Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Sliders

Last summer sometime, I hosted a Slutfest at my house with our friends Geoff and Becky.  Normally Slutfest is just the four of us getting together and pigging out but on this occasion we also invited our friends Jackie and Brandon.

One of Jackie’s contributions to the party was some kind of cheesesteak or cheeseburger slider dish – she had seen a recipe or video on Facebook, and it was basically 12 slider buns split apart, bottom halves placed into a baking dish, covered with meat and cheese, topped with the top halves, and baked.  Then you take them out of the oven and it’s meaty and cheesy and melty and slutty and delicious.  They were SO GOOD.  My mind got to turning about how many different ways I could take this method and make something delicious out of it.  And so, the sausage, pepper, and onion sliders were born!

I actually tried this recipe out for the first time on Jackie and Brandon when they came to our house for New Year’s Eve a few weeks ago.  These sliders were a hit!  I don’t think you can beat the smell of Italian sausages cooking with peppers and onions…. it’s one of my favorite smells.  In fact, I love this sausage-pepper-onion mixture so much I am thinking about repurposing it in other recipes… maybe on pizza, or inside stromboli.  YUM!

These sliders are so easy and will feed a lot of people at once.  They would be perfect for a Super Bowl party or any other kind of gathering you may be hosting!

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Sliders
Serves 6

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 links mild Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 link hot Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 8oz can tomato sauce
12 slices provolone cheese
12 slider buns, split in half

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the chopped green bell pepper and saute until crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Add diced yellow onion and saute until translucent. Remove the peppers and onions from the skillet to a bowl and set aside.

3. Return the skillet to medium heat. Spray the skillet again with nonstick cooking spray, and add the Italian sausage links. Break up the sausage into crumbles with a spatula. Cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes or so. Add the peppers and onions back to the skillet with the crumbled sausage. Pour in the tomato sauce. Stir together, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. You want some of the water to cook out of the tomato sauce so that it thickens nicely. The sausage, pepper, and onion mixture should be saucy and coated nicely with the tomato sauce, not runny and watery.

4. While the sausage mixture is simmering, place the bottom halves of the slider buns into the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish. You may need to squish them in there a little bit, this is okay. Press them down slightly so that they stay in place. Cover with 6 slices of provolone cheese, overlapping if necessary. When the sausage mixture is done, pour it on top of the provolone cheese. Top with the other 6 slices of provolone cheese, and finally the top halves of the slider buns. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

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