Cooking a meal at the end of a long workday can take some time that many people are not willing to spend. A Harvard Business Review study showed that only 10% of Americans actually love cooking. This is not surprising as people are working more and wanting to spend less time in the kitchen.
Research has shown that on average Americans spend $3,365 eating out, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just like much of the statistical information I read, this number seems to be a little low to me. It may depend on the area you live in the country, but where I live try going out at dinner time to any traditional chain restaurant and there is a good chance of having to wait for a seat.
Eating out can be expensive and it is generally not healthy. Using a slow cooker is an easy way to plan meals for saving money and also to save time to make it more convenient.
What are the Benefits of Cooking with a Crock-Pot
• The ease of cooking with a slow cooker is really one of the best parts about it. Put the ingredients together in the morning and turn it on. At the end of the day, there is a meal waiting. Because an entire meal can be prepared in a crock-pot, cleanup is easy and quick.
- It should come as no surprise that eating at home is healthier than dining out. Restaurant food is more likely to be higher in sugar and sodium. The end result from eating out is a meal that is much higher in calories compared to one prepared at home. Furthermore, restaurants like to dish out large portions. If the food is good, there is more to eat. These large portions are almost always much more than health experts recommend eating.
- Cooking at home also results in less grease and oil. In addition, you know what is in the food if allergies need to be taken into consideration. The chance of food poisoning is also less. There are health standards restaurants need to meet, but you never know who may not be following the rules.
3. Cook in Quantity
- With a crock-pot leftovers are easily saved and frozen for a quick meal heat up at a later time. For someone living by themselves, a large portion can be prepared and saved for the future. This just might eliminate the urge to dine out just one more time during the week.
- Larger cuts of meat can also be purchased, which is cheaper than buying smaller quantities. For example, a whole chicken could be prepared compared to just buying chicken breasts. Instead of pork chops, a whole pork shoulder could be cooked. The leftovers from these are easily turned into another meal.
4. Meat Lovers on a Budget
- Because a slow cooker does just this and cooks slowly, meat considered tough or many times undesirable can be used. If cooked properly, the result will be a tender delicious meal. Cuts of meat that are not prime are less expensive. This is a great way to get a meaty meal at a cost reduction compared to going out and getting a New York strip.
5. Energy Savings
- A crock-pot uses less energy compared to a traditional stove or cooktop. This may not save a ton of money, but there is a saving.
Want to Stop Eating Out to Save Money?
One of the quickest ways to spend a lot of money each month is to constantly eat out. There is a convenience to doing this, but there are also some real consequences to it just being expensive.
Eating out on a consistent basis is unhealthy. If fast food is the common choice for many meals, this is even worse. There is a reason fast food is commonly cheaper compared to a restaurant. Fast food needs to be made as cheaply as possible and as quickly as it can. The result is a processed meal that is chemically treated. Even many restaurants will use preservatives that can be harmful.
My view on eating out is one that is realistic. Like anyone else, I like to eat out once in a while. I even on occasion indulge in one of those chemically treated meals. However, I stick to not making it a habit.
Using a crock-pot is one of the easiest ways to prepare a good meal with little cleanup. It will not only save time and money but eating at home is more healthy. For anyone starting a diet, trying eating at home more and it will be no time before seeing results.
Here is a simple slow cooker recipe for a pork shoulder I recently prepared. With a side of mashed potatoes and spinach the total cost was about $12 to feed my family of three.
Garlic Pork Shoulder
- 1 Pork Shoulder
- 1 Cup of White Wine
- 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 7 Garlic Cloves
- Salt and Pepper
Mix all of the seasons together and put it all over the pork shoulder. Cut holes in the pork and fill it with the 7 cloves of garlic. The wine and pork go into the crock-pot for about 8 hours depending on the size. Cook it on slow throughout the day and it will be ready for supper in the evening.