Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2/1/2011 - Day 17 - Runza success! + what to do with dough that won't rise

I had to work late last night & got home with frozen dough from the store in hand around 7pm knowing that my agenda for the night was to make Runzas (piroshkies) & do something with the Dough of Fail, hopefully in time to get to bed by midnight. Since time was of the essence & DBF could tell I was a bit harried, he whipped up this veggie pasta for dinner. He used egg noodles we've had in the pantry (for years, actually, I'm glad we finally polished them off!), red pepper, crimini mushrooms, kalamata olives, shallot, & a sprinkling of cheese. YUM!
To make the Runzas, I thawed the frozen dough per the package instructions & let it rise in the oven for 2 hours. While waiting for the dough I made the filling:

Runzas (piroshkies)
  • half a bag of frozen bread dough (approx 2-3 loaves worth)
  • 2 lbs ground beef (from Skagit River Ranch)
  • 3/4 head of cabbage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 shallot
  • a good bit of fresh minced garlic to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons)
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper
  • butter (to brush the tops with)
Brown the beef in a BIG skillet (you can't see very well by the picture, but the pan I'm using is 3-4" deep). While the beef is cooking, add the onion, shallot, & minced garlic. I like to sprinkle salt & pepper on the filling throughout the cooking process, so add some seasoning to the meat too.Once the meat is cooked through, add the cabbage. (I prefer not to drain the beef fat, but if you do, you should do it before adding the cabbage.) It will look like WAY too much, but it will cook down, trust me :) Let it simmer on the stove, absorbing the yummy beef juices.Once entirely cooked, turn the heat down or off the filling has a chance to cool before you wrap it with dough. This will prevent burns, your hands will thank you ;)

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease your baking pans. Punch down your risen dough, divide it up into manageable sections (I have a pretty small work space, so I just do about a fist sized ball at a time) & roll out your first section on a floured surface. Roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick (or thicker if you like your piroshkies more bread than meat. Personally I like them meaty.) Cut the dough into squares about the size of your hand (I use a pizza wheel to cut my dough, but always on a cutting board. Don't damage your counter top!). Scoop filling onto the middle of your dough square & pinch the ends together to make a little pocket. I like to make mine kind of burrito shaped, but you can make them any shape you like. Place your little bundles into your prepared pan. They should look similar to this:

Runzas ready for the oven!

Brush the tops of the buns with butter so they brown-up nicely in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until they look like this:

I ended up making about 20 Runzas & had some extra dough left to make a small loaf of bread. Nothing wasted! :) We'll be serving these to our friends on Thursday night & hopefully taking the leftovers for lunches. 

While all of this crazy Runza madness was going on last night I was simultaneously experimenting with turning the previous night's home made dough failure into a success by experimenting with making crackers. Since the oven was indisposed all night, I made the majority of these in the toaster oven & they turned out just dandy!
I kneaded shredded cheddar cheese & spices into the dough, rolled & cut them into cracker sized shapes & baked them up. They honestly remind me of a cross between pita chips & Cheez-its! But we don't have to worry about any unhealthy additives here. Nope, this is all organic healthy goodness :)

Cheesy Chips
  • unrisen bread dough
  • 6-8 oz shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
  • cayenne pepper (optional)
  • italian seasoning & dried parsley (though you could use fresh whatever-you-have! Rosemary would be really good...mmm...)
  • garlic and/or regular salt 
Divide the dough into manageable sections (again, about the size of your fist or bigger if you have more counter space). Roll the dough out until it's about 1/4 - 1/8 inch in thickness. Sprinkle cheese & seasoning on 1/2 of the dough. Fold the bare half over the covered half. Roll the dough back down. Sprinkle cheese & seasoning over 1/2 of the dough & fold again. Roll it back down. 2 or 3 sprinkle, fold, roll cycles seems about right. When you think you've got enough yummy stuff incorporated into the dough, cut it into bite sized pieces (again, a pizza wheel is handy for this). Then bake on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. The less you cook them, the more pita-like & soft they are. The longer you cook them, the more crunchy & Cheez-it-like they are. Cool & store or eat them hot out of the oven :)

So there you have it. One dough-related-Sad turned into a healthy-snack-related-Happy! :)


  1. Erin, you are a genius! Do they really taste like cheez-its? Is anything with healthy ingredients really able to taste the same?! I'm so amazed with all that you have done. I don't know that Dave and I could do this, but I'm thinking more about a CSA box and all that. Keep up the great work!!

  2. Thanks so much Karen! I wouldn't say they taste "exactly" like Cheez-its, but they definitely taste reminiscent of Cheez-its. The more cheese & salt you put in them & the longer you bake them the more they taste like actual Cheez-its :)

  3. I love that you turned a cooking failure into a cooking win! <3 you!