Crockpot and Freezer Hacks

This will be quick.  But so are these hacks. PROBLEM:  Canned Beans.

I got really tired of using canned beans because of the BPA in the lining, the icky feeling every time I used a can and tossed it (in the recycle bin, but still) and the $1.89/can for Organic Chickpeas.

HACK:  Cook dry beans in the crock pot.

Soak beans overnight.  Rinse and dump in crockpot.  Cover with water or stock and add a bay leaf, garlic, whatever.  Cook on low for 4+ hours.  Cool them and store in 1.5 cup servings in your freezer.  Thaw when you need them!  Black beans are great cooked with salsa, chickpeas with garlic and lemon for hummus and kidney beans are a chili staple around here.


PROBLEM: Chicken stock -- also in cans or tetra packs, also expensive. 

HACK: 5 min DIY Stock

When you cook a chicken, save the bones (they freeze super easily.)  Throw them in the crockpot with 8 cups water, a carrot, the leafy tops of celery, large chunks of onion and a bay leaf or two.  (I save my veggie odds and ends also in the freezer for this purpose.)  Cook for 8 hours on low.  Freeze in old peanut butter jars that you've saved and rinsed!


PROBLEM: Wasted Kale.

My kale gets wilty before I can use it all in salads or sautés sometimes...and it's not cheap this time of year!

HACK: Frozen Kale.

Curly kale freezes *beautifully!*  Rinse, dry well, tear the leaves off the stems and store in a zip lock bag in the freezer.  Seriously perfect to add to a smoothie!


PROBLEM: Need a perfectly cooked chicken at 4 pm.

I use a whole chicken to use for a couple of recipes and some stock...but because of my evening training schedule, I don't always have time to wait while he roasts up golden brown.

HACK: Stick that bad boy in the crock pot.

Breast down.  Rubbed with anything you want.  I've done:

  • Curry = thai chicken curry, chutney chicken salad with apricots, and chicken + rice
  • Salsa = chicken tacos, burrito bowls, southwestern chicken salad
  • Lemon and garlic = chicken stir fry, chicken noodle soup, yummy right off the bone


PROBLEM: I don't want to do the dishes.

HACK: Leave them for tomorrow morning.

What are your kitchen quick-fixes to save time, money and sanity??