Slow Cooking for Fast Savings
When you suggest cooking with a crock pot, images of an avocado-coloured appliance that was all the rage a few decades ago come to mind. Crock pots have evolved to suit the times, the needs and the budgets of busy families in the modern day. In terms of feeding your family a healthy meal, on time and on budget, a slow cooker is a very useful tool.
Trim Your Grocery Bill
By virtue of the way a slow cooker operates (cooking for a long period of time, over low heat, in liquid, in addition to the natural basting of juices) you can use less expensive cuts of meat. These cuts (i.e. flank steak, rump roast, pork shoulder) are not necessarily of lower quality from a flavour standpoint, but are tougher. These cuts benefit from the long, liquid-based cooking method and your bottom line gets a boost too.
How many times has your family hit the drive-thru because there was no time to cook dinner? Not only is fast food a less healthy option, it doesn’t take long for dining out to add up. Setting your dinner to cook while you are out in a crock pot provides you with a healthy, home-cooked meal at a far lower cost.
In addition to main courses, crock pots are useful for side dishes and are great for making vegetarian meals. Things like soups and legumes, like lentils or beans, flourish in the low-heat, long –time cooking environment, and are also often a less expensive meal alternative.
Many crock pot recipes are “one pot meals”, meaning you literally throw all of your food into one bowl, put the lid on, and supper magically appears at the end of the day. Many slow cookers have timers, so you can assemble the meal and go. There is nothing better than arriving home and being greeted with the smell of dinner, already made.
You save time not only in the cooking of the meal, but in the cleaning up as well. Typically, crock pots with removable inserts are easier to clean out.
One of the greatest enemies to knocking a budget off track is a lack of planning, especially when it comes to meals. Convenience, while seemingly helpful, is often at the expense of your household budget. Because of the time required, slow cooking requires forethought, and some meal planning in advance is required too. This assists in making a conscious effort to buy food with a plan.
Save on Energy Costs
Not only do you save money on your grocery bill, you also save money with energy costs when you use a slow cooker. Low heat over a longer period costs substantially less than operating a stove, oven or even a microwave.