Food

Orange-Beef Stew, Chicken n’ Cherries, French Beef Dip Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

My new recipes are finally here! It has been such a joy having an increase in readership these last couple of weeks and meeting all you wonderful new readers that found me because of my original post on slow cooker freezer meals. I love that you all have stuck around and started to read my posts on other topics.

Last week, I put together three new recipes and I think you will really like them. Before I give you the recipes I wanted to take a moment to address some of the questions that you had about the other recipes.

  • Several people had concerns about mixing raw meat and the veggies in one bag. I am no expert, but I think because you are putting the ingredients in the bag and immediately putting it in the freezer and then the day you cook it, straight from freezer to slow cooker, that it is not a problem. I prep all my veggies the night before and make labels. Then the day of, I assemble all my dry ingredients into sections, then put all veggies, sauces, dry ingredients into the bags. The very last thing I do is put the meat in. So there is very little time that the meat is out, before I put it in the freezer.
  • Texture.  Several people said the texture was soupy. Pretty much all my recipes are a form of a stew. I always serve my recipes with rice or cous-cous, or make a sandwich with it (usually for lunch). I like it that way, but I realize that is not for everyone.
  • Adding in last minute ingredients.  If a recipe calls for broth, I add it the day of and do not put it in the bag with the other ingredients. I will do a better job of describing which items go in the bag to freeze and what items you toss in the day of cooking.
  • Doubling. The recipes below have already been doubled, but if you have a large family, you might want to double them again. Each recipe below, yields me two bags of food. So if it says 2 cans of pitted cherries, that would be one can per bag. Each bag, usually yields us two dinners and a lunch. We are a small family of two adults and one toddler.
  • I use gallon size bags. I hand write a label with name of recipe, date I freeze it and any thing I need to add the day of like, broth. Then I double bag it. I am working on getting some super cute labels made so you can print out your own labels (my gift to you!) to go along with each recipe, so stay tuned for those!

Orange Beef Stew Chicken n Cherries French Beef Dip Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

After I assemble the ingredients, I lay the bags flat and get all the air out. As I am getting the air out, I mix everything up in the bag, so all the veggies and meat are coated in the sauce/spice mix. Then I place them in my freezer flat, so they freeze like bricks, just like I do with breast milk storage bags.

So, without further adieu, the  September Mama and Baby Love Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes!!  And remember, if you sign up for my newsletter, you will get a sneak peak of recipes before anyone else does.

Chicken and Cherries

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds of chicken breast
  • 2 cans of pitted cherries
  • Chili Sauce to taste
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Assemble all ingredients into freezer bags
  2. Place in freezer
  3. Day of cooking, place in slow cooker
  4. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4
  5. You can shred chicken if you want, or leave in chunks
  6. Serve with rice or cous-cous or make sandwiches

So there you have it. I love all the feedback from the other recipes, so please tell me if you have any ideas and how you like the flavor when you make it.

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

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  • Krissy
    September 6, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    BTW – I just read your breastmilk storage blog entry and to be honest I feel like everyone knows their child best and what is good for themselves. I couldn't stand when I would get critizied or questioned for keeping a bottle of breastmilk when it was unfinished. Um hello….it's pretty much the closest to liquid gold people!

    And thanks for the recipes too!

  • Cassandra
    September 6, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Don't forget you can also put broths into ice cube trays to freeze and then take out to store in freezer bags. It would be pretty easy to toss in a couple cubes with each bag to melt in the pot.

  • CajunFleur
    September 6, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    RYN: Oh roux–they are definitely tricky to do. I stirred it constantly and it was so perfect. I just don't know when I incorporate it into the gumbo it does this weird coagulation mess and looks funny and clumpy. I am on vacation from work next week and my daddy has promised to show me how to cook the roux! Once I master it, I might even do a vlog about it to shout out to the world that I have conquered the roux world! Until then, I will rock the Gumbo base in the pouch. 🙂 We can and will do it–one day!

  • thenew30something
    September 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Love the Chicken and Cherries recipe that is going on the list for next week's menu!

  • thenew30something
    September 6, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Love the Chicken and Cherries Recipe it's going on next week's menu!

  • kelsey
    September 7, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    Holy Moley! Talk about great timing! I came across your original slow cooker recipes just now- and while wondering if there were any more recipes out there I realized that you posted them today! Thank you!

  • The Annessa Family
    September 7, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Great recipes! Thank you!

    Brooke
    http://www.TheAnnessaFamily.blogspot.com

  • Andrew Logsdon
    September 7, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    Thanks for more recipes! I too found your blog through the wonderful world of pintrest 😉 I made your BBQ Chicken and Chicken Curry meals this weekend. I love having a stocked fridge! Question about the curry one, it called for a boulion cube…how much water do you add the day of cooking?

