When the weather outside warms up, the kitchen can be a terrible place to be. There are many things you can do however when it comes to cooking a nice homemade meal that doesn’t require a traditional stovetop or oven cooking. Learn to utilize some of the lesser heat-producing equipment in your kitchen, such as the crockpot, in order to truly beat the summer heat and keep your cool while preparing a nice hot meal for friends and family.
So, how does crock pot cooking really help beat the heat? Simply put, the crockpot in and of itself puts off far less heat when cooking than an oven or stovetop. This is the first and possibly the best reason to utilize the crockpot in your summer meal planning. You should also consider the fact that by not heating the house by using your stovetop or oven you are also preventing your air conditioning (or other cooling methods) from working overtime in order to compensate for the additional heat that other cooking methods introduce.
This makes crock pot cooking a win-win situation as the costs involved in operating a crock pot are far less than the costs involved in operating a stove or oven in general. Whether electric or gas, your stove, and oven are often serious energy hogs. Add to that the fact that you are not raising the temperature in your home by traditional means of cooking and you are using even less electricity.
Unfortunately for most, the general consensus has been that crock pots were meant for comfort foods and hearty winter meals. The truth is that the crockpot should be one of your best-loved and most often utilized cooking methods if you can manage it. When it comes to cooking with a crockpot, the options are almost limitless. Almost anything that can be baked can be made in the crockpot and many, many more wonderful and enticing meals and treats as well.
In addition to the cost benefits mentioned above when it comes to crockpot cooking there are many other benefits that are well worth mentioning. First of all, the bulk of the work involved in crockpot cooking takes place early in the day when you are refreshed rather than at the end of a hectic work or play day. This means that you are less likely to forget an ingredient or make other mistakes that often occur as we hurriedly prepare a dinner when we are exhausted from the activities of our day.
Second, many great crockpot recipes include the vegetables that insure we are getting the nutrients we need. So often, when preparing a meal at the last minute, vegetables and other side dishes are left out in favor of expedience. Crockpot cooking in many instances is a meal in one dish.
Another great reason to use a crockpot for your summertime cooking is the ease of cleaning up. Unlike pots and pans, most crockpot meals are made in one dish. This means that there will not be mountains of dishes to be either hand washed or loaded into the dishwasher (or if you are like me—both) afterward. You can spend less time cleaning just as you spent less time slaving over a hot stove. Oh, wait! Make that no time slaving over a hot stove. Once clean-up is complete you can get back to enjoying the sunset, chasing the lightning bugs with your little ones, or waiting for the first star.
While there will never be a one-size-fits-all best cooking method, crockpot cooking comes very close. If you have a crockpot collecting dust somewhere in the back of your pantry it is time to get it out, dust if off, and dig up some great summertime crock pot cooking recipes.