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Cooking meals for a large family can be challenging, especially on a tight budget. However, with the help of a crockpot, you can prepare delicious, hearty, and cheap crockpot meals for large families that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds.
- 10 Tips For Cooking Cheap Crockpot Meals For Large Families
- Why Cook Large Meals In A Crockpot?
- Cheap Meals You Can Cook In A Crockpot For Large Families
10 Tips For Cooking Cheap Crockpot Meals For Large Families
As a busy parent and partner, my crockpot works overtime, and I have mastered the art of cooking meals for my large family.
Following these tips and adjusting recipes, you can prepare crockpot meals to feed your large family. Enjoy the convenience and flavors of slow cooking while providing delicious and satisfying meals for everyone.
1. Choose The Right Size Crockpot
It’s important to choose a large crockpot for the whole family to ensure that it accommodates the quantity of food required and allows enough space for ingredients to cook evenly. There are different crockpot sizes and choosing the right one is crucial.
I opt for a size that can hold at least 6-8 quarts, which feeds my family of 6 comfortably with some leftovers for lunch the next day.
|Crockpot Size||Ideal For||Servings|
|1-2 Quarts||Singles or couples||1-2 servings|
|3-4 Quarts||Small families||3-4 servings|
|5-6 Quarts (common size)||Medium families||5-7 servings|
|7-8 Quarts||Large families of batch cooking||8+ servings|
2. Plan Ahead
It’s important to plan ahead when cooking for large families. Plan your crockpot meal in advance; this way, you can make a grocery list and utilize leftovers effectively.
3. Utilize Bulk Ingredients
One advantage of having a large family is you can buy in bulk which can save you money. Look for deals on staples, buy your fresh veggies in bulk, and even your meat. If you have storage space, buying all your ingredients in bulk will significantly reduce your grocery expenses.
4. Prep In Advance
Preparing large meals in crockpots takes time. Prepping food in advance can help you streamline the process. Chop vegetables, marinate meat, and gather the spices beforehand; I normally prepare everything the night before.
Remember that evenly chopped pieces mean even cooking. Keeping your vegetables or meat in similar-sized chunks ensures all ingredients are evenly cooked.
5. Scale Up Recipes
Look for crockpot recipes that are already designed for larger quantities or can be easily scaled up. Suppose you find a recipe that serves 4-6 people, for example. In that case, you can double or triple the ingredients to suit your family size.
6. Brown Your Meat
Browning your meat before adding it to the pot ensures it retains the flavor and makes it juicy and tender. You can also do this with onions, as browned onions taste different from raw onions.
7. Adjust Cooking Times
When cooking larger quantities of food in a crockpot, you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Remember that more ingredients will take longer to cook, so it’s essential to allow for additional cooking time to ensure everything is thoroughly cooked and tender.
Then trust the process and allow your crockpot to do the magic; the more you lift the lid and stir, the longer it will take to cook.
|Ingredient||Weight||Low cooking Heat Setting||High Cooking Heat setting|
|Fish||3 lb.||3½ hours||1½ hours|
|Chicken roast||6 lb.||7½ hours||6½ hours|
|Chicken breast or thighs||3 lb.||4½ hours||2-3 hours|
|Pork Roast||6 lb.||9½ hours||7½ hours|
|Pork Loin||4 lb.||6 hours||5 hours|
|Beef roast||4 lb.||8 hours||6 hours|
|Beef stew||3 lb.||6 hours||5 hours|
|Lamb roast||3½ lb.||8-9 hours||4-5 hours|
This is a rough idea of the times needed to cook different cuts of meat. Time may vary according to the crockpot you have.
8. Use Layering Technique
This technique is great for ingredients that cook at different rates. Components that require more cooking time, like root vegetables or tougher cuts of meat, will start at the bottom, closest to the heat. Then you can layer ingredients that cook faster, like leafy greens and delicate veggies.
9. Monitor And Adjust Liquid Levels
As you increase the quantity of ingredients, you may need to adjust the liquid levels in your crockpot recipes. More ingredients can release moisture, so monitoring and adding additional liquid, such as broth, water, or sauces, is important to maintain the desired consistency.
Don’t be tempted to add too much liquid as the contents simmer slowly under a sealed lid which will create moisture, and the liquid will not be able to evaporate.
10. Test For Doneness
Before serving, always test the doneness of the food, especially when cooking larger quantities. Use a food thermometer to ensure large meat roasts are cooked to the appropriate internal temperature, and check the tenderness of vegetables or grains to ensure they are fully cooked.
Why Cook Large Meals In A Crockpot?
With the cost of ingredients continuously rising, I turned to my trusty crockpot to make hearty, delicious meals for my large family. Crockpot cooking offers numerous advantages, such as the convenience of one pot and not having a kitchen full of cutlery. It’s easy to enhance your flavors, and my favorite is the easy cleanup.
Large families have many responsibilities, so convenience is the biggest reason to use a crockpot. Once your prepping is done and you have layered your pot and turned it on to simmer, you have time to do other chores without worrying about the food.
Preparing large meals in a crockpot can be an economical choice. Slow cookers are designed to make the most out of cheaper cuts of meat, transforming them into tender and flavorful dishes. This is why I found slow cookers really worth it. Additionally, using affordable ingredients like beans, vegetables, and grains allows you to stretch your food budget further.
- Bulk prices on ingredients
- You can utilize cheaper cuts of meat
- Longer cooking time on lower heat uses less energy
- Meals are ready to dish when it’s time to eat, reducing the reliance on takeout
One of the significant advantages of cooking in a crockpot is the ability to enhance flavors. The slow and low cooking process melts the ingredients together, resulting in rich, complex flavors. This is particularly beneficial when using budget-friendly ingredients, as slow cooking helps extract maximum flavor from them.
Cheap Meals You Can Cook In A Crockpot For Large Families
I love the diversity that crockpot cooking offers. Each night, I plan for an advanced one-week meal that I want to create. We enjoy heart-soul food each time. I love my crockpot in summer as it doesn’t make a hell’s kitchen; thanks to the low-temperature cooking, I can still enjoy sitting in my kitchen without passing out from the heat.
Stews And Soups
Crockpot stews and soups are excellent options for feeding a large family. Use affordable ingredients like chicken, beef, or vegetables, and add flavorful broths, herbs, and spices. Allow the flavors to meld together over hours of slow cooking, resulting in comforting and budget-friendly meals.
Casseroles And Pasta Dishes
Crockpot casseroles and pasta dishes are perfect for feeding a crowd. Layer ingredients like pasta, meat, sauce, and cheese, and let them cook until tender and flavorful. These dishes are not only economical but also easy to prepare and serve.
Pulled pork, shredded chicken, or beef are versatile options for large families. Use affordable cuts of meat, season them with spices or a simple marinade, and let the meat cook slowly until they’re tender and easy to shred. Serve on buns or as a filling for tacos or sandwiches.
Beans, lentils, and vegetables are budget-friendly ingredients that can be transformed into delicious crockpot meals. Create vegetarian meal prep including chili, bean stews, or lentil curries that are both nutritious and inexpensive. These options provide a protein-packed alternative for families seeking to reduce meat consumption.
Meat Loaf And Meat Balls
Meat loaves are so easy to make in the crockpot and come out delicious, add a veggie and some mashed potatoes that can be quickly whipped up, and you have a delicious meal. My favorite is the Swedish meatballs; I prep them beforehand and quickly fry them before adding them to the crockpot.
With the help of a crockpot, cooking affordable and tasty meals for a large family is possible. By utilizing these tips and exploring a variety of recipes, you can create delicious and budget-friendly dishes that will satisfy your entire family.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.