Moroccan Lamb, Italian Beef and Cranberry Chicken Freezer Meals

The menu I did recently was Moroccan Lamb Stew, Italian Beef Stew and Cranberry Chicken. A trick that I have learned, for an even speedier assembly of meals, is to group all ingredients first. Sometimes you have items that overlap, like chopped onions, that go into to different recipes. Just separate them out as much as you can, and then go down the line.

First, I assemble all dry ingredients and vegetables in the gallon bags. Then I add the raw meat last. This time I bought my meat already cubed, so that save me a bunch of time.

Moroccan Lamb Italian Beef and Cranberry Chicken Freezer Meals

Doing my big cooking day this way (with only slow cooker meals), I do this about every two weeks. I do three different recipes and double each recipe for a total 6 bags of food. Each bag, is two dinners and lunch, so that leaves several days that we can use to eat out, or if I get inspired to cook something not in our freezer meal rotation, like a roast chicken.

Not including grocery shopping time, it takes me less than two hours to chop all the veggies, assemble the bags and clean up. Pretty awesome, right?! Here are the recipes, and remember we always buy all organic ingredients.

Cranberry Chicken


  • 4 medium apples, cut into wedges
  • 2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 pounds chicken breasts or thighs
  • The juice of three lemons
  • 2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca or arrowroot flour
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 can of cranberry sauce (or you can use fresh cranberries if they are in season)


  1. Divide everything into two, one gallon freezer bags and label
  2. When ready to cook, dump into slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours
  3. Serve with rice or couscous.

If you are interested in more slow cooker freezer recipes check out my cookbook From Your Freezer To Your Family, Slow Cooker Freezer RecipesΒ For Every Season.

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  • Tara
    May 16, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Even just the titles sound so yummy- great combo. You are so wonderfully organized! I strive to do this one day. Do you worry about the food being stored in plastic bags?

  • eidolons
    May 16, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Okay. I'm officially ganking your moroccan lamb recipe and substituting chicken. It sounds yummy!

  • Stephanie
    May 16, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    @Tara, thanks! I mean, I wish they were in glass containers, but really I don't worry about it because the food goes in cold and goes straight to the freezer and I take it out of the plastic to put it in the slow cooker…so the food is never heated in the plastic.
    @eidolons…oh, I bet chicken would be tasty too! Let me know how it turns out.

  • Tara
    May 17, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    That is what i was thinking too but I have heard of BPA free freezer bags. I guess there is no difference in the fact that EVERYTHING is stored in plastic at the store. Once again, buying local is best so it isn't shipped in plastic.

    • Abby J
      February 26, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      Ziploc brand freezer bags are BPA free!

      I am trying the Cranberry Chicken and Moraccan Stew with chicken tonight. They sound great!

      • Stephanie
        February 27, 2012 at 2:29 AM

        yes, they are! Let me know how it goes. πŸ˜‰

  • Ashley L
    May 17, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    These all sound so good. Maybe I should know this, but how much broth for the italian beef recipe?

  • Stephanie
    May 17, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    @Ashley, 2 cups!
    @Tara..I will have to look around for those.

  • Anonymous
    May 18, 2011 at 3:59 AM

    Just checking – do you defrost the bag first, or put the ingredients in the slow cooker frozen?
    Thanks, Karen

    • Stephanie
      February 28, 2012 at 4:10 AM

      I put them in frozen.

  • Stephanie
    May 18, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    @anonymous…i put the bag on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes before dumping it the slow cooker. It defrost just enough to slide out of the bag easy and enough to be able to break the block of ice into to pieces so that it fits into my slow cooker.

    after 2 hours, I give it one good stir. If you continuously take the lid off to stir it, you loose too much heat.

