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It’s that time of year when the weather is cold and our family wants nothing more than a hot bowl of something for dinner. Our crockpot gets a workout from November through March. Using the crockpot requires me to think about those staples which generally end up in the crockpot. Among these are canned tomatoes, beans (a wide variety including black and kidney), onions, carrots, celery, taco seasoning mix, dry onion soup mix, broth (cans and cartons), inexpensive cuts of beef, and chicken leg quarters or thighs. It is so easy to grab a few ingredients, pop them in the crockpot in the morning, and have a delicious meal for dinner.
A friend gave me my favorite crockpot cookbook, Fix-it And Forget-it 5-ingredient Favorites: Comforting Slow Cooker Recipes, a few years ago. Since then, I have adapted many of these recipes to suit our family’s tastes and the contents of my stockpile. One of our favorites is crockpot chili.
3/4 lb ground beef (browned)
1 large onion (diced)
3 – 14 oz cans diced tomatoes (preferably a variety with green chilis, onions and/or garlic)
2 – 14 oz cans beans (light or dark kidney)
1 packet taco seasoning or chili seasoning mix
I dump all the ingredients in the crockpot, cook it on high for four hours or low for six hours, and serve the chili over white rice. We put out small bowls of chopped onions, shredded cheddar cheese and chopped chili peppers along with our favorite bottled hot sauce so everyone can “doctor” their chili to their own taste. A few years ago, we invited a dozen friends over to enjoy this chili. We asked everyone to bring an easy appetizer or dessert and a favorite beverage. It was an easy way to entertain on a cold winter afternoon without spending any time in the kitchen.
Tell us about your favorite crockpot meals. We always love to try new recipes and might even feature a few of them in an upcoming post! You can email us at [email protected], subject CROCKPOT IDEAS.
Let us know how your extremely normal coupon journey is coming along. We love to hear from our readers!
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Due to my recent shopping adventures to Harris Teeter, my pantry was in need of stockpile organization. One of the secrets to saving money, is to stockpile. This means to buy extra items your family uses regularly when the items are at their rock bottom price. We all know that Harris Teeter triples or Kmart super doubles allows for a plethora of stockpiling opportunities! I would like to share some tips to make stockpiling easier and more efficient.
First of all, only stockpile items your family uses regularly. Just because an item is “cheap” or on sale, does not mean you need to buy several of them. This is a lesson I have had to learn the hard way. I can tell you first hand that I have had to throw out a lot of expired food over the years. Over buying, is not saving money.
There is also a cycle to sales. For example, I know that Proctor & Gamble puts out a coupon insert once a month. Usually the stores will have some sort of sale that coincides with the coupons. If I miss a sale item this week, I don’t stress because I know the sale will come around again in a few more weeks.
Now, my family eats a ton of granola bars. My husband loves them and eats them daily. They are also handy to take in the car or throw in the diaper bag. Granola bars are one item we stockpile when the price is right. My suggestion is to take the granola bars out of the boxes and put them in a plastic container. This will save space and make it easy to grab and run! This same idea can be done for any snack prepackaged items.
Another item we stockpile is condiments. Those who know my husband, know that he loves condiments and sauces! We go through a ton of ketchup and salad dressing, or “dippers” as my household calls it! My suggestion for keeping these items organized is to place them in a small basket. It is easy to pull the basket out to see what you have. You can also write expiration dates on the cap top with a sharpie.
A trick I learned from my brother-in-law, is to write with a sharpie the expiration date on the outside of boxes. Many times a box will get pushed to the back of the pantry. If you have the dates readily visible, you will make sure to use the product before it expires. I also make sure to check expiration dates before I buy the product at the store. You would be surprised how many times I have picked up an item that is expired or about to expire.
For bath and body products, I have limited myself to a six month supply. What Amee and I have started doing is, giving away a lot of these products. With the drug store deals, we get a ton of bath and body products for free. We now donate most of these items or give them away to you all! There is only so much free toothpaste and razors that you can use! We encourage you all to donate your items if your stockpile limitations are reached.
See more of our stockpile organization and clever storage solutions.