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)

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