  • eidolons
    May 18, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Aaahhhh! It was so very yummy with chicken! I didn't have chicken broth so I used beef (we use the Better Than Bouillon stuff). I used three fresh tomatoes (because measuring isn't something I do often), a handful of frozen cauliflower, and several handfuls of frozen carrots (I bought a mess of veggies to freeze recently). About ten minutes before we sat down to eat I threw a bunch of couscous into the crock and turned it off. Even my picky eight year old is eating it (the Beast *devoured* his) – though he's picked out the onions.

    So yes! Wonderful! I think it'll become a new staple around here – thanks for the recipe!

  • Stephanie
    May 19, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    @eidolons…so glad to hear, thanks for letting us know!

  • Leigh
    May 25, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Thanks for posting and sharing your freezer meal tips. I'm so excited to try this! Two questions: 1: what type of apples do you use for the cranberry chicken? 2. Did you ask the store to cube the meat for you or did the store have pre-cubed meat already packaged? If so, which store? Thank you!

  • Stephanie
    May 25, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Hi Leigh! I just use any old apples, whatever is cheapest at the time. I bought the meat already cubed, at New Leaf, but you could certainly ask to have the butcher cube it for you. Let me know how it all goes for you!

  • Anonymous
    May 29, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Quick question! you mention you add in the chicken broth in your cooker the day you cook the moroccan lamb stew and italian beef… can you tell me how much chicken broth i should put in? Thanks!! I cant wait to try this out! πŸ™‚ Awesome!

  • Courtney
    July 16, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    I LOVE this idea so much! I just made all of your recipes to stock my freezer – I'm due in 3 weeks with baby #2, so these will be a lifesaver in the next couple of months!

    Thank you!

  • Anastasia
    August 17, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    I'm confused … You said you do three different recipes and double each recipe for a total 6 bags of food … The recipe you write down for us is not already doubled is it?

  • Stephanie
    August 18, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Hi Anastasia, so sorry for the confusion. I will be more clear the next time I post a slow cooker freezer recipe. I honestly can't remember, but I am pretty sure the amounts I put in the actual recipe in the post have already been doubled.

  • Anastasia
    August 19, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    OK … I've got my apron on and I'm STARTING! (I know I said I was going to do this on Wednesday BEFORE the semester started … then I realized I had today OFF) Here I go … SO EXCITED!

  • Anastasia
    August 20, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    Oh my goodness that was AMAZING and easy! I have so much FOOD! When I made my list I doubled what you had written down. I have lots of READY TO GO MEALS! =o) Thanks so much for your website! I just got a new freezer … plugged it in last night … filled it up today!

  • Tiffany
    August 21, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    I just found you through pinterest and am in love and so inspired! I love freezer slow cooker meals and was making them monthly with Homemade Gourmet spices. Now that they are gone I have been looking for more ideas. My only ? is about the vegt. Do you chop those up fresh and add them in or add them the day of? I've never froze potatoes so I was wondering if they turned colors or anything.

  • Stephanie
    August 21, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    yay! anastasia! so happy to hear!

    @tiffany, my potatoes didn't turn colors or anything wierd at all. I just chop the veggies and throw them in the bag to freeze. Some people have talked about blanching them first, but I am way to lazy/busy for that. They come out tasting fine to me. I could imagine that you could chop them and add them the day of if you wanted to though. πŸ™‚

  • Joanna
    August 22, 2011 at 3:47 AM

    So each recipe is enough for one bag, right?
    If I wanted to make more than one bag, I would need to double it?

    Thanks, Stephanie! I can't wait to try this. πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie
    August 22, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    @Joanna…each recipe should yield you two bags, at least it did for me. πŸ˜‰

  • mamma203
    September 3, 2011 at 3:35 AM

    When you say to add 2 cups of broth, that would mean 1 cup for each seperate bag? Just making sure as these recipes are on my list to put together this weekend. Thanks.

  • Stephanie
    September 3, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    That is correct Mamma203. πŸ™‚

  • Deanna
    September 10, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    This is so great!! One question, though–what does the abbreviation "PD" mean (as in "2 pds boneless lamb")? Is that packages?

