Tag Archives: midwest

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!

 

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Blackberry Cobbler

In the world of easy (yet impressive) desserts, the cobbler may just take the…umm..cake??.  You know what I mean.  It’s so delicious, so easy and insanely comforting.  

On these chilly winter nights, it’s so simple to whisk together a few on hand ingredients, fresh OR even frozen fruit and pop into the oven.  Besides baking time, this MAY take you all of 10 minutes to prepare..c’mon, you know you can handle that!  Finally, if you’re like myself, you’ll pour yourself a big old glass of spiked sweet tea along with this cobbler ala-mode-style and sit on your porch taking in the southern cool night..

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 cups blackberries 
  • 2 cups sugar, divided 1:1
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Pinch of salt  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place the stick of butter into a 9×13 rectangular baking dish.  While the oven is STILL preheating, transfer the dish to the oven, swirling it around once it starts to melt (watching so as not to burn).

In a large bowl, combine the lemon zest and 1 cup of the sugar with the fruit. Toss to coat and set aside.  *If using frozen fruit, allow to defrost, drain and pat dry any excess water.

Next, remember to watch your baking dish and the melting butter, whisk together the flour, remaining cup of sugar, baking powder, vanilla/almond extract, milk and a pinch of salt in a separate large bowl. 

Remove the preheated buttered baking dish from the oven and pour in your batter.  Top, fairly evenly, with the sugared blackberries overtop of the batter.  *The batter will rise and bake around the fruit.

Place back in the oven and cook for 50-60 minutes until a beautiful, slightly crunchy golden brown color is achieved. I prefer to bake mine a little on the longer side as I love the crunchy bits on the edges.
Once time is up, remove from oven and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, enjoy!! 

Mexican Tater Tot Casserole

Some parts call this a casserole, others call it a hot-dish..but I simply call it goodness!  Growing up we ate many a meal where you would add meat, a cream of something soup, cheese and vegetables mixed in and it was always good.  However, it was always the same.  Same, same, same.  So now that we live in a more foodie inspired world (I know, the word “foodie” would gasp to hear her name in regards to a casserole), I thought we could take the standard, cream of mushroom tater tot casserole, up a notch or 5!

Like always, feel free to tweak to your likeness.  Swap out the beef for ground turkey or chicken, the pinto beans for black beans and corn, or change up the cheese a bit!  Just don’t change it too much or you will no longer have that comforting classic we all grew up with and loved!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb ground beef, lean
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 4oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 pckg Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • 1 pckg tater tots, enough to cover evenly

Spices (You can also easily use a taco seasoning packet)

  • I used a mix of cumin, chili powder, coriander, mexican oregano, salt, chipotle chili powder and whisked together.

Garnish (optional)

  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeños
  • Black olives
  • Green onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Salsa



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking dish (9×13 or similar) with non-stick spray.  Place on top of a baking sheet to catch any sauce drippings or melty cheese!
Next, bring a large skillet to medium/medium-high heat and add in the ground beef, chopped onion and the seasoning packet/spices, followed by the minced garlic for the last minute.  If necessary drain the grease from here.  I, however, used a very lean beef to avoid this one extra step. 😉  Cook through.

To that same skillet with the now cooked ground beef, add in the pinto beans, green chiles, half of the cheese and half of the enchilada sauce.  Stir to combine and then carefully pour into the casserole dish. Top with them taters!

Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce overtop the taters and place in the oven (uncovered to get crispy) for 40-45 minutes.

Time is up, so sprinkle on that last bit of cheese overtop and allow to melt in the oven, about 3-5 minutes.  You can even broil it if you like that extra crispness!  

Once to your liking remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes…this thing is HOT!!!

Finally top with the garnishes of your choice and serve up!  Enjoy!  **I recommend the sour cream once served as it’s quite hot and will melt quick! 😉 

Hard Cider Pork Chops

Here’s a real hearty, German, bring-me-back-to-the-Midwest sort of meal!  It’ll fill your family’s bellies and also be on the table in 30 minutes!!

Kids also enjoy this meal with the sweet apples, potatoes and mildness of the pork…now for the adults, go ahead and pour yourself a glass of hard cider to go with and enjoy!

*GlutenFreeMeal (though MANY are, just double check the apple cider/Hard cider)

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg pork chops (4 at about 1″ thick)
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 1 cup hard cider (or regular non-alcoholic)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage 
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt & pepper 

Side

  • Potatoes, (fried or baked)  

Begin this simple Midwest influenced dinner by seasoning both sides of the pork chops with the sage, thyme leaves, salt and pepper.  Set the pork aside and slice up the onion and apples. 

   Heat a large pan to medium-high and add in the olive oil and butter.  Sear each side of the pork chop for 3-4 minutes (a nice brown color) and set aside again.

In that same pan, add in the sliced apples and onion and saute for 6 minutes (till onions start to soften and turn translucent); add in the hard cider and the apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. 

   Return the seared pork chops to the pan, cover and cook for 5 more minutes.  Serve along with potatoes with the juices from the apples and onions drizzled overtop, enjoy! 

 
Potatoes

Feel free to make your spuds as you wish or maybe change it up everytime you prepare these chops, but here’s how I did ours.

First put the potatoes into a large stockpot of salted water till just covered.  Bring to a gentle boil and the cover pot with lid.  Allow to cook for about 15 minutes.  Till JUST soft when you stick a fork in them, not falling apart.

Drain and remove from pot and when just cool enough to handle, dice up into cubes and season with kosher salt & pepper.  *sometime I’ll sprinkle on seasoned salt or smoked paprika, etc.

Heat up a cast-iron pan to medium heat and then add 1-2 tbsp (canola) oil.  Add in cubed potatoes and allow to cook, not stirring to often, to create a nice “char” on them.  Enjoy!

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