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Saturday, February 12, 2011

What is a Runza? Recipe for Runza Casserole

What is a Runza?

You'll be familiar with them if you're from the Midwest. If you drive through Nebraska, you'll run across some Runza Restaurants. This is their logo.
According to the official Runza website:
It all started in 1949 with the Original Runza® Sandwich. Homemade dough made from scratch everyday — stuffed full of ground beef, onions, cabbage, and secret spices—and then baked fresh and served hot.



I do have a recipe to make something that looks very similar to the one above, however individually stuffing bread can be very time consuming for the home cook. So I have simplified things. I tweaked a recipe given to my mother by a close family friend. The original recipe called for a head of chopped cabbage but they had substituted a 15oz bag of angel hair coleslaw instead so they didn't have to chop the head of cabbage. Although this works, I found using actual cabbage produced a better casserole. If you have a food processor, shredding your own head of cabbage is easy enough. This casserole recipe is different in that instead of individual stuffed rolls, it's a 9x13 inch casserole with a top and bottom crust that you cut into squares. I found the Pillsbury Big & Buttery crescent rolls worked really well as they are slightly larger and fit the pan better. It's still delicious, easier to serve and simpler by far to make.

Runza Casserole

2 packages Crescent rolls (preferably Big & Buttery)
1 onion, chopped
1 med head of cabbage, shredded
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 ½ lbs ground beef
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can mushroom soup

Brown beef with onion, drain. Add cabbage and cover with lid to simmer to get cabbage halfway done. Then add soup to meat mixture and mix well. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray. Put one package of crescent rolls across the bottom of the entire dish. Add your beef mixture and cover with shredded cheese. Put second package of crescent rolls across the top and seal to the edges of the dish leaving no large gaps. Bake at 350ºF for about 30 minutes, until nice and brown.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

    Seeing as I had 9 egg whites left over from making the Bread Pudding earlier, I put them to good use in my Chocolate Angel Food Cake recipe. This is my own recipe, adapted from two other recipes to get one that worked for me that we liked. I started with a cocoa angel food cake recipe from a Dear Daughter...with Love from My Kitchen cookbook. I then used Alton Brown's Angel Food Cake directions. He used cake flour and I liked that. You can find his recipe here.
    This then, is the recipe I came up with. If you don't have or want to use the Ghiradelli cocoa powders, regular cocoa powder will do. If you can't find Baker's Sugar which is ultra fine, you can spin regular sugar in a food processor for 2 minutes until it's superfine. If you have a stand mixer with a whip blade attachment, this recipe will come together in about half the time.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

1 1/2 cups plus 2 TBSp ultra fine sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBsp Ghiradelli Unsweetened Cocoa
2 TBsp Ghriadelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
1 1/2 cups egg whites (room temperature)
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Sift half of the sugar with the flour, salt and cocoa. Set the remaining sugar aside. In a large bowl, use a whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar in, beating continuously at medium speed, then switch to high speed (whip). Once you've achieved high peaks, sift enough flour mixture to dust the top of the foam. Using a rubber spatula fold in gently. (Do not stir). Continue until all the flour mixture is incorporated. Carefully spoon mixture into ungreased tube pan. Bake for 40 minutes before checking for doneness. Bake until the cracks are dry. Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

Pantry Meal: Turkey & Rice with Copper Penny Carrots and Bread Pudding

     Today I'm using up what's in my pantry/freezer for tonight's meal. I only needed two items I didn't have and that was heavy cream to go in the dessert and a sauce to go over it. I've got a full pantry and freezer, so trying to use up alot of what we have without having to go out and buy alot of ingredients to make meals. Some of this was given to us, so trying to find ways of using it up.

MENU:
Cajun Turkey & Rice
Copper Penny Carrots
Dinner Rolls
Bread Pudding with Butterscotch Caramel Sauce

     From the freezer, I have 2.08 lbs chunk of  Hickory Smoked Cajun Style Turkey Breast. I thawed it but haven't been sure what to do with it. Slicing it for fajitas came to mind. I might do that with the other half of the meat as I don't need two pounds for dinner. I opted for Betty Crocker Chicken Helper: Chicken & Herb Rice. It's one of those one skillet meals, in this case, just add chicken (1lb uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast halves). As far as I'm concerned, poultry is poultry as most chicken/turkey recipes are interchangeable. I already had the box in the basement pantry, so this uses up another item and gets it off my shelves. I have a bag of leftover rolls from last night's dinner to go along with the meal.
     For a vegetable I'm going to make my grandmother's recipe for Copper Penny Carrots. She submitted it for a local fundraising cookbook in Iowa circa 1980. This is one of those recipes that past generations enjoyed eating but newer generations may not prefer. It's both sweet and sour. I haven't had it in years. Will see what the kids think of it. I've got a couple cans of sliced carrots in the pantry, so this uses up some more pantry items and lets them try something new. Canned carrots are not the most appetizing looking vegetable, so hopefully this will improve them enough to be tasty. The recipe doesn't say to serve it warm or cold but you may prefer to warm it slightly before serving.

Copper Penny Carrots

2 - #2 size (1.4 oz) cans sliced carrots or 5 cups raw sliced carrots
1 onion sliced thin
1 green pepper sliced thin or diced

Sauce:
1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup salad oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup vinegar

If using raw carrots, cook until tender but firm. Drain carrots - add onions and green pepper. Mix sauce. Pour over vegetables, cover and marinate 12 hours in refrigerator. Drain to serve. Will keep 2 weeks in refrigerator. Serves 8 to 10.

    Dessert for tonight is going to be Bread Pudding. I found the recipe at America's Test Kitchen website. You can find it here. You do need to register on their website to view the recipe, but registration is free. I don't have the callah loaf they call for. They don't recommend squishy white sandwich bread as it just gets soggy. You need a hearty loaf that will soak up the custard. What I've got to use up is a 2lb loaf of traditional rye boule. It should work fine. Recipe does call for 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream that I had to go out and get and does use up 9 large egg yolks. There is a free video of them making the recipe from their PBS TV show. They top the bread pudding with a Bourbon Butterscotch Caramel Sauce. (Note: to view this recipe, from their sister site Cook's Country, you have to be a paid member, which I'm not). The episode of the TV show (link above) shows them making both the Bread Pudding and the Bourbon Sauce, so you could just write the recipe down for the sauce as you watch. I don't have bourbon in the house anyway, so I just bought a small jar of Mrs. Richardson's Butterscotch Caramel topping. It recommends warming before serving.
      So as not to waste all those egg whites, I'm going to make an angel food cake for tomorrow. And since I'm making this from scratch (and it's not a boxed mix) I may just make my recipe for chocolate angel food cake.