Dust off your slow cooker and let’s get this party started! Crocktoberfest is here, and what better time to put your slow cooker to work for you, saving you time and money, than in October!
I know it sounds wild to bust out the Crock-pot and use it for a whole month, but last year I did it and it was super fun! I created some truly winning, cheap crock pot meals that we now make all the time.
You know I love a good theme. I am also a nerd. So…
October is the perfect time to have some fun! How about dusting off your slow cooker and giving it a run for its money?
This month in the Good Cheap Eats Club we’re focusing on the slow cooker to help us save time and money, and I thought you might want to join in.
Let’s celebrate Crocktoberfest!
I aim to make this a yearly thing because the challenge of Crocktoberfest is so much fun.
While Oktoberfest is a Bavarian fall festival held in October and featuring much beer and frolicking, Crocktoberfest is a celebration of the slow cooker.
And it makes so much sense for us to hold it in October. The weather has cooled in the northern hemisphere, making for a perfect time to cook up what the slow cooker does best: stews, soups, sauces, and braises.
Not only is the slow cooker an amazing invention for busy cooks, but using it will also save you money.
Ways to Save Money
Let me count the ways!
- The slow cooker is a whiz at braising cheap cuts of meat. Inexpensive cuts of meat tend to be a little tough and require longer cooking times. The slow cooker is perfect at that, allowing you to enjoy some affordable proteins that taste delicious.
- Who wants to get take-out when dinner’s all ready? If you’re out and about during the day or just hunkered down in your home office, you’re far less likely to get take-out when a meal is already prepared. The slow cooker allows you to do that advance prep pretty easily without a lot of fuss.
- Big batches are easy-peasy in a slow cooker, so fill your freezer. It’s so simple to make a big batch of stew, soup, chili, pasta sauce, beans, etc… in the slow cooker which makes it simple to cook ahead and freeze extra for later. Having a stash in the freezer will save you time, money, and effort over the long haul.
The Challenge for the Month
This month on Good Cheap Eats, I’m encouraging you to use your slow cooker more! I made sure our slow cooker recipe archive was tidy and organized so it will be easy for you to find what you’re looking for.
In our free resource library, I also have a meal planning idea sheet. It’s clickable, taking you straight to the recipe to make it easy. Library access is FREE to subscribers of the Good Cheap Eats Gazette. Check your inbox and spam before signing up again. 🙂
There are so many things you can cook in the slow cooker. Last year, I checked out a number of cookbooks from the library and was really pleased with The Complete Slow Cooker by America’s Test Kitchen.
This year, I’m looking forward to checking out The Stay-at-Home Chef Slow Cooker Cookbook.
Things You Can Slow Cook
It’s really fascinating what you can make in the slow cooker! This is just a partial list:
- chicken wings
- egg bake
- taco and sandwich fillings
- rice pilaf
- potatoes (baked as well as buttered)
- mashed potatoes
- party mix
- creme brûlée
- pudding cakes
I’m eager to try some new options.
Slow Cooker Reviews
I don’t honestly know from experience if the type of slow cooker matters.
Gulp. I confess, I’ve been very brand loyal to the official Crock-pot name over the years. Perhaps that wasn’t wise?
Well, we’ll see how this month goes. I own three large ovals (will likely donate one for lack of space), one beaten up round, one mini, and one casserole style. Over the course of the month, I will use all six and see what I truly love and what could maybe give up some valuable kitchen real estate.
- Slow Cooker Potatoes
- Turkey and Rice Soup
- Spicy Pork Chili with Pumpkin (91 cents/serving)
- Shredded Beef Tacos
- Hot Turkey Pesto Sandwiches
- Slow Cooker Chocolate Cheesecake
- Mushroom Beef Stew with Kalamata Olives
- How to Make Stock From Turkey
- Shredded Beef Recipe (Crock Pot or Instant Pot)
- Cheap Crock Pot Meals You’ll Actually Love
- How to Prepare Freezer Crockpot Meals
- Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches
How to Participate
I hope you will! There are lots of ways to participate:
- Try one (or more!) of our Slow Cooker recipes blog and leave a starred review. Browse through our Slow Cooker Recipes and see what suits. Some recipes are written for both the Instant Pot and the Slow Cooker.
- Subscribe to the FREE Good Cheap Eats Gazette. It comes out each Sunday afternoon with a roundup of recent posts and behind-the-scenes details. If you’re subscribed, you’ll receive an email with the free idea sheet this weekend. Check your inbox and spam before signing up again. Trust me, it’s better that way. Otherwise, sign up here.
- Follow along on Instagram. You can find me @goodcheapeatsblog where I’ll be sharing what’s cooking in the Good Cheap Eats Kitchen.
Whether you cook in your slow cooker once, twice, or thirty-one times, I hope you’ll let this money- and time-saving device help you more in the kitchen.
(This post was originally published on September 30, 2020. It has been updated for content and clarity.)