Browsing through Pinterest (isn’t it addictive?!) I saw quite a few pins on slow cooking meals and frozen meals. I could certainly use the help this stew freezer method of cooking brings to someone with a tight schedule, like me. I tried a couple of recipes and let me tell you, this method IS a lifesaver. And not only that, the recipes are really delicious. I wouldn’t do this every day, but I do like to prepare them at least once a week, especially for my busiest day which is Monday.
First thing to do, is defrost your meat. I do that on Sunday, at noon. Prepare the recipe, which in my case, yields for two meals because you divide the whole thing into 2 resealable freezer bags and each bag is enough for 4 servings. Mark each bag with the cooking instructions (see my photo). At night I throw all the ingredients from one of the bags into my slow cooker, I turn it on Low at about 10pm before I go to sleep, and on Monday morning my meal is ready. I can forget about it and not worry about how I’m going to squeeze in the time to make lunch between house duties, office duties, picking Kristen up from school and taking her to swim class. (I have to get to all that before lunch time, which on Monday’s is at 2). I know a lot of us have hectic days like those, so I hope you will give this method a try.
The key is to organize yourself. Pick out at least 2 recipes and get the ingredients you need for one day of chopping and mixing. You’ll have a month’s worth of once a week freezer meals ready to help you out on your busiest days.
Freezer Method: Beef & Vegetable Goulash
Recipe adapted from Mama and Baby Love
Yields: 2 freezer bags, 4 serving each.
3 cups chopped onions
2 cups coarsely chopped green bell peppers.
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
2 cups of carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup of cooked peas (fresh or frozen)
2-3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into one inch cubes
2 500 gram cartons of crushed pureed tomatoes
2 tablespoons of paprika
2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup of white wine
Note: When you’re ready to cook, and you have transferred your prepared meal to your slow cooker, add some fresh herbs: 1 bay leaf and 1 spring of thyme.
- Mix everything and divide into two gallon freezer bags, shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer.
- Day of cooking, defrost your bag ahead of time. dump it into your slow cooker and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or low 6-8 hours, depending on your specific slow cooker.
- I make white rice to go with this, but cooked noodles are also a great choice. You can add a little sour cream on top before serving.