Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers: Mini Sausage Calzones

Mini Sausage Calzones

Last night season 12 of American Idol premiered with it’s usual dose of drama, sob stories and of course…the new judges! While Mariah and Nicki were turning it on for the cameras I was cooking up my premier recipe for this year’s Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers.

All season long I’ll be making themed recipes for Yahoo! Music blogstress Lyndsey Parker and her Reality Rocks blog. So for tonight’s episode in Chicago I’m keeping with the Italian theme with my Mini Sausage Calzones.

IMPORTANT TIP: Don’t skimp on the cheese!! I was worried about stuffing the dough with too much filling that they lost that cheesy flavor we all associate with a hearty calzone (don’t worry I adjusted the recipe). So don’t be afraid to go crazy with the cheese!

Mini Sausage Calzones

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 can refrigerated thin crust pizza dough
  • egg white
  • marinara for dipping
  • parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 375.

Mini Sausage Calzones

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Sauté the bell pepper and onion until translucent.

Mini Sausage Calzones

Add the sausage and cook until no longer pink. Add the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and sauté for one minute until fragrant.

Mini Sausage Calzones

Combine the mozzarella, Parmesan and dried thyme in a small bowl and set aside.

Mini Sausage Calzones

Spread the pizza dough on floured surface and cut into 8 pieces.

Mini Sausage Calzones

Top with the cheese and sausage mixture. Fold dough over and lightly press edges together with water. Bake until golden brown, around 15-20 minutes.

Mini Sausage Calzones

Serve with the marinara sauce garnished with the chopped parsley.

Bon Appétit!

Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers: Italian Pinwheels

Italian Pinwheels

Another year has passed and a new round of judges are filling the American Idol seats for season 12. During my brief stint on Idol during season 10 (watch my audition here) I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Yahoo! Music blogstress Lyndsey Parker. Ever since then I’ve been cranking out Idol snacks every week for her Reality Rocks blog.

For tonight’s episode in New York City I thought I would stick with the Italian theme with this quick and simple snack. So give this recipe a try and enjoy the craziness I’m sure Mariah and Nicki will bring!

Italian Pinwheels

  • 4oz package prosciutto, chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • egg white
  • 1 package refrigerated thin crust pizza dough
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • marinara sauce for dipping
  • parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Italian Pinwheels

Combine the prosciutto and next 6 ingredients through the egg white in a large bowl. Mix until well combined.

Italian Pinwheels

Lay out the pizza crust on a floured surface and spread the prosciutto mixture evenly on top.

Italian Pinwheels

Starting with the longest side, roll the pizza dough into a log and pinch the sides closed. Refrigerate until nice and cool.

Italian Pinwheels

Using a serrated knife (dip in water to prevent sticking) slice the log into 1/2 inch slices.

Italian Pinwheels

Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, around 15-20 minutes.


Spoon the marinara sauce into a small ramekin for dipping and sprinkle with the parsley.

Bon Appétit!

Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers: Barbeque Steak Sliders

Tonight is results night on American Idol and we’re one week away from the season 11 finale. I’ll be doing things a little differently next week so make sure you check back on Tuesday for my finale grub!

To keep the “homecoming” theme going I decided to go with an obvious choice in Texas cuisine, barbeque. These little suckers turned out delicious! I ended up just sitting over the dutch oven eating the cabbage with a fork…thank you butter, you complete me!

The barbeque sauce is an ode to my grandfathers famous recipe. It didn’t turn out exactly like his because well, he would probably have to kill me if he gave it to me, but this was equally tasty. It a little less sweet then traditional BBQ sauce but it pairs beautifully with the Chianti soaked cabbage. Okay I’m hungry, make it, you will be happy!

Check out tonight’s recipe feature on Reality Rocks HERE!


Cabbage Slaw

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 small sweet onions, vidalia or yellow, sliced
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine, chianti
  • salt and pepper
BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp barbeque seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

  • 1 lb marinated flank steak (I used Peppercorn marinated)
  • 6 whole wheat rolls

Heat the butter in a large dutch oven over medium high heat.

Saute the onions until tender.

Add the cabbage.

Cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly tender. Season with salt and pepper and add the wine. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally.

While the cabbage cooks mix together the ketchup and next 4 ingredients, through the onion powder, in a medium bowl.

Set aside.

Heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the steak and grill for 2 minutes on each side for medium rare and 3 minutes or medium.

