Frugal Fridays: Golumbki and Halushka

There are reasons that, in certain cultures, some things are “staples” – this is a staple dish of Eastern European cuisine that not only tastes great, but is super affordable to make. For this week’s Frugal Fridays, I chose to feature one of my favorites.

I think every time Paul’s sister Patti visits us (or we visit them), inevitably we end up making Cabbage Rolls. I think it was originally a Betty Crocker recipe (I found it online at, but is hands down the best version I’ve ever had. The sauce is where it’s at. The last couple of times, when I was in bad health, I couldn’t help much, but this time around I rolled them while she prepped the meat and cabbage leaves. Very, very time consuming, but well worth the effort.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and Halushka

This is a recipe for a single batch (serves 6), we ended up scaling it up to use like 4 heads of cabbage and 7 lbs. of meat, but the recipe below is a much more reasonable quantity. BTW, if you want to scale up, by all means do so – this recipe is great for once a month cooking (OAMC), because it freezes very, very well. It means a little more work rolling, but it sure as heck beats going through the whole process all over again the next time the mood for Golumbki strikes you.

Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
recipe courtesy

1 beaten egg
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 lb. ground beef or 1/2 lb. ground beef plus 1/2 lb. ground pork (important: as lean as possible!!)
1 c. cooked rice
6 lg. or 12 med. cabbage leaves
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
10 3/4 oz. can condensed tomato soup

In mixing bowl combine egg, milk, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper; mix well. Add ground meat and cooked rice; mix thoroughly. Remove center vein of cabbage leaves, keeping each leaf in one piece. Immerse leaves in boiling water until limp. About 3 minutes; drain. Place 1/2 cup meat mixture on each large leaf or 1/4 cup mixture on each medium leaf; fold in sides. Starting at unfolded edge, roll up leaf making sure folded sides are included in roll. Arrange in 12 x 7 1/2 x 2 inch baking dish. Stir together condensed tomato soup, brown sugar and lemon juice; pour sauce mixture over cabbage roll. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hour basting once or twice with sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Paul’s sister likes to serve it with Halushki – I’m not sure of her exact recipe, but it’s closest to this one (except she leaves out onions because her family hates them – if it were me making it, I’d leave them in). A perfect side for Golumbki.

Final price to serve 6? $7.03 Well within budget, and quite a well-rounded meal. If you’re trying to cut down on your fat intake, make some mashed potatoes to go on the side instead – it won’t affect the cost (about the same cost as the halushki) and you’ll save on calories.

Here’s the breakdown:
Head of cabbage = $1 at the farmers market
Egg = .12 (if a dozen eggs are $1.50)
Milk = .13 (a half gallon of milk is $2.15)
Onion = .10 (3 lb. bag is .99)
Worcestershire sauce = normally on hand
Salt = normally on hand
Pepper = normally on hand
1 lb. 90% lean ground beef = $3 (at the farmers market)
1/2 c. rice (to yield 1 cup cooked) = .10 (estimated)
Brown Sugar = normally on hand
Lemon Juice = normally on hand
Aldi tomato soup = .89
Aldi egg noodles = 1.19
Aldi butter = .50 (1 stick where 1 lb is $1.99)

7 thoughts on “Frugal Fridays: Golumbki and Halushka

  1. Debbie

    Oh, this reminds me how much I love stuffed cabbage. And I’ve got two heads from my CSA that I haven’t used yet. I’ll have to veganize your recipe (easy enough) and make a batch! Thanks for posting this.

  2. Betsy

    I had to smile when I saw the recipe for Golumbki and Haluska. Reminded me of when we lived south of Pittsburgh. Actually the Halushka takes a little time, but is so good. The difference is homemade egg noodles. I never thought I would make egg noodles, but I did and am glad of it. Many people have asked me for this simple recipe. Even kids like it. If kids like it, you’ve got something. B-)


    2 c. flour, 1/2 t. salt, water, 1 head cabbage, 1 or 2 eggs, 1 medium onion, 2 T. butter (I use more) .. mix flour, salt and with 1 c. total liquid putting two eggs in first and adding enough water to make one cup. Mix dough and roll as thin as you can. Slice into narrow strips. Use a pizza cutter. Put strips in boilin water. Boil until they rise to the surface twice. Drain and mix in with shredded cabbage and chopped onions. Saute and heat until cabbage changes color and it’s hot enough to eat.

    Blessings on your website. Kewl!

  3. Betsy

    Sorry I left out the butter. B-( Saute in the butter or oleo. Don’t overcook the cabbage. It should be JUST done.

  4. cjam

    With my 100% Hungarian heretage, my grandmothers tought me to use items for more flavor and better nutritional value. Therefore, I use "Barley" instead of rice. Rice tends to become "mushy" when the cabbage rolls are cooked. Barley maintains the texture you want the rice to hold, but rice becomes overcooked. Rice looses all nutrients while the barley still provides! At age 63, I am still following the guidance these 2 wonderful Grandmothers taught me over 50 years ago!

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