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We just got home from a quick, but action packed weekend trip to Santa Barbara to spend some time with Boy #4. Despite the fact that it’s November, we had typical, gorgeous Southern California weather while we were there. We rode bikes at the beach, walked all over town, took Boy #4 shopping, and ate, and ate, and ate. There is no shortage of amazing food in that town. Thanks for bearing with me on my short break.
It’s time to get back in the kitchen!
Since we’re smack in the middle of football season, I’m here to share this delicious, substantial appetizer bread. It’s similar to a calzone but it has a decadent, flavorful Italian sausage based filling that I think makes it perfect football food. You could really get creative with this recipe and add or substitute any fillings your little heart desires.
Here’s how I did it.
Cook the Italian sausage, breaking it up with your spoon, until no pink remains.
Transfer the cooked Italian sausage to a double layer of paper towels to drain.
Using frozen, thawed bread dough makes this recipe a breeze. The recipe will result in two loaves but I’m going to go through the process with one loaf, just to show ya how it’s done.
Roll the dough out on a floured board into a rectangle. After you’ve rolled it out as thinly as possible it should measure about 16″ x 9″. Don’t worry too much if your measurements are slightly different. It’s going to be okay!
Mix together some softened cream cheese with a couple of cloves of minced garlic.
Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. If you don’t have parchment paper just spray the baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Either will work just fine but using parchment makes it super easy to transfer the baked bread to a cutting board later.
Time to layer it up. You’ll want to divide an equal amount of each ingredient down the center of the two loaves. First, spread on the cream cheese mixture, top it with the cooked Italian sausage, some jarred, roasted red bell peppers, and finally, shredded Italian blend cheese.
To assemble the bread, fold in both ends of the rectangle up and over the filling.
Fold over one side…
…then the other, smoothing out the dough with your hands and pinching the seams closed.
Brush the dough with a little milk and then sprinkle with some poppy seeds.
Use a sharp knife to cut some vents in the top of the stuffed bread about every 2″ or so will work just fine.
Pop the baking sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or till the bread is nicely golden brown.
Allow the bread to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into serving size pieces.
Perfect football food!
- 1 16 ounce package Johnsonville All Natural Mild Ground Italian Sausage or Sausage Links
- 2 1 pound loaves frozen white bread dough, thawed
- 4 ounces reduced fat Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, well drained and chopped
- 3 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoon poppy seeds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- If using sausage links, remove and discard casings. In a skillet, brown sausage until no longer pink.Transfer fully cooked sausage to a double layer of paper towels to drain.
- Meanwhile, on a lightly floured board, roll bread dough to a 16" x 9" rectangle. Transfer dough to a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Repeat with remaining loaf.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and garlic. Divide this mixture between the two loaves, spreading out over the center third of each. Top each with half the sausage, have the chopped peppers, and half the cheese. Fold ends of dough in and over filling and then fold over the sides, one on top of the other, smoothing the loaf out with your hands and pinching the seam to seal. Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cut slits across loaves about every 2" to vent.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Products received from Johnsonville were only used for experienced-based reviews on Valerie’s Kitchen. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Valerie.