  • My13LuckyDays
    September 7, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    I was thinking a possible solution to the meat issue would be to slice it up (or chunk it or whatever it needs to be) and then freeze it over night in a single layer on a cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan). Then when you are ready to throw it all in the same bag and into the freezer the meat is already frozen. Maybe you'd want to cover it with freezer paper or tin foil when it's on the cookie sheet to avoid freezer burn (it's probably fine since it'd just be overnight)? I've done this before with whole, fresh chicken breasts when it's on sale, in order to make my own bags of boneless/skinless/frozen breasts. Then they don't stick together and you can use them individually. I know people do this with fruit too (I've done strawberries and sliced peaches, etc, and it works great).

  • Kaitlin Saenz
    September 9, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    This is genius! I'd love for you to share this at my blog party! http://notsosimplehousewife.blogspot.com/2011/09/recreate-into-something-new-5.html

    Hope to see you at my place soon!
    Kaitlin-The Not So Simple Housewife
    http://notsosimplehousewife.blogspot.com'

    P.S. I'm your newest follower and can't wait to see what you share next

  • Pokeyann
    September 12, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    I just made the Chicken Curry, it was awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous
    October 21, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    I'm new to your site (via pinterest) I'm soo excited to try these so I can spend more time w/my boys! Plus it's so difficult to find healthy recipes for the crock pot. A question on the chix & Cherries~ Do you think it would taste ok with some spinach or ither veggie?
    Thanks~
    Chelsea

  • Stephanie
    October 25, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Glad you all like! If you make it, tell me what you think!
    @Anonymous…spinach or another veggie would be great! I didn't add any veggies to this recipe, like I normally do, because my daughter is on a huge broccoli kick and she only likes fresh and sautéed with a TON of butter.

  • Anonymous
    November 1, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    If you feel that strongly about the raw meat and veggies together just drop the meat in a small plastic baggie and put that in the gallon bag. Can't wait to try some of these recipes.

  • DW
    November 9, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    ^^^that's exactly what I was thinking and would do. It's an extra plastic bag but not a deal breaker to making these awesome recipes. Also I was thinking of mixing these dry and wet ingredients first and place them in with the meat so they can marinade for a bit until they freeze solid?

  • Stephanie
    November 9, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    @DW…that is why I like to combine everything in one bag. I don't know how much marinated is going on before it freezes, but I figure it can't hurt. 😉

  • Anonymous Bacteriologist
    November 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Looking at the "OMG you are putting raw meat and veggies in the same bag" issue … as a microbiologist I can tell you that as long as you are washing your hands before starting, working on clean surfaces, chopping with clean knives, and not overloading the freezer your risk of food-borne sickness is very tiny.

    The reason for being careful with raw meats and meat juice while cooking is that IF that raw chicken has a few salmonella or staph on it, AND IF juice from the chicken contaminates something that will not be cooked or frozen immediately (such as the already cooked potatoes for potato salad), AND IF that food sits for several hours …. THEN the salmonella can multiply into numbers high enough to cause a problem. Or the staphylococcus can produce enough toxin to make you sick.

    Your sequence, chopping veggies adding meat, then straight to the freezer is as sanitary as you can get. Pre-freezing the meat adds another step and it's another chance to contaminate something.

    I regularly chop meat for a stew, start browning the chunks and keep chopping onions and carrots on the same cutting mat and tossing them in the pot. As long as it's headed for flame or freezer the bacteria will not have a chance to multiply.

  • The Saved Quarter
    November 23, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    There shouldn't be any problem with storing meat inside the bag, because all of the bag's contents will be cooked together to a safe temperature. It's like if you put the raw ingredients in the crockpot in the morning. You wouldn't separate the meat and vegetables for fear of cross-contamination, so no need to do that in the storage, as long as you're keeping the meat in the safe zone during prep.

  • Tara Bartlett
    November 29, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Oh my gosh, your Crock Pot freezer meals are amazing-looking! I recently found your blog through Pinterest and haven't had a chance to try the recipes yet, but I've printed them all and put them in line to try! I have a ten-month old daughter, and she keeps me busy enough that I can't cook a separate meal every night or even every other night…and what happens is I find myself at 4pm wondering what the heck I'll make for dinner. This gives me hope, for sure.

    As for the commenters who have issues with raw meat and veggies, I know this has been as close to resolved as you can get, but I have to put in my two cents–it's all going to COOK together, so you don't have to worry about touching. Freezing and cooking are two acceptable ways to put raw meat with other food items. I learned that much in my early pregnancy classes about safe food temperatures. And this is coming from a Class-A germophobe, so worry not!

