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Use a slow cooker to make pick-me-ups on game days

Regardless of which teams fans support, they are sure to be hungry as they watch the action unfold. That’s why game day hosts must plan different foods to keep guests full while watching the results.

Dips, small bites and other finger foods are staples when the game is on because they can be easily eaten in front of the big screen. Using one or more slow cookers to prepare such items allows more time to watch the game, stock the cooler with refreshments, and prepare the home theater. Slow cookers can also keep meals warm on the buffet table.

These recipes for “Pepperoni Pizza Dip with Breadstick Dippers” and “Big Al’s Hot and Sweet Sausage Sandwich” from “Crock*Pot 365 Year-Round Recipes” (Publications International, Ltd.) by Crock*Pot Kitchens make great Game Day meals. Adjust as needed for the matchday audience.

Pepperoni Pizza Dip with Breadstick Dippers

Serves 8

• 1 jar or can (14 ounces) pizza sauce

• ¾ cup chopped turkey pepperoni

• 4 green onions, chopped

• 1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ​​black olives, drained

• ½ tsp dried oregano

• 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

• 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened

Deeper

• 1 package (8 ounces) refrigerated bread dough

• 2 teaspoons of melted butter

• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1. Combine pizza sauce, pepperoni, green onions, olives, and oregano in a 2-quart slow cooker. Cover over; cook on low 2 hours or high 1 to 1/2 hour or until mixture is hot.

2. Stir in mozzarella and cream cheese until melted and well combined. Serve with warm breadsticks.

3. For dippers, bake breadsticks according to package instructions. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with parsley.

Big Al’s Hot and Sweet Sausage Sandwich

Makes 8 to 10 servings

• 4 to 5 pounds of hot Italian sausage links

• 1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce

• 1 large Vidalia onion (or other sweet onion), sliced

• 1 green pepper, cored, seeded and sliced

• ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

• Italian rolls, cut in half

• Provolone cheese, sliced ​​(optional)

1. Put sausages, spaghetti sauce, onions, peppers and brown sugar in the slow cooker. Cover over; cook on low 8 to 10 hours or on high 4 to 6 hours.

2. Place sausages in rolls. Top with vegetable mixture. Add provolone cheese if desired.

Tip: Use slider buns or medium kaiser rolls instead of large Italian rolls to further stretch the sausage mixture and make it easier to eat while watching the game.