I love cabbage rolls on chilly late winter days - they're homey, comfort food, frugal and filling. But I don't make them often, as I find the whole process of cooking and then rolling the cabbage to be tedious, and when I'm after simple comfort food, the last thing I want is tedious work.
So, this is my lazy day (or busy day) version - the same homestyle taste, with much easier preparation. It loses a bit in the presentation, but when I'm having One of Those Days, that is not my priority.
As with most of my recipes, this isn't fussy and it's very modifiable - use whatever ground meat you have on hand (pork sausage is a nice touch), toss in an extra vegetable if you like, and switch up the seasoning - I suggest an Italian seasoning blend mainly because I always have it on hand, but you could use a Mexican seasoning (not traditional, but tasty!), or a Greek seasoning - or just stick to salt and pepper if that's what you have.
Same with the tomatoes - I like the little kick I get from Rotel, but a large can of fire roasted tomatoes is just fine, or your homemade stewed, or none at all if your family has issues with cooked tomato bits. If you leave them out, do add extra tomato sauce/juice, etc.
See what I mean? This is meant to be done using whatever it is you generally have on hand and like.
And while I just did the whole thing as a one pot skillet meal, you could certainly turn it into a casserole and let it bake awhile, perhaps topped with more tomato sauce and some cheese.
(what kind of cheese? Whatever kind you have, of course!)
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef or other ground meat
1 Tblsp minced garlic
1 Tblsp Worchestershire Sauce
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cans Rotel, undrained
2 cans V-8 juice, tomato juice, or a can of tomato paste + water (total liquid should be about 2 1/2 cups)
1 head cabbage, chopped or shredded
1 Tblsp Italian seasoning blend
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Heat a large skillet, dutch oven or wok (you want plenty of room for mixing), add olive oil, and onion, and cook until soft and browned. Add minced garlic, and cook until fragrant (just a minute or so), the add ground meat and Worchestershire, and cook through.
When cooked, drain some of the grease if necessary, and add uncooked rice, mixing with cooked meat to incorporate.
Add chopped cabbage, mixing to blend.
Add seasonings and canned tomatoes and tomato juice (if you prefer use tomato paste and water instead), and mix.
Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about a half hour. Check to make sure cabbage is soft and rice is cooked, and adjust seasonings as needed (I notice this recipe tends to 'eat' seasoning, so often need to add more near the end). If it needs a bit more liquid, just add some and let it cook a few more minutes - if it is too liquidy, cook uncovered until it reduces down.
It is extremely forgiving of adjustments and extra cooking / warming time. Perfect for a busy family!
Finally, if you like, top with some cheese to serve (we used some cheddar we shredded because it was there - but mozzerella, or Swiss, or a good sprinkle of Parmesan would also be nice with this).
Comfort in a bowl - it's what's for dinner!