Saturday night Shaun and I went down to Rich and Mel’s for an evening of appetizers. The get-together was premised upon Mel and me wanting to watch Lifetime channel’s “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” movie (Crime Edition – what a yuck he is!). Rich and Shaun were too manly for that, though, so they played some zombie video game on the Wii.
A natural consequence of getting together was a meal, of course! Mel thought it would be fun to make a bunch of apps rather than a regular full-course meal. And she has a bunch of cool new serving dishes from wedding gifts last September that she was jonesing to use. We were all on board with this plan.
Being a Brit by birth (we’ve Americanized him quite a bit except for that silly worldwide obsession with soccer - j/k), Rich requested sausage rolls – sausage wrapped in puff pastry and baked till golden brown. Mel’s online search turned up plenty of recipes, though by about the fourth page of relevant search results, ‘sausage rolls’ were being interpreted a little differently. [As in non-food. Ick.] We opted for a legit recipe. You can find lots of recipes online.
|The only 2, out of 24, sausage rolls left;|
we determined that had we rolled the pastry
a little tighter they would've been properly round
Mel had a recipe for homemade pizza rolls, which I knew Shaun would be all over since he loves those little ones from the grocery store freezer section. I thought this was a great idea since homemade have got to be better for you than the store-bought ones – they are baked, not fried.
Mel found a yummy online recipe for 2-ingredient gouda cheese bites – cheese cubes, a little garlic salt, baked into little puff pastry squares. [I’ll give you the recipe for these in a mini post.] Nummers.
We made a queso dip with a little twist – the Velveeta white queso cheese block instead of regular Velveeta + a drained can of RoTel tomatoes (they have chilis in them) + 1 1lb. package of breakfast sausage – crumbled and pre-cooked. We baked it in a small crock pot till the cheesy queso was hot and creamy and perfect for dipping with tortilla chips. [A second recipe in this post - you're welcome.]
I brought veggies and fruit but I made marshmallow-cream cheese dip for the fruit and homemade ranch dip for the veggies, so we weren’t really making those a healthy part of our apps meal. For the marshmallow-cream cheese dip, mix 1 block of room temperature cream cheese with one jar of marshmallow cream with a mixer or whisk until fully mixed and creamy. I thought it was a little too gooey for dipping so I added 1-2 tsp. of white corn syrup and 1-2 tsp. of vanilla extract. [3rd recipe - that's right, I'm the model of benevolence]
We ate until we were practically stuffed to the gills and we loved every second of it. Surprisingly I was able to stay awake through the entire Drew Peterson movie (what with all that food in my belly), but that’s probably because he is so disgustingly creep-tastic that I was too scared to shut my eyes. Seriously Wom Friends, if your spouse is a possessive, manipulative, violent psycho, get out and kick ‘em to the curb, STAT.
But back on track – those pizza rolls are so good that Shaun has requested that I make them for lunch today – and seeing that I usually stock these ingredients, he’s a lucky man. Here’s what ya do:
Pretty much any pizza ingredients of your choice, but we used –
1 lb. sausage
1 package pepperoni
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 packages egg roll wrappers
4 cups of shredded pizza/mozzarella cheese
2 jars of pizza sauce
Crumble and brown the sausage in a frying pan over medium heat until cooked through. Take out and allow to cool in a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, sauté the onion, green pepper and red pepper in the same pan you used for the sausage. The sausage drippings will give the veggies fabulous flavor. When the veggies are tender, put in the same bowl as the sausage and allow to cool.
When the veggies are cool, mix in the pepperoni, cheese and sauce – you don’t want the cheese to melt so that’s why you let the meat and veg cool. You can sprinkle in some basil or oregano if you’d like.
Place an egg roll wrapper onto a flat surface – we used a large cutting board on the countertop. Take your finger and dip in a little water (we kept water in a small dish right by our work station) and wet all four edges of the wrapper. Take ¼ cup of the pizza mix (we just used a ¼ cup measuring cup) and lightly ball it into your hands. Place the mix onto the center of the wrapper and roll it into a tight log, think egg roll shape, sealing all the edges as securely as you can – putting the water on helps seal up the edges so the mix doesn’t leak out when they bake.
|Rolling while listening to the 'Spice Girls Station' on|
Pandora Radio courtesy of Rich; we may or may
not have sung along
Place egg rolls on a lightly-greased tin-foil covered baking sheet.
Pre-heat oven to 350° while you finish making all the rolls. The recipe makes about 34 of those large rolls, so if you’re having a big party, this is great to feed your guests. If you don’t use them all, freeze them and use later (I recommend from experience that when you freeze these, you put them on a corn-starch sprinkled cookie sheet and freeze them individually so none are touching each other. When frozen, put into a freezer bag. They won’t stick to each other and you can use them in whatever quantity you’d like later.)
Baking these isn’t an exact science. The rolls won’t brown on the tops, they will brown on the bottoms so you just can’t peek into the oven and know. We baked the rolls for 5 min. and then pulled the rolls out of the oven. We gently turned one or two of them over to see if the bottoms were golden. They were, so we flipped them all over. If they aren’t, put them back in the oven for another minute or two or however many necessary. Put the golden flipped rolls back into the oven for another 5-ish minutes until the second side is golden and the centers are gooey and hot.
These aren’t hard to make, they just take a little while to pre-cook the filling and wrap up.
NOTES: If you don’t want the 34 large rolls, halve the recipe. Mel bought 2 pkg. of egg roll wrappers and we didn’t use them all. The nice thing is that these wrappers freeze quite well for re-use in the future. If you want smaller size rolls, use wonton wrappers (and pan fry them in canola/olive oil - the wonton wrappers don't bake as well as the egg roll ones do). I’d probably halve the recipe for wonton wrappers, though, unless you’re having a large crowd. Wrapping up those little wonton size rolls with the full-size recipe is gonna take a while. Or get a second set of hands to help out.