Generation X is always on the run, kids in soccer and dance, homework, and often both parents working outside the home. So what’s for dinner? Fast food, dining out, and grab and go are often the order of the day. But that costs at least quadruple what it would to make dinner at home. Now money is tight and so is time. So this costly trap of finding dinner at the end of a busy day has a lot of people looking for a way out. But who has time to cook? Enter the cast iron casserole dish and the slow cooker.
I’m a baby boomer. But I live the life of Generation X. I’m on the run. What’s for dinner? I don’t always do it right. But when I do, here’s how it goes:
Before I go to bed, I go to my freezer, and take out whatever meat I’m going to throw in a pot for dinner the next day. If I plan on leaving early in the morning, I go the slow cooker route. The night before, I prepare whatever vegetables are going into the pot (about 5 minutes). Potatoes (washed and whole), clean cut carrots and onions go into a plastic bag and back into the fridge. The next morning, potatoes are quartered, and it all goes into the slow cooker on auto mode (about 3-4 minutes), and I’m out the door. When I come home, I’m greeted with the welcoming aroma of dinner! And I hear, “Mmm… What’s for dinner? Smells good… “ I toss a salad, and all is well.
When I’m home for the day, I put dinner in the oven right after lunch. I use my favorite 7 quart cast iron casserole dish. I named it “big red”, because it weighs 18 pounds! I bought it on a sale with coupon code and free shipping ($179, but I paid about $28 out the door). Heavy cast iron makes for even cooking in the oven, much like a slow cooker. I like “big red” better than the slow cooker, because I can brown the meat, then add whatever else goes in. Then straight from the stove top and right into to the oven. By contrast, with the slow cooker, I should (but don’t allways) brown the meat in a skillet before adding to the cooker. But the slow cooker comes in handy for days when I’ll be gone all day.
If you don’t have either one of these cooking vessels, it’s time to start enjoying the good life. Open a new browser window now, and order two things online: a slow cooker and a cast iron casserole dish. For an average family of four, a five quart cast iron will suffice. Look for coupon codes, sales, and free shipping, especially for the cast iron cooker (expensive to ship that weight!). Start browsing easy recipes, and get ready to enjoy! They should pay for themselves with the first few dinners you make at home. You’ll love how you feel. And you’ll thank me later.