Thrifty Tip #45: Let your slow cooker become your new best friend!
* Slow cookers conserve energy: Using a slow cooker helps save money by cutting electricity costs. Even with the appliance on all day, a slow cooker actually costs about 10 cents for eight hours of use, compared with 19 cents for two hours on the stove and 29 cents for one hour in the oven.
* Enjoy poultry for less: Buying chicken whole is cheapest. Plus, it’s easy to prepare in a slow cooker. Thaw the bird (if frozen), remove its giblets and put it in the cooker. Sprinkle on lemon juice, garlic and black pepper. Add ¼ inch of water to the insert, cover and cook eight hours on low or four hours on high.
* Cruise past the drive-through: Preparing a big roast in your slow cooker yields several meals’ worth of meat. You can then serve homemade suppers even on busy nights. Buy a chuck roast on sale and toss it in a large slow cooker. (Cooking cheaper cuts of meat in the slow cooker makes them tender and more flavorful.) Fill the insert halfway with water so the meat won’t toughen. Cover and cook on low for seven to eight hours. When the roast is done, divide it into meal-size portions in plastic storage containers and refrigerate.
* Spend less with bean-based meals: You can buy a 1-pound bag of dried beans for less than $1.50 at most grocery stores. Soak beans in water overnight in your slow cooker. Drain, put beans back in the cooker and cover with fresh water; stir in salt and a few garlic cloves. Cover and cook on low for eight hours.
*For awesome, creative recipes, check out A Year of Slow Cooking. In 2008, Stephanie O'Dea set out to use her crock pot for every meal with a new recipe each time. I followed her blog at the time and was completely amazed at some of the meals she created. You won't run out of ideas or get bored with slow cooking if you read her blog or check out her new cookbook.
*My favorite thing about a crock pot: most meals are very budget friendly and packed full of nutrition!
What's your favorite crock pot meal?
Source: All You: Enjoy Life for Less