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!
Italian Sausage Appetizer Bread
- 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
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.
Questions and Reviews
I use a pizza dough,, Italian sausage ,,,,,,wit fennel. cook sausage in small dime size chunks roll you dough like bread sticks one inch in diameter l cover wit clean cloth to rest 10 minutes push sausage into top and sides use a small knife to assist brush wit olive oil or butter and bake 375 400 sausage is cooked so just make it a nice med brown about 15 min
Can I use puff pastry instead of bread dough
I’m not sure puff pastry would be substantial enough to handle these ingredients. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.
I was going to make this, but forgot to thaw the dough in time so I did make something similar with puff pastry. I did not use the cream cheese because I thought it would have too much liquid. I used puff pastry (thaws in about 30 minutes). I browned together: Italian sausage, garlic, onions, red peppers and used a blend of Italian cheeses: Parm, Mozzarella, etc., about 2 cups. Rolled out the dough. In the middle third (leaving room to wrap the pastry over the top) I put 1/3 the cheese on the bottom, 1/2 the sausage mixture, 1/3 of cheese, remaining sausage mixture, & ended with cheese. Wrapped the puff pastry over the top, kind of braided it, brushed top with 1/2 & 1/2 and baked on cookie sheet with non-stick foil for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Really good. My error in thawing turned out great. Would still like to try this bread!! Maybe with chorizo sausage too.
I’m not a fan of red peppers. I am thinking of trying it with Sun dried tomatoes instead..
This looks great. But cheese and I are not getting along. I wish there was a dairy free cream cheese and options for soy cheese. Albertsons doesnt always have soy cheese.
Oh my goodness does this look so good!! I never think to use pizza dough other than pizza, I have to remember this. My grandpa makes something similar with broccoli & chees filling – I’ll have to experiment. Great appetizer idea!
Mmm, this sounds good! As always, I love your step-by-step photos. They make every recipe look so easy! This sausage bread makes me want to host a football party, just so I have an excuse to make a few of them to share. 🙂
This is like a fancy calzone but I think I’d like this better. The dough seems lighter and thinner. I love your filling with the sausage and cheese. How can you go wrong with that! One could obviously use all sorts of fillings. Great dish! Thanks!
Now, I`m going to need to buy some frozen bread dough because this looks mighty good!
There is frozen white bread dough? I need to find it! This looks so easy and delicious, Valerie! I love your recipes – always simple to make and looks so good!
Wow, does this sound amazing!! I’ve pinned it and hope to try it over Thanksgiving when the whole family is home 🙂
Thank you Liz!
This is calling my name. I love the step by step directions.