During the first few months of the year, my schedule gets really busy. I have one child who plays basketball for his school and two other kids who are on a dance team that performs during halftime for these and other games. So, by the time my kids get home from school and get ready to go to the games my family is left with little time to prepare a healthy, home cooked meal. Instead we are forced to buy junk at the concession stand or eat out at a fast food restaurant. This is not very healthy for my family nor is it very good on our budget. My secret weapon to surviving these nights has been my Crock Pot. My Crock Pot saves me time by having dinner pretty much ready to go and also saves me from spending more money than I would have on a regular home cooked meal. Here are a few ideas to let your Crock Pot be your secret weapon for saving time and money on busy family nights.
Buy Budget Cut Meats
Using the Crock Pot allows me to use budget cuts of meat. For example, I can buy a cheaper cut of steak that would probably be tough if cooked on the stove or grill, and it comes out tender in the Crock Pot. I can then use this steak in steak fajitas and not have much more work to do to prepare dinner. I can also buy bulk chicken that usually is a cheaper cut and also gets tough when cooking on the stove. This chicken taste great prepared in meals in my Crock Pot like Chicken Taco Soup. Buying these budget cuts and using your Crock Pot will save you money on quick, easy, and healthy meals for your family on busy nights.
Use Crock Pot Websites
One thing that is really important to having success with the Crock Pot is to find the right recipes. If you go browsing the web, you will find a large number of sites and blogs with information and recipes on using your Crock Pot. Many of these have tested the recipe, so you know they were edible for other families. This will prevent you from wasting money on trying a new recipe and ending up throwing it in the garbage. Here are a few of my favorite Crock Pot websites that I use to find new ideas and recipes.
Use Crock Pot Cookbooks
I have found some really great recipes by using recipe books that are filled with great Crock Pot recipes. Many of these types of recipe books are available at your local library, if the library does not have them then ask them about ordering them. This will save you money on buying the cookbook and then if you really like it you can spend the money on buying the book. Here are a few of my favorite Crock Pot cookbooks.