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Runza Casserole

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Runza Casserole is a delicious and comforting dish inspired by the classic Nebraska Runza sandwich. This casserole combines savory ground beef, shredded cabbage, and onions, all topped with melted mozzarella cheese and wrapped in crescent rolls for a meal that’s sure to satisfy. Perfect for family dinners or potlucks, this Runza Casserole is easy to make and full of flavor. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of making Runza Casserole, provide helpful cooking notes, and offer variations to suit different tastes and dietary preferences.

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Ingredients

  • 2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls (do not separate rolls)
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  1. Preheat Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Chop the Vegetables:
    • Finely chop the yellow onion.
    • Shred the green cabbage.

Step 2: Cook the Filling

  1. Brown the Ground Beef:
    • In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Add Butter, Onions, and Cabbage:
    • Add the butter to the skillet with the cooked ground beef.
    • Add the finely chopped onion and shredded cabbage.
    • Cook, stirring frequently, until the cabbage is tender and the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Season the Filling:
    • Season the mixture with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
    • Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 3: Assemble the Casserole

  1. Prepare the Baking Dish:
    • Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
  2. Layer the Crescent Rolls:
    • Open one package of refrigerated crescent rolls and unroll the dough, but do not separate the rolls. Lay the dough flat in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, pressing the seams together to form a solid layer.
  3. Add the Filling:
    • Spread the ground beef, cabbage, and onion mixture evenly over the layer of crescent roll dough.
  4. Add the Cheese:
    • Sprinkle the grated mozzarella cheese evenly over the filling.
  5. Top with Crescent Rolls:
    • Open the second package of refrigerated crescent rolls and unroll the dough. Lay it flat over the top of the filling and cheese, pressing the seams together to form a solid layer.

Step 4: Bake the Casserole

  1. Bake:
    • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crescent roll dough is golden brown and cooked through.

Step 5: Serve

  1. Cool Slightly:
    • Let the casserole cool for a few minutes before cutting into squares.
  2. Serve:
    • Serve the Runza Casserole hot, with a side salad or steamed vegetables if desired.

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Crescent Rolls: Make sure to press the seams of the crescent rolls together to form a solid layer, both on the bottom and the top, to prevent the filling from leaking out.
  • Cheese: For a richer flavor, you can use a combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

Variations:

  • Vegetarian Version:
    • Replace the ground beef with a plant-based ground meat substitute or extra vegetables such as mushrooms and bell peppers.
  • Spicy Runza Casserole:
    • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a diced jalapeño to the filling for a spicy kick.
  • Cheesy Runza Casserole:
    • Increase the amount of cheese or use a combination of cheeses like mozzarella, cheddar, and provolone for extra cheesiness.
  • Herbed Runza Casserole:
    • Add 1-2 teaspoons of dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or oregano to the filling for added flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Bake as directed, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time if needed.

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2. How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover Runza Casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

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3. Can I freeze Runza Casserole?

Yes, you can freeze the assembled but unbaked casserole. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

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4. What can I serve with Runza Casserole?

This casserole pairs well with a simple green salad, steamed vegetables, or a bowl of soup.

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5. Can I use a different type of dough?

Yes, you can use puff pastry or pizza dough instead of crescent roll dough if you prefer. Adjust the baking time as needed.

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Runza Casserole is a hearty and comforting dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its savory ground beef, tender cabbage, and melted cheese, all wrapped in flaky crescent rolls, this casserole is sure to be a hit with your family and friends. Whether you’re making it for a weeknight dinner or a special gathering, this recipe is easy to follow and full of flavor. Give this Runza Casserole recipe a try and enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal. Happy cooking!