Monday, December 16, 2013

Sarma - Stuffed Cabbage Roll

Celebrating Recipe #100!!! 
Printable Recipe
Filling & Cabbage 
  • 1 1/2 onions, diced
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 2 heads of cabbage
  • 1 jar sauerkraut
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vegeta
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper
 Tomato Sauce 
  • 3 cans tomatoes sauce 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Vegeta 
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 cups water, use sauce cans  
Make Meat Filling 
1. Sauté 1 1/2 onion & 7 garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes. 
Add ground pork & ground beef. Mix while browning for 7-10 minutes. Then add paprika, 
seasoning salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, & Vegeta (or salt) & combine with meat.  

2. In a small pot, partially cook rice with 1 cup water until it comes to a full boil. Add rice, with water to the meat mixture. Stir all ingredients & make sure meat is broken down into small pieces. You can used a masher or fork for this process. Add parsley & mix. Taste for seasoning, add more salt or pepper if needed.

Prep Cabbage
1. Cut the core out of the whole cabbage.
Place in a large pot of water with 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Once it come to a boil turn to make sure all sides are slightly cooked.
Peel off one piece at a time & let sit in the boiling water for a minute. 
Then lay flat on a plate to cool.

3. Make sure to gently trim the rib of the cooked cabbage before rolling.

Make Cabbage Rolls
1. Lay open one cabbage at a time. Add one scoop of filling to the stem end of the cabbage. Fold over the back side, fold in the sides, & roll. Place each piece side by side, tightly packed in a deep baking pan or ceramic dish.

2. Once you complete a layer, add a thin layer of sauerkraut. When finished rolling all the Sarma, top the final layer with sauerkraut & use the small pieces of cabbage to lay over the top so Sarma doesn't burn. 

3. Cover with foil & Bake at 375 for 1 hour minutes. 
Depending upon the size of your pan, for larger batch add 30 minutes.

Making Tomato Sauce
1. Sauté onions in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until lightly brown. 
Add garlic & sauté for a minute.

2. Add 1/4 cup flour & mix well, if too dry add a bit more oil, 
1 tablespoon at a time, until consistency is easy to stir, see picture.

3. Stir in paprika. Then add 3 cans tomatoes sauce. Fill each can with water & add 3 cans water to thin out the sauce. It should be a bit thinner than a marinara sauce consistency. Stir well & make sure to use a flat edge spoon to scrape off all bits at the bottom. 

4. Add Vegeta, pepper, chopped fresh parsley, & bay leaves. Bring sauce to a boil, then simmer on low uncovered, for 15 minutes. Keep warm until Sarma is ready.

Final Process
1. When Sarma is ready, take the pan out of the oven.  Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the top of the Sarma. Put back into the oven & broil on high, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven.

2. Take the loose pieces of cabbage off the top. 
You can throw out the loose cabbage pieces.

 3. Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the top of the Sarma. Put back into the oven
& broil on high, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven.

Plate Finished Product


It only took me over 20 years but I finally did it, not only did I actually make Sarma with my parents from start to finish, I actually got them to let me write down a recipe on paper! This traditional Slavic Sarma recipe my parents have been making since before I can remember is probably the most special recipe I have ever made. When my parents moved from former Yugoslavia to the US in their early 20s, they came with nothing but a suitcase in hand. Although they didn't bring much, they brought the most important thing of all, love for their culture & kept these traditions in our family for many years. Being youngest of six kids explains why it's such a large recipe, but it's also because the amount of time it takes to make this dish you want to make as much as possible! If you want to make a smaller batch I suggest you half the recipe of just freeze the leftovers & reheat as needed. 


