Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Frugal Living - Slow Cooker & Batch Prep

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to bake, but I despise cooking.  The drudgery of deciding what to make every night is draining to me.  The nearest grocery store is 15 miles away so there isn't a "wing it" dinner.  Meals need to be planned to make sure we have all the ingredients.

Since I hate cooking, I love my slow cooker.  Throw some food in and let it go.  It's done when I get home.  How can it get any better?  Well, if I had a personal chef it would be better, but I don't, so I do this.

After work today, I did the drudgery of shopping.  I had my meals planned and my list in hand when I hit my Aldi store to get all my groceries.

When I got home, I prepped everything and put it in labeled bags with any additional instructions.  For my Tortellini Soup, I need to add the tortellini about an hour before serving, so that instruction is on the bag.

All my veggies were cut at one time and nothing needed to be cooked ahead, so there are no dishes.  Another benefit of slow cooker or crock pot cooking.  Usually the only thing you need to wash is your crock pot.  It took me an hour to get everything together and I have 12 meals prepped.  All I have to do is pop them in the crock pot before I leave in the morning.

I do have ingredients for spaghetti as a back up in case I forget to dump something in the slow cooker before I leave in the morning.

On our menu for the next couple of weeks.....

Swiss Steak
Tortellini soup
Chicken & Dumplings
Cheesy chicken & rice
Soup pork chops  (pork chops with a can of chicken & rice soup)
Beef stew
Chicken leg quarters (add a packet of onion soup mix and some water) and I am making extra so I have leftover chicken to make a stir fry.
Balsamic vinegar chicken (this is a regular oven recipe that I'm making in the slow cooker instead)
BBQ Pork Chops
BBQ Chicken breast

If you're on Pinterest, you can find most the recipes on there.  I make life as easy as I can.

The great thing is that most of these recipes are naturally gluten free for those that need to follow a special diet, and they are pretty healthy so I can keep on track with my weight loss program.

Now I can settle in for the night and get my other chores done, knowing that cooking won't be on my agenda for the coming weeks.

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