I make dinner most nights of the week and usually it’s not a big deal. Early on in my home cooking adventures I fell pretty hard for the standard ideal that dinner requires a main and two sides. That’s how my mom cooked, even when she didn’t really have enough time to do it and the process was a burden. That’s how dinner looks at a restaurant, or on a sitcom, or in a magazine. But a few weeks ago I was stressed about having enough time and energy to make dinner on top of work, running, and just having time to myself. Standing in the kitchen, thinking about my brother-in-law’s offhand comment, it seemed completely ridiculous to hold myself to a picture perfect standard.
I generally like making dinner, and I want to keep liking it. Making myself crazy with self-imposed dinner requirements is not going to help. In the last few weeks I’ve tried to give myself permission to make more one dish dinners, or at least more things that only require one cooked component and minimal prepping to bring together the rest of the meal. This cabbage recipe meets that goal.
I discovered this way of making cabbage a few years ago and while I loved it, I usually loved it as a side dish. Stir fried cabbage could certainly be a part of dinner, but I wasn’t ready to commit to it as the main component. I aspire to be the kind of person that can happily serve a roasted vegetable with a fried egg or some cheese and call it dinner. But I’m not there yet.
There’s also the fact that if I were to plunk stir fried cabbage on the table as dinner, no matter how delicious the cabbage, I would have a lot of push-back. And I don’t think I’m alone in that – it’s a hard sell. Sandwiches though, are an easy sell. I stuffed mine with cucumber, tomato, and hummus before piling in the spicy cabbage. You could add pickles or some shredded rotisserie chicken, substitute some other spread for the hummus, or add some shredded carrots to the cabbage while it cooks. The bottom line is the same: one pan. Ten minutes of cooking. Dinner for two plus leftovers. I could get used to that.