Happy Sunday, friends! I come bearing a family recipe that is sure to be loved by everyone, even the manliest of man! It is all things meaty and cheesy and full of flavor.
The majority of my childhood was spent eating homecooked meals; we hardly ever ate out. In addition to my mother, both my paternal and maternal grandmothers were excellent cooks. My paternal grandmother was a beautiful 4’11” pure-bred Italian woman who loved her family fiercely. While she did not cook a whole variety of things, the few things she did cook were absolutely phenomenal. She always had fresh pizzelles ready to eat and made some seriously mean ravioli by hand! I didn’t love and appreciate food as much back then as I do now and I refused to eat her cheese ravioli because I “only liked the meat ones.” Not sure who I thought I was but to this day I still have tons of regret about all the ravioli I did not eat. My maternal grandmother cooked about everything you could ever imagine: soups, pies, cakes, cookies, ribs, bread, and so much more. I have one of her original recipe boxes with tons of her handwritten recipes that I cannot wait to cook my way through.
The first recipe I am starting with comes from my mother. My mom can throw one hell of a dinner party and raised me helping her do it. This recipe is one that she cooked for almost all of her gatherings. Not only is it filling, it is quick, easy and a hit with the men (and children if they’re invited!) due to the meat and cheese combined with the perfect amount of crunch in the bread. While this dish is typically served as an hors d’oeuvre, I made this last night for dinner as our main course and served it with a side green salad and veggie. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
- 1 lb original Velveeta Cheese
- 1 lb ground sirloin
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage
- Italian Seasoning (Oregano & Basil – 1/2 tbsp each)
- Garlic Powder or Fennel Seeds (1/2 tbsp – only use one or the other. Fennel seeds are not that common to have on hand, so garlic powder is the perfect substitute)
- Cocktail Rye
- In a medium-sized bowl mix the ground sausage and ground sirloin together. Using your hands is the easiest way to ensure you get an even mix.
- Brown the meat in a large pan over medium-high heat. Make sure to crumble the meat as it cooks.
- While the meat is cooking, lay out your slices of cocktail rye on a large baking sheet. My tiny helper was on hand to assist with this part.
- Drain Fat.
- Add the Italian seasoning*, garlic* or fennel seeds*, and cheese. I cut my cheese into about one-inch sections before adding to help spread and melt it more evenly.
- Stir and cook until cheese is melted and gooey.
- Place 1 tbsp. on each slice of rye bread.
- Bake in the oven at 325* for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
*Note: you can use as little or as much seasoning as you like. I found that 1/2 tbsp of each seasoning is perfect for my palette, but you can adjust as needed.