Eat Under $10: Budget Corned Beef & Cabbage

Dish: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Mustard Sauce and Carrots
Serves: 4
Good for: St. Patty’s Day Dinner
Shopping List: 1 medium head green cabbage ($0.99); 1 pound ground beef ($3.29); ½ yellow onion ($0.34); ½ cup shredded hash browns ($0.28); 2 cloves garlic ($0.08); 3 tablespoons parsley ($0.89); 11-12 feet of kitchen string (Free! The butcher at your local grocery store will gladly provide it to you); 5 teaspoons stone ground mustard ($0.12); 1 cup baby carrots ($0.37); 4 ¼ cups beef stock ($2.49); 1 cup sour cream ($0.89); ½ cup half & half ($0.25)
Pantry Items: Allspice, cardamom, salt, pepper, olive oil
Total Cost: $9.99

One thing I really miss about being away from home this time of year is not being able to partake in one of my family’s favorite Irish meals. My dad hails from a very traditional Irish background, so every St. Patrick’s Day we expect his corned beef and cabbage for dinner. People living in Ireland these days might dismiss it as a peasant dish, but I beg to differ! I consider it gourmet cuisine in every respect (especially after discovering the high cost of store-prepared corned beef!).

It wasn’t until I attempted recreating this traditional Irish dish that I discovered just how expensive and time-consuming it is to prepare. But satisfying my St. Patty’s Day dinner cravings was foremost on my recipe bucket list this year, so I came up with a budget-friendly version that is not only kind to my wallet, but also easy on my busy college schedule. The result is something I’ve dubbed “Irish-Hungarian fusion”, which embraces both my dad’s Irish heritage and also my mom’s Eastern European roots.

To do this, I deconstructed corned beef and cabbage and reassembled it into something similar to my mom and grandma’s Hungarian specialty: stuffed cabbage rolls. Normally, these are a mix of ground beef and rice assembled into rolls with cabbage leaves and then topped with a tomato sauce. But since I was aiming for Irish here, I substituted potatoes for the rice and used more affordable ground beef seasoned with corning spices*. And since mustard sauce is typically served alongside the beef and cabbage, I went with a tangy, stone-ground mustard sauce instead of tomato sauce. Carrots are a traditional Irish side dish and also provide a desirable Irish color theme. As my little green-clad buddies might say, “They’re magically delicious!”

*Although you can season the beef with any variety of corning spices you have on hand, I found allspice and cardamom to be the perfect combination!

Brynn Cahalan is a senior at UC Irvine majoring in Business Economics and minoring in Digital Arts. She loves herself some Irish grub, but don’t even think of putting green dye in her beer!


Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Mustard Sauce and Carrots
Serves 4 (2 cabbage rolls per serving)
Adapted from Allora Andiamo, member recipe on

8 leaves green cabbage (about 2 pounds)
1 pound ground beef
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
½ cup (frozen) shredded hash browns, cooked
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
5 teaspoons stone ground mustard (or Dijon) mustard, divided
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Salt and pepper, to taste
Kitchen string (about 11-12 feet)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup baby carrots
4 ¼ cups beef stock
1 cup sour cream
½ cup half & half

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook cabbage leaves for about 2 minutes. Remove cabbage from pot, rinse under cold water and lay on a clean towel to dry. Once the cabbage leaves have cooled, cut out the tough steams with a ‘V’ cut (see photo). Set aside; prepare filling.

Combine beef, onion, cooked hash browns, garlic, parsley, 2 teaspoons mustard, allspice and cardamom in a large mixing bowl using your hands. Season with salt and pepper and divide mixture into 8 portions. Lay 1 meat portion on top of each of the cabbage leaves (see photo) and tuck and roll the leaves burrito-style. Secure the rolls with string.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet or sauce pan. Place the rolls in the pan and gently fry on both sides until lightly browned. Add carrots to the pan and pour beef stock over the rolls and carrots. Cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes.

Remove rolls and carrots from pan. Set them aside, keeping them warm. Turn the heat up to medium; continue to cook the beef stock until it is reduced to 1 cup. Add sour cream, half & half and remaining 3 teaspoons of mustard and cook sauce over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until smooth.

Remove string from cabbage rolls and arrange them on plates with the carrots. Spoon mustard sauce over the rolls, garnish with parsley and serve.

Originally posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

5 Responses to “Eat Under $10: Budget Corned Beef & Cabbage”

  1. Leah

    March 13th, 2012

    Love this idea! The mustard sauce looks really tasty.

  2. Rich

    March 13th, 2012

    Great idea!

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