Cabbage Soup

This is the time of the year when a lot of people start a diet. Some even begin to take up exercise. In fact, I’ve noticed a few new faces at the gym lately. That’s the way it’s been for the last several years after the holiday.

I’m a regular exerciser and a fairly healthy eater, yet this time of the year it’s easy to put on a couple of extra pounds just because of the fact we’re a little less active than when it’s nicer outside.

And when I feel the urge to shed a pound or 2 or 3, I pull out my recipe for Czechoslovakian Cabbage Soup. Whenever I make a pot of this delicious soup on the weekend, it becomes my lunch over the course of the next several days. And usually, I’m able to lose the extra weight that’s been bugging me.

Cabbage soups are good for those who are interested in losing weight. But not all of them are the most nutritious. Many of you are familiar with the Cabbage Soup Diet, which is about eating a bottomless bowl of cabbage soup, along with a few other low-calorie foods, for a solid week. It’s sure to lead to quick weight loss. But the food choices are so limited and the calories so low inadequate nutrition is inevitable.

So, I’ve decided to share my cabbage soup recipe, along with another, that will fill the nutrition gap and at the same time help those of you who would like to lose a couple of pounds. Plus, they’re both pretty tasty.

Czechoslovakian Cabbage Soup
1 head green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 quart sauerkraut
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1- to 2-pound chuck or buffalo roast or stew meat (the meat is optional)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
9 cups water
Cook meat in water in soup pot until medium. Remove and cool. Put the rest of ingredients in water and bring to boil. Chop the meat into bite-size pieces and add to soup (optional). Cook for 2 hours and serve.

Cabbage Soup with Kielbasa
1 quart beef broth
1 cup beer
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 large baking potato
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch slices
8 ounces kielbasa or smoked turkey sausage, cut in ½-inch dice
½ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon caraway seed
½ teaspoon salt, optional
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Heat the broth, beer, tomatoes with their juice and bay leaf to a boil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the cabbage, potato, onion, carrot, kielbasa, thyme and caraway.
Heat to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Partially cover the pot. Cook until the potato and carrot are tender, about 15 minutes. Add salt, if needed, and pepper.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 242 calories, 39 percent of calories from fat, 11 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 25 milligrams cholesterol, 27 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 1,048 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

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