These stars don't twinkle, but they sure do taste good.
This month's Trumbull Cooks recipe for Sausage Stars comes from Bonnie Young of Braceville, who got the recipe about 15 years ago from her sister-in-law, Sandi Walters of Newton Falls.
"She got it from her sister, but after that they don't know where it came from," Young said recently while cooking at her home.
It's also been about 15 years since she made the recipe, until recently it was resurrected for a son-in-law's 40th birthday party.
"Everybody just raved about them," Young said.
Young takes wonton wrappers, which can be found in the produce section of the grocery store, spreads them out on a cookie sheet and brushes them with oil. Then, each one is placed into a cupcake pan.
"They kind of form little shapes like stars when they're baked," she said, adding that the wrappers are a little crisp, like tortilla shells.
The recipe calls for green and red pepper, but Young often uses yellow and red because of her personal taste preference.
"I like the fact that you don't cook the peppers because it gives a little crunchiness to it," she said.
Young, 54, likes fresh produce and enjoys gardening. She cans her own tomatoes and was getting ready to make a batch of freezer jam with her first strawberries.
The mother of four and grandmother of six said her grandchildren were excited to help pick the first harvest this month.
Young also enjoys making salads, desserts and pies, especially berry. She "absolutely" makes her own crusts.
Her recipes come from magazines - "I get a lot at the beauty shop" - and compilation cookbooks, such as those put out by churches.
She also enjoys a local cooking show, "Great Groceries," and she plans to make a recipe from it that also uses wonton wrappers, a pork treat similar to one at Applebee's.
"I like to try my own version of what the restaurants make," she said, such as the Zuppa Toscana soup from Olive Garden.
After the wonton wrappers for the Sausage Stars are baked for 5 minutes, they are filled with a savory sausage mixture that includes two kinds of cheeses. Young prefers Italian sausage and says mayonnaise, not Miracle Whip, must be used. The mix makes about 50 stars, great for a large group, but the appetizers can be frozen for up to a month.
Young is willing to experiment in her kitchen.
"Sometimes things go bad, and the kids will let me know, but that's how you learn," she said. "My husband got tired of green bean casseroles and hot dogs and crescent rolls when we first got married because that's all I knew how to cook.
"He says that's the skinniest time of his life."
Each Sunday, the family gathers at the home of Young and her husband, Randall, whom she met while in high school at LaBrae. She cooks for 15 people.
"This is something that I grew up with," she said.
Her grandmother, who is 92, always had a houseful.
"Then when I got married, we went to my mother-in-law's," she said. "And now, we have a houseful."
The Youngs' welcoming dining room shows its purpose, with a long table and two high chairs in the room.
A stay-at-home mom for 37 years, Young said she always tried to avoid fast food and give her children a home-cooked meal. Now, she babysits grandchildren and says they are big fruit-eaters, so she keeps the kitchen stocked.
The Sausage Stars, with their ranch flavor, are a little messy but worth the napkin.
"They are very tasty, if I do say so myself," Young said.
Submitted by Bonnie Young
1 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 cup finely chopped red pepper
1 pound mild or Italian sausage, browned and crumbled
1 pound shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can sliced black olives
Mix the above together. Add to this:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 package (dry mix) Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
1 package wonton wrappers - found in produce section
Put one slice / wrap in into a cupcake pan. Lightly brush with vegetable oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. At this point, you can remove the baked wontons and put on a cookie sheet. Then fill each wonton with the sausage mixture. Bake for another 5 minutes at 350.
This recipe will make 50 appetizers.