Can you believe that it's already November?! I literally switched on my TV the day after Halloween and the first commercial that popped up was for holiday shopping. Seems like the norm by now... which got me thinking that I need to start planning out my holiday shopping strategy... eeeeeeeek...
Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the annual Christmas party that my partner in crime, Jenelle, and I throw each year. You see, it started three years back when we got our first apartment in Hoboken... Theme of 2011: ugly sweaters, clearly.
Then in 2012, we ditched the ugly sweater theme, but still had just as much wonderful, immature fun as we did the previous year...
And in 2013 we upgraded our location to Anthony and my (larger) apartment followed by some late night fun at a local bar... which is where this photo was taken:
This year the event will be held at Anthony and my apartment again, but there is yet another (exciting) change. Rather then the 'Jenelle and Liz Christmas Party' it'll be the 'Wilson and Latino Christmas Party' now that Jenelle and Brendan have tied the knot. The boys will not be attempting any cooking... we've given them the important responsibility of securing the booze.
At each party we have lots of food, and in an effort to get rockin' and rollin' I've started pulling together some fun, new recipes.
First up: Sausage and Pepper Puff Pastry Cups!
Not only are they delicious, but the red and green peppers make them a little festive too.
We started by finely dicing some onions, peppers, and garlic. It's important to finely dice them cause otherwise you'll have trouble putting them in the little cups later on...
See, teeeeeny tiny like this...
Then we take the casing off of 1.5lbs of sweet (or spicy if you're feeling adventurous) Italian sausage...
After removing the casings, add it to a hot sauté pan with two tablespoons of heated olive oil...
Cook the sausage for a little while until it's brown and glorious like so, breaking it up into small bits as you cook it...
Take your sausage bits out of the pan with a slotted spoon. You're going to be left with a sausage fat / olive oil mixture that looks like this...
Drain all of the fat, except for two tablespoons. Then add your peppers, onions, and garlic to the pan...
Once the veggies are nice and tender, add your sausage back in, as well as 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese...
When your pastry cups are 3/4 way done, take them out of the oven and stuff them with the sausage mixture (I try to get a nice bit of pepper, onion, sausage and cheese into each one). Then sprinkle a little bit of fairy dust (aka Parmesan cheese) on top and put them back into the oven to finish cooking...
And there you have it! A savory, festive, holiday treat!
Let me know what you think!
P.S. - PLEASE NOTE that this recipe makes 48 pastry cups... Enough for a whole party! If you're looking to make less, just half it.
P.P.S. - Love the candle holders in the first picture? Check out Ikea for their holiday decorations! They have some really wonderful things for incredibly low prices (I always walk in their meaning to buy one thing, and then walk out with so much stuff we don't need... but love!)
Sausage and Pepper Puff Pastry Cups
Makes 48 puff pastry cups48 Frozen Puff Pastry Cups (I used Pepperidge Farms)
1.5lbs sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
1 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
- Start out by cooking your puff pastry cups so they're 3/4 the way done and remove from oven (for example, the Pepperidge Farms cups are supposed to be baked for 20 minutes, so bake them for 15 minutes and take them out).
- Heat your olive oil over medium-low heat in a large sauté pan. When the oil is hot, add the sausage and stir occasionally until sausage is cooked through and golden brown. Break up the sausage into little bits as it cooks (see photo above).
- Remove sausage from pan using a slotted spoon, and transfer to a bowl. Reserve two tablespoons of the oil / sausage fat and drain the rest. Return sauté pan to medium-low heat and add the two tablespoons of reserved oil / sausage fat.
- Add the peppers, onions, and garlic to the pan, stirring occasionally for approximately 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Once vegetables are tender, add the sausage back to the pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the mixture (to taste), and remove pan from the heat. Stir in mozzarella cheese.
- Using a small spoon, divide the mixture among the pastry cups (try and get some sausage, peppers, onions, and cheese in each!) and sprinkle each cup with a dash of parmesan cheese. Return cups to the oven and bake for remaining amount of time (for example, five minutes for the Pepperidge Farms cups).
- When time is up, remove from oven, serve and enjoy!