The first recipe I’m posting is an ultra basic one for those who have made BEEF STEW or VEGETABLE SOUP. These are steps to follow, not precise measurements.
Basically, whatever you enjoy in a Beef Stew, you will add to the mix. For us, it goes a little something like this:
Some sort of beef cut into chunks (for a family of five with little ones who don’t eat a lot, I use approximately 1/4 – 1/2 pound of beef). Because of the long cooking time in the slow cooker, mostly any cut of beef will do … cut up a roast, buy already-prepped stew meat, or boneless beef ribs. You can, also, use leftover shredded or chopped beef from a pot roast.)
Add chunks of beef to bottom of a gallon freezer bag.
Add the following veggies to the bag:
An onion, chopped into whatever size chunks you prefer
A peeled garlic clove, chopped finely
A couple stalks of celery, chopped
A couple of carrots, peeled and chopped
Half of a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, of any combination of fresh or frozen corn, green beans, lima beans and peas
3 – 5 peeled potatoes (depending on the size of your potatoes) cut into chunks.
Then, pour in a small can of V-8 juice or tomato juice. The small 5.5 oz. can works best!
Throw in 4 – 5 beef bouillon cubes or a couple spoonfuls of beef base.
If you like, you can add some dried herbs to the bag. I favor a bay leaf and a pinch of herbs de Provence (a combination of several herbs), but you can use whatever you find you like with beef dishes or soups.
Now, carefully squeeze out all of the air from the bag, seal it and press it flat on your counter for easier freezer storage.
Label the bag with the name of the dish, the date you made it and write on there that you need to add some water on the day you cook it. (How much water you add is up to you, but usually until it is covered or almost covered.)
Beef Stew Freeze-Ahead Slow Cooker Meal
Thaw in fridge the night before you plan to cook it.
When you get up in the morning, dump the whole thing into the slow cooker (of course, not including the bag), add water, lid it and sit back and smell the delicious aromas the whole day as your slow cooker does all the work! If prior to serving you find you’d like it a little thicker, mix up some corn starch with a little COLD water until lumps disappear and swirl/stir it into the stew about thirty minutes to an hour before dinnertime.
Check for seasoning. You may want to add salt and pepper, if needed.
I, also, add a couple of splashes of Kitchen Bouquet for color during the cooking process or when you first add the stew to the slow cooker.
A gallon bag filled to the top with ingredients should feed 4 – 5 people.