  • Stephanie
    September 11, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    @Deanna, yes pd means pounds. πŸ™‚

  • AnneElizabeth
    September 29, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    These look wonderful. How many servings does each bag make? Are you freezing raw meat mixed with the other ingredients?

  • FarmMom
    October 1, 2011 at 4:34 AM

    All of your freezer slow cooker meals look so amazing and yummy. Can't wait to try them! I'm just curious–do you think you save money by doing once or twice a month cooking this way?

  • Stephanie
    October 1, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    @AnneElizabeth…Each bag makes two dinners and a lunch most of the time. We are a small family of two plus our toddler daughter. And yes, raw meat with the other ingredients. The comments on the original thread answer that in detail, if you want more info.
    @FarmMom…if I was super organized and made menus based around meat that was on sale, then yes, you would probably save money. I do think I go to the grocery store less this way and I save a little that way too. I always end up buying crap I don't need every time I go to the store, so the less I go, the better!

  • Heather L.
    October 25, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    I ran across your blog via pinterest! Love the recipes, thank you so much for posting them. We are expecting our 2nd child any day now so I am prepping meals like crazy and your crock pot recipes were the easiest of them all! Can't wait to throw one in the CP and taste it πŸ™‚

  • Kelly
    October 29, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    Just made my first batch of freezer Crock-pot meals! My fiancee and I have no kids, but during the week I work a few nights. I'm excited that I will be able to set one up in the morning before I leave and he will have dinner ready when he gets home. He can't cook is tired of grilled cheese.

  • Eden
    November 6, 2011 at 2:48 AM

    It all looks so yummy! I have a question, though. When you say it makes 2 dinners and a lunch is that just 2 adult dinner servings or is that 2 separate nights of dinners?

  • Stephanie
    November 8, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    That is great to hear Heather and Kelly!
    @Eden…we are a two parent and one child household, so we usually get dinner and leftovers. The leftovers will give us another full dinner or several lunches.

  • Call Family
    November 14, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    These 3 recipes seem to have less in them then the other set of 3 that yielded 2 meals each. Are these recipes already doubled or do they need to be to make 2 meals? The other post I am referring to is the one with the bbq chicken, chicken curry and goulash. I am making a shopping list to try these out and wanting to know for sure before I start…thanks!

  • Stephanie
    November 15, 2011 at 4:47 AM

    @Call Family…they have a little bit less veggies, but they still yield about the same as the others, for us anyway! The recipes do not need to be doubled, unless you wanted to make 12 bags instead of 6.

  • Karen
    November 17, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    Found your site through Pinterest. Hubby & I made the Cranberry Chicken tonight for dinner & found it to be really sour. Has anyone else tried it?

    • Tiffaney
      February 4, 2012 at 3:47 AM

      I agree! The lemon was way too much and the cranberry was hardly noticeable. If I tried it again I would only use a 1/2 of 1 lemon for the whole recipe and I would increase the jellied cranberries to 2 cans total. Just my 2 cents!

      • Stephanie
        February 5, 2012 at 1:27 AM

        I used fresh cranberries, not jellied, just fyi.

        • Marilyn K
          February 10, 2012 at 6:21 PM

          I was hoping I wasn’t the only one! I thought it was good, but my kids could hardly choke it down, and that was after I added probably a 1/2 – 1 cup of pure maple syrup. Maybe it was the lemon plus the fresh cranberries (I threw a 10 oz bag of frozen ones in). I was thinking with the sauce there would be a ton of sugar so it would be sweeter. I’m trying the Moroccan stew now with venison. Thanks for the recipes!

          • Marilyn K
            February 10, 2012 at 6:24 PM

            Now I feel bad for this post…I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining….you are just posting recipes, not asking for a critique on them! Sorry….so easy to be negative in the “anonymous” internet world.

          • Stephanie
            February 10, 2012 at 7:12 PM

            Don’t feel bad, I appreciate the feedback and will always be open to making my recipes better.

