Cooking with Love

I love being in the kitchen with Nick. While making the stuffed cabbage rolls,  we found a heart-shaped leaf.

Cooking is a labor of love.

My youngest nephew, Nick, loves to cook. From the time he was little, he has faithfully watched the Food Network. Now grown and a student at Madisonville Community and Technical College, over the years he’s gained some pretty impressive cooking skills. His desserts are magical. I love cooking with him, so every chance possible, we get in the kitchen and make something yummy. Sometimes our adventures in the kitchen are successful, sometimes they’re a complete disaster. But we always have fun.

One day back in the spring, I went to Madisonville for a quick overnight stay at my brother’s house. I had talked for weeks about the bounty of organic goodness we were receiving from Hillyard Field Organics. So I bought an extra basket that week as my hostess gift.

As I drove toward Brown Road, via cell phone Nick and I planned dinner, using the produce from my hostess basket which included a lot of greens and root vegetables. Our menu included stuffed collard green rolls, roasted root veggies, salad, and a strawberry layered cake.

I love collard green rolls, which is a variation of cabbage rolls– you can put just about anything in them. It’s a bit more work than I like to tackle during the week, but the outcome is so worth it. When Nick got home from classes, I had the meat mixture and leaves ready to go. We rolled up our sleeves and got going. About halfway in, we found a collard leaf that was heart-shaped. Well, to us it looked heart-shaped. So, of course, we knew we had to take a picture. Afterall, how often do you find a heart-shaped collard green?

As the rest of the family gathered round, Nick and I proudly filled the table with all our dishes. While my brother mocked our stuffed collard greens, saying they “look like something from Jurassic Park,” and my oldest nephew snaked-eyed the various dishes, we enjoyed a meal made with love and full of organic goodness.

We filled a baking dish with our stuffed collard greens.

Stuffed Collard Green Rolls


  • 1 pound ground beef, turkey or shredded chicken
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup green pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano


Drop cabbage leaves into boiling water; cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain well. For filling, combine ground beef, onion, carrots, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper. Place a portion of the filling into the center of each collard green leaf. Roll leaf around filling; fasten with toothpick. Place in a baking dish.  Bake covered in a preheated 350° oven 30 minutes. Remove rolls and discard toothpicks.

2 thoughts on “Cooking with Love

  1. Yep, he said Jurassic Park. But then, he’s my big brother. He had to insult my efforts. Complimenting them would have been too much. I would have thought he was sick or something. LOL!

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