Scalloped Cabbage – Retro Recipe

 

Scalloped Cabbage

Scalloped Cabbage is a wonderful dish combining steamed cabbage with chopped green pepper, pimentos, bacon, and cheddar cheese covered in a white sauce with chopped onions and topped with buttered bread crumbs. The original recipe was in Joy of Cooking when I first tried this recipe in the 1970’s. I recently checked the new 75th Anniversary Edition of the Joy of Cooking out of the library and was disappointed to see that this recipe was not included in the latest edition.

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable of the same family that includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts and bok choy. Cabbage is available in US supermarkets year round and it’s a storehouse of powerful antioxidants that are important because they protect against breast, colon and prostate cancers. Cabbage is rich in antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory properties that scavenge harmful free radicals.

Cabbage is low in fat and calories, with only 44 calories in one cup. Cabbage has a very low glycemic index, which means it doesn’t cause an undesirable rise in blood sugar levels. Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and several B vitamins as well as potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium, all important minerals.

When buying cabbage, choose a fresh, compact, firm, medium-sized head that feels heavy for its size. To prepare, trim off the stem end and discard any withered outer layer leaves. Wash thoroughly in cold running water. Slice the head into two pieces and then slice or chop as needed for the recipe. Cabbage is best used when fresh for maximum nutritional value but it may be kept in the refrigerator for a few days before using.

The Recipe

Scalloped Cabbage
Serves 8
Steamed cabbage dotted with chopped green peppers, pimentos, bacon and cheddar cheese covered in a cream sauce and topped with buttered bread crumbs.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium head cabbage, chopped
  2. 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
  3. 2 tablespoons chopped pimentos
  4. 6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
  5. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  6. 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  7. 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
Cream Sauce
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 2 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 cup milk
  4. 1 small onion, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Steam chopped cabbage, drain well. Place layers of drained cabbage in a greased baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle minced ingredients and grated cheese over top of cabbage.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over low heat.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons flour; blend over low heat for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Stir in 1 cup milk slowly. Add 1 small onion, chopped to cream sauce.
  7. Cook until smooth and thickened, then pour over cabbage.
  8. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Mix with bread crumbs. Sprinkle buttered bread crumbs over top of cabbage.
  9. Bake Scalloped Cabbage for 10 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted.
Notes
  1. Scalloped Cabbage is only in the oven for 10 minutes so make sure the cabbage is cooked to the way you like it before placing it in the baking dish.
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Additional Information

Be sure to steam or otherwise cook the cabbage to the tenderness or crispness that you like prior to putting it in the baking dish because it will only bake for 10 minutes in the oven.

After placing the cabbage in a casserole dish, add the chopped green pepper, chopped pimentos, crumbled bacon and grated cheese.


Make a white sauce and add one small chopped onion to the sauce. When the sauce is smooth and thickened, pour the sauce over the entire baking dish of cabbage. Top the entire casserole with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 375º F. for 10 minutes.

Parting Comments

I can’t encourage you enough to eat some cruciferous vegetables several times a week. Cancer prevention tops all other areas of health research with regard to cabbage and its outstanding benefits. All of the cruciferous vegetables are considered excellent in preventing cancer, particularly breast, colon and prostate cancers.

Serve your family and friends some cruciferous vegetables soon and you’ll be giving them food that not only tastes good but is also healthy for them to eat!

Remember to Savor the Flavor of Cruciferous Vegetables!

Janet

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Pastitsio – Greek Comfort Food

What is Pastitsio?

Pastitsio consists of luscious layers of pasta, seasoned ground meat and a creamy Béchamel sauce baked to perfection. Pastitsio is Greek comfort food at its finest!

The three essential components of Pastitsio – pasta, meat filling and a creamy Béchamel sauce – are layered in a baking pan and baked until golden brown. The bottom layer can be any tubular-shaped pasta (I used rigatoni, but penne or any tubular-shaped pasta will do); the middle layer can be ground beef, ground turkey, ground lamb or ground veal spiced with cinnamon and mixed with tomato sauce; and the top layer is Béchamel sauce, which is a white sauce made with milk plus two eggs in this particular recipe.

