Easy Crockpot Cheese and Vegetable Casserole

1 jar (16 ounces) cheddar cheese sauce for pasta
1 container cream cheese with chives (8 ounces)
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
3 bags (16 ounces each) frozen California
vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds *
PREPARATION:
In slow cooker, combine cheese sauce, cream cheese, and hot water; stir intil smooth. Stir in pepper and frozen vegetables. Cover and cook on LOW for about 6 to 7 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Stir and add a little milk if mixture is too thick. Sprinkle with toasted almonds just before serving. Serves 10 to 12.
*To toast nuts, spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350° oven, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. Or, toast in an ungreased skillet over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown and aromatic.