Remove from the heat and rest. While the meat is resting slice the rolls and heat on the grill for 1-2 minutes.

Once the meat has rested for 3-4 minutes slice into thin pieces.

To assemble top the rolls with the meat.

Drizzle with the barbecue sauce.

Finish off with the cabbage mixture.

Bon Appétit!

Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers: Queso Bites

First things first, I LOVE VEGAS!!! I just got back from my first trip to Sin City last night and had an amazing time with my girlfriends. I will definitely be posting some pics from the trip soon.

This week is so crazy so I needed a quick snack for tonight’s Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers. The final three contestants are visiting their hometown’s tonight on American Idol so in honor of my hometown I’m going for quick, easy, and of course, Mexican Food.

You can’t go out to eat in Dallas without seeing Queso on the menu. It’s a must have snack and the epitome of comfort food in my opinion. Velveeta is perfect for making these cheese bites because they slightly congeal (yay processed cheese) after sitting for a few minutes. Make it…your taste buds will thank you!

Check out tonight’s recipe feature on Reality Rocks HERE!


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 pd lean ground sirloin
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 can original rotel
  • 1 pd original velveeta cheese (small brick), cubed
  • bag of tostitos scoops
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, minced

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large dutch oven.

Saute the onion

Red bell pepper

and jalapeno until tender.

Add the sirloin, chile powder and cumin and saute until the meat is cook through.

Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the Rotel and cheese.

Stirring frequently cook until the cheese is completely melted and smooth. Assemble the tortilla chips.

Scoop some queso into the scoops.

Sprinkle with the cilantro.

Let them sit for 2-3 minutes. The cheese will congeal slightly making them into little cheese bites. Serve on a large platter.

Bon Appétit!

Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers: Herbed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Wrapped Grissini’s

Last night the final 6 Idols sang songs from the legendary band Queen, plus a tune of their choice. Since Freddie Mercury was quite the fan of Indian food, I kicked off last night’s performance round with some Spicy Indian Kebabs with a Masala Dipping Sauce. Tonight, a rich appetizer and bubbling toast to the legendary rock band.

For tonight’s recipe I reached out to one of the best cooks I know, my best friend. Back in college, whether it was a late night post “studying” snack or mid morning breakfast, she knew how to hook a roommate up. So here’s to Melanie and her inspired appetizer dish!

Check out tonight’s recipe, featured on Yahoo! Music’s Reality Rocks blog, HERE!

8 Servings


  • 1/4 pd prosciutto , thinly sliced
  • 2 oz fresh goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 16 Grissini Breadsticks
  • Bottle of your favorite champagne/sparkling wine for toasting

To assemble the breadsticks set up a mini assembly line. Start with the Prosciutto, followed by the goat cheese, thyme, then the Grissini.

Using a butter knife smear a small amount of goat cheese on each piece of Prosciutto.

Sprinkle with the thyme.

Place two Grissinis, starting at the top, on the prosciutto…

Wrap around until sealed.

Sprinkle the breadsticks with the remaining thyme and serve with a cold glass of bubbly.

Sparkling wine pairs beautifully with rich food, especially cheese. For tonight’s recipe I went with Crémant De Bourgogne from the Burgandy region in France. It wasn’t too dry or too sweet, it paired beautifully with the rich proscuitto and goat cheese.

Bon Appétit!

Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers: Guacamole Salad

You know that moment when you see yourself about to do something that not only you’ll regret, but it’s like you see yourself in slow motion, doing it, yet you do nothing to stop it. It was like I was having an out of body experience when I decided to not just sprinkle, but DUMP chile powder and cumin all over my beautiful green guacamole. As soon as I did it my heart stopped as I watched it turn from a beautiful shade of green to putrid brown. FAIL!

Don’t worry, I didn’t make that mistake while writing this recipe. You can sprinkle in the small amount of spices into your guac with confidence that you will not defile it like I did. Of course I still ate it, and it was quite good, but it was like having a bite of guac with a pound of spices. I will definitely NOT be making that mistake again.

Moving on…

This week I’m cooking up recipes from my culinary inspirations in honor of the top 9 American Idol contestants singing songs from their idols. All year long I’ve been providing tasty (catastrophe aside you can eat this with confidence) treats for Lyndsey Parker and her Reality Rocks blog. Last night i took some inspiration from Mario Batali with my Lasagna Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey. Tonight, I’m taking a cue from my ultimate culinary Idol, Bobby Flay.

