Fiesta Sausage Bites
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Fiesta Sausage bites are small crunchy bites of spicy sausage and rich melted cheese.
This is one of my favorite go-to recipes. It is easy to make, freezer friendly, and delicious. I consistently receive compliments and requests for this recipe. Because they are freezer friendly, I typically have at least a couple dozen ready to heat. I serve the Fiesta Sausage Bites as a quick snack, appetizer, and hostess gift.
Hot or spicy pork sausage is essential. I have tested several hot and spicy bulk sausage in addition to non meat products. To achieve the best results use the hot or spicy bulk pork sausage. I tested several brands and found that all brands yield the same flavorful results. Refer to our Fiesta Bites Vegetarian if you prefer a non-meat option.
Mild Cheddar cheese with a fine shred is the best option if you are looking for well blended flavor. It keeps the filling less bulky and easier to fill the shells without breaking. For more distinct cheese flavors, use the larger wider shred. Shredded sharp cheddar cheese also an option.
Monterey Jack cheese adds an additional element flavor. It is a great compliment to the cheddar cheese. I prefer the fine shred for the Monterey Jack cheese.
Fresh red, yellow and orange pepper not only adds beautiful “festive” color, it adds light fresh flavor.
Red pepper flakes and the hot sauce creates the party in your mouth! Your family preferred hot sauce will work. I would not suggest wing sauce. I use Crystal® Hot Sauce.
Prepared Hidden Valley® Fiesta Dip provides the creamy base for the rest of the ingredients.
Pre-cooked Toasted Phyllo Shells is key to keeping the shells crisp during baking. I continuously create filling recipes for these petite bites of goodness.
WHAT IS PHYLLO ( also FILO or fillo) – Phyllo (also filo or fillo) is a paper-thin unleavened dough. When layered and baked it becomes crispy and flakey. You will find this ingredient in Greek, Balkan and Middle Eastern recipes. Some more popular include spanakopita and baklava.
Do you need a little assistance with making the Fiesta Sausage Bites? I have provided expanded instructions in the sections INGREDIENT ESSENTIALS and HOW TO MAKE . These sections are below the condensed version of the recipe. They include photos and videos as needed.
HOW TO MAKE
This is a quick easy recipe to make.
Prepare Phyllo Shells
This is something you can do either at the time you make the filling or several days/months ahead. If you make ahead, please place the boxes back into the freezer until ready to use. Instructions can be found at Toasted Phyllo Shells.
In medium skillet, completely cook sausage until golden brown.
I crumble the sausage as it cooks by breaking up the pieces. Keeping the sausage pieces small makes it easier and quicker to fill the shells.
Strain excess grease from sausage, place in large mixing bowl and cool for approximately 10 minutes.
It is important to strain grease sausage to keep the shells crispy once filled and baked. I put the cooked sausage in a fine strainer over the sink. Cooling the sausage keeps the cheese from melting when added to the sausage. Makes the mixing process easier.
In small bowl, mix sour cream and Hidden Valley® Fiesta Dip until well blended.
I use a whisk to blend these two ingredients. It assists in breaking down the dry mix with the wet ingredient. To is important to scrape the sides and bottom with a spatula to ensure all pockets of the dry mix are eliminated.
Add prepared Hidden Valley® Fiesta Dip, finely chopped red, yellow, orange peppers, red pepper flakes and hot sauce to the cooled sausage.
Gently stir to mix the ingredients.
Add cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese to sausage mixture and stir until well blended.
This is a separate step because I found it makes it easier to stir and ensure the ingredients are well blended.
TO IMMEDIATELY BAKE
If you plan to make and bake follow these steps.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have a convection option on your oven I would suggest using it.
Generously fill toasted-phyllo-shells.
I use a small spoon from my every day silverware to fill the cups. Generously fill the cups slightly higher than the rim of the shell. Place half slice of black olive on top of the mixture (optional). Place the filled shells on a sheet pan.
Bake until bubbly.
Ovens vary so I have provided estimated baking times. Standard oven – bake 30 minutes Convection oven – bake 20-25 minutes Air Fry oven – bake 10 minutes
I typically freeze my filled shells. I use the at later dates for a snack or dinner appetizer. It also provides convenience during our busy lives especially if we need food to take to a gathering.
Generously fill toasted-phyllo-shells and bak
I use a small spoon from my every day silverware to fill the cups. Generously fill the cups slightly higher than the rim of the shell. Place half slice of black olive on top of the mixture (optional). Place the filled shells back onto the plastic container.
Cover the filled shells with the plastic still attached to the container and slide into the original box.
I tape the end and immediately place in the freezer.
HOW TO STORE
Store filling in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Fill the tarts just before cooking. Check out the HOW TO FREEZE for a make ahead convenient option.
Once you have each shell filled in the tray lay the plastic back over the shells.
Place the full tray back into the original Phyllo Shell box, tape the open end closed and use a permanent marker and write on the box Fiesta Sausage Bites, Bake 350, 30 minutes, and the current date.
Place in the freezer until ready to use.
HOW MUCH TO MAKE
Party Appetizers – I typically plan 3-4 tarts per person assuming other appetizers are being served. If you have a large group of male guests, estimate 4 per person. If I have an individual actually passing the tarts on a try, I would plan for 2-3 tarts per person.
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