  • Stephanie
    November 17, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    @Karen…hmmm, I don't know about others, but that is one of my favorite recipes! Maybe add more sugar next time to sweeten it up?

  • Anonymous
    November 25, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    How much water do you add to these recipes?

  • Anonymous
    December 22, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    Your ideas are so interesting. I can't wait to try the lamb..The raisins are what caught my eye in this recipe.

  • Anonymous
    December 22, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Traditional canned cranberry sauce is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. To swap out a can of cranberry sauce for fresh cranberries would require significant additional sweetener.

  • Stephanie
    December 22, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    @Anonymous 1..I don't add any water. You could probably add several tablespoons to the cranberry chicken to make the sauce thinner if you wanted.
    @Anonymous 2…thanks! let me know how you like the lamb.
    @Anonymous 3…I buy organic canned cranberries, so they do not have high fructose corn syrup. If you use fresh, I am sure a little sugar, preferably in a healthier form like Sucanat or Rapadura would be fine.

  • Debbie
    January 4, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    what is the cooking time on low if you cook from fresh ingredients (not frozen)?

  • Composing Hallelujahs
    January 11, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    thanks so much for posting your recipes. i tried the Cranberry chicken tonight and it came out really bitter. i tasted it halfway and noticed so i removed the lemon wedges thinking it is from the rind. did i have a brain-dead-mom moment and should i have taken the lemon peel off? thanks πŸ™‚

  • Amanda
    January 15, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    I have to say thank you thank you thank you. I am ssooo happy i found this site. I have Monday free and i am going to get started. We have been struggling for the last year trying to cook dinner thats good and healthy for the boys. Its hard when both of us work and go to school.

  • Amy H.
    January 15, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    I made the Cranberry Chicken tonight. It did have a slightly sour taste, but I liked it. The kids did not like the apples being so sour and I think next time I will add a little more honey to the recipe to make it more kid-friendly recipe. I served it with brown rice and steamed broccoli. Thanks for your recipes and hope that you will post more freezer/slow cooker meals in the future.

  • Holly
    January 22, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    I’ve been eyeing your site on pinterest and am thinking of making some. I noticed a previous post that hasn’t been answered yet about time for cooking thawed ingredients on low. My questions is what do you think would be the time for frozen ingredients on low? Thanks!

  • Katrina
    January 23, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    my family of 6 (4 +2 toddlers) may need more than the 1 gallon bag. Can both bags be cooked at once in a 6qt crock?

    • Stephanie
      January 23, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      Some could and other probably not. The recipes that call for lots of veggies, it might not fit, but others it could work. Please let me know if you try it and how it works.

  • Nickole
    January 26, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    I am a huge veggie eater but there are only wo of us. Has anyone bought the big bag of fresh veggies, bagged and froze them? I am trying to cut time and cost.

  • Nicole
    January 26, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    I bought frozen whole cranberries for the cranberry chicken recipe. Should I defrost, add some sweetener first before freezing for a later cp meal?

    • Stephanie
      January 27, 2012 at 2:21 AM

      I would keep them frozen and just add some sweetener the day of cooking if you want.

  • Em
    January 29, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Hello Stephanie,
    Just wanted to clarify about the Italian Beef recipe. I do not see broth listed in the ingredients, but in the directions, you mention adding broth the day of cooking. How much broth will I add when I cook it?
    Thanks! love the slow cooker meals

    • Stephanie
      January 30, 2012 at 1:29 AM

      I just updated it, sorry. It calls for 2 cups of beef broth day of cooking. πŸ˜‰

  • Tiffaney
    February 4, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    This is the first freezer to crockpot meal I’ve made from this website… Disappointed. The lemon was way too much and the cranberry was hardly noticeable. If I tried it again I would only use a 1/2 of 1 lemon for the whole recipe and I would increase the jellied cranberries to 2 cans total. Just my 2 cents!

