Yesterday was only the second time I've made this recipe, but it's definitely a favorite of mine. You DO need to give yourself about 30 minutes for prep, but it's not difficult in anyway. I recommend boiling the cabbage in the morning, soaking it in some cold water, then slowly peeling back the leaves and letting them sit out to dry for 20-30 minutes (if you're in a hurry, you don't have to let them sit, just pat dry with a paper towel). If you want to save even more time, you could always chop up the green pepper the night before so it's ready to go when you need it. This time when I made it, I forgot to pick up the 46oz bottle of V8 (I'm still miffed about that), but I happen to have 4 little 5.5 oz cans in the fridge, so I used those, added some water, and used half a jar of spaghetti sauce that was also in the fridge...couldn't tell at all that anything was different!
Now, this is probably not going to go over too well if you try putting this in front of most kids, as it looks (and kinda smells, thanks to the cabbage) horrid, but they may like the meat filling...at least Jesse does. When I put one whole roll in front of him, he looked at me like I had three heads, but once I removed the cabbage, he ate it up. TRUST ME, this dish is MUCH better than it looks! Heath said it the first time I made it, and he said it again last night...It's strange how some things can look so disgusting, yet taste so good!
'Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls'
Source: Taste of Home
1 large head cabbage
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
3/4 cup quick-cooking rice
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup crushed saltines (about 15 crackers)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ounce onion soup mix
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 can (46 ounces) V8 juice
Salt to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Cook cabbage in boiling water just until leaves fall off head. Set aside 6-12 large leaves for rolls; drain well. Cut out the thick vein from the bottom of each reserved leaf, making a V-shaped cut; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the tomato sauce, rice, green pepper, cracker crumbs, egg and soup mix. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
Place about 1/3 cup meat mixture on each cabbage leaf; fold cut end of leaf over the meat mixture. Fold in sides and roll up completely to enclose filling. Secure with toothpicks if desired.
Place cabbage rolls in slow cooker. Pour V8 juice over rolls. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until filling reaches 160°. Just before serving, sprinkle with salt and cheese if desired.