The columnist’s casserole

Matthew and I had been out and about six evenings last week. SIX. By the time Sunday rolled around, all I wanted to do was nothing. And that’s entirely what we did until 4 p.m. arrived and the brunch we’d eaten at 10 a.m. had fully worn off. (By the by, Matthew’s first column ran in the World-Herald Sunday, hence the title of this post. His second one is in the paper today. Read them! And here’s a link to his new blog, while we’re at it.) Ok. Back to food.

I asked Matthew what he wanted for dinner and he had a one-word reply: “Casserole.” Earlier in the day, we passed a Runza restaurant and he’d also said he wanted Runza for dinner. So I googled “Runza casserole” and voila. A quick trip to the grocery store and I had all the ingredients to go completely old-school for Sunday night dinner.

I sauteed some grass fed beef with a mixture of chopped onions and minced garlic. I added plenty of salt and black pepper — Runzas are peppery. Then I added shredded green cabbage to the mix and let it cook, but just slightly, as it still had 45 minutes in the oven. Oh yeah, and my camera battery died here so I had to change to my iPhone. Apologies.

The next step was to spread one package of crescent rolls on the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

Then in goes the cabbage and meat mixture and the cheese. Then another tube of crescent rolls. I had my doubts about this whole “casserole” idea but at this point, I just threw it in the oven and hoped it would taste good.

Well, friends, I think you can safely put this in your “Hansen Macaroni and Cheese” file. It was so. Good. I know, I know, it includes packaged crescent rolls. But the Hansen Mac and Cheese is laden with Velveeta and it will make your heart sing. Sometimes this is just the kind of thing you feel like eating. And that’s ok.

We ate ours with a side of fries and some Ghetto Sauce we’d acquired from Block 16′s anniversary party. If you feel like making something super easy and hearty and perfect for a cold, cloudy day, may I suggest a casserole?

Runza Casserole, adapted from “Taste of Home” magazine
serves four to six, generously.

2 cans crescent rolls
2 lbs. hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
4 cups shredded cabbage
salt and pepper; be generous with both
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Brown hamburger with onion and garlic until brown. Salt and pepper to taste throughout. When cooked through, drain if necessary. Add cabbage to hamburger mixture and steam until cabbage is soft but not completely cooked.

Place one tube of crescent rolls in the bottom of a well greased 9×13 pan to form bottom crust. Put cabbage and hamburger mixture on top and then add cheese and cover all with the remaining crescent rolls. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Cover with foil the last 15 minutes so the rolls don’t burn.

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