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GO GREEN WITH CABBAGE!

I love cruciferous vegetables, especially Brussels sprouts and broccoli, but I've found a luscious, leafy green head of cabbage to be the most versatile of the group. Health and nutrition professionals recommend eating cabbage (or other cruciferous vegetables) a minimum of three to four times per week, with at least two cups per serving. Cabbage is a good source of fiber, vitamins A and C and other important nutrients.

When choosing cabbage heads, select those that are firm and dense with shiny, crisp, colorful leaves. Examine the leaves to make sure they're free of cracks, bruises and blemishes. Severe damage to the outer leaves means there may be worm damage or decay in the inner core.

We enjoy stuffing cabbage leaves with a variety of interesting ingredients. This recipe for Cabbage and Potato Cups makes a great weekday side dish, or a unique appetizer when topped with thin slices of crispy prosciutto, Parma ham or a tablespoon of chopped, sautéed mushrooms.

CABBAGE AND POTATO CUPS

If you have at least two cups of leftover mashed potatoes, they'll work perfectly in this dish. You can also use leftover baked potatoes, or micro-cook six medium potatoes until soft (about 10 minutes), scoop out the flesh and mash it with the rest of the ingredients. Makes 6 servings

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons Newman's Own Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 (3 pound) head leafy green cabbage with discolored, damaged or tough outer leaves discarded
  • 1 teaspoon Bellino Minced Garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Starwest Botanicals Whole Organic Black Pepper
  • 2/3 cup Pacific Natural Foods Organic Chicken Broth or water
  • 2 pounds large boiling potatoes (or 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken (or see tip below*)
  • 1 cup, coarsely grated, extra-sharp white cheddar or pepper jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon bottled horseradish, drained
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Ian's Natural Foods Panko Bread Crumbs Whole Wheat Style

Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in center position. In large, heavy skillet, cook onion in olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil.

Remove and discard the core of the cabbage. Carefully lower the leaves into the boiling water using a slotted spoon. Boil cabbage about 5 minutes, or until softened. Transfer the largest leaves (at least 6) to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Transfer remaining cabbage to a colander to drain. Transfer large leaves to paper towels and pat dry.

Lightly spray (or use butter to grease) cups of a non-stick muffin tin (with six muffin cups). Cut parchment or wax paper into 12, 2"x10" strips. Place two strips crisscrossed in each cup to help later remove cabbage. (There will be a 2-inch overhang.) Line each cup with a large cabbage leaf.

Coarsely chop enough remaining cabbage to measure 3 cups, then add to onion along with garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and broth or water and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender and browned, about 10 minutes.

If using raw potatoes, peel and cut into 1-inch cubes, cover with cold, salted water (by 1 inch) in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, then set potatoes in colander over saucepan to steam-dry (uncovered) for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix potatoes with buttermilk, cheese, horseradish, remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and remaining teaspoon of salt and pepper with slotted spoon or potato masher until combined well.

Fill each cabbage leaf with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mashed potato mixture. Top with a layer of the sautéed cabbage mixture, then add remaining potato mixture and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Drizzle crumbs with olive oil.

Fold edges of cabbage in toward filling (do not completely cover). At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the Cabbage and Potato Cups for 24 hours (bring to room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before baking).

Bake until heated through and edges of cabbage are well browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer stuffed leaves to plates using parchment overhangs.

Tip: If you typically only use buttermilk in small amounts, Bob's Red Mill Sweet Cream Dry Buttermilk Powder is a great product to keep on hand. In dry form, buttermilk lasts much longer than it does as a liquid, and it does not require refrigeration. Bob's Red Mill Sweet Cream Dry Buttermilk Powder is naturally produced from pure sweet cream buttermilk. It's also easily rehydrated and may be used in any recipe that calls for buttermilk. Plus, it provides calcium and 5 grams of protein per serving.

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