I come from hearty, hybrid immigrant stock and hail from the Great Plains state of South Dakota. My entire family represents died-in-the-wool, avid (occasionally rabid) football fans or, more specifically, Minnesota Viking fans!
I missed that gene. I am a disappointment and an embarrassment to my family and, over the years, the same for like-minded (different teams, of course) friends. I genuinely believe that I would have been “kicked to the curb” years ago by every one of them if I hadn’t established myself as that oh-so-willing cook for the food that feeds-ferocious-football-fanatics tearing up my den or the living room out at the cottage during the games! Somebody’s got to do it, after all…
I prefer to put together things that I can prepare earlier in the day and put in crockpots and the sideboard or table and retreat to my bedroom to read without worrying about serving. Hearty fare stands up best in partnership with the river of artisan beers (or familiar favorites) that always piles up in the fridge as our guests arrive! So, I always make sure the selection has hot, warm, cheesy and flavorful represented as those fundament football watching “food groups!”
My son, Justin (that Good Bubba), gave me a three-in-one crockpot server a couple of years ago for Christmas and it has made serving hot sides and entree’s soooo much easier when entertaining–now I can’t imagine living (or entertaining) without it!
Poolside Pulled Chicken” and “Smokin’ Sloppy Joe” slider fill #1 and #2 crockpots and #3 is my “Simply Sultry & Sassy Sausage Crockpot Dip.” Line up the sidebar or table with disposable paper plates, cups (great for the dip) and forks and spoons and retreat to the master bedroom with a good book, a great glass of wine and headphones–or join your guests for an afternoon and evening of football frenzy–your call, of course!
This recipe is one that I put together after visiting someone’s house and trying the microwaved, “Velveeta” version seen on TV and magazines. I am a cream cheese addict–you could put it on a _________ and I’d blissfully line up to devour it!
I can offer no excuses for calories but would like to point out that the low fat version of cream cheese, Neufchatel, makes a great substitute offering 30% less calories in the cheese and zero difference in overall flavor of the dip!
4-8 oz. packages of cream cheese
1-10 oz. can of “Rotel” brand Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies (I use their mild version—because I am a wussy! If you’re not—bust out and use their original version!)
1-16 oz. chubs of pork breakfast sausage (I am a huge fan of “Jimmy Dean” brand’s original)
3 or 4 scallions, sliced on the diagonal–for garnish
Crumble the sausage into a large saute’ pan, brown (don’t mince the sausage down too much while browning. You want to have small to medium bits of sausage or the end result is gritty-looking and unappetizing) and drain.
Add the browned sausage, cream cheese and tomatoes and green chilies to a crockpot on low. Stir every few minutes until the cheese is melted.
Put a serving bowl of the diagonally sliced scallions next to the dip for your guests to use as a garnish for their servings–adds that great “bite” of freshness and onion that they will love!