  • Saving45
    January 1, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Thanks for the recepies I made 6 of your crockpot freezer recepies today. It only took me three hours and that includes shopping. Can't wait to cook them. Thanks again!

  • Rosemarie
    January 8, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    If you're scared of mixing the veggies and meat, just put the veggies into a smaller ziploc baggie and put the smaller baggie into the bigger one where the meat will be. As long as the baggies are sealed properly, the veggies and meat will not be touching.

    Solved!

  • Jennifer Pester
    January 11, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    I am so excited to try your recipies! The healthy mamma BBQ chicken is in the crock pot now 🙂 I'm getting ready to put several others in the freezer, but Im stuck on the Chicken and Cherries. What kind of Cherries do I buy? At my store I have the option of canned cherrie pie filling, glass jar maraschino cherries, and plain frozen ones (none in the organic section). Thanks!

  • melissa
    January 12, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    LOVE this! Exactly what I have been looking for…all the other cook for a day things I have looked at – actually took all day to cook – NO THANKS! Not only have you given me inspiration to see if I can do this with my own crock pot recipes… you have some great ones that I am looking forward to trying.

    Last weekend, I did make up about 15 bags of cut up fruit and yogurt to have smoothies all ready to pull out as needed! I also boiled about 6 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs and just cubed them up and put into freezer bags in 2 cup increments… so I have those ready to pull out for quick and easy quesadillas, tacos, or casseroles.

    Thanks again for the recipes!

  • heatherb
    January 14, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    I am so excited to try these recipes. I have a question if each recipes yiels 2 dinners and a lunch after you eat the first dinner do you freeze the leftovers or do you eat them with int he week?

  • Jen
    January 15, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Love your blog! I don't know if I'll make freezer meals a staple, but I love having them around. I'll definitely be making about six weeks' worth before the baby gets here in May, just to make things easier on us while we're adjusting to her.

    Thanks for such great ideas!

  • Monica
    January 22, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    I just discovered your blog this week, and I love it!! Just what I’ve been looking for:) I’m going to try some of these freezer meals out this up coming week. I just have a quik question for you. Do you cook your meats before mixing it with everything eles? I’m thinking about cross contamination!!
    Thank you for sharing your great ideas,
    Monica:)

    • Monica
      January 22, 2012 at 3:34 AM

      Never mind:) I just put the kids down, and was going to read
      your post from top to bottom and came across : Several people had concerns about mixing raw meat and the veggies in one bag:-)

    • Stephanie
      January 23, 2012 at 12:47 AM

      I do not. I dump it all in together. There have been other people ask about this, so check out the rest of the comment section on the other slow cooker recipe page. 🙂

  • Tiffany
    January 25, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    I will be trying these soon. These will be great for my husband when we have our second baby. And having cute labels would be great, but if no labels, I just write on the bag with a sharpie before filling it up. He’ll be able to make dinner without worrying. Thank you for the recipes. Where are the others? I try the link and it shoots me somewhere else.

    Also, what would you recommend for substituting the meat? I like my meat to last so I never use more than 1/4 lb/1 cup or 1 breast. I’ll probably just double the vegetables.

    • Stephanie
      January 25, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      I just switched to WordPress and all my embedded links within posts have not been updated, I have to go and do that one by one and with my pregnancy and now miscarriage, I am moving slow, but I will get them up all soon. In the mean time you can go to the tab at the top, titled Real Food and find my recipes there.

  • Terra
    January 26, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Love these, thank you for sharing them!! Quick question re: an ingredient in the Chicken N’ Cherries – I’m having a brain fart….chili sauce??? What is it/where would it be? (I’m going to kick myself when I read the answer, I just know it!!)

    • Stephanie
      January 27, 2012 at 2:22 AM

      It would be by the BBQ sauces. There are million different kinds, get whatever looks yummiest to you!

      • Terra
        February 1, 2012 at 6:08 PM

        thank you!!! It’s in the crockpot as we speak!!! Thanks!

        • Misty
          February 6, 2012 at 3:20 PM

          Thank you for asking Terra! I was searching the comments for this question because I had no idea either!

  • HookerD
    January 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    I made the french dip last week and it was absolutely fabulous!! I made sandwiches with provolone and dipped them into the juice…so that it was like a French Dip Sandwich you get at a restaurant…my husband said it was the best French Dip he ever had (even better than a restaurant)!
    Thank you so much for sharing, I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!!

