes where cooking was a rare event, and now they are scrambling to learn he art for many different reasons. I think if those of us who know how to do this share the hints, it could help a lot of people .

Joaana, canned soup is a definite alternative to an alfredo sauce, or a white sauce that you make yourself and add cheese or celery to. The reason I chose the Alfredo sauce is the carb count- fat free canned soup has 9 grams of carbs , while alfredo sauce has 3 grams.

Jennifer- another cabbage idea that you may like is to fry it till wilted and slightly brown and then crack an egg or two over it and scramble. It is really delicious, fast to make and dirt cheap. We had a neighbor from Burma when i was growing up and she would make this quite often when she got stuck for a meal idea.