So you bought ten pounds of pork for only $1.50 a pound, or scored a few whole chickens from your backyard homestead neighbor. Dinner for weeks!… you think, but… now what? How to cook all that cheap meat you just got, assuming you are a meat eater?
Slow cooking has been a time saver for families for ages. Tough meat that would otherwise be hard to eat can simmer for hours in a pot, growing soft and tender. The trouble was that someone had to be watching the pot all day, something that’s hard to do in our modern, busy lifestyles. When the slow cooker, or Crock-Pot, as the brand name is, was invented a few decades ago, it was instantly popular. Because it cooked food at a low, constant, heat, without needing to be warmed by a flame or oven, parents could flip it on in the morning, go to work, and return home to a warm, nearly effortless meal. Since most cheap cuts of meat and vegetables generally require somewhat long cooking times, a slow cooker can be a great help to a thrifty lifestyle, as you can cook a cheap, nutritious meal very easily. Below is a basic recipe that works for nearly any cheap cut of meat, but this is only a guide—feel free to add your own vegetables or spices, and adjust cooking times to your preference.
- Chop up veggies. Onions and carrots go with almost every meat. Celery is cheap and is often used with poultry. Toss those in the bottom of the crock pot.
- You don’t need to add liquid, since fat will melt off the meat when cooking, but if you wish to, pour in a cup or two of water or broth.
- Pat dry your meat. Shake on some spices. Salt, pepper, and garlic powder are good basic flavors that go with almost everything.
- Turn on the slow cooker! If you need a meal within 4-5 hours, flip it on high. Otherwise, especially for tough cuts of beef or pork, cooking on low for an average of 8 hours will yield a more tender meal.
There you go! You have an extremely basic slow cooker meal! Again, this is a just a starting point—part of the fun is being able to experiment on your own! What are some of your favorite slow cooker recipes?
Life happens! One minute you are ready to tackle the day, plan your meals for the week and the next minute your sitting in a doctor’s office with your daughter who developed a crazy looking rash. A crazy Monday it was, but today is a new day and my family wants food tonight!
If you’ve ever had the Monday I did, you understand, but our families must still eat, and I still must plan it out so we can save some money! Here’s what’s on the agenda for the rest of the week.
Macaroni and cheese with hot dogs-Hey, don’t knock it before you try it. It’s a family favorite and I try to make it as healthy as possible by using healthier hot dogs and making the macaroni and cheese from scratch. THIS is an amazing recipe and I usually have these ingredients in my house.
I also like to serve this with steamed broccoli. Maybe it’s the cheese in the mac and cheese that makes it sound so good!
Shrimp Casserole with green beans.
This is a HUGE family favorite and it’s super easy to make. Shrimp is kind of expensive too, but it’s a nice treat if you find it frozen and on sale. HERE is the recipe I use.
Pizza Casserole with green salad.
If you haven’t noticed casseroles are big around here. They are easy. They are quick and they make amazing leftovers and save me time and money for lunch the next day. THIS recipe is crazy easy and the kids LOVE it!
Crockpot beef stroganoff with leftover salad.
I have listed this on my meal plans several times and if you still haven’t made it, try it! Your family really will love it. Also since I made salad on Thursday, I’ll have leftovers which will make one less thing to cook Friday night! I always have tons of leftovers from this recipe as well and it freezes so great!
It’s grilling night! Fortunately the husband does most of the cooking if I get it ready. So this weekend it’s the very typical steaks marinated with italian dressing with baked potatoes and grilled veggies. The real treat will be our grilled dessert! Did you know you can make dessert on the grill!? My favorite is grilled pound cake with berries. It’s the perfect time of year for it too. Check out THIS recipe that I use.
And this mommy rested…
Wow, this week is going to be crazy, so knowing what we are going to eat will be a nice reprieve from CSSGB exam the busyness. This week we have weddings, family, 4th of July celebrations and more weddings! My meal plan this week is an absolute!
So here ya go! Enjoy! I know we will
Easy Butter Chicken and Rice
OMG, this is DIVINE. If you love more ethnic foods or Indian, TRY THIS DISH. It’s super easy and I had ALL the ingredients at my house, so I was cooking from my pantry which always saves money!
Fried pork chops-With this I just flour them and fry in oil tuning a few times until they are done.
Rice/Gravy-I make my gravy out of the leftover oil drippings, but I suggest Googling a recipe since it can be kind of hard to do until you get used to it. 000-958
Yummy bbq is on the menu. We will most likely grill some chicken!
Are you looking for an awesome desert for 4th of July? Try THIS one. It’s an American Flag cookie pizza. Soooooooo good!
Pulled chicken sandwhiches-We will have leftover chicken from the 4th of July, so we will keep it, shred it, and throw it into a crockpot for about 6 hours on low with some BBQ sauce. These sandwiches hit the spot!
We also always have leftover sides as well so those are great to go with your pulled chicken sandwiches.
Sub sandwiches-This is my husband’s favorite, because I hate when he goes to Subway and spends $5 on a meal for one when we could spend a little more and feed our fabulous 4 homemade sub sandwiches. We just get everything we like on the sandwiches from the store and make them all at home. It’s super easy! We also let the kids just throw whatever they want on them. Easy, fun Friday dinner!
It’s Monday and I am meal planning. Have you tried it yet? It’s a great way to save money! This week is kind of weird for us because we are going out of town so I only have 4 days planned. Don’t worry, I’ll be back at it next week!
Spaghetti-I have this in the freezer from the last time we made it. So this will be super easy!
Chili Dogs-What can I say? We are creatures of habit.
Breakfast for Dinner!
Chicken Spaghetti-I love my mama for this exact recipe and you’ll love Thrifty Divas!
Off on a family vacation!
Please share with us your meal plans. I need more ideas from our readers!