Isn’t It About Time That You Took Your Crock Pot Seriously?
I’m one of those folks who bought a crock pot, thinking it was the answer to my dinnertime chaos, put it in my pantry and promptly forgot about it. Until my grocery budget and work schedule got stretched to the limit. Now, my crock pot is front and center on my kitchen counter top and instrumental several times a week in feeding my family a good, home-cooked meal.
If you have forgotten exactly when you bought your crock pot, or it has a pattern or color that’s reminiscent of the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s, it’s best to buy a new one. You’ll be doing yourself a favor spending the $ 30 to $ 50, what with all the new energy efficient models available. There are also some really great, new features like temperature settings, warming cycles, and secure leak-proof lids. Although, the best feature of all is that a crock pot saves you both time and money. That’s great to know, but how do they do that?
Money Saving: Certain dishes, like beef stew, pot roasts, and soups, are usually cooked for a pretty long period of time. If you’re using your oven for, say 3 hours, that’s about 10 kWh for that meal. Cooking the same pot roast in a crock pot for, say 6 hours, will take about 1.2 kWh. That’s simply based on your oven wattage of roughly 2500 versus your crock pot wattage of roughly 200. It just makes sense using a smaller appliance for such a long cooking period. Check out your appliance wattage and energy consumption using any of the energy consumption calculators online and see if you don’t agree.
It’s time to try some of those budget cuts of meat again! This time, when you cook them in your crock pot instead of the oven, the meat will fall right off the bone and you can cut it with a fork. The sinew and tissue breaks down nicely when cooked with a low, slow method of the crock pot. Cooking the meat with some liquid added also adds to the tender results. An expensive, tender cut of meat won’t do in the least in your crock pot; they just don’t come out as well as your budget meats. So, if you’ve been avoiding the less expensive cuts of meat, now’s the time to try again. No more disasters, because they’re not going in the oven!
Your family is rushing home from work and school, and there’s nothing for dinner. You make a quick stop at the drive-thru, plunk down a huge pile of money and think “there’s got to be a better plan”. Well, there is. You work too hard for that money to throw it away on bad food. How about, instead, you plan a meal, prepare it ahead of time and throw it in the crock pot in the morning? Everyone comes home to a hot cooked meal and all is well. Now, you have time for the evening routine, without worrying about that anguished cry – “what’s for dinner”. The fast food joints can get along just fine without your money.
When you are air conditioning your house, the last thing you want to do is heat up your kitchen by having the oven on for a long time. During the summer, we do eat mostly cold meals, like salads, but summers can be pretty long here and my family starts to get a yearning for a nice, hot meal. Without adding a bunch of hot air to my house, I can throw a pot roast in my crock pot, and we’re all happy… and the air conditioner can do it’s normal work without stressing it out anymore than necessary.
Time Saving: Consider your time spent over a stove top, watching a pot boil, stirring the contents, as your valuable time wasted. One-pot meals are real time savers, but only if you don’t have to watch it cook. And, yes, a pot roast in the oven is certainly a time saver, but it is not a money saver. We want both, now don’t we?
Another time saver is getting my family involved with some of the cooking tasks. I can have my children in the kitchen with me, washing vegetables, peeling potatoes, and putting ingredients right in the crock pot for me because there is little danger of getting a burn since the crock pot is not turned on until everything is inside and ready to go. And, since most of my favorite crock pot recipes are three, four, or five ingredients, it’s easy to ask my husband to start dinner on some of those busy mornings.
If you’ve been running to the grocery store several times a week to hurry up and get something for dinner, you’ve been wasting a lot of your very precious time. Wouldn’t it be nice to pick up the kids from swim lessons and be able to go right home without that frantic stop for food? I keep several of my favorite crock pot recipes in my purse, so all I have to do is make one planned stop at the grocery store, buy the ingredients I need for a couple meals, and my shopping is done for the week. I even have time now to clean all my vegetables when I get home so they’re all ready when I put my planned crock pot dinners together. Now, we’re really saving time!
Money and Time Saving: By doubling your crock pot recipes, you’ll have leftovers for lunches or be able to put the extra meal in the freezer for later. Not only is it convenient to have your lunch all ready, but it is also a money saver; no more money spent eating out at work. Having a freezer full of meals is a great time saver, too. Who doesn’t love finding a meal all ready to just heat up and go? The money saved by using your crock pot just once to produce two meals just makes sense to me.
Look at your poor crock pot just waiting for you to come to your senses, once again. I know you can do it, once you start looking through all the new recipes! Get your kitchen counter cleared off, set up your crock pot, and make out your grocery list. Now, won’t you enjoy saving all that time and money when you cook?