I've been making a version of these for many years and they are always a huge hit. I usually use regular Ranch dressing, but I decided to switch out the plain Ranch for some spicy Ranch dressing. Surprisingly, it made a huge difference. Chicken Legs doesn't like the plain Ranch version, but he loved this version with the Spicy Ranch. Neither of us really thought these were spicy. I would say they are more zesty than spicy. Feel free to add some olives or peppers to this sausage mixture for an added kick.
These tarts can be made ahead and frozen until you are ready to serve them. To freeze, fill the tarts with the sausage mixture and place them back in the original phyllo tart trays. Slide the trays into a large ziplock bag and freeze. Give these a try for the game this weekend or go ahead and make a batch up for the holidays.
Spicy Sausage & Cheese Tarts
1 lb pork sausage
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz Spicy Ranch dressing (Hidden Valley)
5 (2.1 ounce) packages frozen mini phyllo shells (Athens)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook sausage in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain.
Combine the sausage, cheese and Spicy Ranch dressing in a large bowl. Fill each phyllo shell with a heaping teaspoon of the sausage mixture. (Freeze at this point, if desired)
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cheese melts. (Add 2-3 minutes to baking time if baking frozen tarts)
* I found the tarts in the frozen section at the grocery store, near the pie crust and puff pastry *