Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Holishkes)

Source: Sydelle M
adapted by

2 heads green cabbage
2 pounds chopped meat
1 egg
2 slices white bread slices, soaked in water and then squeeze out the water
3 15-oz cans tomato sauce
1/4 cup rice (uncooked)
1 cup brown sugar, more or less to taste garlic powder, to taste

Some optional ingredients I found along the way:
Raisins (not for me)
crushed gingersnaps (someone else's mother suggested this!)
a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice (1 lemon) or more to taste

Boil the cabbage for a few minutes to soften, and remove the outer leaves when cooled. You can also freeze the cabbage heads overnight, but who has room in the freezer for two heads of cabbage?

In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, combine 2 1/2 cans of tomato sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, lemon juice and raisins, if you're using them, and some garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Taste to see if you need more sugar, garlic or lemon juice. Add crushed gingersnaps if you want, I got that idea when I was checking out recipes. I tried it a few times, but now I don't bother!

Mix meat, eggs, bread, 1/2 can tomato sauce, rice and about 1/3 cup brown sugar. Make a small meatball and place it near the stem end of the leaf, fold stem over the filling, fold in the sides and roll it up firmly. Envelope style. Place the cabbage rolls carefully in the sauce (seam side down) and add chopped pieces of the cabbage and raisins if you want. Simmer at low for 1 1/2 hours or more, I let it simmer for a long while. If you see that there is not enough sauce, add more tomato sauce.