I grew up in Nebraska, and Runzas were a school night staple in many homes. I think they have a Germanic background, and since we are Irish, and Scandinavian I only got to have this hand held delicacy when I ate with friends.
Much later Runza Fast Food Restaurants started opening in Nebraska and surrounding states.
There are several recipes around but this is one from a church cook book from 1972. I believe it is very close to what is served in the restaurants (all though it's been many years since I've tasted one in Nebraska)
I made my own dough. It is soft, and slightly sweet, but you could use frozen/refrigerated bread, or roll dough
Step 1: The Dough Recipe
This is my T&T ( tried and true) dough recipe. It is very forgiving. It yields a soft, easy to work with bread, that you could stuff with many other things besides this mixture. I've also just made dinner rolls from it.
4.5 C flour (divided into 1.75 Cups and2.75 cups)
2 packages of yeast (or 4.5 teaspoons) (.25 ounce)
1/2 C sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 C water
3/4 C milk
1/2 C solid shortning
In a large mixing bowl place 1.75 C flour, sugar, yeast and salt
Heat water, milk, & shortning to 120°-130° on the stove or in the microwave....check with a thermometer
Pour the warm liquids over the dry ingredients.
Beat with an electric mixer on low until blended
Beat 3 additional minutes on HIGH
Change to a dough hook if your mixer comes with one, and add the rest of the flour.
Mix for another minute
Turn out onto a floured board, and knead for 6 to 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic (I did this mainly IN my mixer)
Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and place in a warm area for about 1 hr.
Step 2: The Filling
1 pound lean ground beef
2 small onions chopped
5 Cups chopped cabbage
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
While the dough is raising brown the beef, and onions. Drain if necessary.
Add salt, pepper, and cabbage
Cook until cabbage is wilted
Step 3: Time to Make the Runzas
Pre-Heat oven to 350°
Punch down dough and roll out onto floured board. Cut into 5-6 inch circles or squares.
Fill each with 1/3 Cup of meat mixture and seal. You can also add cheese before sealing
Place on baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet
Step 4: Serve or Freeze
Bake 20 minutes or until lightly brown
Cool slightly and serve, or wrap and freeze.