I think it’s safe to say that the slow cooker is one of my favourite kitchen tools. After all, it cooks delicious meals with minimal effort! Not to mention it’s great to use in the summer when you don’t want to heat the house up.
Slow cookers are generally known for their skills at creating delicious stews and tender meats. But your slow cooker can do so much more! Read on to discover five unique ways to use your slow cooker.
It’s possible to make your own yogurt in a slow cooker! This is something that I’d love to try in the near future since I think it could save quite a bit of money. Try the Homemade Yogurt recipe from Mom on Time Out or try the Greek Yogurt from One Good Thing by Jillee.
Let the gift giving begin! You can easily make candles for gifts (or yourself) in your slow cooker! I think this is a great way to turn those candles that no longer burn because the wick is gone, into new candles. Learn how to make candles in your slow cooker over at A Year of Slow Cooking.
Make Baked Potatoes
I automatically assume that successful slow cooker recipes have to include some sort of liquid. But this slow cooker baked potato recipe proves me wrong!
I think this idea is genius. Make a loaf of bread in your slow cooker! This is great for the summer months when you don’t want to heat up the house! Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day shows you how to make a loaf of artisan bread in the slow cooker!
As seen from the unique slow cooker ideas I posted above, you’re not limited to dinner-type meals in the least. So, of course dessert can be made in a slow cooker! Why not try these Triple Chocolate Brownies from Martha Stewart?
Make French Fries
My daughter loves homemade French fries and I think this French Fry recipe from Practical Stewardship just made my life a whole lot easier!
Isn’t the slow cooker a neat appliance? What unique things have you made in your slow cooker? Will you be trying any of these ideas?
It is no secret that Ramen Noodles are a staple in every college student’s pantry. However, ramen noodles are not just for the college student, bachelor, or preschooler anymore. I have even found some organic brown rice ramen by Lotus Foods at Costco that we love, making it a healthy choice for our family! Even if you buy the budget friendly packs of ramen, there are quite a few healthy ways to spice up a package of the fried noodles.
How to Turn Ramen Noodles Into a Healthy Meal Idea
Ditch the Packet
Some people prefer ramen noodles simply because they are cheap, cheap, cheap. Others prefer them because of the beef, chicken, or oriental flavor that comes in the package. While that packet is full of flavor, it is also packed full of sodium and MSG. Make your meal a bit healthier, by ditching the packet, and adding your own herbs and flavoring. Boil the pasta in low sodium chicken or beef broth, and throw in some pepper and herbs, like thyme, or oregano.
Use Uncooked, as a Topping
That’s right. You can eat Ramen without cooking them, prior. Dig the recipe for your favorite Asian inspired salad out of your recipe box, and simply swap out the Asian noodles for Ramen Noodles. Just discard the seasoning packet and break the noodles up. Add them to your salad just before serving.
Instead of opting for burgers and fries, pull out a package of ramen, and some fresh or frozen veggies. Cook up chicken or beef pieces, and throw some in some veggies, with a bit of low sodium soy sauce. Meanwhile, cook the Ramen in either plain water, or low sodium beef or chicken broth. Once it is all done, simply toss it all together, and grab a bowl and a seat.
Make a Hearty Soup
There is nothing like a hot bowl of hearty soup, on a chilly evening. Gather the ingredients for your favorite soup, and toss it all in the slow cooker. When there are just a few minutes left of cooking time, add a packet or two of Ramen, minus the flavor packets, and you have yourself an easy, healthy meal.
Limit the amount you eat
Even if you dish up Ramen Noodles to be healthier, you still need to limit the amount you eat. Many carbs come from ramen noodles, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Which is why adding them to a salad as a topping or using it as a filler, is an excellent idea.
The great thing about Ramen is that it’s so inexpensive. Once you get rid of the packet and figure out how to make it into the perfect healthy dish, you are good to go.
I’d love to hear how you use ramen noodles! Let me know in the comments below!
We’ve all been there: pay day is still a week away and you only have $20 to your name. This might feel like a reason to panic, but the truth is, you have options. There are certain tips and tricks you can implement so you can make that $20 go its very farthest and get the most grocery bang for your buck. Take a look at these tip on how to get the most groceries for your dollar. So you can be sure to stretch your food budget the best you can until pay day arrives.
Purchase rice in bulk.
A 2 pound bag of rice will cost you about $2, especially if you buy generic. Rice is perfect for stuffing in tortillas, adding to casseroles, or serving as a side dish. You can even add some milk and sugar to it for rice pudding, and inexpensive dessert idea. ($2)
Purchase beans in bulk.
