Ring in the New Year with Lucky Cabbage Recipes

Here is Times Square in New York City with a few days remaining in 2014. It’s a tradition for us to watch the ball drop at midnight. This has been a good year for our family; perhaps it was the cabbage and black-eyed peas that I fixed last year on New Years Day. I’m a little suspicious, so think I’ll cook the same foods this year, too.

Times Square - IMG_1219_1R

I always thought it would be fun to visit Times Square in New York City on midnight of New Years Eve. Well, we didn’t make it exactly on New Years Eve. But we did visit the city a week earlier and included some sight seeing. It was wet, raining and foggy. That didn’t stop the crowds including us as we took in all the tourist sights. Actually the fog gave things a surreal appearance. It was an interesting adventure and I love to visit New York City. Here is Rockefeller Center and ice skating.

Ice Skaters are Rockefeller Center - 2 - IMG_1182

So 2014 comes to a close; it has been a good one for us–we are fortunate for good health and prosperity. I’m a little superstitious and credit the cabbage and black-eyed peas I cooked last New Years Day in 2014. Think I’ll do it again.

Foods for Luck and Wealth for the New Year

In the southern culture boiled cabbage and black-eyed peas are always served on New Years Day. The back-eyed peas mean luck and prosperity and the cabbage–or other greens–refers to money and wealth. My Cajun next door neighbor, Essie, shared her foods with us and always made sure we had some of these lucky foods.

Traditional and Updated Cabbage Recipes

While the traditional method on New Years Day to serve cabbage is boiled, there’s no reason for why you can’t get a little fancy. I cooked an abundance of cabbage this past year partly due to all the vegetables supplied in my Community Supported Agriculture baskets. Here are two of my favorite cabbage recipes to ring in the new year.

Hungarian-Style Stuffed Cabbage. I asked my neighbors of Hungarian descent for ideas on how they fixed cabbage. My neighbor brought out a very old and well used cookbook that she inherited from her mother with a traditional Hungarian-style stuffed cabbage recipe.

Hungariarian Stuffed Cabbage - 2 - IMG_0134_1

The cabbage was stuffed with ground beef and rice and boiled on the stove along with beef shanks and sauerkraut. I would not think of cooking stuffed cabbage rolls in sauerkraut–pickled cabbage–but it worked and gave the dish a pungent flavor. It was delicious.

The recipe came from  “The Hungarian Cookbook: 151 Most Flavorful Hungarian Recipes” by Melanie DeProfit. The cookbook was published by the Culinary Institute of Chicago in 1954, 1955, 1965 and beyond. The Culinary Institute published cookbooks with recipes from many countries around the world and included a home economics staff that tested the recipes. These cookbooks can still be purchased from used bookstore web sites.  I cannot find any information of whether or not this Culinary Institute still exists.


Here is the original recipe in it’s entirety from the cookbook. My only modification to the recipe was that I used boneless beef shanks and did not pre-cook them. I also omitted the gravy step at the end of the recipe. Stuffing the cabbage leaves does take some time, but it is well worth the effort. Here’s the preparation in progress.

Stuffing in Cabbage Leaves - IMG_0095_1


And the recipe.

Hungarian-Style Stuffed Cabbage

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


Here’s the finished Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage.

Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage - IMG_0125_1


Best Cabbage Casserole. My second recipe, Cabbage Casserole, comes from a cookbook titled, “Best of the Best from the Deep South Cookbook.”

Cabbage Casserole - IMG_0671

How could you not like a recipe from a cookbook with this title. The recipes are selected as the best ones from community cookbooks published in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The co-editors, Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley, are both from the Deep South and their knowledge, effort and research show in the selection of recipes. All the recipes in the cookbook look tempting and it is a great collection. The recipe is part of the Recipe Collection, Quail Ridge Press, Inc. and is published with permission. (//www.quailridge.com/)

This casserole is very easy to assemble. I used my food processor to shred the cabbage, chop and slice the vegetables. Just brown the meat, add the vegetables, then other ingredients, melt the cheese for the sauce, assemble the ingredients in the casserole dish and bake. The recipe makes a huge casserole–leftovers can be frozen or I suggest cutting the recipe in half. I baked it in two 9×13-baking casserole dishes.  Ro-Tel tomatoes give some “spice” to the recipe; I suggest using hot sausage as well. Do not over-heat the cheese, microwave until just softened. Here are some of the ingredients.

Ingredients - IMG_0575

Cabbage Casserole

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound bulk seasoned sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 medium head cabbage, coarsely shredded
  • 16 ounces Velveeta cheese
  • 1/2 stick margarine
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions and Steps

  1. Brown meat and sausage in Dutch oven. Drain fat; add onion, pepper, celery, garlic, and rice. Cook 5 minutes. Add water, tomatoes, and cabbage; cook 10 minutes. Pour into a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a separate bowl; microwave cheese and butter until melted. Stir in flour and milk. Pour over meat mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more. Serve with corn bread. This recipe freezes well.

Recipe is posted with permission. Recipe is submitted from “Treasures from Our Kitchen” (Mississippi) and published in “Deep South Cookbook” from Quail Ridge Press, Inc. (//www.quailridge.com/)

I hope your family had a good year in 2014, too. Our wish is for peace and prosperity in the New Year of 2015 for all of us. Here’s my favorite image of New York City and Rockefeller Center. It is sort of a fantasy land. A taxi cab ride through New York City brings a reminder that this city is a true melting pot where immigrants come from all over the world to live and seek fortune. Can’t we all live together?

Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center - IMG_1195_1



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