You've been invited to a last-minute family gathering, and you need an easy appetizer to bring with you. There's no need to panic or rush to the grocery store to pick up a bundle of hors d'oeuvres. Consider the use of the Crock-Pot for this task – it will keep your dish warm through the entire party without you even having to think about it.
As for what's in the Crock-Pot, go for something that everyone loves: pizza! Make it party-friendly by morphing a traditional pizza into a pizza dip. Though this particular recipe calls for Italian sausage, you can transform it into your favorite pizza flavors by adding other ingredients. For a meat-lovers pizza, add pepperoni slices and crumbled bacon. If you prefer a veggie pizza, omit the sausage and toss in chopped mushrooms, green peppers, onions and black olives. You could even replace the Italian sausage with a can of diced pineapple and chopped cooked ham or Canadian bacon for a tropical Hawaiian taste. No matter what your favorite type of pizza is, the dip can be modified to suit your tastes – or, you can leave it simply as-is.
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 8
- Cooking spray
- 8 ounces of Italian sausage, removed from casing
- 1 pound cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 15 ounces of pizza sauce
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- Sliced Italian bread, breadsticks and cut-up vegetables for serving
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the Italian sausage, breaking it up as it cooks so it's crumbled into small pieces.
- Spray the inside of a 3-quart Crock-Pot generously with cooking spray or use a Crock-Pot liner bag.
- Cut the cream cheese into cubes, making it easier to mix when heated.
- In the Crock-Pot, combine the cream cheese, mozzarella, sausage, pizza sauce and Italian seasoning.
- Close and lock the Crock-Pot lid. Cook on high for 1 hour, or until the dip is bubbling. Stir the dip well to combine all the ingredients.
- Set the Crock-Pot to low or warm to keep the dish at the right temperature for the event.
- Serve the pizza dip alongside slices of Italian bread, cut-up breadsticks or a variety of vegetables such as carrots, celery and bell pepper strips.
If, as time goes on, the dip becomes a little too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk and stir until it's back at the desired consistency.
Kelsey Casselbury has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State-University Park. She has a long career in print and web media, including serving as a managing editor for a monthly nutrition magazine and food editor for a Maryland lifestyle publication. She also owns an Etsy shop selling custom invitations and prints.