Friday, September 4, 2009

Quick and Easy Runzas

Something that has always been a great thing for my family to have on hand has been Runzas. Runzas are something that will probably not be liked by all and a lot of people have probably never even heard of them.

Wikipedia on Runzas:
A runza (also called a bierock, fleischkuche or Kraut Pirok) is a yeast dough bread pocket with a filling consisting of beef, pork, cabbage or sauerkraut, onions, and seasonings. They are baked in various shapes such as a half-moon, rectangle, round (bun), square, or triangle. In Nebraska, the runza is usually baked in a rectangular shape. The bierocks of Kansas, on the other hand, are generally baked in the shape of a bun.

Both the bierock and the runza sandwich have German-Russian roots going back to the 18th century. The term bierock comes from the Russian word pirogi or pirozhki and is the name for any food consisting of a filling stuffed into dough. The recipe was passed down from one generation to the next, and was brought to the Americas, particularly to Argentina and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, the U.S. states of North and South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas and Nebraska by the Volga Germans.

There is a chain restaurant called Runza that is only in Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas. It's one of those places that you must visit if you come here and if you are from here and move away, you have to have when you come back.

So two weeks away from the arrival of our baby, of course I'd turn to Runzas as a freezer staple for quick and easy meals after the baby is here. Now, as I said - this is my quick and easy version. And of course this can mean that the taste can suffer slightly. They're still great but not quite as good as Grandma would have made them :)

Package of Rhodes Dinner Rolls
4 lbs hamburger
27 oz can of kraut plus an extra regular sized can
2lbs cheddar cheese (you'll probably use a little less)
Minced Onion
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Seasoned Salt

If you were going to make them the way grandma would have, you would use her Basic Roll Recipe and use American Cheese instead of cheddar. The Rhodes rolls are obviously much less time consuming. You will see I used white rolls here but they have a whole grain roll that is to die for and works great for this also (for some reason I just picked up white at the store this time). American cheese will melt better and be a better consistency for your rolls but most of us keep cheddar cheese on hand more often than American and it's also cheaper.

I also must say that I sell Pampered Chef and I use a lot of their products to make Runza's that I feel make things easier/faster.

I use the Pampered Chef Micro cooker to cook my hamburger. I have the small one so I do one lb at a time. I put it in the microwave for two minutes. Then put it into the micro cooker and cut it up a little. 2 more minutes in the microwave. Chop it up with the Mix n Chop. 2 more minutes in microwave. Chop.
It'll look like this at this point:

2 more minutes and your hamburger will be done.

After your hamburger is done, add the rest of the ingredients to taste.

Stir until the cheese is nice and melted.

For your rolls, you can either take them out of the freezer early and let them thaw until pliable or I have taken them straight from freezer and microwaved for 5 seconds on both sides to get them de-thawed to the pliable stage.

Put down on some flour so it doesn't stick to the counter.

Roll out. I use the Pampered Chef Bakers Roller. It's the perfect size. Make sure you roll it pretty thin. They tend to want to spring back and you won't fit much stuffing in.

Add your meat. I use the Pampered Chef Medium scoop and add two scoopfuls. Then begin to pull the sides up around the filling.

Pinch all the sides together.

Line 'em up...

...and stick them in the oven.

Cook at 350 until golden brown.

This can make 36 Runzas give or take depending on how much stuffing you put in each one.

Usually when making Runzas it's easy to make Pigs in a Blankets also. Use your rolls like you would for Runzas but put a hot dog in the roll and wrap it up. Bake. Super easy and great for the freezer also!