Whether it’s a St. Patrick’s Day purchase or not, this inexpensive veggie can keep your family running for a whole week.

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Sometimes you just need a weekend cooking project that will get you effectively through your upcoming week. But more often than not, that means making a giant vat of something like a soup or stew, and let's be real, by day three of that dish, you are ready to eat just about anything else.

So instead, you need a weekend cooking project that sets you up for multiple meals that are not just retreads. And the secret weapon for this? It's one large head of lowly green cabbage.

Stay with me.

It's time to rethink cabbage

For those who think they do not like cabbage, I say, you have never had cabbage that has been well-prepared. Cabbage, when treated with care, is a sweet and a genuine pleasure. It is good for you, full of dietary fiber and packed with nutrients, naturally low in calories, low glycemic, and super low carb. It is inexpensive, available year-round, and a whole head can last up to a month in your fridge. And if you treat it right, one cabbage can give you five totally different meals! This plan serves 2 people; if you have more people in your house, buy more than one cabbage.

Day 1: Stuffed cabbage rolls

For starters, make the fussiest dish first. Using the six large outer leaves, make a half-recipe of this stuffed cabbage roll dish, which will make a hearty supper for the first night. Serve two rolls per person and save the other two for another dish. Take the rest of the head, cut into eight wedges leaving the core intact to hold them together, coat lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper, and roast in a 400° oven for 40-60 minutes until lightly browned on the edges and tender, but still al dente. Let cool to room temp, then store in the fridge. In anticipation of a second meal, make a hearty ragu like this pork ragu or a meatless mushroom ragu or even a spicy vegetable curry and store in the fridge.

Day 2: Ragu with cabbage wedges

On day two, take the ragu you made and serve it over two of the cabbage wedges, with plenty of cheese. Polenta is a great side dish for this, as are mashed potatoes.

Cutting Cabbage
Credit: Getty / MassanPH

Day 3: Pasta night!

For the third meal, chop up the remaining two stuffed cabbage rolls you reserved. Sauté an onion in olive oil until it is golden, and then add the chopped cabbage rolls. Add a quarter cup of golden raisins, and a quarter cup of toasted pine nuts, then toss with 8 ounces of cooked short pasta like orecchiette or penne.

Day 4: Chicken and cabbage bake

For day four, place two of the wedges in a small baking dish along with a chopped onion, a can of drained chickpeas, and top with four chicken thighs. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes at 350° until the chicken is browned and cooked through.

Day 5: Cabbage and egg fried rice!

On the last day, chop the remaining two wedges, and make a vegetable and egg fried rice.

More cabbage options

If one of these options isn't up your alley, never fear! Swap in a cabbage soup or a cabbage okonomiyaki for one of the meals, or use the roasted cabbage in a frittata or omelet. And see if you don't find yourself picking up a head every week from now on!