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Crock pot cooking, freezer cooking, and menu planning are great ways to make your benefits stretch. If you have SNAP benefits, there is another way you can make them stretch. Consider your options with Dutch oven outdoor cooking. There are some great benefits to using this option that will help you stretch not only your SNAP benefits, but also your overall household budgets. Here are a few of the benefits to consider.

Lower Your Electricity Bills

Using a Dutch oven for outdoor cooking will lower your electricity bills. All a Dutch oven needs is a fire and a way to keep that fire going. You can use charcoal briquettes and keep the food warm and cooking for hours. Just remember to use a fire pit or some other form of confined area so you do not risk a fire getting out of control. People who use a Dutch oven cooking option will be able to lower their utility bills by 10 to 25% over the course of a month with just one night of Dutch oven cooking.

Make the Entire Meal

A great benefit to Dutch oven cooking is the ability to make the entire meal at once. By using the proper techniques you can create the entree and dessert for an entire family. These meals can be prepared ahead of time or all at once. Since most meals consist of a casserole or "dump" method of cooking, they are quick to put together and easy to make.

Fewer Ingredients

Most Dutch oven recipes are centered around the idea of camping and using as few ingredients as possible. This means you can stretch your SNAP benefits even further. Usually a recipe only has four or five ingredients. This also means you could use up items in your kitchen or pantry that may go bad soon or have an approaching expiration date.

Recipe Options

There are hundreds of Dutch oven recipe options. In fact, several websites offer tons of useful information and recipes to help you get started. If you aren't sure what options are available to you just check out our site, Pinterest, or Dutch oven sites for ideas. Some of the recipes you make on a daily basis or at least regular basis can be made in a Dutch oven. You may be shocked at your options. Things like chicken and rice, chicken and dumplings, shepherd's pie, meatloaf, roast, and other common dishes can be cooked in a Dutch oven easily. If you find a recipe you like, share it with us on Pinterest.

A Dutch oven can be purchased at a thrift store for as little as $10. All you need to do is clean it up and re-season it. For seasoning instructions check out cast iron seasoning options or use the standard method of coating the oven with Crisco and cooking it slowly for several hours at 200 to 250 degrees in your oven. You can also use the Dutch oven in your stove on days that weather just isn't on your side.