There are really two basic reasons folks like to cook with a crock pot, also called a slow cooker. One reason is to save time, the other is to save money. Let’s see if there is any truth to either of those reasons.
Save Time With a Crock Pot – Saving time with a “slow cooker” is not quite the oxymoron that it appears to be. Yes, your meal will cook for a long time, but the time savings comes in the fact that you are not there to watch over it! You can go about your business and not even think about your meal for hours.
Gone are the days of someone being home all day to prepare the family meals. In this day and age of the busy, scattered family, we need to rely on more than one person to get dinner on the table. Because using a crock pot doesn’t expose youngsters to hot burners and open flames, getting the little ones in the family, and the less experienced cooks, involved becomes much easier. Simply having someone there to help throw ingredients into the crock pot can be a big help. Now, it’s a joint venture and meal preparation is shared, freeing up some much needed time for you to focus on other chores.
Standing over a stove, watching a pot boil, is certainly time wasted. We all know what it’s like to monitor some soup or stew as it simmers on top of the stove, constantly checking its progress. Putting that same soup together in a crock pot, then walking away, frees up hours and hours of your time – time in which you can accomplish another task!
There is no such thing as a quick stop at the grocery store. But, when you’re running late and there is no dinner planned, you think you can do just that – make a quick stop. After a half hour or more wandering around the aisles of the grocery store, you find yourself grabbing a few prepackaged meals and heading home. Now, you’ve not only put off dinner until later, but you’ve spent money on food you didn’t really want to eat, or feed your family. With a crock pot meal planned and shopped for ahead of time, you can add that 30 minutes on to the end of your busy day and spend it with your family, instead of running around the grocery store.
Save Money With a Crock Pot – You’ve got to cook dinner anyway, so how can cooking in a crock pot save money? Food is food – it all costs the same, right? But, there are a couple ways that you can save money both in the grocery store and on your energy bill when you use a crock pot.
March right past those expensive cuts of meat in your grocery store’s meat department and head over to the budget cuts. Yes, those less expensive cuts of meat such as rump roasts, pork shoulders, and briskets make the perfect choice for a crock pot meal. Why? Because more expensive cuts tend to cook apart in a crock pot, losing their texture very quickly. Budget cuts with more sinew and other connective tissue hold up better, while those fibers break down in the crock pots environment, ending up with a perfectly tender and succulent meat. The slow, low cooking method is perfect for less expensive cuts of meat, while the moisture trapped inside the crock pot keeps the meat juicy. You can provide a wonderful meal for your family without spending the extra money on expensive ingredients!
Even though you would cook a pot roast in the oven for half as long as you would cook it in a crock pot, the oven uses a lot more energy. Your oven uses 2500 watts, while a crock pot is normally rated at about 200 watts. That means that a 3 hour pot roast in the oven uses 10 kWh, while a 6 hour pot roast in the crock pot uses about 1.2 kWh. These are estimates, of course, but you must admit that even the most efficient full-sized oven can’t compete with a crock pot when it comes to energy savings. A crock pot can be considered a miniature oven just to get an idea of how and why it would save you money spent on your energy bill.
When the evening rush is upon you, it’s not the time to start panicking about dinner. If you’ve ever had to call the spouse to stop and pick up dinner somewhere, you know how much money that just cost you. Your family food budget cannot survive many of those last minute meal decisions. Instead, as you’re driving the family around after work and school, stopping for piano lessons, shopping for some school event, or running any of those last minute errands, your crock pot can be working for you, cooking a great, hearty meal for the whole family to enjoy when you finally come in through the door. No call for take out, no more money wasted on instant meals!
Save Both Time and Money With a Crock Pot – With a larger crock pot, say a 6 quart size, you can put together a big meal, cook it once, and plan to turn the leftovers into several more meals that will last the rest of the week. If you normally buy a lunch out every day, you can also save money by bringing your own home-cooked meal to work. Along with that, you can skip running around for lunch, saving your time for something more important. By cooking more than one meal in the same eight hour period of time, you are also saving energy. Cooking once and eating, two, three, or more times is a big way to save on both time and money.
These arguments for cooking with a crock pot to save both time and money should be sufficient to convince most folks. If that’s not enough, consider your sanity. You have a busy family and when everyone is hollering about what’s for dinner, you can finally relax and say “look in the crock pot!”