Scalloped Cabbage

My local groceries are selling fresh cabbage for 1¢ per pound this week as their St. Patrick’s day promotion. I couldn’t pass up a small head for 3¢. Our favorite cabbage dish is scalloped or au gratin cabbage with a simple cheese sauce flavored with ham and caraway. We also enjoy it without ham, but it needs that caraway – the seeds that also give rye bread it’s characteristic flavor.

We don’t like to cook the cabbage too much – it gets too strongly flavored – the microwave is just perfect for this dish. If you don’t have one, sauté it lightly in a skillet until it just wilts.

Scalloped Cabbage

2 main dish servings

8 Ounces cabbage -- coarsely chopped (2 cups)
1/4 Cup Onion -- chopped
1 cup Milk
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Ounces Cheddar Cheese or Swiss cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons bread crumbs, seasoned -- or buttered cracker crumbs or French fried onion rings
2-4 ounces Ham Scraps if Desired

Place cabbage and onion in micro safe dish. Add ¼ cup water, cover and cook 5 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile make white sauce of butter, flour and milk. Add cheese and caraway seeds. Mix with cabbage. Top with crumbs. Cover and cook in microwave 4-5 minutes or bake 15 minutes in 400° oven or toaster oven until bubbly.

Per Serving: 291 Calories; 14g Fat (43.3% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 46mg Cholesterol; 457mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 2 Fat.

March 2010 cost: Using ham, if cabbage costs 49¢ per pound, dish costs 90¢ per serving. If cabbage costs 1¢ per pound, dish costs 78¢ per serving.

Serve with rolls, biscuits, or cornbread with fruit (fresh or home canned) for dessert.

More-with-less Cookbook

This dish can be easily modified to use any available cheese you have – Jarlsburg, Havarti, Parmesan, etc. as well as American and Velveeta cheeses all work. The same with the vegetable and meat. Try cooked green beans and cooked, crumbled ground beef, or sliced or diced canned or cooked potatoes and ham, or cooked broccoli and cooked, diced chicken. Lightly cook the vegetables, combine with the sauce and meat, top with your choice of crumbs and heat through until bubbly. Instead of caraway seeds, season with whatever your family likes with cheese-based sauces.

This is a satisfying “before shopping day” dish to use up small amounts of ingredients that are languishing. You can even combine cooked vegetable combos to use small amounts in a delicious dish.

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