It’s time for friends and family to come into town and there will be that HUGE meal, but what do you do in the meantime to feed everyone? You don’t want to be standing over the stove for hours just to make a meal and then another hour to clean the kitchen. I have just the thing! An easy mouthwatering Crock Pot Fire Roasted Mariana Dipping Sauce that compliments fun easy finger foods perfectly! With an assortment of fun easy finger foods and a yummy dipping sauce, EVERYONE will be happy!
I’m sure you are like me and don’t want to spend hours preparing a meal. Well, today, I wanted to share a great crock pot marinara sauce that pretty much cooks itself. Don’t you love crock pots?! It is the basis for great appetizers and meals that will leave you visiting with everyone instead of slaving in the kitchen! The Crock Pot Fire Roasted Marinara Dipping Sauce is AMAZING to dip our favorite Red Baron® French Bread Pizza in and it’s also a great dip for baked zucchini sticks and out-of-this-world cheese sticks! Don’t worry! I will share all the yummy recipes with you!
On the day my company was due to start arriving, I got up early and started my Mariana Dipping Sauce in the crock pot. Then, I headed to my local Walmart to pick up a few things that we would be needing over the holidays. I also wanted to grab a few last minute stocking stuffers. I like shopping early in the morning because, at least at my Walmart, it is not as busy as the rest of the day. The less people means I can get in and out quickly.
While my Crock Pot Fire Roasted Mariana Dipping Sauce was home cooking, I knew I wanted to have French Bread Pizza as part of our finger foods. So, I headed to the frozen food section.
They had a large selection of Red Baron® French Bread Pizzas. I chose a six pack of pepperoni and a two pack of three meat. Once we cooked, and sliced, the french bread pizza into dipping sticks, there would be a nice variety.
I wanted low-maintenance and that is exactly what I got. I could have put them in the microwave, but I needed the oven on anyway for the zucchini sticks I was planning, so I took them out of their individual wrappers, put them on a cooking sheet and that’s all she wrote.
I will say, WATCH the pizzas or set a timer. DO NOT over-cook. You don’t want to have a hard crust. But, it’s french bread and it’s going to be crusty. That’s why you have the marinara sauce. It’s a perk of eating french bread pizzas.
Since we were serving the Red Baron® French Bread Pizzas as dipping sticks and wanted to share the flavors with everyone, we cut the pizzas in slices on the diagonal. This way, it makes it easy to dip in the sauce and we could use our fingers (another reason there’s not a lot of dishes). It was a dipping kind of dinner!
So, what is this easy Crock Pot Fire Roasted Marinara Dipping Sauce I’ve been talking about? I’m ready to share my secret with you!
Crock Pot Fire Roasted Marinara Dipping Sauce
This sauce is so easy and once it’s in the crockpot and turned on, there’s nothing else to do until right before you serve it. You can also put it together the night before, stick in the fridge, and take out and cook the next day. It makes it super easy for entertaining!
This recipe also makes enough you can freeze what’s left for your next Italian meal. Oh, and the secret – we like to use the fire-roasted tomatoes because it gives the sauce another level of flavor.
4 cans (13 oz each) of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 small can (6 oz) of Tomato Paste
4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped finely
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tablespoons FRESH basil – added 30 minutes before serving
1 Tablespoon FRESH oregano – added 30 minutes before serving
1½ Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Place all ingredients (except the basil and oregano) into the crock pot and stir well.
Turn the pot on high for 6 hours, 8 hours if you choose low cooking level.
Chop the basil and oregano.
Minutes before serving, remove the bay leaves and add the basil and oregano. Stir well.
Yields 6 and a half cups marinara.
- 4 cans (13 oz each) of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 1 small can (6 oz) of Tomato Paste
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped finely
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 Tablespoons FRESH basil - added 30 minutes before serving
- 1 Tablespoon FRESH oregano - added 30 minutes before serving
- 1½ Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon salt & pepper mixed
- Place all ingredients (except the basil and oregano) into the crockpot and stir well.
- Turn the pot on high for 6 hours, 8 hours if you choose low cooking level.
- Chop the basil and oregano.
- Minutes before serving, remove the bay leaves and add the chopped basil and oregano. Stir well.
- Yields 6 and a half cups marinara.
Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
The Parmesan Zucchini Sticks were a total HIT with the family. They were surprised at how well they went with the french bread pizza and the sauce. And, to be honest, I was super surprised when I realized how easy they were to make and how much my kids liked them. They are fun because they sorta look like french fries.
3-4 Medium Zucchini
3 Large Egg Whites
¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
2 Tablespoons Graded Parmesan Cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray the cookie sheet (or sheets) with baking spray.
In a bowl, combine the salt and pepper and egg whites, beat well.
In a different bowl combine the bread crumbs, the parmesan and the garlic powder.
Cut the zucchini into thin strips, blot with a paper towel to remove any moisture.
Dip the sticks individually in the egg white mixture and then bread with the bread crumb mixture.
Place on cookie sheet. When they are all breaded, spray them again with the baking spray.
Place in the 425 degree oven for 25 minutes. The sticks will be fork tender when cooked.
- Cooking Spray
- 3-4 Medium Zucchini
- 3 Large Egg Whites
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Bread Crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons Graded Parmesan Cheese
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray the cookie sheet (or sheets) with baking spray.
- In a bowl, combine the salt and pepper and egg whites, beat well.
- In a different bowl combine the bread crumbs, the parmesan and the garlic powder.
- Cut the zucchini into thin strips, blot with a paper towel to remove any moisture.
- Dip the sticks individually in the egg white mixture and then bread with the bread crumb mixture.
- Dip the sticks individually in the egg white mixture and then bread with the bread crumb mixture. Place on cookie sheet. When they are all breaded, spray them again with the baking spray.
- Place in the 425 degree oven for 25 minutes. The sticks will be fork tender when cooked.
The Parmesan Zucchini Sticks were the perfect addition to go along with the Red Baron® French Bread pizza sticks and Crock Pot Mariana Roasted Marinara Dipping Sauce!
My husband is still talking about these zucchini sticks. He loved that it was an easy meal, with a healthy side dish and the combination was perfect.
This is where I explain where the super-not-healthy Orient Inspired Cheese Sticks come into play. My son loves cheese, always has loved cheese. I found a similar recipe on social media, so I thought, why not take JUST the string cheese (which is always in our house) and spring roll wrappers and fry them up? Works for egg rolls, why not make something I know he would eat? And, they would go magically with the Crock Pot Fire Roasted Marinara Dipping Sauce!
Orient Inspired Cheese Sticks
They were a hit just like the Parmesan Zucchini Sticks and the French Bread Pizza sticks! They were gone before I could blink twice. In fact, I’ve been asked probably three times since that night (it’s only been a day) if I would make them again REAL SOON!
They taste so much lighter than traditional cheese sticks because they don’t have all that breading. AND, they are not as greasy because there is no bread for the grease to hold on to. The pairing went so well together. The sauce was thin and chunky and the cheese sticks were hot and crunchy. What an amazing combination and it paired well with everything else on our plate.
A Bowl of Water
6-12 String Cheese Sticks
Spring Roll Wrappers
Put the oil in a frying pan on your stove and preheat.
Place the number of Spring Roll Wrappers that you plan on using in the water. Unwrap the string cheese. (This has to be done fast.)
Using the wrappers, roll each string cheese up.
Turn DOWN the oil to medium heat before you start cooking the sticks. Fry the string cheese wrapped in the Spring Roll Wrappers until golden brown.
- A Bowl of Water
- 6-12 String Cheese Sticks
- Spring Roll Wrappers
- Canola Oil
- Put the oil in a frying pan on your stove and preheat.
- Place the number of Spring Roll Wrappers that you plan on using in the water. Unwrap the string cheese. (This has to be done fast.)
- Using the wrappers, roll each string cheese up.
- Turn DOWN the oil to medium heat before you start cooking the sticks. Fry the string cheese wrapped in the Spring Roll Wrappers until golden brown.
When all your family starts showing up, or you know that you’re going out of town and don’t want a lot of leftovers in your kitchen, try the delicious French Bread Pizza, Fire Roasted Crockpot Marinara, Parmesan Zucchini Sticks and Orient Inspired Cheese Sticks. All are perfect served as appetizers or as a complete finger food meal and cleanup is a snap! Your family will appreciate the variety and the time you saved so you can enjoy your holiday too!