  • Brandy
    February 5, 2012 at 5:51 AM

    I am not a fan of cooking but your blog has helped me to get moving in the kitchen. You mentioned above the recipes are doubled and you place half in each bag. Just to be sure on something, you said 1/4 cup of brown sugar – is that 1/4 cup for each bag or 1/8 cupnfor each bag. Like for the French dip – is that 2.5 lbs for each meal or is the 5 lbs one meal? Sorry to ask something you have already covered – but a bit confused. Thanks for helping 🙂

    • Stephanie
      February 5, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      That is correct, so all the spices are split between two bags.

      • DIGal
        August 31, 2012 at 8:09 PM

        In the Orange-Beef stew, you state in the “add day of cooking” to add 2 bags of spinach. This that one bag per both bags of the doubled recipe or 2 bags for making one recipe? I can hardly wait to start making my slow cooker freezer dinners. Thanks for the recipes and ideas.

        • Stephanie
          September 2, 2012 at 5:31 PM

          Yes, one bag of spinach, per one bag of frozen slow cooker meal.

  • Amanda
    February 10, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Thank you for the recipes. I look forward to trying them out. Just wanted to make sure you add ONE frozen bag of ingredients to the crockpot at a time. You don’t pre-thaw it? One bag is good for two adults?
    Thanks for sharing and answering my questions :).

    • Stephanie
      February 10, 2012 at 7:12 PM

      That is correct!

  • Pacer1
    February 21, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Hello all,

    I just found this while searching for freezer meal ideas. I have some input re: mixing of raw meat and veggies. I am a former health inspector, and believe I am quite knowledgeable about the subject. Mixing of raw meat and vegetables is a problem ONLY if those same vegetables are going to be eaten raw or if the dish is undercooked. Cooking to the proper temperature (165 for chicken, 155 for beef, etc) is sufficient to kill any harmful bacteria or viruses present in the raw meat and added vegetables. FDA and state food codes all go by this principle and differentiate between raw and ready-to-eat foods. So, don’t eat ANYTHING straight out of the bag and you will be fine.

  • Dana
    February 21, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Can’t wait to try these!!
    Stephanie, any progress on your freezer labels? 🙂

  • Monica
    March 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    I was wondering for the chicken and cherries, do you drain the cherries or use the whole jar, juice and all?

    • Stephanie
      March 6, 2012 at 1:01 AM

      whole jar, juice and all. 🙂

  • Bailee
    March 10, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Have just discovered your blog, thank you so much! I’m a student, working full time, and this just makes so much sense to make life easier and more healthy!

    Can’t wait to start trying these recipes out!

  • Tiffany
    March 23, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Can I use baby bella mushrooms in the french dip recipe? Would you still leave them whole?

    • Stephanie
      March 23, 2012 at 2:54 AM

      Sure! Yes, you could leave them whole if you wanted.

  • Lorri Rudzinski
    April 1, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I LOVE your recipes, the only think about them I would love more (OTHER than you doing the actual work) would be a list of ingredients for the shopping list. ONE list with ALL the ingredients for the five meals listed. AGAIN, thanks for sharing!

    • Stephanie
      April 2, 2012 at 2:26 AM

      I have got you covered! My ecookbook is coming out soon and will have grocery lists, nutrition info and cute label printables!

  • Red
    May 9, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    What is arrowroot flour? I want to try the orange beef. Is it okay to just use regular flour? I feel your crockpot recipes are going to be a lifesaver once our little ones arrive. More more more!! 🙂

    • Stephanie
      May 9, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      Sure you can use regular flour if you want. Arrowroot is healthier and gluten free. But any kind of thickener will do. 😉

  • Rita Moore
    August 1, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    I am a HUGE fan of yours!!! I stumbled across your blog while searching for healthy crock pot recipes. I have ten meals in my freezer right now and we have tried two! Absolutely fabulous tasting and sooooo easy! I have raised three sons (and a husband) and I have always spent Sunday’s cooking/preparing meals for the entire week. You have taken it to the next level! Great, great job. I hope that you continue to publish new recipes 🙂 Thank you so much!!!

    • Stephanie
      August 1, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      Thank you Rita!! That is so nice to hear!

  • Emily
    September 22, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Is the beef bouillon in the orange-beef stew the powdered/cube kind? Sometimes it seems the word bouillon is used interchangeably with broth.
    Thank you!

    • Stephanie
      September 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM

      It is the powdered/cube kind. I used to use organic cubed bouillon but then I found out that even that has MSG in it!! So now I just use regular homemade stock. If you search the Real Food tab, I have an updated Orange-Beef Stew recipe that uses stock instead. Also, my eCookbook is a good option too. 😉