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Crock pot cooking saves time & money

by Karen on September 7, 2011

I’m suffering from a lack of inspiration this week. I’m tired. Judah is teething. Things have been a little rough lately. So forgive me for phoning it in a little on this one, but lately I’ve been having a love affair with my crock pot.

I’ve always thought of the crock pot as a fall/winter thing, but my love affair with mine started during this summer’s intense heat wave. We were having issues with our air conditioner, and the house just wasn’t getting as cool as we wanted. We couldn’t bear the thought of turning on the oven, and my husband (the cook in our family) didn’t want to stand over a burning stove top in the kitchen. Enter the crock pot.

We started buying large cuts of meat, slow cooking them in the crock pot, and using the meat in dishes throughout the week. Sandwiches, salads, soups, quesadillas. The possibilities were endless. Now as we enter the cooler season, I’m thinking about soups and stews and roasts and other winter comfort food that will be a snap to prepare in our beloved crock pot. It makes me wish we’d started using the thing years ago.

Here are a few of the reasons why I love it so much:

It’s easy.

Just chop and drop your ingredients in the morning (or before you go to bed), and when you get home dinner is ready to serve. Simple!

It uses less energy than the oven.

Even though the crock pot cooks for longer, it doesn’t use the massive amounts of energy it takes to heat an entire over to 300-400 degrees. So it will lower your energy bill (slightly).

It doesn’t heat up the kitchen or the house.

While most people think crock pot = winter comfort food, we started using ours in the summer time to avoid the heat generated by the oven and stove top.

It allows you to buy and cook cheaper cuts of meat without sacrificing flavor.

The process of slow cooking breaks down and softens up cheap cuts of meat that would otherwise be tough. That means you can stretch your grocery budget and still eat delicious meals.

It makes the house smell glorious.

There is nothing better than walking in the door to a house the smells of delicious roasted meat or soup. Trust me.

You can make more than you think with a crock pot.

I have an entire pinboard on Pinterest devoted to crock pot cooking, and I’ve been shocked at how many different recipes you can make. It’s not just soup and roasts. The crock pot can make it easier to prepare pasta dishes, casseroles, dips, and even drinks and desserts.

What’s your favorite crock pot recipe or web site? I’m always looking for new ideas!

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