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The best Italian mash-up, ever

When I think football, I think tailgate. My most popular tailgate specialties are sausage and peppers and Italian beef sandwiches. I was trying to decide which one to write about for Super Bowl Sunday and thought: why say "or" when you can say "and"? So I created this recipe mash-up of both with the added convenience of crock pot cooking. Meaty, manly and seriously delicious. Oh, and easy and cheap. This is a celebration meal. No matter who wins the 50th Super Bowl, we have a winner!


What You'll Need:

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 links Italian sausage

3 to 4-pound beef roast – whatever cut is on sale

2 teaspoons garlic powder – divided

Salt and pepper

One large sweet onion - sliced

I (14 oz.) bag frozen sweet pepper mix - defrosted

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon sugar

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 (14 oz.) can beef broth

For sandwiches – Sandwich rolls, mozzarella cheese, pesto, tomato

Here's How:

Set your crock pot on LOW. Preheat a skillet on the stove top with one teaspoon olive oil. Remove casing from the sausage and cook in the skillet, breaking it into crumbles so it can flavor everything it touches. Set aside, leaving as much rendered fat in the skillet as possible. Season beef roast liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I probably used more than a teaspoon of garlic, you know me. Brown all sides of the roast in the skillet. This is going to add crazy good flavor to the whole mash-up. Set aside. Add the sliced onion and peppers to the pan drippings and sauté until just beginning to soften. Add Italian seasoning, garlic powder and sugar. Return the sausage crumbles back to the pan, add the tomato sauce along with a splash of beef broth, then stir making sure to get all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Place half the pepper mixture in the crock pot, place the beef roast on top then dump the rest of the mixture over the roast. Pour the remaining beef broth in the crock pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or until the roast is fall-apart tender.

When it's done, you've got to let the meat rest for 30 minutes or you'll lose all your juices when you cut into it. Depending on the cut of beef you used, shred or thinly slice the meat. Put it back in the crock pot to get nice and juicy before you serve.

To assemble the sandwich, preheat broiler. Slice rolls lengthwise. Scoop a generous portion of the beefy sausage mixture on the bottom slice. Cover with sliced mozzarella and place under the broiler until it's all melty and gooey. Top with sliced fresh tomato, a drizzle of pesto and the top half of the roll then squish it down.

You know French dip? Meet Italian Dip. There's liquid you shouldn't waste in the crock pot so serve a little bowl alongside for dipping. Just bring a roll of paper towels to the couch. Possibly a drop cloth.

Frugal Festivity contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com

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