This week's time saving, money saving tip is all about potatoes! If you are like me, you purchase potatoes in large bags with every intention of using them faster than they can sprout eyes. Truth be told, I never can do this and invariably end up scrubbing my potatoes free of their eyes when using up the bottom of the bag. When this happens, I like to bake them all off and use them in other recipes. Because this will encourage me to use them and not waste them, and while they will end up in the compost bin, I would much rather have my groceries end up in our bellies, fueling our bodies instead of making good soil!
Baking potatoes in a slow cooker or crockpot, may not be something you have considered, however a quick search on YouTube will reveal that a lot of people have been doing this for a long time so maybe it's time for you to start! This is a great way to bake potatoes in bulk without heating up your kitchen. This saves both time and money because you don't have to babysit your spuds while they are in the oven and you get to use up the groceries you have spent your hard earned money on to nourish your growing family!
There are lots of different ideas about how to bake your potatoes in the slow cooker. My preparation is really no different than how I prep my potatoes to go in the oven. I scrub them up really well using either a green pad or a stainless steel scrubbie or even a brush will work. I remove any eyes or bad spots from the potatoes and then dry them off with paper towel and let them sit for about an hour before proceeding. I like to make sure the residual moisture from the scrubbing is pretty much gone.
I like to place the potatoes in a really large bowl then drizzle over a couple tablespoons of olive oil and give everything a good rub down, making sure the potatoes are completely coated with the oil. At this point you can say you are done prepping your spuds. You don't have to add anything else. However I do like to add some Kosher salt and some steak seasoning to my potatoes. You add as much or as little as you prefer. You are the master of your tubers! I will most likely be peeling these potatoes before I use them, however I may not. The steak seasoning will permeate the potatoes during the long baking process and as a bonus they will perfume your kitchen so how can that be a bad thing?
Once everything is all oiled up and seasoned, place the potatoes in your slow cooker. No need to add any water. The potatoes will produce enough of their own moisture to cook and prevent drying. Then pop the lid on, set the cooker to low and allow the potatoes to bake for 6 to 8 hours or until a knife will easily pierce the potato with just a little resistance. You don't want these mushy, just nicely cooked.
The one major difference between potatoes baked in the oven and potatoes baked in the slow cooker is the skin. Baked this way your skin is going to be soggy and not crispy like when you bake them in the oven. I can over look this, especially in the middle of a hellish summer where I don't really want to be firing up my oven to 450 degrees just to make a baked potato to eat next to a delicious grilled steak. You can always plug your slow cooker in on your covered deck, carport or garage (make sure it's out of the weather) and that will not heat up your house at all!
Saving time by baking off potatoes in bulk is a great way to have them on hand for quick dinner, potato salad, casseroles, and home fries or any dish calling for potatoes. Saving money is using what you have already purchased as well as saving energy. A slow cooker will use about 8 cents of electricity over an 8 hour span of time as compared to an electric oven that will use 24 cents an hour. I would say that is a great savings overall!
I hope you give baking potatoes in the slow cooker a try sometime soon and I hope you love it!
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