Tag Archives: homemade

Runza’s

Being from the great Midwest state of Nebraska, there are two things that are certain…college football and Runza’s!  You basically cannot have one without the other.
Now, technically these are most often called Bierock’s and are of a Russian/German background ..there’s that German in me again.  However, Nebraska has made these bad-boys a delicacy due to its chain of famous Runza’s Restaurants, established back by a brother and sister in 1949.
Whether there, or now in your home too, you can try the original, original with cheese, or make it your own with chili, southwest or philly ingredients, swiss and mushroom..you name it!  Hey, sometimes I’m even known to make a breakfast version of the classic.  Where are you on that Runza?? 😉
The Starting Lineup
Dough
  • 1 package yeast
    2 cups warm water
    1/2 cup sugar
    7 cups flour (regular all-purpose, unbleached)
    2 eggs
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 teaspoon salt
Filling
  • 2 lbs ground beef
    1 yellow onion, finely chopped
    5 cups finely shredded cabbage (1/2 a head of cabbage)
    2 tablespoons water
    1/2 teaspoon oregano
    1
    + teaspoon pepper
    2+ teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

runza

DOUGH

In your stand mixer bowl, add the yeast packet to the 2 cups of warm water, stir to dissolve.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Now with the bread hook attachment, mix together the yeast, sugar and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs, oil and salt. Gradually add remaining flour and beat for about 5 minutes, until all is combined. Dough will be soft.

Pour dough into greased bowl. Cover with towel and let double in size in a warm place. This will take about 2 hours.

FILLING

Brown your hamburger, 1/2 of the chopped onions and a hefty pinch of both salt and pepper in a large skillet.  Break up the beef very well.

Next, steam the cabbage and remaining onion by adding both to the meat-filled skillet, add water/cover and steam for 10 minutes, or until cabbage and onion are soft. Turn off heat.  Mix in the Worcestershire and oregano, taste for more salt & pepper. Let cool.

ASSEMBLY TIME

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Turn dough onto clean work surface, add a bit of flour to your surface and rolling pin if needed/dough is sticky. Knead for a minute. Cut into about 12 ‘chunks’, working with one at a time.

Roll each chunk into either a circular or rectangle shape, about 1/8th of an inch and 6″-8″ around *there is no wrong or right as it all taste delicious!

In the middle of each rolled out piece of dough, lay a slice of American cheese down.  Top with a hefty 1/2 cup+ of filling and similar to a burrito, fold edges over and pinch together. Place filled pockets, seam side down, onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Cover the two baking sheets of filled Runza’s with a tea towel and, again, keep in a warm place for a second rise for about 15-30 minutes.

Finally, place into your preheated oven, 400 degrees, for 20 minutes till golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy with some crinkle cut French fries and ranch!  Enjoy!

runza8

*The leftovers can be frozen and even cooked straight from frozen!  Yay!  Place on a lined cookie sheet for 45-50 minutes at 325 degrees!

 

Carne Guisada

The best way I can describe the delicious dish of Carne Guisada is that it’s like a thick, hearty Mexican beef stew.  As a matter of fact, I believe that the word guisada translates to “stewed meat”.  The variable on this slow-cooked recipe is that some stew with tomatoes, bell peppers, etc while others just use water and spices.  I have to say that every way I’ve had it across the giant state of Texas has been delightful!

This makes for awesome tacos and burritos, great over eggs and chips for breakfast or just ladled into a bowl!  I am so glad that I found out about this Mexican classic, as it’s become one of my top faves!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat, cubed
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Serrano pepper, chopped (seeded)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt & pepper, each
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • A pinch of chipotle powder (optional for added heat)

As always, begin by prepping all of the vegetables and having everything ready at hand.  


In a large bowl, dredge the cubed meat in the flour. Toss to coat evenly.  Next, in a Dutch oven, heat up the oil to med-high heat.  Add in the dredged, cubed meat a brown on all sides (do not cook through).  Once browned, remove from the Dutch oven and set aside.  *I do this in batches so that the meat doesn’t steam, but seared.


