Survey Says: Eating Out is Our #1 Financial Temptation

What is your greatest financial temptation? That’s one of the question I asked in a poll at DPL Central. Answer choices: accepting more credit, vacation, clothes, new car, stuff for house, eating out or none-of-the-above.


I enjoy predicting how my reader polls will turn out, but I was way off on this one. I thought “stuff for the house” or “clothes” would win. The runaway winner at 41 percent was “eating out.”

Whether eating out is your top temptation or it comes in second or third, you can deal with it more effectively if you make eating at home more convenient and more delicious than going out.

You know by now that I am a big fan of the slow cooker. Just throw the ingredients in before the demands of the day wear you down, turn it on and forget it. You’ll come home to the aroma of a home cooked meal. You’ll have it on the table and ready to eat in less time than it takes to drive-thru.

Here are my top two favorite slow cooker recipes. I predict they will soon be yours, too.

3 Packets and a Roast

  • 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 packet dry Italian dressing mix
  • 1 packet dry brown gravy mix
  • 1 beef roast, any size, any cut

Place the roast in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the dry mixes over roast.  Pour 1 cup water into bottom. Cover. Cook on low for 7 hours. Prepare to be amazed that this pot roast will have made its own gravy for you. As a treat. Just because.

Taco Soup

Here’s a delicious soup the entire family will love, even the kids!

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-16 ounce can chili beans, with liquid
  • 1-15 ounce can kidney beans with liquid
  • 1-15 ounce can whole kernel corn, with liquid
  • 1-8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-14.5 ounce cans peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 1-4 ounce can diced green chilies
  • 1-1.25 ounce package taco seasoning mix

In a medium skillet brown the ground beef over medium heat. Drain and place in slow cooker along with all other ingredients. Mix to blend. Cook on Low setting for 8 hours. Serves 8. Serve with sour cream, grated cheese and tortilla chips.

No-Knead Bread

This bread is not for the slow-cooker. But it sure takes the drudgery out of baking homemade bread because there’s no need to knead! Just make sure you’ve got the large 32-cup container (like Tupperware) with a lid. You’ll understand why when you read on ….

  • 3 pkgs. dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 cups bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 3/4 cups warm water (115 F.)
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl. Add 3 teaspoons of the sugar, stir; add remaining ingredients. Mix by hand until moist. Seal in large 32-cup container. DO NOT BURP THE BOWL! When seal “pops” loose on its own (don’t use Snapware for this as it will not pop on its own), divide batter into four equal parts and place into greased loaf pans. Cover with towel for 30 minutes and let rise. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake loaves for 30 minutes. Freezes beautifully. For wheat bread use 5 cups white flour and 5 cups whole wheat flour.


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  • DianaB

    Sometimes my biggest binge is the hamburger joint, as well. Eating out is rather a treat every couple of weeks, so I try to convince myself…LOL That adds up easily, however, to at least $50 or more a month.

    Taco soup sounds good, almost more like chili. I would love to try the bread recipe and will have to do so. I have one of those huge yellow Tupperware bowls that will work perfectly when not in use storing a cake or other baked goody :))

  • PJ

    I found the recipe for making roast using the three seasoning packets on another recipe website and have been making my roast that way for a while now, it is really good and easy! I have found that I like to mix the three seasoning packets in the cup of water and pour it over the roast, but it turns out great either way. I also find that sometimes the Italian seasoning mix can be strong, so I use half the package. The other half is great to sprinkle on chicken (skin on or skinless) and bake for great flavor!

  • Mary Marlatt

    eating out is definitely my biggest temptation! My husband and I very rarely go out for dinner, but what I have done is ask for restaurant gift cards for Christmas presents from family. That way, we can at least afford to go out for special occasions (our birthdays, anniversary, Valentines Day, etc.). I suffer from chronic pain and mobility issues, so fixing dinner after a long day at work is not real high on my list, but I usually manage to throw something together. I was raised on home cooking, and generally have a pretty well stocked pantry and a sometimes well stocked freezer (meat is SO expensive these days!) so there is always something to eat. I use the slow cooker quite often and rely on easy casseroles a lot too. I find that cooking extra meat and using it for more than one meal is a lifesaver on those days when I really don’t want to cook!

  • Danny Martinez

    is Our #1 Financial Temptation

  • shjajo

    I love all your great ideas!! But wish that you would check into the dangers of MSG in all these pkg seasonings!! I know you are a big advocate of making your own mixes, and you could def do this to replace the “easy already made mixes”.. MSG is not good for anyone, and I wish companies would take it out of all these products people use so mindlessly. Thanks for all your advise!!

    • Fricky1

      Yes, and it’s approx 6000 mg sodium divided over X servings…sounds high to me.

  • Brenda Lloyd

    I have never heard of burping the bread and what kind of container and lid do I need? I always make sourdough but I would like to try this one.

    • Raine

      With Tupperware, you would burp the bowl by lifting the edge of the lid and squeezing the air out. For Mary’s recipe you leave the air in. The rising dough will pop the seal off the bowl indicating it’s time to move to the next step.

      • DianaB

        Since I used an old large yellow Tupperware bowl, I do not know the volume. The volume of the container would also make a difference in whether or not the dough rises to the top to pop off the lid. In may case, it did not. Please refer to my post above about my bread, though, because it was pretty darned good anyway :))

        I have also used that bowl for the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day recipes. Great recipes in there, as well as the companion bread cookbook.

  • DianaB

    Just to let you know that I tried the no-knead bread in my big yellow Tupperware bowl. I do believe I let it sit too long after rising, although it did NOT rise up to the lid, at least for this container. The size of the Tupperware or similar would make the difference in popping off the lid. Mine is many years old and I looked to see the volume but it was not noted. I baked it off anyway and everyone absolutely loved it, even though was not a high-riser. Texture somewhat dense and chewy and very flavorful. I will try it again, not letting it sit quite so long next time. Goes great with soup, I might add.