    • Stephanie
      February 5, 2012 at 1:26 AM

      So sorry you were disappointed, I will have to make this again soon and see how I can adjust it. I loved it when I made it. Maybe I can just add lemon juice instead of the whole lemon??

      • Mellissa
        April 18, 2012 at 4:52 AM

        I wonder if it is because you are using Meyer lemons? I used meyer lemons and it turned out fine. Maybe the conventional kind from the supermarket make it more sour? Just a thought…..

  • Jennifer
    February 6, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    I found your blog via Pinterest, and I must say I love it so far! I can’t wait to try some of you recipes! I have a question: Could I turn any crock pot meal into a freezer crock pot meal?

    • Stephanie
      February 28, 2012 at 4:12 AM

      I think you probably could. A lot of my recipes are regular recipes that I adapted to a slow cooker, but pretty much everything freezes great!

  • Rhorst
    February 22, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    Tried the lamb stew today, added mint and a little salt/pepper to taste. Husband loved it. It’s a keeper. Thank you!!!

    • Stephanie
      February 22, 2012 at 2:25 AM

      yummy!! I bet it was Moroccan mint. We traveled to Morocco a couple of years ago, mint was in everything.

  • Rainbowjen
    February 28, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Can you tell us exactly what kind of cranberries you use in the Cranberry Chicken (what brand(s) you buy and where you find them- store/section of the store)?
    I see above that you say you used fresh, not jellied, cranberries- and you also say you buy organic canned cranberries (without high fructose corn syrup).
    The recipe sounds so good, and I really want to try it- but I’m just not sure what to look for, and I don’t want to ruin two bags of food by using the wrong kind of cranberries.
    Thanks for all your hard work putting these recipes together… and for keeping up with all the comments!

    • Stephanie
      February 29, 2012 at 2:23 AM

      I can only find fresh cranberries in the Fall when they are in season. So most of the time I used organic, canned, whole cranberries. I have another cranberry recipe that I just came up with that is AMAZING, can’t wait to share it with you. And thanks for noticing that I try very hard to respond to all comments. It is super time consuming but I love it!

  • Lisa
    March 3, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    I’m curious if anyone has tried the cranberry chicken with just the juice and if it was less bitter?

  • Melanie
    March 3, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    This is great, I’m just writing a shopping list, then I’m off to Tesco and will be making these up tomorrow! Thank you πŸ™‚

  • Stacey
    March 7, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    Hey Mama,
    Thanks so much! I just had the Moroccan Lamb and it was AMAZING! I didn’t have any tumeric, so I substituted a tablespoon of dijon mustard. I also used the multicolored rasins from Trader Joes (red, golden, etc.) and it made it so colorful and juicy. I forgot to add the chicken stock, but it was still delicious. Great job!

    • Stephanie
      March 7, 2012 at 3:36 AM

      LOL! I am glad it tasted it great!

  • Mellissa
    April 15, 2012 at 5:07 AM

    I’m loving your freezer meals! I can’t wait to give some of them to my sister in law who is expecting in two months. What a great way to give a meal (or two or three . . .) to new moms that isn’t another casserole or that isn’t weird reheated later.
    I tried adding a couple sprigs of rosemary to the cranberry chicken and it was delicious! I’ve also tweeked the moroccan lamb a bit by adding paprika, cinnamon, and ginger to the spices. And to increase the amount of veggies even more, I throw in a cup of frozen peas to the lamb or the chicken curry during the last 10 minutes or so of cooking, just until they are heated through. Anyway, THANK YOU! What a lifesaver!

    • Stephanie
      April 16, 2012 at 2:21 AM

      Those sound like awesome tweaks!!

