October 3, 2008

Jen's Sausage Bread

We have an errand to do this evening that will require some driving. I wanted dinner to be easy, yet not the same-ol'/same-ol' thing. I have been meaning to make Sausage Bread for a while, and tonight will be a perfect night for it! The last time I had this was right after my son was born. My mom came to stay with us for a couple weeks, and this was one of the dinner items I begged her to make. Thankfully, she taught me how to make it at that time, so I can have it whenever I want it now. The sad part is that I always forget about how much I love it, and I rarely remember to make it.

First, let me explain what it is, exactly. Sausage Bread is literally stuffed bread...best described as like a calzone or inside out pizza. It is super good and pretty economical to make. I am calling it Jen's Sausage Bread, because there is not a written recipe (until I actually write one...see below) and it is never the same twice. My mom makes it different every time. I am making it according to what I have on hand today. You could substitute any pizza topping that you like for the filling. This really is a fun dish to goof around with, sort of like a blank canvas. For example, I am toying with the idea of adding pizza sauce, which is not a typical ingredient. I think tonight, I will just stick to the classic version and save the experimentation for another time. I am looking forward to having this meal, and I don't want the addition of pizza sauce to goof it up. Anyway, the pizza sauce talk was a little bit of a tangent. So, yeah....Sausage Bread it is!!!!

Jen's Sausage Bread

1 loaf of thawed frozen bread dough
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion, sliced thinly (or 1/2 of a large onion)
1 green pepper, sliced into strips
3 cloves of fresh minced garlic
1 package of either regular or Italian sausage (mild or hot)
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning (if using regular sausage)
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (can omit if too spicy or if using hot sausage)
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray
egg wash (1 egg beaten and a teaspoon of water)

1) Thaw bread dough according to package directions and set aside.
2) In a separate skillet, brown the sausage and remove from skillet. Let drain and set aside to cool on a cookie sheet (spread out in even layer for faster cooling).
3) In the same skillet, saute green peppers and onions until soft and onions are translucent. Add Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to mixture. Add minced garlic and saute until just slightly brown (do not burn).
4) Add cooked veggies to same cookie sheet and spread out evenly to cool.
5) While sausage and veggies are cooling, roll out dough into a large round OR a rectangle shape (it does not have to be precise).
6) Place filling of sausage and veggies in center. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.
7) Fold bread dough around filling and press seams together gently. (I like to roll mine like a burrito or fold it like an envelope).
8) Spay cookie sheet with cooking spray (I use the same one that the filling mixture was on). Place Sausage Bread seam side down on cookie sheet and brush top and sides of loaf with egg wash, evenly coating.
9) Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (or whatever bread dough package recommends for cook time and oven temp).
10) Let cool for about 10-15 minutes, then slice and enjoy!

Jen's Notes:
If you have a lot of filing leftover, it freezes really nicely. This is a great shortcut if you decide to make this recipe again, since all you have to do is thaw the dough and the frozen filling for next time!

The Result:
Oh, man! This was just as good as I remembered it! Once slice of this stuff is so filling, I decided not to serve anything with it. I have minor guilt, since this recipe was not very nutritionally balanced. I made sure my little one had all the green peppers he could eat, so I would not feel so bad for only having Sausage Bread for dinner and no real vegetables. I was really the only one concerned about the nutritional aspect of this dish...the husband and boy thought it was great and just inhaled it without a second thought to the lack of vegetables. I will make this more often, since everyone in my house loves it. Maybe next time I will try the pizza sauce and sneak some more veggies into it, to ease my conscience. Either way, this recipe is a total treat!

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