Getting the most from your slow cooker.

Using a slow cooker is a great way to help you save money, and food waste, in the kitchen! It costs around 20 cents in energy to leave it running for 8 hours, which is a really cost-effective way for cooking up a big batch of something delicious! Make everything from stews, curries and even desserts in an easy to use slow cooker. Just simply add your ingredients and let the machine do the work.

Here are some simple ways to save money and food by utilising a slow cooker:

Prepare for your meal the night before

If mornings are rushed, streamline your slow-cooked meal prep by assembling everything the night before. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker dish, cover, and refrigerate overnight. To optimize cooking, allow the dish to come to room temperature for about 20 minutes after removing it from the fridge in the morning before turning on the cooker. Alternatively, if heating ingredients beforehand is necessary, store them separately and combine in the slow cooker just before starting the cooking process.

Use Up Leftovers Creatively

Don’t let leftovers go to waste. Got vegetables or meat lingering in the fridge? Throw them into your slow cooker with some broth and spices to create a delicious stew or soup. It’s like getting a new meal for free! Got leftover chicken in your fridge? Why not give our leftover lemon chicken tagine recipe a crack!

Embrace Economical Cuts of Meat

Slow cookers excel at preparing economical cuts such as beef brisket, slow cooked beef, pork shoulder, lamb shoulder, and chicken thighs. They’re ideal for extracting rich meaty flavours that infuse the entire dish, allowing you to use smaller portions of meat. To enhance your meal, consider adding more vegetables for added texture and nutrition.

Layer Flavours for Depth

Take the time to brown meat and sauté vegetables before adding them to your slow cooker. This simple step enhances flavours naturally, reducing the need for expensive seasonings and additives.

Control Moisture for Better Results

Since slow cookers maintain a tight seal with their lids, liquids do not evaporate as they would in traditional cooking methods. When adjusting a standard recipe for a slow cooker, consider reducing the liquid by about one-third. Aim for enough liquid to just cover the meat and vegetables. Avoid overfilling the cooker to prevent leaks and ensure even cooking. Ideally, fill it halfway to two-thirds full, ensuring not to exceed three-quarters full for optimal cooking results.

Adjust Cooking Times for Efficiency

Different recipes may require varying cooking times. Adjust settings based on ingredients to prevent overcooking, ensuring your meals are perfectly cooked without wasting energy.

Right-Size Your Portions

Fill your slow cooker appropriately – too full or too empty can affect cooking times and results. Cooking the right amount means fewer leftovers and less food waste waste.

Store and Reinvent

Store leftovers properly and creatively repurpose them. Freeze leftover stews for quick dinners later, or transform them into wraps or pies to extend meals and reduce the need for additional groceries.

By harnessing the power of your slow cooker, you’re not only saving time and effort but also contributing to a more sustainable kitchen and a healthier bank balance. Every meal prepared with care and foresight reduces waste and supports financial well-being. For more tips on saving money through smart cooking and reducing food waste, check out our community tips. Together, let’s cook smarter, waste less, and enjoy more!