Now that the meat has browned and been set aside, add in the onions and bell pepper and sauté (while picking up the brown bits in the bottom of the pan) for about 4-5 minutes; add in the garlic for that last minute. 

Now you can add the seared meat back into the Dutch oven along with the tomatoes, cilantro, Serrano and spices.  Give a good stir.

Finally pour in the beef broth and water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 2-3+ hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce has reduced into a thick “gravy”.  *Stir occasionally.


Serve alongside warm tortillas, chips, beans, roasted potatoes, sour cream, lime wedges, etc.  Ejoy!!

Frozen Blueberry Buttermilk 

Wait, no ice cream maker needed you say??  Yes, it’s true!  This summer hybrid of ice cream & frozen yogurt (that tastes just like cheesecake!!) can be made with just the help of your mixer!

It’s fantastic for these hot & humid summertime months..especially as a great memory making activity you can enjoy with your family!  Think about upcoming 4th of July, simply add some strawberries to the mix and there’s your red, white & blue dessert!!  You’ll be everyone’s favorite guest!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Let’s begin!  In a saucepan over medium-heat, bring the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to a simmer and allow the sugar to melt and berries to slightly break down (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and cool.

 Onto the base of it all!  In a stand mixer or with your hand mixer, combine the buttermilk, heavy cream and pinch of salt to a bowl.  Beat together on high speed just till medium stiff peaks form.  Slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk and the Greek yogurt till combined.

Pour half of the cream mixture into a loaf pan.  Next, pour in half of the cooled blueberry compote and create a swirl effect with a spoon, etc.  Repeat with the remaining half of cream & blueberries, again, slightly swirling together.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours…enjoy!!

Buttery Soft Pretzels w/ Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce

Soft pretzels have to be one of my favorite snack foods ever. As a child, I would stand in line at the “snack bar” of my k-8 school every lunch with the 75cents I somehow managed to find that morning for one. Sorry mom, I wasn’t eating the lunch line’s green beans and hamburger steak..  

As an adult, it’s what I nosh on at every sporting event, fair or concert…and don’t even get me started on how many I quite frankly inhaled during the pregnancy of my second son. I’d load my first child up (who was about 8 months old) in the car and take him and my fat butt up to Target just to buy 1 or 2 warm, large pretzels at their snack bar. I’d then put my baby in a cart and walk around aimlessly stuffing my also fat face while contemplating on buying just one more. Yes, I may indeed have a soft pretzel problem.

Now some may argue it’s a bad idea that I can now make my own. I’d normally tell them to be quiet but..well….my mouth is so full of soft pretzel that I physically can’t ;).

*Hey, if you’re going to do it right, serve it alongside my homemade spicy cheese sauce and save the mustard for the baseball game!

The Starting Lineup

Pretzel Dough

  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 rounded Tbsp brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt 
  • 2 cups bread flour 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

Baking Soda Bath

  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 2 cups warm water

Garnish

  • Kosher/rock salt
  • and/or cinnamon and sugar mix
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted 

Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce (optional)

  • 2 Serrano peppers, seeded and finely diced (I, of course, kept the heat in mine 😉
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled (reserve 1 Tbsp of the grease)
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Pinch each of salt, pepper & garlic powder  

To start your pretzel dough, combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water and the yeast into the bowl of your mixer. Gently mix together and allow to sit for about 5 minutes till it starts to foam up a bit.  

   Next, add in the brown sugar and the salt to the yeast mix. Stir together until it’s dissolved. Now add in both types of flour (all 4 cups), and using the paddle attachment mix on low for about 15 seconds to combine. Switch the attachment to the dough hook and mix in high for 5-6 minutes to knead the dough. 

     Lightly oil a large bowl and place the kneaded ball of dough into it. Cover and let sit in a warm spot for 1 hour to rise. 

