How to Save Time and Money with a Crockpot
Using a crockpot can save you time and save money. But you need to know how to use a slow cooker effectively to save time and money. Here are some helpful hints to help you save time and save money when making slow cooker meals.
Plan ahead. This is a very essential step to saving time and saving money by preparing slow cooker meals. Rather than throwing something together 20 minutes before dinnertime, you will need to prepare your slow cooker meal at least several hours in advance. Generally you will also have to have any frozen meat or chicken thawed ahead of time as well. This can take up to 24 hours.
Plan your slow cooker meal enough ahead of time to allow for your meat to be thawed and your other ingredients prepared. Getting your meal prepared in the crockpot the night before is a good idea. Then you can just plug the crockpot in and turn it on at the right time.
You can use cheaper cuts of meat when you are making a slow cooker meal. The slow cooking process will make tougher cuts of meat more tender. This will save money on your grocery bill.
A slow cooker is not just for dinner. Use your slow cooker for side dishes and desserts. This can save time and requires little effort. There are even some delicious breakfast recipes that can be cooked in the slow cooker overnight and be ready for breakfast in the morning.
Because the slow cooking process causes more juice to settle from the meat, you can get a flavorful meal in your slow cooker without adding expensive broth or soups. Replacing broth with water in a crockpot recipe is a simple way to save money on your grocery bill.
Many meals can be made in a slow cooker and used in different ways throughout the next few days. For example, crockpot chili can be later served with cornbread, on hot dogs, on baked potatoes, etc. A chicken roasted in the crockpot is another dish that can be used many ways. Serving the same meal in different ways will save time in the kitchen.
Make your own broth in the crockpot by cooking a chicken carcass with extra vegetables and some water. For very little effort, you can make broth, which will freeze well, and save money on your grocery bill.