He-Man Quiche

  • 1 refrigerated, folded pie crust (from a 15-ounce package)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked, and drained
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Unfold the pie crust and place in an 8-inch round cake pan, pressing firmly against the pan to form a crust; flute, if desired, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the Swiss and Cheddar cheeses. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture into the pie crust. Top with the crumbled sausage, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese mixture.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream and the eggs; pour into the crust over the cheese and sausage. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into wedges and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Note: For a less spicy version, just use a mild sausage or even a turkey sausage.

Deep-Dish Pizza

  • 1 pound store-bought pizza dough
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, casing removed (see options below)
  • 1 cup pizza or spaghetti sauce
  • 25 slices pepperoni
  • 1 small green bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a 12-inch deep-dish pizza or cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Using your fingertips or the heel of your hand, spread the dough so that it covers the bottom of the pan and comes three quarters of the way up the sides; set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until crumbly and no pink remains, stirring constantly; drain.
  4. Spread the sauce over the dough, then top with the sausage, pepperoni, pepper, and onion. Sprinkle with the cheese.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and brown. Cut and serve. Yields: 6 to 8 slices.

Options: If you prefer a less-spicy pizza, go ahead and use a mild or sweet sausage.

Steak and Pasta

  • 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless beef bottom round, cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain, rinse and drain again.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Add the beef and onion, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally; remove from the heat.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish, salt, black pepper, and the remaining 3 tablespoons oil; mix well. Add the cooked pasta, the beef mixture, broccoli, and tomatoes. Toss until well combined and serve warm. Serves 4 to 6.

Serving tip: Serve this warm or cold -- it's great both ways!

Tiramisù Pancakes

  • 2 packages frozen pancakes (12 pancakes per package)
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  1. Warm the pancakes according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and confectioners' sugar until well combined. In a small bowl, dissolve the coffee granules in the water, then add to the cheese mixture; mix well.
  3. Place 1 pancake on each of 8 plates then dollop each with cheese mixture; repeat the layers two more times, ending with a dollop of the cheese mixture topping each stack. Sprinkle with cocoa and serve immediately.

Ugly Cake

Don't let this title scare you off! You can't judge a book by its cover. See for yourself!

  • 1 can (21 ounces) blueberry pie filling
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a blender, puree the pie filling until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and add the cake mix, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Stir in the walnuts.
  3. Pour batter into the Bundt pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool slightly, then remove from the pan and continue cooling on a wire rack.

GARNISHING TIP: Top this off with a drizzle of green icing and a few worms... gummy worms, that is! Serves 10 to 12.

Fig Roll-Ups

  • 1 package (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • ¼ pound dried figs, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Unroll the crescent rolls and separate into 8 triangles. Cut each triangle in half lengthwise. Spread the chopped figs evenly over each crescent roll half and roll up from the wide end to the small end. Brush the tops with the beaten egg.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar; mix well, then sprinkle over the tops of the rolls.
  4. Place rolls on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and milk; mix well. Drizzle the sugar glaze over the tops of the warm rolls and serve. Yields 16 rolls.

Finishing touch: Why not sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds over the tops of the crescent rolls before baking?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Candy