 Immediately after setting your dough to rise, make the baking soda bath. This part is easy, simply combine 2 cups of warm water with 2 Tbsp of baking soda. Stir often throughout the next hour. 

 After the dough has risen, cut off about 1 cup of dough at a time and roll into a 1/2″ thick rod shape. (*do not flour the counter here, damp hands work best). 

   Now here you can either cut that long strip of dough into 1-2″ pieces OR shape into your traditional pretzel shape. Once to your liking, carefully give each a quick dunk into the baking soda bath and set onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat till dough is gone. 

 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and let the pretzels rise again for about 15 minutes (while the oven gets to temp). Bake for 10-12 minutes. While these are baking you can melt the 4 tbsp of butter. Remove from the oven and brush the pretzels/pretzel bites with the melted butter and either sprinkle with kosher or rock salt OR toss in a large ziplock bag with a cinnamon-sugar mix. 

   Serve immediately with a dipping sauce and enjoy!! 

 

Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce (optional)

In a sauté pan fry up the bacon, remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Drain all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon grease…that stuff’s good as gold! 

 Add 1 tbsp of butter to the reserved bacon grease and melt. Once melted stir in the flour to form a rue and then quickly whisk in the milk. Whisk Whisk Whisk till smooth! Now slowly whisk in the two cups cheese till creamy and then fold in the cooked, crumbled bacon and the finely diced Serrano peppers. Pour into individual ramekins and serve alongside some warm, soft pretzels!  

           

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

Have you ever had homemade pumpkin pie?  No, I don’t mean the slice that you bought at Marie Callendars restaurant and brought home to eat.  I mean a pie that you whisked and creamed and baked in your own oven!  

Now I’m not saying you’re hand scraping and roasting the baking pumpkins from your glorious garden, there may even be a can or two of pumpkin purée, but this is the real deal!  It’s light, creamy and not overly sweet.  Once it’s time for dessert, just add some homemade whipped cream and marvel in all of the “mmms, yumms, oohs & ahhs” you’re about to receive!  This one will make a believer out your most finicky pumpkin pie eater, which used to be me. 😉 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pie crust (home made or store bought)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 4oz bourbon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (15oz) can of pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup candied yams, drained from can
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt  

Now I do prefer to make my own buttery pie crust and with this recipe I always parbake my crust so that it has some texture to the bottom and doesn’t get soggy.  That is a personal preference though..some people love the softer bottomed crust. 

 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a rimmed foil-covered baking sheet to heat up as well.

….To begin the filling!  In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, eggs & yolks, bourbon and vanilla extract.  Set aside. 

   In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the pumpkin purée, candied yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Bring to a simmer and mash and stir the mixture together continuously until thickened.  This will be nice and glossy after about 10-12 minutes of doing so. 

   Remove the purée from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture (slowly so the eggs do not scramble in the hot purée). 

   Next, strain this mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl while pressing down the remaining chunks with a rubber spatula.  Once it’s all sieved through, re-whisk. 

       Pour this yummy, custard’y mixture into your prepared pie pan/crust.  Give a little jiggle to evenly distribute and place the pan directly onto the preheated baking sheet into the oven. 

Allow to bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes *I like to cover my crust in either the beginning or end to reduce over browning.  Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 30-35, or until the pie is set and jiggles only slightly.  *It will continue to cook and set once removed from the oven.  Allow to cool completely before serving or refrigerated.  *Keep in the refridgerator overnight if serving the next day. 

   Enjoy!!

Margarita Chicken Fajitas

I’m pretty sure that when one has fajitas, it is also the norm to be sipping on a margarita.  Now…how about we combine the two?  Which is really no problemo here in my casa!

