December 2, 2016

When You Don’t Have Time to Cook

One of the biggest reasons people give as why they do not cook their own food is, “I don’t have enough time.”  I wonder, is it they don’t have time, or they don’t want to make time?  No time to cook, but has enough time to sit and watch the latest Snooki shenanigans or who got kicked off ____ (fill in reality show name here).  Hmmm…

For those readers who truly want to start cooking more, but feel they do not have time, here is a good solution:  the crockpot!  I recently rediscovered mine and I am using it nonstop.

When I first got it, I was afraid to use it as I had a fear of leaving things plugged in.  But the crockpot uses such low heat, it is not like leaving an iron or the stove on when you leave.  Make sure it is on a flat surface, and not touching anything else, like plastic that can melt.

You set it to cook on low when you leave for work in the morning; by the time you get home you have a meal!  It’s even easier that stopping off at McDonalds!

Another reason I did not like to use it was:  Not enough time to set up in the morning.  My solution is, set up the crockpot ingredients the night before.  Then all you have to do is throw them into the crockpot, set it on low, before you run out the door in the morning.

If you have one, dust it off and try it out, while it’s summertime with no school and less kids’ sports and activities.  Now is the time to experiment with it.  If you are clueless about slow cooker recipes as I was, check out this cool website that posts pictures of what the dishes look like:

http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2007/12/alphabetical-listing-of-recipes.html  I think is was previously known as A Year of Slow Cooking website.  Another good resource is the Fix It and Forget It Cookbook by Phyllis Pelman Good.Most slow cooker recipes are very easy and quick to set up.  And if you do it consistently, you’ll be rewarded with a hot meal when you get home.

 

 


13 Comments on When You Don’t Have Time to Cook

  1. I need to use mine more most defenitley. I have settings on it and it is a nice one too. people even make jam with theirs overnight. My biggest concern is the meals being healthy but you can make soups that are pretty simple and then have them ready. With football season here for my son, we get home to late to start cooking so I need to be doing this. Thanks for bringing it up!

    • Hi Clarissa, I’ve had mine for several years as well, I literally had to dust it off! It’s so easy and economical, I don’t know why I waited so long to use it.

  2. I thought I might mention that Crock Pots are a thift store staple. I pre-owned CP can often be found for $5 or less. Great for those beans!

    Of course, I have a fancy stainless model with all the bells and whistles 🙂

    — Gaye

    • Good point Gaye, thrift stores are a great source for Crock Pots for anyone who does not own one already. Maybe I’ll get lucky and snag a fancy one like yours!

  3. I use my crockpot fairly regularly. So many of the recipes call for cream of something soup, which I try to avoid unless I need a meal in a pot. One of my favorite ways to use a crockpot is just to roast a whole chicken. It’s simple and requires no effort. Add a side of rice and steamed veggies, and it’s a complete meal.

    • Hi Bitsy, I have never tried cooking a whole uncut chicken in a crockpot before. I am sure nothing could be easier. Thanks for the idea, I will try it.

    • If you have a good chili recipe, please share! We really like chili in our house, but I have not found “THE” recipe yet.

  4. LOVE my crockpot! In fact, I have more than one. The first was my grandmother’s, so it’s been around quite a while and still works great.

    A newer, larger one I received as a gift feeds our large family a little easier and also has a “keep warm” feature so that if you are running late, the food isn’t overdone or dried out when you get home. You set the time to cook for however long you want and then it will automatically drop down to “warm” after that time expires.

    I have several crockpot cookbooks now and I should do a review of a few on our blog. One of the best parts to me is that just about any recipe will double as a Dutch oven recipe if you are campfire cooking or want to use the potbelly wood stove to simmer dinner.

    Another reason I love them is that I’ve been able to cheat when I’m running behind or forget to move meats from freezer to fridge to thaw in time. I’ve used partially frozen meat plenty of times (just added a little more time on LOW) with good success.

    Here is an adaption of one of my favorite recipes from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger.

    3 lb stew meat, cut into small chunks
    1 c flour
    Salt and pepper
    1/4 c olive oil
    2 med. onions (I use freeze-dried instead)
    3 carrots cut into rounds
    4 potatoes, diced
    1 c strong coffee (yep, coffee!)
    1/2 tsp dried thyme
    1/2 c dry red (or cooking) wine

    Coat beef with flour/salt/pepper mixture. Brown in oil. Transfer to slow cooker.

    Add everything else. Add water if necessary (I usually put in about 1 cup). Cover and cook on LOW 6-8 hours.

    This is SO GOOD. Add a little cornbread with real butter on it and it’s perfect. Okay, follow it up with something chocolate- Now it’s perfect!

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