5 Reasons You Need to Use Your Slow Cooker Every Single Week

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5 reasons to use your slow cooker

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Update: Today (8/26/16), Amazon has this Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker on sale for $39.99, which is the lowest price I’ve seen it at! Go HERE to check it out. 

I was just dumping dinner in Mrs. Potts (I love her . . . ) and was reminded once again of all the reasons I love slow cooking. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it completely limits your options to go over your budget.

 

Of course, because it seems like everything online has to start with a list these days (I’ll never understand why, but since it works I’m sticking with it. . .), here are my top 5 reasons to use my slow cooker every single week. (And why you should too!)

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1. It’s easy.

Most slow cooker recipes require 5-10 minutes of prep work, so you can get dinner started early in the day with just a few minutes of planning. I rarely (ever?) pre-cook my meat ahead of time, and it always turns out well!

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(Um, that may not be true. I sometimes cook ground beef ahead of time, unless I remember to use this slow cooker ground beef recipe the day before to cook the meat. It just depends on how much of a hurry I’m in!)

2. It’s cheap.

Most slow cooker recipes use inexpensive meats, and because you’re cooking them over the course of a day they have plenty of time to tenderize. My slow cooker recipes cost so much less than just about anything else I make, and we eat better than if we headed out to a restaurant.

 

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3. It forces me to plan ahead.

Using my slow cooker once a week forces me to plan my meals ahead so that I know what to dump in Mrs. Potts at least once a week. Because we have 3 or 4 favorite slow cooker recipes that require 5 or fewer ingredients, I always have the ingredient list for those items tucked away in my head and can easily run into the store and grab them. (In case I don’t already have them on hand in my kitchen . . . usually I try to keep those recipes stocked though!)

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4. It ensures that we skip the drive thru.

This is probably my absolute favorite reason to use the slow cooker, and I can’t stress to you the importance of this one enough. When 6 o’clock rolls around and my family is all begging for dinner, having a meal already cooking in Mrs. Potts easily keeps my budget in tact.

If dinnertime comes and I don’t have anything planned, the temptation to eat dinner out (or eat pb&j sandwiches for dinner . . . again . . . ) often takes over. But if my kitchen smells yummy and dinner’s already done, eating at home just becomes the easy choice.

 

ranch chicken tacos

5. It’s forgiving.

Probably more than any other method of cooking, slow cooker recipes are just forgiving. If I’m out of a certain seasoning or spice I can usually swap it out with something else or skip it entirely, and no one will ever know the difference.

 

UPDATE: Reason #6 🙂 It makes your home smell good, which makes you feel good too.

I love this. 🙂 Coming home to my home smelling yummy and dinner being done just makes me feel ahead of the game. In so many other areas I’m so not on top of things, that it just feels good to know I have it together in one small area of my life (and my family appreciates it too.)

 

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Curious what our family’s favorite slow cooker recipes are? Here you go:

  1. Slow Cooked Italian Beef Sliders
  2. Slow Cooked Chicken & Dumplings
  3. Slow Cooked Italian Beef
  4. Slow Cooked French Dip Sliders
  5. Slow Cooked Chicken Tortilla Soup
  6. Slow Cooked Creamy Italian Chicken
  7. Ranch House Slow Cooked Pork Chops
  8. Slow Cooked Chicken & Dressing
  9. Rotisserie Style Chicken
  10. Open Faced Sirloin Sandwich
  11. Perfect Slow Cooked Pot Roast
  12. Slow Cooker Chicken Minestrone Soup
  13. Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken Tacos
  14. Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
  15. Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup
  16. Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili 
  17. Taco Meat in the Slow Cooker
  18. JUST ADDED: 6 Can 21 Day Fix Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

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And in case you’re wondering what slow cooker I use, I have this one (which honestly I wouldn’t recommend – it cooks very quickly and there are better prices on higher quality slow cookers out there.) Here are a few great slow cookers though that are priced reasonably right now:

 

Do you love using your slow cooker too? I’d love to hear your favorite slow cooker recipes in the comments – leave a comment to share!
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Comments

  1. RitaCorvelli says:

    I get discouraged at the price of beef. Where do you find good deals, and what’s a good price on beef(not ground beef)?

