Cabbage Casserole

i282600889613578572._szw1280h1280_It is almost criminal that we can’t just enjoy eating any type of food that we wish. Unfortunately consummate foodies often develop wide waists and the health problems that go along with increased weight. Thus it has been with my Mike. He so enjoys a well prepared meal, but then who doesn’t? For some time now I have found myself playing the role of a wicked nag as I insisted that he do something to curb his appetite. You can imagine how well that went. Aside from shooting dirty looks at me Mike did little to improve his health. I had all but given up when a miraculous thing happened. 

Mike had gone in for his annual visit with his doctor and the subject of losing weight came up much as it has every year for awhile now. That visit coincided with Mike’s fiftieth high school reunion. The collision of events turned out to be wonderful coincidence. While Mike was laughing and joking with his old buddies at the final event at The Ragin Cajun, one of the guys who also happens to be a doctor began poking at Mike’s belly with his finger and noting that Mike could stand to lose a pound or two. Dr. Simmons admitted that he has always been the kind of doctor who tells his patients what they need to hear, not what will make them feel good. In that spirit he went on to challenge Mike with the following commentary. “If you have a heart attack and die,” he noted, “you won’t really care, but if you live and can’t even get yourself up from the toilet, it’s pretty terrible. Likewise, if you die from a stroke, no problem, but if you live and can’t communicate or get around life becomes unbearable.” 

Dr. Simmons then suggested that MIke create a reasonable goal for himself of losing ten percent of his weight within one year. That would amount to about two pounds a month or twenty four pounds total. He suggested a strategy of choosing healthier foods and controlling portions. “Never eat from a bag,” he warned. “Fill your plate and divide the items in two. Eat half and stop if you are full. If not, consider the other half to be your second helpings. Never go back for more after that first plate. Do this regularly and the weight will go away.”

I watched in amazement as Mike listened to his friend with rapt attention. I could not believe that he shot the doc no dirty looks nor snarky comments. He was genuinely interested and nodded in agreement with every idea. The result has been a new man in our house. It’s only been a couple of weeks but during that time Mike has eaten mostly fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats and cereals like raisin bran and shredded wheat. He hasn’t had a single second helping of anything. He has regularly passed on dessert even when we were dining out and everyone was enjoying a sweet treat. He has managed to find light fare on menus and measures everything he eats in small bowls. 

I am very happy that he is so committed to improving his health because I do so enjoy having him around. In that spirit I have searched the Internet for low calorie, healthier recipes and I have served a number of them that he really liked. Among them was a cabbage casserole that tastes like it came straight from Nico Nico’s. The ingredients are easy to find and the finished product is enough for two people to have three different meals which works well with my afternoon tutoring schedule. Several people requested that I share the recipe and so in lieu of a long winded essay today I am providing the directions for a really tasty meal.

Southwestern Stuffed Cabbage Casserole 

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp olive oil

1 lb. extra lean ground beef (I used ground sirloin and had no grease or water left in the pan)

1 large onion

2 tsp garlic

1 tsp southwest seasoning or Cajun seasoning (I used Emeril essence)

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1 small head green cabbage

1 can petite diced tomatoes (I used salt free)

1 can tomato sauce (I used salt free)

1/4 cup parsley ( I used dried and it worked fine)

1/4 cup broth (either vegetable or beef or plain water)

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 cup low fat mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Cook brown rice following package directions.

Chop onion finely and cabbage into bite size pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a baking dish with PAM.

In a large skillet brown crumbled ground beef on medium heat.

Remove ground beef and set aside.

Add 1/2 tsp of oil to skillet and add chopped onion. Sautee for 5 minutes or until translucent.

Add minced garlic, southwestern or Cajun seasoning, paprika and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, ground beef, cabbage and broth. Stir thoroughly.

Salt and pepper to taste. Add more spice as preferred.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Mixture will thicken slightly.

Add cooked rice and fold in.

Transfer to a backing dish and cover with foil, baking for 20 minutes.

Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer until cheese melts and browns lightly. 

Enjoy alone or with a salad and perhaps some pita bread. 

 Recipe created by Southern Lady (http://www/food.com)

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