One of the things I like to do when I’m camping is the cooking. I really don’t think there’s a better cooking experience than preparing food in the fresh air and for that I normally end up using my dutch oven.
If I’m cooking for a group I can fill the dutch oven right up, or if I’m on my own, car camping (I use a Solo Stove Lite if I’m alone on a day trip), I can cook a smaller amount to feed me over a couple of meals as the enclosed lid keeps any nasty bugs out.
But what about when I’m at home?
Many of the recipes I use transfer very nicely over into my electric dutch oven, my slow cooker.
Inspired by my camping cooking, I got myself a slow cooker. It wasn’t one of the very expensive brands and I’m amazed how much money some people are prepared to spend on small kitchen appliances, but it is nice and simply to operate. Three cooking settings; low, high and automatic, plus off of course.
Like most people I’ve been hit with ever increasing food prices, so my slow cooker has really come into its own. Stews and soups tend to be the mainstay foods, however, a slow cooker is an excellent way of making curries. I can even roast a joint of meat in the slow cooker.
However, you may be asking why I love the slow cooker oven so much?
First and foremost, freedom. Once the ingredients are in the pot and I set it away on “low” I can go off and spend my time doing things I actually enjoy more than cooking. Depending upon what is cooking that gives me a timeslot of a few hours rather than standing over a cooker.
Secondly, I can make batches of food. Normally I would do this at the weekend. Soups, stews and curries are then decanted into sealable boxes and frozen. I can then use them over the coming days and once defrosted, you really cant tell they’ve been frozen at all. In the curries, I sometime add the rice, or perhaps even pasta. (Apologies to all the curry purists out there who insist the rice should be served separately.) Remember, I’m going for decent quality food, that is convenient to prepare, that also tastes good. No more prepacked ready-meals for me!
I’d normally take whatever I’m having that evening out of the freezing before heading out on a morning. Then when I return in the evening, it is simply a matter of heating the food up again. I can return it to the slow cooker and use a higher setting, warm it gently in a pan on the stove top, or pop it straight in the microwave. (Though it really does depend on the ingredients which I use. You’ll need to experiment a little to find what works best for you.)
The real bonus I have found is the money I’ve saved by using my slow cooker to cook dutch oven style meals. If I don’t feel like shopping, or people start panic buying again, I can simply reach into the freezer. I don’t pay for expensive take-aways anymore, or pricey sandwiches for lunch.
It’s all really about getting organised and putting a little bit of work in at the weekend. It really does pay back dividends during the week and most importantly in the times we find ourselves, saves money.
Give it a try yourself and see how you get on.