    • You’re so right Rita – beef is priced crazy high right now! I’ve heard folks mention great prices on beef if you can purchase half a cow (read more here _
      http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/05/how-do-you-stock-up-on-meat/)

      Since we don’t have room for that in our freezer, I usually wait for beef to go on sale. Kroger and Giant in our area both occasionally have beef cuts on sale buy one get one free, and I’ll usually buy either 2 or 4 roasts at that time (we don’t buy steak hardly at all, so I’m not sure what a good price is on that, but the ones we’ve purchased a very few times at Costco have been worth every penny!) I would save for beef though I try to pay less than $4 a pound, and definitely stock up if I see it for less than $3 per pound. Hope that helps!

  2. Amy Cernauskas says:

    GREAT article–I linked it in my blog at http://realityofamommy.blogspot.com/2015/10/cooking-for-twothreefouror-more.html today. I love my slow cooker—it’s almost a crazy addiction to see how much I can make from it weekly.

  3. I have 5 slow cookers (yes I know too many but I just kept trying different ones!) and I have to say that my ninja is my absolute favorite one. I liked it so much and talked about it so much that my dad bought me another one for Christmas (it’s the 3 in one cooker – a little fancier than the one I had). I’ve went through several that boiled while on low so I was afraid to set and leave. The ninja is so cool cause I can flour and brown my roast, then add other ingredients. It is so easy to clean. No more soaking or even using a reynolds liner. My next favorite is the Hamilton Beach set and forget. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Renae for sharing! I haven’t even heard of the ninja one so I’m going to check it out. It would be so nice to have one that wasn’t quite so hot (although it is handy when I need dinner in a hurry!)

  4. If you find your slow cooker cooks too quickly, seems too hot, or actually boils, you probably don’t have it full enough. They have to be at the very least 2/3 full but 3/4 or right to the tops seems better.

    • Thanks for sharing Ellen! I think that may be part of it, but even on full it just cooks FAST. Sometimes I don’t mind (especially if I forget to get dinner started early in the day), but I need to find one that works a little better!

  5. PPP is the only blog I always want to read! Now the Hamilton set and forget is alittle to hot. I try using everyday ( love a second pot). I would like more info on cooking ground meat in a crock pot. I use ground turkey. Can it be done and if yes what is the best way?

  6. beverly touart says:

    I use my crock pot to cook a whole package of boneless skinless chicken with old bay seasoning and the freeze into portions. I then use them throughout the week for chicken salad, chicken dumplings, chicken rice, chicken quesadillas, etc.

  7. Dianne Edwards says:

    Wow! Nine of your seventeen crock pot recipes use chicken! I’ve been married almost 48 years and never cooked a chicken or turkey! (My husband is deathly allergic to any form of poultry….eggs, too.) I know chicken is nutritious and inexpensive, but could you have a few more recipes with beef and/or pork? Please? Maybe?

    • We do eat a lot of chicken here at our house, and it seems to cook the best in the slow cooker Dianne! As I’m working on new recipes I’ll try to look for more ones that include beef. Thanks for saying something!

  8. My favorite crockpot recipe isn’t really a recipe but it is really good. Put salt, pepper and garlic powder on turkey thighs (chicken might work too) lay in bottom of crock pot. cook about 4-6 hrs and it will brown some and make its own gravy to thicken or not. Delicious with mashed potatoes or biscuits.

  9. Did you know if your handles break a or become loose on crock pot items crock pot will replace them, they consider this a hazard.
    Nice that crockpot does this my crockpot was 30 years old and they replaced the unit. Since my handles broke. At no charge.
    Just call the 800cont email them.

  10. I was wondering could these meals be prepared and frozen in advance to pull out as needed? My husband is working out of town for now and he tends to eat out mostly because it’s easy at the end of a long day. I’d rather that he eat healthier and save some money with a good home cooked meal. Any ideas?

  11. I have found, since its now just my husband and me, that the casserole crock (2.5 or 3.5 quarts, I can’t remember) works the best. And still have leftovers for lunch

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