Thursday, November 17, 2011

Runza Bites for the Michigan-Nebraska Game

One of my favorite blogging buddies - Jenn of Jenn's Food Journey - grew up in Nebraska, is a tremendous football fan, and is one of the kindest, friendliest, most vivacious people! Her joy and charm shine through in her posts, which you'll see as you keep reading.

On Saturday, #20 Michigan will welcome #17 Nebraska to The Big House; this will be Nebraska's first visit to Ann Arbor as members of the Big Ten. So, in honor of what will undoubtedly be an excellent match-up between these two teams who are both coming off wins last week, Jenn and I are celebrating by doing guest posts on each other's blogs!

You can find my recipe for Cheesy Cornbread at Jenn's Food Journey. It's easy to make, moist but still crumbly, has great flavor, and is perfect for tailgating; it's great with chili, salads ... almost anything.

And Jenn has offered a fabulous recipe - from her amazing mom, no less, who is an exceptional cook! - for a quintessential Nebraska food.

I'll let Jenn take over from here ... :)

Hello all you lovely Food Floozie followers! I'm Jenn with Jenn's Food Journey and I am very excited and honored to be doing a guest post here on Mary's blog. I adore her and her yummy posts, so this is sort of like having your favorite band/artist ask you to jump up on stage and play a few riffs on the bass guitar with them!! When she told me her idea of having me guest post on her tailgating post day in honor of the Nebraska/Michigan game, I didn't hesitate one minute. "Of course I'll get up on stage and jam with you.. you're a rock star!!"

Ok, feet back on the ground - we can now talk about food :)

I grew up in a small (very small) town in eastern Nebraska. In Nebraska, you only know one thing this time of year: HUSKER football!! And there is nothing like being in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska on a college football Saturday, let me tell you. Growing up I took pride in being a Husker fan - I still do.

There was only one time in my life when I cheered for another college football team and you know who they were? Any guess at all? Well, this might surprise most people, but it was the mighty Blue, the Michigan Wolverines!! Seriously ... I would not lie!! I think it had something to do with their colors more than their actual football team, but I can honestly say I was a fan, if only for a brief moment. So this post is even extra special to me!

One thing you can get at Memorial Stadium is one of my all time favorite things from Nebraska: a Runza sandwich! (YUM!) Unless you have lived in Nebraska, Kansas, or Iowa, I don't really expect you to know what I'm talking about, but Runzas are these deliciously warm yeast bread pockets stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, onion, cabbage and spices. It is a food that definitely defines growing up in Nebraska, so I thought what better thing to share with you than a smaller little three or four bite version of this for your next tailgating event.

I simplified things by using refrigerated pizza dough and, in all honesty, there wasn't that much of a difference in the final product. The dough wasn't as sweet as the dough for the real thing, but hey, sometimes a little less sweet isn't always bad!

So here's to the Huskers and the Wolverines - may the game be filled with excitement which only college football can bring!!! And thank you once again to Mary - Hope you all enjoy this tasty little treat straight from my home state!

Runza Bites
(Adapted from a recipe passed down to me from my mom)

1 tube refrigerated pizza dough (I used Pillsbury)
3/4 lbs ground beef (80/20 or higher)
1/2 a sweet onion
1/2 a head of cabbage
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
salt and pepper


Roughly chop the onion and cabbage. Place the onion in the food processor and pulse until minced; place on a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap and set aside. Place the cabbage into the food processor and pulse until shredded. Dump onto plate or piece of wax paper and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is no longer pink in the middle, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a paper plate lined with a paper towel.

Add the olive oil to the pan and turn the heat down to medium low. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Saute until softened and just starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add the butter and the shredded cabbage. Heat until cabbage starts to wilt (stirring occasionally), about 3-4 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir to combine. Return the beef back into the skillet and stir to combine. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Sprinkle some flour onto your counter and lay out the pizza dough. You'll want to roll it a bit thinner with a rolling pin - roll to about half its thickness. Cut 3"x3" squares. Place a tablespoon or more of the beef mixture into the middle of the square and fold edges over and seal. Place onto a greased cookie sheet; continue until all squares are full.

Preheat oven according to pizza dough package directions - I set mine at 425 degrees F for 14 minutes. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake until pockets are golden brown. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes (inside contents will be hot) and enjoy!


Unknown said...

Awwwwhhhh.. such kind words, Mary! Thank you so much! And thank you for doing the guest post on my blog.. what fun this was! I already can't wait for next season :)
Good luck to your mighty blue, my big red are comin' for ya!!!

Cranberry Morning said...

Wow! When I first saw the name of the post, I didn't know if Runza Bites was a recipe or the name of the guest blogger! But it's JENN from Jenn's Food Journey, whom we all know and love. :-)

Thanks for guest posting for Mary. Yummy looking recipe, too good to resist!

Mary said...

Hurray for more beef and cabbage recipes. My husband will be thrilled. I need to play with this soon! Thanks, Jenn.

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Runza's are always the highlight of any Nebraska trip. They make driving down I80 at 75MPH *almost* fun. I'll never forget my first Runza, my hubby was excited to get them, I was hesitant due to cabbage and onion (at the time I was not a fan) but he ordered them anyway. I was brave and tried one...and then took the rest away from him & had him go back & order more :) RUNZA! YAY!

Unknown said...

what I would do for just ONE of these bad boys.

Miriam said...

Those look awesome :)

foodhoe said...

The one time I was on a roadtrip to Omaha, I wasn't able to convince my driving partners to stop for one of those runza pies... still pining... looks kind of like a pork bun!

Candace said...

These look absolutely fantastic! I love that the two of you traded posts. This was fun!

Chris said...

Absolutely delish looking Jenn! I like "steam buns" like this.

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