The economy is all whacked out right now and it's scary. I'm not watching the news.
I get an email almost every day asking if I am saving money by using my CrockPot daily.
No. What I am doing is not normal. Most people do not try to do what I'm doing in the crockpot. We are pretty much breaking even on the grocery bills, thanks to BlogHerads. I am grocery shopping more than I ever have before, and am cooking way too much food. I am also buying ingredients that cost more than I would normally spend because I'm trying so many new things.
But you can save money. You don't need to cook a different something every single day. You can cook a big pot of beans, stew, or a casserole and eat it for a few days in a row. You can stock your freezer with homemade broth, stock, and cream of something soup. You can freeze your own cooked beans. You can make yogurt. You can make baby food. You can cook a whole chicken and pick off the meat for future meals. You can even make playdough, crayons, or use the crockpot as a footbath (not really. this one is just for fun.)
When I was first married, I stunk at cooking. I still kind of do, but at least the crockpot allows me a bunch of wiggle-room. I would make Taco Soup every other week, and Adam and I would stretch the food to last for days by making burritos, or adding it on top of rice.
I've put together a round-up of money-saving CrockPot ideas for you. I will continue to add more posts when I come up with them.
homemade chicken broth
homemade beef stock
homemade cream of mushroom soup
Myron's famous whole chicken
lemon and herb chicken
How to make canned beans
or refried beans
How to make yogurt
How to make babyfood
Recycle crayons in your crockpot
Recycle Candles, too!
Use your crockpot as a rice cooker
Make homemade chicken nuggets in the crockpot
Skip the coffee house and make pumpkin spice lattes at home or peppermint mochas.
Having a party? Stretch your wine by turning it into mulled wine.
Extra food? Make fried rice in the crockpot!
You can make applesauce or apple butter, or homemade granola.
And my favorite way to use my crockpot: the lazy way. Plop in a hunk of frozen meat---it really doesn't matter what kind---and cover it with a bottle or jar of your favorite sauce. Cook on low all day, and serve the shredded meat over rice or pasta. I've used spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce, A-1, salad dressing, and bottled marinades.
If you are concerned about the amount of energy consumed by using a crockpot (which is a very valid concern!) here is a pamphlet put out by First Energy Corp., in Ohio (link no longer available) .The chart on page 5 says that a crockpot uses $0.02 power per hour.
Here's another energy usage list put out by the Northeast Utilities System (link no longer available), that says the monthly cost of using a slow cooker is $1.17.
For more frugal dinner ideas, visit Erin at $5 Dollar Dinners.
Slow Cooking During a Recession
Meal Planning With the CrockPot
Alphabetical Listing of Recipes
Frequently Asked Crock-Pot Questions
Help! My CrockPot Cooks Too Fast!
An Important Note About Safety
My New Year's Resolution