Deconstructed: The Food Hack Every Caregiver Needs to Know About

Are you hungry? Thinking about the next meal you’re going to make?

A cooking hack that I’ve discovered since being married – but particularly since having children – is that sometimes, my time is more valuable than making a meal that is picture perfect. As long as the flavor and texture is there, I’m all in.

Think about your favorite meal. Is it stuffed peppers? Spaghetti and meatballs? In my case – one of my favorite meals is stuffed cabbage rolls. But let’s face it – it takes an eternity to roll those cabbage leaves! And it’s messy. The alternative is to deconstruct the meal to save on time, and protect against mess.

For someone motivated to save on time, but not on flavor, where there’s a will there’s a way. And in my case, I created a cabbage roll alternative that was easy, less messy, and a meal my kids ate and didn’t complain about.

The same can be done for other family favorites – meatballs take a lot of time to make, but bolognese sauce is made with mostly the same ingredients and doesn’t require your hands to get mucked up forming them. Stuffed peppers could taste just as good if the ingredients were just cooked in one pot, instead of having to go through the process of stuffing the peppers.

Perhaps we’ll have some time to explore these other ideas, but for now…

Easy, Slow Cooker Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls


  • 2 lbs of lean ground beef, browned and flaked
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce
  • 2 cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart of beef broth
  • Salt, Pepper, Allspice
  • 1 medium cabbage, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups of jasmine rice!

Instructions: Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker, including the spices, but set the cabbage and rice aside. Cook on low for 8 hours. Taste the stew and add additional salt, pepper, and allspice to taste. Add the jasmine rice and let cook for another hour. Add the cabbage pieces and stir until mixed in. Let cook for 15 minutes. Serve, and enjoy!

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Wife, mother, writer, and caregiver. If you're here for support and caregiving life hacks, you've come to the right place.

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