Can you really save money using a crock-pot? Many stories abound about Depression era families cooking beans for breakfast lunch and dinner. So perhaps the crock-pot or slow cooker has a reputation as being a frugal way to cook. But is it really?
Just like anything else, crock-pots do not automatically save you money. However, in several instances the use of a crock-pot can help save on your grocery bill. Here are 11 ways the crock-pot can save you money:
Great Crock-pot Recipes
1. Use cheaper cuts of meat. Since the slow cooking of a crock-pot tenderizes meat you can purchase less tender, less expensive meats.
2. Cook with larger quantities and freeze. Due to the larger size of crock-pots many can save money purchasing larger quantities as well as save time cooking 2 or 3 meals at once, then freezing.
3. Cook ahead to avoid more expensive alternatives. Eating out is expensive and less healthy. But sometimes schedules simply do not allow time for cooking. With the crock-pot you can prepare ahead of time and eat on the run. No need for expensive microwave or fast food.
4. Cook healthy for less. Because you control the ingredients and the slow cooking process does not involve as many additives and oils you eat healthier and save on the added cost of frying, etc.
5. Use less expensive chicken. My daughter Abby complains if we eat chicken too many days of the week. But when we add variety she does not complain. Crock-pot recipes and the slow cooking process add great taste variety to less expensive meals like chicken.
6. Cook beans and other legumes. Beans are not just for hot dogs (though there are some great beans and hotdog crock-pot recipes.) Less expensive beans and legumes are easy when using the crock-pot.
7. Save on your energy bill. Cooking in your crock-pot uses less energy than oven and stove and even though I have not seen official comparisons I would guess it is less than gas or charcoal grill cooking as well.
8. Substitute less expensive or in season veggies. Slow cooking process of a crock-pot combines ingredients and mellows tastes so switching out expensive vegetables with less expensive vegetables is always possible without destroying your recipe.
9. Prepare less expensive pot luck dinner dishes. When you have to prepare a large dish for a pot luck or get together there are many great and inexpensive choices to cook in the crock-pot.
10. Make homemade - from applesauce to salsa. Pick those fruits and veggies in season, then preserve them with homemade recipes that need a fraction of the attention when cooked in the crock-pot.
11. Make delicious party platters. Have a large crowd coming over? Several party recipes from buffalo wings, chili, appetizers and bean dips are just a few of the fun crock-pot recipes.
The crock-pot is a useful tool in the money saving arsenal of a thrifty cook. Check out the books below for many more great ideas. I am sure there are many more ways to save using a crock-pot. Feel free to leave your ideas below.
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