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?
Some appliances can save us time and money. They can keep us eating right even at the end of a busy day. Here are a few of my favorites.
The main problem with eating at home and eating healthy is how much time it takes. Food needs to be thawed, prepared, and cooked. We don’t always have time for that. Nor do we want to eat nothing but microwavable meals. That’s why I recommend getting a slow cooker. You fill them up in the morning and turn it on. It takes all day to cook and I still have time to chase my toddler or run to the store. If you work outside the home it’s even more helpful. Imagine being able to come home to a home cooked meal in the evening that is already prepared and ready to eat. This will reduce the costs of eating out considerably.
George Foreman Grill
I love this particular appliance for a few reasons. First it automatically drains the grease out of our food while you’re grilling it. Second it’s small and produces less heat on really hot days. Third, it’s portable, so if you are in a hotel room, but want to make something small instead of buying overpriced hotel food or take out, you can. Last but not least, it sits further back on our counter and there is less of a chance of our toddler touching it while I’m cooking.
My parents had a freezer in our garage. They stored everything in it. There was bread, milk, meat, and frozen vegetables. It was one of the ways they would store food in case there was a hard month. This is also helpful if you find freezable items on sale and want to stock up. We just wrote the date we got it on the packaging and used what we had first bought first. Yes, it took more time to thaw food out, but at the same time it was less likely that we would run out of an ingredient and order take out instead of eating healthy.
I love my Crock-Pot! Funny enough, I’ve finally been able to get my husband to do some cooking thanks to showing him how easy it is to cook meat using the slow cooker. With warm weather approaching, it’s a great time to pull out the slow cooker and avoid heating up your whole house making dinner. So here’s to trying new recipes and enjoying the classics with this FREE Slow Cooker eBook available HERE.