The flavors and ingredients of your traditional margarita are the exact components that make a chicken flavorful and tender.  Everything about this is right!  Now add a warm flour tortilla, large dollop of sour cream, salsa and grilled veggies…oh my my my… 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2lbs chicken breasts (cut into strips) or chicken tenders
  • 1/2 quality margarita mix (NOT lime green 😉
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1 tsp margarita (kosher) salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 limes, juice and rinds
  • 1 jalapeno, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Red onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp evoo (I used a hatch green chili infused oil..but regular is fine! 😉

Garnish

  • Tortillas
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa/Hot Sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Pico de Gallo   

    Sipping on this delight is an essential part of making Margarita Chicken Fajitas!

     

In a large ziplock bag (set into a dish in case of ‘spillage’), combine the margarita mix, tequila, salt, cumin, lime juice plus rinds and the quartered jalapeno.  Zip and give a good shake! 

       Next, you’ll add the chicken into the bag of marinade and zip on up!  Place this in the refridgerator for 1-3 hours (turning over to distribute once per hour if possible). 

 Right before you’re ready to take the marinating chicken out of the ‘fridge, feel free to slice up the onion and bell peppers!  *I like all colors of onion & pepper really, so whatever you have on hand works fine!! 

 Heat a large skillet, cast iron or grill to med-high heat.  If using a pan, add about 1 Tbsp oil and heat up till almost smoking or grease your grill so that the chicken does not stick.  

Once hot & ready (and depending on the size of pan/grill), add one-half to all of the chicken and marinated jalapeno.  Cook for a few minutes on each side until a nice brown sear occurs.  Set aside on a plate to redistribute the juices. 

   Now that the chicken is done, add the sliced up fajita veggies to the same pan and sauté till slightly browned but still crisp (a few minutes). 

   Plate the cooked chicken and veggies and serve with warm tortillas, garnishes of your choice and a cold margarita!  Enjoy!

Restaurant Style ‘Refried’ Beans (Crockpot)

Having the taste of restaurant style beans (for pennies) in your own home versus that glop from the can is priceless.  Who knew it could be sooo easy AND make so much!  Given the large batch this recipe makes and its simplicity, it is great for a gathering, a large family or to freeze for another Mexican inspired meal!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb bag of dried pinto beans
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1-2 Jalapenos, halved and seeded (decide YOUR heat level)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp cumin, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt & ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp chicken bouillon, to taste (Knorr)
  • 6 cups water  

THE NIGHT BEFORE, pour your dried pinto beans into a large bowl and fill with water.  Cover with saran wrap or a plate and allow to soak overnight while you sleep your sweet dreams. 

 Let us now fast forward to the next morning….Drain the beans in a collander and give a quick rinse before pouring them into your slow cooker (sprayed with non-stick). 

   Next add in every other single ingredient listed above.  Dang..this is pretty easy right?? 

   Cover the crockpot and set to low for the next 6-8+ hours.  Your house will soon start to take on that delicious mexican restaurant “I need chips & salsa” smell.  Delightful. 

   After time is up you have a few options to finish the beans.  

  • Leave them whole and enjoy.
  • Literally refry them.  Add them to a hot pan with a bit of lard and mash them till theyre your desired consisitancy.
  • Ladle the beans into a food processor with a bit of the cooking water and puree.  Pour back into the slowcooker to keep warm.
  • Ladle the beans into a blender with a bit of the cooking water and puree.  Pour back into the slowcooker to keep warm.  *Be careful with HOT liquids in a blender.  Make sure to cover lid with a small towel and your hand as the heat causes everything to expand.
  • Ladle a bit of the cooking liquid OUT of the slowcooker and use your immersion blender to puree the beans right in the dish.  *Add the liquid back in IF needed.  We like them ‘soupy’ but not overly so.  This is the route I chose today.    

Now that they’re all mashed to their refried bean gloriousness, season a bit more to taste if needed.  Serve topped with a bit of cheese & cilantro.  Delicious! 

 *This makes A LOT.  So if you have quite a bit leftover, transfer to a freezer bag, zip up, lay flat and place in freezer.  To eat: defrost over night and reheat in a pan or microwave with a pad or two of butter.

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