Money Mondays: When You Don’t Have Time to Cook

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

One of the biggest reasons people give as to why they don’t cook at home is, “I don’t have enough time.”  I can certainly relate.  I work full time, and write this blog after hours.  After a busy day at work, it is really hard to get motivated to do anything, much less cook a dish that takes a long time to make.  But the family still has to eat dinner and eating out every night can get expensive very quickly.   Cutting down on meals out is part of our strategy to have enough money for emergency preparedness.


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

When I first got it, I was afraid to use it as I had a fear of leaving things plugged in when I left the house.  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.  Leave them in the fridge within easy reach.  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.  I use mine so much I even learned to make yogurt in one.

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.


Recipe Sources:

This site has lots of great recipes:

Another good resource is the Fix It and Forget It Cookbook by Phyllis Pelman Good.  Pinterest is also a great source and here is a sampling of some good ones from Buzzfeed.

Sample recipe:

The following is a sample recipe shared by reader Laura:

“Here is an adaptation 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
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!”

Slow Cookers

You can usually find a good selection of slow cookers at thrift stores for around $5.   However, even the new ones are so inexpensive.

For my small space, this basic Crock Pot is good enough:

Crock-Pot 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker

This is a slightly larger one with a digital timer:

Crock-Pot® 4 qt. Count Down Slow Cooker with Built-in Timer Removable Ceramic Bowl

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.


© Apartment Prepper 2017

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