If you don't use a slow cooker…..I have to ask you a simple question…WHY NOT? It is one of the best inventions since sliced bread! 🙂 I use my slow cooker a LOT…so much in fact that the handles fell off my slow cooker recently and I had to get a new one! I came up with a list of slow cooker hacks to save you time and money! Let's slow cook our way through winter!!
Slow Cooker Hacks to Save You Time and Money
Just Use It
Okay…a little play on Nike's Motto….Just Do It! 🙄 Honestly…if you aren't using your slow cooker regularly…you are missing out on a basic way to save some money. Slow Cooker's use a fraction of the energy that an electric oven uses…and over time this will save you money. I have read that a crock pot uses about 75% less energy than an electric oven!
Most of the recipes you make in the slow cooker should be left alone to cook undisturbed! Unless the recipe specifically says to stir the food every so often…DO NOT TAKE OFF THE LID! I know…it is hard to resist opening the lid to see or smell your creation…but just don't do it! You are letting the heat escape and it will take longer for the food to cook properly. In fact for each peek you take it could add 15-20 minutes of cooking time! EEK….just don't Peek!
Cut Root Veggies Thin and Small
Root vegetables typically take longer to cook. When cooking them in the slow cooker it works best to put them closest to the heat source…so on the bottom of the slow cooker. I also like to cut them up small and thin for quicker cooking. I don't like to take a bite of vegetable soup and find my carrots or potatoes crunchy!
Prepare the Night Before
If mornings are hectic at your house and you never seem to find the time in the morning to get your dinner into the crock pot…just do it the night before! My slow cooker has a removable pot. I just get everything ready in the pot and put the lid on and stick it in the refrigerator. In the morning I just pop the pot in and turn the slow cooker on and am off to work!
Use the Correct Size Slow Cooker
There are a lot of different sizes for slow cookers. I actually have 2 slow cookers and I base which one to use on what I am making! Your slow cooker should be filled one-half to three-quarters of the way full for the best results. Food will taste better and be more tender when you use the proper size crock pot!
Save Money on Cheaper Cuts of Meat
You can easily use cheaper cuts of meat when using the slow cooker! The slow cooker gets meats really tender…even tougher cuts of meat. Trim off as much fat as you can beforehand and you will be shocked that you are eating a cheaper cut of meat! This is a great way to save some money on your grocery bill. I will make a roast with a cheaper cut of beef in the crock pot and it will turn out tender and amazing…I throw in some veggies and it is a one pot meal!
Keep it Simple
The best part of using a slow cooker is that it is supposed to be easier and take less time! If you find slow cooker recipes that call for a lot of steps that involve adding foods every time you turn around…I would run! I will make recipes that require you to add pasta, rice, etc during the last 30 minutes or hour…other than that I want to add it all in the morning and be done with it until it is ready to eat!
What is your favorite slow cooker hack? What is your favorite meal to fix in your slow cooker? Here are a few of my favorites slow cooker recipes…….3 Ingredient Pulled Pork, Cajun Ham and Beans, and Crock Pot Peanut Clusters.