Bobby Flay just speaks my language. Peppers – check! Spices – check! Southwest cuisine – my fuel! So for this recipe it was a no brainer. My favorite snack besides chips and salsa combined with some sauteed peppers and crispy romaine. Damn I’m hungry again.

Check out tonight’s feature on Reality Rocks HERE!

Happy Eating!

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Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers: Lasagna Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey

Alright it’s official…I’m completely obsessed with making things in my muffin tin. You can pretty much turn any dinner staple into a quick and easy snack by turning them into mini cakes, or cups, or whatever you want to call them. I’ve been seeing Lasagna Cups everywhere lately so of course I had to give them a try.

Since the premier of American Idol in January I’ve been serving up tasty snacks for Yahoo! Music reality blogstress Lyndsey Parker and her Reality Rocks blog. This week on Idol the remaining 9 are singing songs from their Idols so I thought I would make some food inspired by a few of my favorite chefs.

Tonight’s inspiration is an Italian classic so of course I had one chef in mind, Mr. Mario Batali. Watching Batali on the Cooking Channel is like drinking a glass of warm milk…he just relaxes me. Okay weird comparisons aside I love this guy…him and his hideous orange crocs.

Give this recipe a try. Besides my muffin tin I think I’ve found a new obsession, Wonton Wrappers! You can stuff them with anything you want and they’re healthy. I will definitely be coming up with some more recipes using them again soon!

Check out my feature on Reality Rocks HERE!

Happy Eating!

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Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers: Olive Shooters in Vodka Sauce with Rosemary Flatbread

This week it’s Billy Joel week on American Idol and I’m making some inspired recipes for Yahoo! Music Lyndsey Parker and her Reality Rocks blog. Last night i was in a “New York State of Mind” when I made sausage rolls inspired by street vendors and the brisk lifestyle of the city.

For tonight’s results’ show I’m taking a cue  from the “Piano Man” with my piano bar inspired appetizer. Bare with me here….when I think of dueling pianos I want a martini, so I’ve combined the two most important ingredients in tonight’s snack, olives and vodka.

I didn’t see all of the performances last night but I will say…thank you Colton for getting back to what you do best. I was talking with Lyndsey last week on The Day After about how I wanted to see Colton back on the piano, lights dimmed, doing his thing. I have no doubt he’ll be making it to the top 9.

Check out tonight’s feature on Reality Rocks HERE!

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Snackin’ with Sarah Sellers: Sausage Pinwheels

Last week on American Idol we saw the ousting of Jermaine Jones for his criminal pastimes, and said goodbye to youngster Shannon Magrane. I wasn’t surprised by the Idol antics or the fact that America voted off Miss Magrane. She is definitely a talented girl but I felt like she was always a little over her head and not quite ready for the Idol stage. What did surprise me was the fact that soul songstress, and my favorite contestant by far, Elise Testone was in the bottom three. What the hell America…there is more to music then cute guys with guitars and teeny bobber pop singers. Boring!

Anywho…enough ranting and on to the food. Tonight I’m cooking up another snack for Yahoo! Music blogger Lyndsey Parker and her Reality Rocks blog. I was in Austin last weekend for the SXSW music festival where I had the pleasure of co-hosting with Lyndsey on her internet series, The Day After. Once I get caught up from the craziness of the last few days I’ll definitely be posting some pics of my favorite SXSW acts!

For tonight’s Billy Joel themed episode I took a cue from his hit, “New York State of Mind” and combined the fast paced lifestyle and food vendor fair of NYC. This quick and easy recipe is a homage to the catchy cliche “in a New York minute”. So try it out, it will be hard to eat just one!

Check out my feature on Reality Rocks HERE!

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American Idol, The Day After with Special Guest, ME!!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’m down in Austin, TX for the fun, crazy, and whirlwind festival otherwise known as South by Southwest (SXSW). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to post yesterday’s song of the day but I’ve got something a little different for you guys. I was asked to be a special guest host on Lyndsey Parker’s  video series: American Idol, The Day After. 

Watch us jump right in on the ousting of Jermaine Jones and who we thought shined on Wednesday night’s Songs from the Year You Were Born themed episode. I couldn’t have asked for a better day to spend my birthday then dishing on Idol and checking out all of the amazing bands in Downtown Austin. I’ll be posting a follow-up on all of the great shows so look out for that.

Follow me on Twitter for my SXSW updates!

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