The Strategic Homemaker

learning to follow the Father, care for the clan, and redeem the resources

Cheap Lunch Recipes Worth Repeating: Runzas


Runzas are basically homemade hot pockets. The first time I ate them was while student teaching in Kenya. The hired help would make these for us every couple of weeks, and then I’d take one with a mango for my lunch. They require planning ahead, but one recipe makes 15, and one of these and a fruit is a good square meal. You can eat lunch for about $1-$1.50, depending if you eat one or two. And that price estimate factored in grass-fed ground beef and an organic apple!


Here’s what you’ll need:

2 packages yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)

2 cups warm water

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil (or your fat of choice)

3 cups whole wheat flour

2 1/2 -3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup onion (or one small-medium onion)

6 cups cabbage, finely cut (about half a cabbage)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

dash of Tabasco sauce


Dissolve yeast in water.

Combine the next four ingredients in a large bowl and add the yeast mixture to it. Stir to combine.

Add 4 cups flour and beat thoroughly, by hand or with electric mixer. Stir in additional flour. Turn dough onto floured board and knead until smooth and elastic (adding more flour if needed). Let rise in greased bowl until double in size.  Punch down. Chill dough.

Brown meat and onion in skillet. Drain off excess fat. Add cabbage, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Cover skillet and continue cooking over low heat, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender. Do not add liquid.  Cool slightly.

Roll out dough into thin sheets. Cut in 5″ squares (or into rectangles if you want them the shape of hot pockets). Place 2 Tbsp meat mixture on each square, pinch edges together, and place pinched side down on greased cookie sheet. Let rise 15 minutes. Bake at 350F/175C for about 20 minutes.

Let me know if you give them a try!


4 thoughts on “Cheap Lunch Recipes Worth Repeating: Runzas

  1. I love runza… I usually just buy frozen bread dough though. In addition to the beef, cabbage and onion, we add mushrooms and then wrap a couple slices of cheddar cheese in with the mixture (and omit the tabasco sauce). One of my family’s favorite recipes growing up- and we severely disliked cabbage and mushrooms before finding this gem.

  2. That sounds good, Patrick! Kind of like a cheeseburger with extra veggies. 🙂

  3. Andrea I love these! Definitely will try them in next week or so – have you ever tried with different filling?

  4. Hi Chris,

    I’ve used green peppers and one of my friends has used carrots, but I like the original combination. you can really put whatever you want inside, but if you use tomato sauce and mozzarella, and all white flour in the dough, it would have a new name–calzone. 🙂

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