Sausage Brunch Bake

Food contests can be a lot of fun. And depending on which one your enter, it can be a very profitable venture should your recipe be singled out as a winner by judges.

Just ask Christina Verrelli of Devon, Pa., whose pumpkin-ravioli dessert recipe won her the $1 million grand prize of the 45th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off. (She also won the Sweet Treats category as well. For a look at all the winners, go to

After looking over the other winning recipes, I decided to take a closer look at the top one in the Breakfast and Brunch category. Submitted by Maria Vasseur of Valencia, Calif., the Sausage-Pomodoro Brunch Bake looks like one that I might like to try. The hearty egg bake recipe also contains tomatoes and two cheeses.

Sausage-Pomodoro Brunch Bake
1 12-ounce package bulk reduced-fat pork breakfast sausage
1/3 cup refrigerated basil pesto
1 can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 14.5-ounce can Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (1½ ounce)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
6 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves
Heat oven to 375degrees. In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook sausage 6 to 8 minutes over medium heat or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in pesto. Set aside to cool. 2 Unroll crescent dough into 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish. Press dough in bottom and ½ inch up sides. Press perforations to seal. Spoon sausage into dough-lined dish. Sprinkle tomatoes and feta cheese over sausage. Top with mozzarella cheese. 3 In medium bowl, beat eggs and milk with wire whisk until well-blended. Pour egg mixture evenly over ingredients in dish. 4 Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until dough is golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh basil.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 390 calories, 27 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 205 milligrams cholesterol, 890 milligrams sodium, 16 grams carbohydrates, no dietary fiber, 5 grams sugars, 20 grams protein.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream
4 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
2 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup canned pumpkin (not the pie filling)
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour, divided
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
2 cans refrigerated crescent roll dough (seamless sheets)
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp. salt
5 tablespoons caramel syrup, divided
4 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 large cookie sheets with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Add egg yolk, vanilla, sugar, 3 tablespoons flour and pumpkin pie spice; beat on low speed until blended. Reserve 4 teaspoons of the pecans; set aside. Stir remaining pecans into pumpkin mixture.
Lightly sprinkle work surface with 1 tablespoon flour. Unroll 1 can of dough on floured surface with short side facing you. Press dough into 14-by-12-inch rectangle. With paring knife, lightly score the dough in half horizontally. Lightly score bottom half of dough into 12 squares (3-by-2¼-inches each).
Spoon heaping tablespoon of pumpkin filling onto center of each square. Gently lift and position unscored half of dough over filling. Starting at the top folded edge, press handle of wooden spoon firmly between mounds and along edges of pumpkin filling to seal.
Using toothpick, poke small hole in top of each ravioli. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut between each ravioli; place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon flour, dough sheet and filling. Brush ravioli with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake 9 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat cream and salt with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in 2 tablespoons caramel syrup until stiff peaks form. Transfer to serving bowl; cover and refrigerate.
Remove ravioli from oven. Sprinkle ravioli with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar; turn. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.
To serve, place 2 ravioli on each of 12 dessert plates. Drizzle each serving with scant teaspoon of the caramel syrup; sprinkle with reserved chopped pecans. With spoon, swirl remaining 1 tablespoon caramel syrup into bowl of whipped cream. Serve warm ravioli with whipped cream.
Yield: Serves 12.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 380 calories, 25 grams fat (13 grams saturated), 440 milligrams sodium, 35 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 70 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram dietary fiber.