For Whole30 or Paleo replace use olive oil, for seasoning salt use smoked or garlic infused salt & remove Vegeta, replace rice with cauliflower rice, read tomato sauce can to make sure all ingredients are compliant, remove flour. You can replace pork or both meats with ground turkey. We also use the same meat & rice filling for our stuffed bell peppers or  Punjena Paprika, which is also a wonderful dish. I prefer the red peppers, but my brother likes the green either way it's delicious!  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lemon Chicken With Asparagus & Snap Peas

  • All purpose flour or almond flour
  • 10oz, Chicken tenders, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 bunch asparagus 
  • 1/2 lb. snap peas 
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
1. Cut chicken tenders in half crosswise.

2. Spread flour on a plate. 

3. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, then dredge in flour. 

4. In a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken & saute until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

5. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan & reduce heat to medium. Add asparagus & saute for 1 minute. Add sugar snap peas; raise the heat to medium-heat. Season the vegetables with salt & pepper & saute for 1 minute. Add the broth & bring to a boil, stirring up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan & boil until the vegetables are almost tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.

6. Chop fresh thyme & chives.

7. Add the chicken to the pan of vegetables. Add the thyme, chives, & lemon juice. Summer uncovered until the sauce thickens & coats the chicken, stirring almost constantly, about 2 minutes. Taste & adjust the seasoning. 

Plate Finished Product 
Garnish with thyme, chives, & Lemon zest

I received a wonderful Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Cook Book as a gift & I just had to make this beautiful cover dish. Not only is it a fresh, fast, & colorful dish, it has two of my favorite veggies, asparagus & snap peas!


  For Whole30 or Paleo approved use almond flour or skip the flour this will also make it gluten free. You can add any veggies to this dish, some good pairings would be broccoli, carrots, & green beans. You can also use some red pepper flakes to add heat to this dish.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mini Apple Pies


Ingredients For The Crust
  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Ingredients For The Filling
  • 2 to 3 apples
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional Crumb Topping 
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces
 Making The Crust
1. In an electric mixer or using a mixing bowl & a fork mix butter then add  flour & mix well. Next, add salt & sugar. Then add your ice water and mix well until a dough forms. Start with the 2 tablespoons of ice water, & if it isn’t coming together like a dough, add a little more.

2. Wrap dough in saran wrap and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Remove dough from fridge. Save 1/4 of the dough to the side for the top crust. With a rolling pin, roll the rest of the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough fairly thin. Use a cup or small bowl with a larger diameter than the pan circles to cut out circles from the dough.

4. Place into an ungreased cupcake tin, removing any excess dough & even out the top.

Making The Filling
1. Peel, dice, core, & chop 2-3 apples. Using 3 apples makes a bit more than needed.

2. Mix together the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, flour, & vanilla extract. 
Then, mix in your chopped apples.

3. Poke the base of the dough with a fork once or twice. 
Then spoon in the apple filling to reach the top of the dough.

Option 1 The Crumb Topping
Combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, & cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the butter, & cut it into the flour mixture with a fork or your fingers, until they are small crumbs. 
Optional: Roll out the extra dough & use a mini cutter to cut out an apple or a leaf.

Option 2 The Lattice Topping
1. Using the remaining dough, roll out into a thin rectangle. Using a pizza cutter cut thin, 1/4 inch, stripes, the diameter of your mini pies. Then lay the lattice pieces in both directions over the pies.

Bake The Pies
1. Place the cupcake tin in the center rack & bake at 375 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, or until they start to brown on the top. Let cool for 5 minutes before your remove them from the tins, place on a cooling rack. Serve with some homemade whipped cream.

Plate Finished Product

I love baking for the holidays & apple pie is always a fall favorite! My Dad has always been the apple pie fan of the family, but as the years go by it's starting to win me over. This is no skinny dish, but everything is good in modification :)

  This is not really a flexible recipe but there are two options provided. One, a crumb topping which is more like a dutch apple pie & two a lattice topping which is more the American tradition. Personally I like the crumb best, but they are both delicious. You can also add a bit of fresh lemon juice or lemon peel in the mixture to a little zing. Or you can sweeten it up by adding some golden raisins.