Dippy Day

It's nearly April and life is beyond busy. Between school events, warmer weather that beckons us to work and play outside more, articles that aren't writing themselves, Spring Break, and a to do list that stretches down the hall and out the front door, it's tempting to just order pizza when dinner time rolls around. But what if putting dinner together took less time than that and still gave you that homemade pizza hug:

Imagine spending less than 10 minutes browning some sausage and assembling a layered dip that your oven took to the next level. Then turning to breadsticks, focaccia (as pictured here), or garlic bread for scooping up this rich dip and calling it dinner. You get all the amazing flavor you've come to know and love from your favorite homemade pizza, but you can skip the crust and focus on those toppings:

Now, this version is chock full of both sausage and pepperoni because I've got a nest full of meat lovers. You could easily make this a vegetarian dip or work in some chicken and bacon or the like. Really, what's your favorite topping for pizza? Find a way to work that into this! And when it comes time to sit down to dinner, you could be smiling at this:

Add your favorite beverage and it's dinner. You might be tempted to feel a bit guilty for such a simple dinner, but you're basically enjoying a deconstructed pizza and that's just about as traditional as it gets and you didn't even have to tip the delivery guy!

Pizza Dip

  • 8 oz. Italian sausage
  • ¼ c. diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c. tomato sauce (choose your favorite variety)
  • 2 c. grated cheese, divided
  • 4 oz. pepperoni, divided

In an oven-proof skillet, brown the Italian sausage (remove it from casings if your sausage is in casings) with the onion and garlic. Near the end of browning, add the chili flakes and Italian seasoning. Cook an additional minute. Remove the pan from the stove and combined the browned sausage with the tomato sauce in a medium bowl. Stir well to combine. Pour half of the mixture back into the skillet you browned the sausage in. Sprinkle half of the grated cheese over the mixture and then arrange half of the pepperoni over the cheese. Carefully spoon the remaining tomato-sausage mixture over the top of that layer and repeat the process with the remaining grated cheese and pepperoni.

Bake the skillet in a preheated 350° F oven for 25-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Allow the mixture to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving with focaccia, breadsticks, or garlic bread.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 40 minutes/li>