One way to save time and money on meals is using a crockpot. When you have a meal in the crockpot it can be ready when you get home and it is flexible so you can eat at different times if your family members are on different schedules. Some ideas of things to make in a crockpot are roasts, chicken, pork chops, chili, soups, etc. You can find many cookbooks for crockpots or search online for recipes.
When you know you have something ready in the crockpot it saves you the possibility of stopping for takeout or going out for dinner. In most cases you can put most ingredients together in the crockpot the night before and store in the refrigerator until morning, then just turn it on and it works for you all day. Some of the newer models have a timer so you can set it to start at a later time, if you are going to be gone longer and don't want it cooking the whole time you are gone.
Below is a review of a crockpot cookbook from another blog.
From a post at Northerncheapskate.com
In December 2007, Stephanie O'Dea made a New Year's Resolution to use her slow cooker every single day for an entire year.
And she wrote about it - complete with all of the successes and failures in her blog A Year of Slow Cooking.
Now O'Dea has taken her experience and written a fabulous new cookbook called Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking.
And for those of you who love your slow cooker, this book will not disappoint. There are more than 300 tasty, easy-to-make recipes your family will enjoy. All of the recipes are gluten-free and don't cost a lot to make.
I love to use my slow cooker - it is a lifesaver to me on those days when I'm running the kids to various school functions and appointments. It's so easy to just throw the ingredients in my slow cooker and come home 8 hours later to a great home-cooked meal. I also love that I can use cheaper cuts of meat and have them turn out beautifully in a Crock-Pot.
I've got a collection of cookbooks, and a few slow cooker cookbooks, too, but they all seem to be the same collection of soups, stews, and casseroles.
Make It Fast, Cook It Slow is different. O'Dea shares some ideas for your slow cooker that I would never think of doing: Chex Mix in the Crock-Pot? Creme Brulee in a slow cooker? Barbecued Shrimp - really? She's got receipes for them all!
This cookbook has a lot of depth - something I found refreshing for a slow cooker cookbook. For those of you trying to eat out less ( see me frantically raising my hand in the air), she's even got a section called "Takeout Fake-Out." She's got chapters dedicated to vegetarian dishes, baking and beverages. And she also includes a "Fun Stuff" section that shows you how to make play dough, Shrinky Dinks, and even glycerin soap in your slow cooker.
O'Dea gives easy-to-follow instructions for making all kinds of great family meals in the crockpot, including helpful tips for both beginners and slow cooker veterans. She also shares her family's responses to some of the recipes.