Low to No Sodium Cooking-Stuff It! Beef & Pork
This was based on the recipe I used when I owned a pizza shop. I have reduced it to make smaller amounts. Normally it would make 60 stuffed cabbages, approximately 40 half green peppers or at least a good 60 porcupine balls. Porcupine balls are just the meatballs about 4 ounces in size (half cup measuring cup loosely stuffed if you want a quick measure) cooked in a tomato sauce. All these are great make ahead recipes to freeze for a quick comforting meal some night.
- 2 lbs Ground Beef -Your choice of leanness, (3 lbs if you are not using the pork and sausage)
- 1/2 lb of Ground Pork, -This will add sodium to the recipe
- 1/2 lb of bulk hot sausage no casing, -This will add sodium to the recipe
- 1/2 cup of minced onion
- 3 cloves of pressed garlic
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup of bread crumbs-bought bread crumbs will have more sodium., If you can use homemade bread dried and crumbled would be better.
- 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon of thyme
- If possible an envelope of low to no sodium beef bouillon
- 2 servings of cooked rice, -may not use all of it
- If not using the sausage add a 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cumin
Where I grew up this was a staple of life! We called them Pigs in the Blanket or Halupki. I have been told that some people mix up sauerkraut (which will add to the sodium amount big time! Or go to https://hubpages.com/health/Low-to-No-Sodium-Cooking-Sauerkraut-Mashed-Potatoes-Pork-Roast) in the stuffing mixture then wrap them in grape leaves.
- 1 Good Solid head of Cabbage the size of a bowling ball at least (I never seem to get one big enough-anything left can be frozen for vegetable soup)
- 2 cups of homemade tomato soup (or if not watching the sodium a can of condensed soup) (see http://snizinspiredbygod.hubpages.com/hub/Low-to-no-Sodium-Cooking-Homemade-Tomato-Soup for soup recipe)
- 1 small can of no salt added tomato sauce
- If possible use one envelope of no sodium beef base prepared according to directions.
Before I place the head of cabbage in a steam bath or boiling hot water, I put slits around the heart (core) of the cabbage so when the leaves become loose it is easier to pull out the already cooked leaves. The outer leaves are going to fall off first. Remove them as soon as they become pliable. You don't want them too mushy. Be very careful taking out the leaves as they will be hot and steam/hot water burns are not fun! I used tongs to pull the leaves out of the boiling water. You know the leaves are done when they get sort of a clear color to them. Be careful not to splash yourself with the hot water.
Another way that might be easier is to put the cabbage in the freezer. Cut the heart of the cabbage out without slicing off the leaves then freeze the cabbage for about an hour or more. Pull back out and let thaw or run under warm water.
Some people look for the cabbage with huge leafy green outer leaves and freeze just the outer leaves for later use. I use the whole cabbage right down to the smaller inside leaves.
After the leaves have cooled (or thawed) lay a leaf flat on the table. Starting at the ) end closest to the core, place about 1/2 a cup of stuffing mixture. Start to roll a little then fold the cabbage in from the left, roll a little, fold from the right, finish rolling. The folds are similar to an egg roll or burrito fold. See photos below.
Stuffed Green (Sweet, Red) Peppers
- 3 Green or Red peppers the size of your hand or 6 Green or Red peppers the size of your palm
- 2 small cans no sodium added tomato sauce
- 1 small can no salt added tomato puree
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Wash the pepper thoroughly, remove the stem end and cut in half. Clean the membranes and seeds out. I usually wash mine out to make sure all the seeds are out.
- Spray a baking dish you feel will hold the amount of peppers you have. Pour half the tomato sauce onto the bottom.
- Stuff each pepper as much as possible but not to overflowing. It will pop out during cooking. Place each pepper in the pan and cover with remaining sauce and puree. Cover with foil and bake for at least an hour or until done. Use a meat thermometer to check to see if the meatiest parts have reached 165º. You may want to place a pan underneath in case it boils over. Some people will precook the ground beef then proceed to mix it according to above directions and then stuff the pepper leaving it whole. I used for serving size one half big pepper or two small half peppers.
Stuffed Hot Peppers
- Several hot peppers heat of your choice.
- 1 small can no sodium added tomato sauce
- 1 small can diced no sodium added diced tomato
- 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
- Option-mix 4 oz of softened cream cheese into stuffing mix-will add sodium to the dish
Preheat oven to 350º. Pick the heat of the pepper you prefer. With gloves on, cut the top off and clean the membranes and seeds out from the inside. I usually wash mine out to make sure all the seeds are out. Also wash the outside as well. Spray a baking dish you feel will hold the amount of peppers you have. Pour half the tomato sauce and half the diced tomatoes on the bottom. Stuff each pepper as much as possible but not to overflowing. It will pop out during cooking. Place each pepper in the pan and cover with remaining sauce and diced tomatoes. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top. Cover with foil and cook for an hour or until peppers are very soft. Use a meat thermometer to check to see if the meatiest parts have reached 165º. You may want to place a pan underneath in case it boils over.
- Note-This is one where you can use half the mix to stuff and the other half to make porcupine balls and cook all in the same casserole. The juice from the hot peppers give the porcupine balls a wonderful subtle taste.