When I was pretty young, I went walking with my mom in the woods and my brother’s new hunting dog came with us. My grandfather was a gunsmith and he had given me a 410 shotgun that I was carrying. Mama pointed out a squirrel in an overhead tree so I cocked the gun so I could shoot it. I kept trying to aim, but if you’ve ever been squirrel hunting, you know how squirrels can be. I couldn’t get a clear shot because of the limbs. Mama finally signaled to me that he had gone, so I “uncocked” my gun. Stacey had shown me how to do that. You pull back on the hammer and trigger at the same time and then ease the hammer back into place. Well, something went wrong and my gun went off. Luckily, I had followed the first part of his instruction, which was to point the gun at the ground. But when the gun went off, it blew a hole in the ground and scared me half to death. More scared than me was Stacey’s new hunting dog that was standing right beside me. He took off running as fast as he could and never treed another squirrel as long as he lived. To this day, Stacey has not forgiven me.
I come from a hunting family. I grew up eating much more deer meat than beef. When I was young, Daddy, Mama, and Stacey all went deer hunting. I was too young – and really didn’t want to go – so they dropped me off around 5:00 every Saturday morning at my grandmother’s house. Nanny was always waiting in the kitchen and Pappaw was always snoring away in their bedroom. If Nanny was sleepy, we would sometimes lay down and sleep a little, but usually, we just sat in the kitchen and talked. It seemed that Nanny was always cooking. She was a wonderful cook. Pretty much as soon as breakfast dishes were done, she started making lunch. As soon as lunch dishes were done, she started making supper. And it didn’t matter what day it was, Nanny made enough food for an army every time she cooked. I’m sure she got into that habit from having four kids. All of the grandkids loved to come to Nanny’s. As we got older, we brought our friends and they loved her, too. She was one of those people who made everyone welcome. And lots of times, she did that with food. Dumplings, biscuits, the best cornbread on earth. She was such a great cook!
I can remember Nanny making stuffed cabbage rolls. She would mix the filling and then she would drop the cabbage leaves into boiling water to soften them. Then she’d roll the mixture inside the leaves, cover them with tomato sauce, and bake them. They were yummy, but they sure were a lot of work!
Several years ago, my friend Angie told me about a recipe that she made in her rice cooker. It basically has all the same ingredients that are in stuffed cabbage rolls – except they aren’t rolled! I changed the recipe a little – like we all do to adapt it for our families – and decided to call it “Exploding Cabbage Rolls.” This is one easy recipe!
Exploding Cabbage Rolls
- 2 bags of shredded cole slaw mix
- 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice
- 1 bag of frozen chopped onion
- 2 pounds of ground turkey
- ½ teaspoon of Tony’s – or more
- dash of pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 64-oz bottle of V8 juice
Mix together in a very large bowl. Pack into your rice cooker. Pour V8 juice over the top. Turn on your rice cooker and cook 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!
Well Duh #1: I like my cabbage completely dead and soft, so I cook it for 30 minutes. If you like yours a little more firm, cook between 20 – 25 minutes.
Well Duh #2: I have a really big rice cooker. If you have a smaller one, just divide the recipe in half.
Well Duh #3: This is great the next day! I’ve even frozen it if there was enough leftover. Imagine that! Me! Freezing something!
Well Duh #4: Really yummy with shredded cheddar on top!
Well Duh #5: I always have people ask if they can make this in a slow cooker or on the stove top. I don’t know, man! I just use a rice cooker. If you don’t have one, think about getting one. They’re pretty awesome and there are entire cookbooks with recipes you can make in your rice cooker. I’m sure you could load this mixture into a big casserole dish, cover it with foil, and bake it, but I’ve never done that, so I wouldn’t know how long to tell you to cook it. I guess you could just start with the Universal Casserole Law: Bake at 350 for one hour or until cabbage is soft and turkey is done.
I miss Nanny. She would have loved getting to know my kids. And I know they would have loved her as much as I did. I was blessed with four awesome grandparents who gave me some wonderful memories and taught me a lot. I miss them all. It’s funny how there are certain dishes that make me think of each of them. Cornbread = Nanny. Dumplings = Pappaw. Carrot Cake = Mammaw. Jambalaya = Grandpa.
I like to think they would be proud of me and my little family. God sure blessed me with wonderful family members – past and present.