Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I know that Christmas just passed but we can still celebrate! I love the holiday season. Especially all the delicious food to eat! I thought my two thanksgiving dinners were amazing but I think my Christmas dinners were even better. I am so blessed! I am looking forward to sharing some of the recipes of the dishes I got to enjoy. Unfortunately I was so busy cooking and eating I didn’t take the time to photograph everything. But that’s okay because that just means I’m going to cook and eat again, and this time I’ll share with you. Stay tuned!

This Christmas my mother made goluptsi (stuffed cabage rolls) and tifteli for our Christmas dinner. I think she makes the best! I am very picky about goluptsi and I can only eat my mothers or my own. I just think that it’s something special and needs to be perfect. Goluptsi are stuffed cabbage rolls. In this case boiled cabbage leaves are stuffed with a mixture of rice, meat, carrot, onion, and seasoning. Tifteli are balls of that “stuffing” cooked either separately or together with goluptsi. I did a little research on tifteli and found that not all Ukrainians or Russians even know what they are. Online I found different recipes as well. I will share with you my moms recipe. When I was little and my mom would make them, I always felt sad for my mom because I thought she had no more cabbage left and she had to make these little balls of the filling and called them tifteli. I asked my mom about it and she said that wasn’t always the case. When I told my sister this she said that she thought that my mom made tifteli especially for her because she didn’t like the cabbage. Oh the things we think about when we’re little.

Here’s what you need!


1 Cup Uncooked white rice

1 lb of Ground meat. Completely your choice. I used ground turkey. You can used ground chicken, pork, or beef or any combination of them.

3 Tsp salt or to taste

1 Tsp Pepper

1/4 Tsp Chili Powder (Optional. I like to add just a tiny bit because of that little kick of spicy you feel on your tongue)

1/4 Cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 Small onions ( 1 roughly chopped, 1 grated)

3 Carrots Grated

4 Tbsp Ketchup

1- 15oz  Petite diced tomatoes

2 Tbsp oil

1 Tbsp butter



Cook the rice according to package directions. It is important not to overcook the rice because it will keep cooking with the rest of the ingredients. It is okay to have the rice slightly undercooked.

In a large bowl mix the rice, ground meat, salt, pepper, chili powder, parsley 1 grated onion, 2 grated carrots, and 2 tbsp ketchup.

In a large skillet heat the oil and butter on medium high heat.

Make 2 inch balls out of the meat/rice mixture and add to the skillet. Slightly brown the ball all over by turning it so it doesn’t burn. Add oil if needed.

Once browned, move the tifteli to a small dutch oven or a 4 quart pot. Cover with the remaining onion, carrots and ketchup. Layer the tifteli, one on top of the other. Add a few tablespoons of water to the bottom of the pot, cover, lower heat to low and let cook for about an hour. Instead of the water you can add a can of petite diced tomatoes. The tomatoes will add to the flavor and the tifteli will be moist and cooked wonderfully. Sooo good! Enjoy!


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