Have you planned out or begun to prepare your “health and wealth” meal for the New Year? I made my spread last week and froze everything since I knew we’d be on the road. All I’ll have to do tomorrow is defrost a few containers and bake some rice while the hubby and I unload the car and get situated (a catch-all phrase I use quite often around here when I have plenty to do in a short time).
This year’s good fortune grub will consist of my old faithful Black-Eyed Peas with Jalapeno Oil and Cabbage Casserole. In my Deep South family, black-eyed peas and cabbage are constants even though we all prepare them differently. So is pork, although it rarely takes center stage on this day. It’s usually used to season the peas and the greens in the form of pickle meat, ham hocks, bacon or sausage. As for the cabbage, I like to change it up year after year. This year, instead of Smothered Cabbage, I’ve prepared my hearty Cabbage Casserole. The recipe is based in great part on a dish shared with me by my dear friend Pat who I used to work with in New Orleans. She cooked this casserole every time her large family got together, New Year’s Day included. It’s a meal in itself and one that won’t disappoint–even when stacked up against my Smothered Cabbage.
I hope 2013 brings you another year of good health and happiness, plenty of time with family and friends and lots of great food! Happy New Year!
Cabbage Casserole Recipe
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 16-ounce package hot breakfast sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large head green cabbage, chopped
1 10-ounce can Rotel tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Cheese Sauce, see recipe
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking dish (a 15×10-inch is perfect); set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in cabbage and next 8 ingredients (through white pepper); cook, stirring frequently, an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into prepared baking dish. Add Cheese Sauce and stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and bake until cabbage is tender and rice is cooked, about 1 1/2 hours. Let sit 15 minutes before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.
Cheese Sauce Recipe
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup warm milk
1 16-ounce package Velveeta cheese, cubed
In a medium saucepan over low heat, make a roux by melting the butter. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the roux is blond in color, about 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile, heat milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Gradually whisk hot milk into roux; continue whisking until smooth. Add Velveeta and cook, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted. Makes about 2 cups.