I first tasted Pastitsio in the early 1980’s when a friend invited me to go to a Greek Festival at a church in the greater Boston area. From my very first bite I thought Pastitsio was fantastic! Since then I’ve attended Greek Festivals in Columbia, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina and I always enjoy the Pastitsio every time! If you’re ever near a Greek Festival, I’d encourage you to go and sample the Greek food. It’s great!

The Recipe

Pastitsio
Serves 8
Luscious layers of pasta, seasoned ground meat and a creamy Béchamel sauce baked to perfection!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups pasta, dry (preferably tubular-shaped such as penne, rigatoni, etc.)
  2. 3 tablespoons butter
  3. 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded and divided
  4. 1 1/2 lbs. ground meat (your choice)
  5. 1 medium onion, chopped
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  10. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  11. 1/2 cup butter
  12. 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  13. 4 cups milk
  14. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  15. 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta per package directions. Drain. Toss cooked pasta with 3 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
  2. Cook ground meat, onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain off any grease.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, cinnamon and pepper.
  4. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute.
  5. Whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Add 1/2 teaspoon and remove from heat.
  6. Whisk eggs until thick and pale. Whisk about one-fourth of the white sauce mixture into the eggs.
  7. Add tempered eggs to remaining sauce, whisking constantly.
  8. Spoon pasta mixture into a greased 13" x 9" baking dish. Spoon meat mixture over the pasta; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
  9. Pour cream sauce over top of meat layer.
  10. Bake Pastitsio at 350 degrees F. for one hour or until golden.
Notes
  1. Serving suggestion: Salad, Green Vegetable, and Garlic Bread.
Adapted from Southern Living
Adapted from Southern Living
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Preparation Steps


Each of the three layers that compose Pastitsio require a little time so I would plan on thirty minutes for total preparation. This may sound like a lot of time but believe me it is so worth it when you taste the Pastitsio! I know you know how to cook pasta and brown meat so I’m just going to show you how the Pastitsio is assembled for baking.

First layer – spoon the pasta mixture (pasta, butter and Parmesan cheese) into a greased 13″ x 9″ baking dish.

Second Layer – Spoon meat mixture over the pasta layer.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese over meat layer.

Third Layer – Pour the Béchamel sauce over the meat layer.

Bake Pastitsio for 1 hour or until golden on top at 350º F.

Parting Comments

Béchamel sauce is simply a white sauce made from butter, flour and milk. In Pastitsio, eggs are added to the sauce for additional richness and flavor. The reason for stirring a small amount of sauce into the eggs is to “temper” the eggs. If the eggs were added to the entire amount of sauce at once, the result would be scrambled eggs. By adding a small amount of sauce to the eggs first, the temperature of the eggs is raised and they may then be added into the larger amount of sauce without the worry of scrambled eggs.

The use of cinnamon in a savory dish may be new to you – I know it was to me when I first tried it in a recipe for Beef Brisket some years ago. I was surprised at the flavor of cinnamon with meat because in the US we usually think of cinnamon as a spice to be used in sweet items, like cinnamon rolls or apple pie. In the Mediterranean and the Middle East, cinnamon is often used to spice meat dishes. Check out the recipe for Beef Biryani, an Indian dish, if you like the flavor of cinnamon with beef. (I actually like it so well that I use 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in Pastitsio when I make it.)

Cinnamon has been around at least since 2000 B.C. when Egypt imported it from other countries. Cinnamon has antioxidant and antibacterial properties and may be of benefit to our health. The addition of cinnamon adds enjoyment to various foods, especially for those people with a decreased sense of taste.

I hope you’ll make Pastitsio for your family and friends soon! They’ll thank you for it!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!

Janet

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