Cook sausage in pan on medium heat, drain, and place in large crockpot.
Add all other ingredients except cheese to crockpot and stir.
Best cooked on low setting about 4 or 5 hours, then set to warm or remove from heat. Will tolerate faster cooking on high setting. Can also be cooked on stovetop on medium to heat then on low setting to simmer, stirring occasionally.
Serve warm with desired toppings. Shredded cheddar and fresh diced tomato or onion work well. Combines well with a salad and a baguette or corn muffin.