Consider a 2 pound bag of beans, perfect for using as a side dish, in soups or stews, or add them to wraps. They are full of protein, taste great, and cost pennies per serving. Just soak them to soften them and then cook to your liking. ($2)
Canned vegetables may cost less than fresh.
It can be hard to find fresh produce at a great price. If you can grab cucumbers or peppers for under $1 each grab them. If not, you may be better off buying canned. Head to a store such as Walmart or FreshCo where you can grab canned tomatoes, green beans, corn and peas for less than .80 cents a can. ($3)
Apples and bananas are your cheapest fruit option.
If you thought fresh vegetables were expensive, fresh fruit can be even worse! When you’re on a budget, fresh bananas and apples are your best options. Simple red lunch box apples run about .25 cents each, while bananas are around .70 cents per pound. This is a great way to get the fruit your body needs while staying on budget. ($3)
Powdered drink mixes are pennies per serving.
Beverages can be pricey, so instead, opt for water dressed up with a drink packet if you’re wanting something other than plain water. You can find powered drink mixes for pennies per serving. For calcium, milk may be pricey so opt for a few yogurt cups at .50 cents or so each. ($2)
Chicken will be your most budget friendly choice of meat.
You can often find chicken wings, drumsticks or thighs for a low price so this is your most budget friendly option. Dress them up with salad dressing or simple olive oil and salt and pepper. Some other cheap “meat” 😉 options include deli meat and of course, hot dogs. ($5)
Opt for day old bread choices.
Visit the day old bread store or raid the clearance bin at your local grocer for bread items under $1. Bread is perfect for sandwiches, making garlic bread, making croutons, etc. Plus if you find a great deal on it, you can freeze it. ($3)
Don’t let pay day being days away keep you from eating well. Keep these tips in mind for how to make the most of your grocery budget between pay days and see how much they can help!
How do you make your grocery budget stretch in between pay days?
I love this list of 15 Things You Didn’t know You Could Freeze from Money Saving Mom. Food waste is such a big budget buster so this is a great read!
I’m always looking for great dollar stretcher tips for our grocery budget and thought I’d share some of my favorites with you. These are great ways to make simple grocery items go further, therefore saving you money on your grocery budget. I love being able to feed my family great meals they love, but still stay on budget and meet our financial goals. 🙂
Dollar Stretcher Tips For Grocery Budgets
Add powdered milk to your milk.
If you’re feeling more adventurous this idea may be for you! (However, you may find you get used to the taste pretty quickly.) Split your 4L jug of milk into two cartons. Prepare a gallon of powdered milk and divide between the two now half gallons of milk. Mix together and use as normal. Powdered milk is much less expensive and mixing like this will still taste the same while saving you money on one of the most often purchased and used items for a family budget.
Add beans to more than just soups and chili.
Dry beans are always super cheap and easy to cook in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. I love making large batches of pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans and garbanzo beans then putting them in 2-cup portion bags to use in everything from soups and chili, to mashing into my ground meat for spaghetti, tacos or casseroles. They take on most flavors they are seasoned with, and their texture is great for all kinds of dishes. This can make one pound of ground meat go twice as far in a casserole or soup!
Don’t fear using carbohydrates.
Starches and carbohydrates tend to have a bad reputation, but as long as you are including a lot of great nutrient-dense vegetables into your diet as well it’s not a bad thing to include things like rice and potatoes as a base for casseroles. Rice and potatoes are a great dollar stretcher for almost any meal. In fact, roasted potatoes, green beans, and roasted chicken is one of the easiest and cheapest meals you can make for your family. It’s healthy, satisfying and easy to manage. The potatoes add bulk to the meal without being high fat or unhealthy, and they are so cheap it makes your meal very affordable.
Batch cook your meals.
You may wonder how or why this can be considered a dollar stretcher for your grocery budget, but it really is a great way to save. When you buy larger quantities of meats and produce, you often save a significant amount of money. Next time you find chicken, pork or beef on sale in large “family sized” packages don’t hesitate to grab them, then cook in simple ways and portion to freeze. Chicken can be roasted and cubed for everything from salads and soups to casseroles or fajitas. Pork shoulders can be roasted and pulled for use in BBQ, casseroles or tacos. Batch cooking meats, produce and even whole meals and freezing for future use saves you time, money and tons of frustration each evening when you need to throw a simple meal together fast.
These are great dollar stretcher ideas for your grocery budget. Just a few simple changes can save you hundreds of dollars in grocery expenses over the course of a year.
How do you make ordinary grocery items stretch further? Let us know in the comments below!