I'm writing from my Mom's brand new notebook computer, which I bought for her on the first night of my one-week visit to her digs in Nebraska. In celebration of Mom's homecoming online, I would like to share what she made for last night's dinner.
The main course was inspired by a Nebraska culinary tradition inherited from Bohemian immigrants. Due to trademark restrictions owing to the first restaurant you see when you drive across the Nebraska border, we are not allowed to call last night's main course "Runza." The title of the dish will therefore be "CABBAGE ROLL CASSEROLE."
First, grease the bottom of a 9"x13" pan. Spread one tube of crescent roll dough on the bottom of the pan and stretch it out to cover the bottom of the pan. Brown 2 pounds of ground beef and a good-sized onion, chopped. When this mixture is almost done, add about 3 cups of shredded cabbage (Mom used most of a 14-ounce bag of cole-slaw mix to save time). Also add one can cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper, and seasonings to taste. Stir together and simmer until heated throughout. Then spread this mixture on top of the crescent-dough crust. Top with about a cup and a half of shredded Cheddar cheese. Lay another tube's worth of crescent dough on top, in a sheet. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Watch it so that it doesn't overbake. It's delicious!!
For a side dish, Mom made a cucumber salad. Here's what she did. First, she peeled two medium-sized cucumbers and sliced them into thin round slices. Add about a fourth of a cup of sliced onion. In a separate bowl, mix three-fourths of a cup of Hellman's mayonnaise, three tablespoons of milk, a quarter-cup of sugar, two teaspoons of vinegar, salt and pepper.
Stir well and pour this dressing over the cukes and onions. Let the salad sit in the fridge for about half an hour before you serve it, so the flavors blend together.
Tonight's repast is going to be Grandpa Sarico's secret-family-recipe Italian sausage, peppers, and onions on soft Italian bread. The family traditionally serves this with fried potato slices and lots of cold beer. Drooling may now commence!
IMAGES: Two of the infinite varieties of runza. The first one looks a good deal like the dish Mom made last night.