  • Errin
    April 30, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    A little advice please – I have multiple bags prepared and am pretty excited about this idea of freezer crock-potting. My maiden voyage today πŸ™‚ was with the Cranberry Chicken recipe. I don’t know if my crock pot cooks hot, or what, but I set it for 8h at 7a, so it finished cooking ~3p, and then my machine automatically goes to “Warm” setting. It smelled good, so I suspect it would have been tasty if it hadn’t been so over done and dry with the sauce all burnt up. So… strategy? Get a wall timer to shut off the machine? Do 4 or 6h and let it sit on warm for the rest of the day? Get a new crock pot? I have never successfully made a crock pot recipe because of this exact problem. We resorted to hotdogs tonight πŸ™ which is just the sort of thing I want to avoid.

    • Stephanie
      May 1, 2012 at 12:30 AM

      Chicken cooks faster than beef, so in general you need to be more watchful of it than beef. Every slow cooker is different, just like ovens, so I always advice when making a new recipe to watch it closely to find your “sweet spot” of when the meat is cooked. I would do 4 hours and let it sit on warm, and test it out and go from there. Let me know if I can help anymore! You will get it figured out and then you will be so pleased with the recipes!

      • Errin
        May 1, 2012 at 12:52 AM

        If I did 4h the cooking heat would shut off ~11a. Will it be OK to then sit on warm for the next 6 or so hours? Will it dry out do you think? For the Italian Beef or Pork Tenderloin recipes then maybe 6h? Thanks so much!

        • Stephanie
          May 1, 2012 at 1:25 AM

          I really can’t say. You are just gonna have to experiment! Try and do it on the weekend when you know you will be home and see what works. You may need to go the timer route. Or you depending on what time you get home from work you try cooking it on high for 2 hours…it’s all so variable, depending on your cooker, wish I could be more helpful.

          • Errin
            May 1, 2012 at 1:41 AM

            Thank you so much for your speedy replies. I really appreciate your help. Thanks!

  • Melissa
    May 30, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Hi! I am just wondering what exactly you mean by red pepper. Is that cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or something else? Thanks!

    • Stephanie
      May 31, 2012 at 3:32 AM

      Red pepper flakes. Sorry about that, I just updated it. Thanks for catching it!

  • Kati
    July 20, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    These all say 4 hours on high. Most times I see it posted as ” 8 on low or 4 on high”. Is that the case here, or should I not cook them on low for 8?

    • Stephanie
      July 20, 2012 at 6:46 PM

      I will double check the post now, but yes 4 on high or 8 on low. With pork or chicken you really gotta watch it though the first time you make the recipes, all slow cookers are different just like ovens. πŸ˜‰

  • Erica
    August 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I could not find cooking tapioca or arrowroot flour in my local grocery store – is there a possible substitute?

    • Stephanie
      August 12, 2012 at 1:44 AM

      Regular flour or corn starch would work fine, just not as healthy or gluten free.

  • Laura
    September 4, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Do you only put one bag of food into the slow cooker? Or both at once?

    • Stephanie
      September 4, 2012 at 2:50 AM

      One bag at a time. πŸ™‚

  • bloggingbabysteps
    September 7, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Hi. I made the cranberry chicken yesterday. I put everything in the pot on low in the morning, and when I got home about nine hours later, my house smelled great! I had it over brown rice, and it was amazing! I used half of the recipe, with the juice of one lemon. It wasn’t really lemony at all–perfectly delicious! For the cranberries, I used half a box (looks like the paper boxes of soup) of organic whole cranberries (from Whole Foods). I will definitely make this again!

    • Stephanie
      September 8, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • Lisa Rad
    November 27, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    I love all your recipes!! It’s been over a month of nonstop freezer meals but the Italian Beef we had tonight was simply amazing! I had Healing Chicken Soup for lunch too. So good!!!! Thank you!!!!

  • GINA
    August 29, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    I was wondering if you could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of whole chicken pieces? And if so are there any adjustments that should be made?

    • Stephanie
      August 30, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      Yup! Just know that using boneless, skinless breasts can end up shredded. They don’t hold up as well as the whole chicken pieces, and also cook a little faster.