Sausage and Pepperoni Hot Italian Dip

recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil, drained

1 1/2 cups pasta sauce

1½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 pound of Italian sausage (sweet or hot)

20 pepperoni slices cut in half

1 small can sliced olives, drained

Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook  the sausage in a skillet on medium heat breaking the sausage up as you cook it. If you are using sausage links, remove the meat from their casings.  Drain any grease and set aside. Place the olive oil back in the same skillet and cook the onion until they becomes soft and translucent. Add the chopped garlic in at the last few minutes. Place the onions and garlic in the same bowl as the sausage and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and Italian seasoning together with an electric mixer and spread on the bottom of a baking dish. I used a baking pan that was a little bit smaller than a 9x13. Top with the diced tomatoes, the sausage mixture, and the pepperoni *(see note on pepperoni preparation). Continue to layer with the sauce, mozzarella, and the olives. Sprinkle with Parmesan just before going in the oven. Bake at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips, bagel chips, crusty bread, crackers, etc.

Note* - I placed my pepperoni on a double layer of paper towel and microwaved them 20 seconds to release some of the grease.