But seriously, this is too good to just save for a sporting event.

Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

There are several recipes in my old recipe box-arsenal that I consider my “go-to” recipes for specific occasions. If I need to transport a sheet cake to a dinner, I will choose between a Mississippi Mud Cake or this Fresh Apple Cake. Either one can be baked, frosted, and served from the same pan, which alleviates worrying about layers sticking to the pan or frosting running down the sides of a tall layer cake. For a Thanksgiving potluck, I opt for a traditional Cornbread Dressing or Sweet Potato Casserole. When it comes to game day recipes, a pot of soup is always a crowd pleaser and, while the majority of my go-to recipes have been around a few years and are tried-and-true, my new favorite game day recipe, Slow-Cooker Chicken Stew with Pumpkin and Wild Rice, is the most recent addition to my recipe box.

I knew this recipe was a keeper the first time I tried it. Tender, juicy chicken and chewy, nutty-tasting wild rice is a match made in culinary heaven, whether the comfort food combination takes the form of a skillet supper, a baked casserole, or a soup or stew. Instead of calling for a box of wild rice that is already mixed with salt and seasonings, this recipe uses unseasoned wild rice, which means you have control over the additional seasonings, such as cooked celery, onion, and garlic, along with salt and fresh herbs. Cubed sugar pumpkin or butternut squash is a nutritious and tasty addition, intensifying the texture and color of the stew. I have also used a sweet potato as a convenient substitute for the pumpkin; I usually have a few sweet potatoes in my pantry and they are more readily available at the grocery store during certain times of the year. The starch released as the pumpkin/squash/sweet potato cooks works with the half-and-half, added in the last step, to create a thick and creamy stew.

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Another reason I like this recipe? I can use my slow cooker. The convenience of a slow cooker recipe can never be overrated. Regardless of whether your recipe has a cook time of 3 or 8 hours, you can prepare the recipe in the slow-cooker and walk away – go shopping, go to church, finish up some gardening, whatever you need to do. You would never feel comfortable leaving your stove or oven on if you left the house, but a slow cooker gives you the ability to leave home and return to a hot meal.

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