Crock Pot Meals - Save Money And Time With Easy And Healthful Slow Cooker Meals
There are a lot of benefits of making meals in a crock pot. Chances are, you have one stored away somewhere! Dig it out and give it a try - you will be glad you did! A couple of the benefits you will reap are:
A slow cooker uses just 100 watts of electricity: using it once a week for eight hours at a time will only cost you twenty cents a month in electricity!
It is easy to toss the ingredients into the crock pot in the morning and come home from work to a delicious home cooked meal!
Most crock pots come with a recipe booklet - if you no longer have it or just want some new ideas, I am including some recipes. You can also find many more free recipes by searching for them online.
My favorite crock pot meals are the very easiest to make:
Brown a beef roast (I like to use chuck roast) in a large pan on the stove just until nice and brown on both sides, then put it in the crock pot and season it to taste (I only use salt and pepper). Turn the crock pot on low and cook until the roast is done to your liking. (How long will depend on the size of the roast and how done you want it - I like it super tender to the point of falling apart, so I usually cook it for 5 - 8 hours.) To get a more concrete idea of how long to cook a roast, ask the butcher when you buy the roast, use a meat thermometer or see the guidelines in your crock pot instruction guide.
I cook a pork roast the same way I cook a beef roast, except I do not brown it before putting it in. My favorite is a butt roast, which falls apart and makes wonderful barbecue sandwiches! You can add barbecue sauce as it cooks if you want to.
To roast a whole chicken, simply put the chicken in (after washing it, if you do that), salt and pepper and cook for several hours. I have learned not to overcook chicken - you want it to be done and tender, but not overcooked, or it will not have any flavor left. Use a meat thermometer or check the thickest part of the breast to make sure the meat is no longer pink. After you take the chicken out of the pot, remove the broth and save it - it is wonderful-tasting chicken broth - puts the canned stuff to shame! Strain it and put it in the refrigerator so that the fat will collect at the top and become solid, then you can easily remove it. If you have no use for the broth right away, you can freeze it.
More frugal dinner ideas you can make in the slow cooker.
All of these great crock pot meals are quick and easy to make and cost less than $2. per serving!
- Beef and Bean Chili Nothing beats hearty chili on a cool evening - except maybe having it ready and waiting when you get home from work!
- Crock Pot Lasagna The easiest way to make lasagna! Instead of using all afternoon and every pot in the kitchen, you just assemble this lasagna in the crock pot and come home to a delicious meal!
- Lentil Soup A healthy and money-saving soup that takes very little preparation time and will be ready for dinner when you are!
- Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff An economical version of an elegant dish! It is made with inexpensive stew meat is tender from simmering all day in the slow cooker.