I've been experimenting lately with a recipe for runza sandwiches, which are pretty much only known in Nebraska and the surrounding region. Nebraska has a chain of fast food restaurants called Runza, and I grew up eating runza sandwiches. I moved to Texas a few years ago, and have been trying to satisfy my runza cravings ever since.
Runzas have roots in Germany and Russia, and are essentially ground beef and cabbage in a pastry crust, the ultimate German comfort food. They are also called bierocks, and are related to the Polish pierogi (which are boiled, and contain potatoes). In my mind, they also resemble the Cornish pasty. The basic recipe is fairly versatile, and I've added various spices to mine with wonderful results.
In an attempt to reduce the calories in my runzas, I've replaced some of the ground beef in the original recipe with brown rice. I'm also using Pillsbury reduced-calorie crescent roll dough, which makes a nice and flaky crust for minimal calories (and effort!). Here is my adaptation of the runza recipe:
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium head cabbage, shredded or chopped
2 cups beef broth (fat free), or as needed
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or chili powder, optional
1 tsp ground cumin powder, optional
3 cans Pillsbury reduced calorie crescent rolls
6 slices Kraft Free Singles American Cheese, quartered
Brown ground beef in 12" skillet, drain and set aside. In same pan, sprayed with Pam, saute onion and garlic on medium heat until just translucent. Add hamburger, 1c beef broth, and cabbage. Cook on medium for about 45 minutes, until cabbage is soft and translucent, adding more beef broth as needed. Toward end of cooking, add seasonings and rice, mix well. Roll out crescent roll dough, smoothing seams and cutting into squares (8 per can), and stretch thin (about 4-5" square). Place a quarter of a cheese slice in the middle of each square. Fill each square with cabbage mixture, pinching edges closed. Place seam-side down on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 24 small runzas.
To freeze, wrap individual runzas in aluminum foil and freeze in freezer bag. To reheat frozen runzas, bake in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or remove foil and microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high.
My last batch, in which I added crushed red pepper, chili powder, and cumin, turned out great, albeit pretty spicy. I usually eat two runzas for a meal, since they're fairly small. I hope everyone gets a chance to try this wonderful food at least once in their lives!