Friday, May 22, 2009

Runza Casserole - Freezer Cooking

Tonight's contribution to the freezer was Runza casserole. If you don't live in or near Nebraska, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, and I'm sad for you! Runzas are actually a single serving bread pocket with hamburger, cabbage, and spices inside. There are other versions that include cheese, swiss cheese and mushrooms, and an Italian version. Pure deliciousness! I've also seen recipes for something quite similar called bierocs.

They can be made at home a number of ways, with your own dough, thawed frozen bread dough, all the way down to canned biscuits. They're great for freezing and eating later - in fact, I can remember real frozen Runzas being sold for fundraisers.

I'm still not so good with dough. I'm working on it, but just not there yet. This is an easy way to get a similar deliciousness. I'm still tweaking this, but here's how it's written.

Runza Casserole

2 lbs hamburger
1 onion, chopped
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz shredded cheddar
salt, pepper, garlic powder, celery salt to taste
2 tubes crescent roll dough

Brown hamburger, drain if necessary. Add onion and cabbage, cook 10 minutes. Add soup and spices, mix well.

Lay one tube crescent rolls in bottom of 9x13 pan (ungreased). Press to cover the bottom as needed, pinch perforations to seal if you wish. (It really doesn't matter.) Pour meat mixture over dough and spread out. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover with other package of rolls. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or untill dough is golden brown. (Picture is before baking.)

I never can find a small head of cabbage, so I chop it all and freeze the extra. Tonight, I tried chopping it with a knife as usual - I quartered it, cut out the core, and sliced thinly then chopped. It was a huge pain and the pieces were bigger than I wanted. I then got out the food processor and pulsed the remaining. This is what it looked like. I ended up dumping that which I chopped by hand in the processor and chopped it, too. I then split it in thirds, two packages of four cups for the freezer and four cups in with the hamburger.

For seasoning, I used seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Several months ago, I made a few batches of condensed cream of mushroom soup. Not sure where I found the recipe, offhand. Amy at Finer Things has a post on how she did it here. I used the approximate equivalent of two cans, I think.

Finally, I used one 8x8 pan, one can of crescent roll dough, and half the hamburger mixture. I put the other half in a gallon freezer bag - I may have been able to squeeze it in a quart, but it would have been tight.

I baked the one 8x8 pan, I have one more pan's worth in the freezer ready to go, and two bags of cabbage for two more double batches. Yum!


Anonymous said...

Hey there from a fellow Nebraskan who knows (very well indeed) and loves (almost as much as my husband and kids) her own Runza Casserole Recipe. ::smiles:: I'm wondering about your experience with freezing this casserole. I'm pregnant with #4 right now and I'm wanting to put away at least a meal a week for the next 14 or so weeks and SO....I'm wanting to know if when I freeze the casserole I should do it already baked or with the dough still raw? Thanks so much girly. Oh and I also homeschool if you ever have any questions. Certainly not an expert but maybe I can help. TTYL ~Suzy Q

Lenetta said...

Actually, I just freeze the filling. I suppose if you made your own dough, it might work to freeze it either before or after baking, but since I just use canned crescent roll dough (need to work on that!), I just put it together when we're ready to eat it.

Congrats on #4! Blessings to you as you draw near your baby's birth!