Snowy Day Freezer Meals: Stews and Soups

I’m breaking out of the December holiday coma with some hearty, winter freezer meals. The slow cooker is great year round, but winter is where I think it shines. Nothing like coming home from work to a hot cooked meal when it’s snowing outside (or just plain cold!).

Four out of the five meals are stews/soups and then there is a jerk pork slider dish thrown in to mix things up.

Beef Stew
Ingredients:
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2-3 med potatoes, chopped (not frozen in the bag, added day of cooking)
1/2 med onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 pounds stew meat, cubed
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
8 ounces beef broth
salt to taste

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high 4-5 hours or low 8-10 hours. Remove bay leaf. Serve.

Review:
This was a decent stew. Nothing to right home about, but also nothing wrong with it. Alas, I couldn’t make dumplings to go with it because those just don’t work right in a slow cooker.

Winter Minestrone
Adapted from: Once a Month Meals
Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon black pepper
1.25 cups wild rice, uncooked (not frozen add day of)
16 oz can diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoon oregano
1.5 cups cannellini beans (rinsed)

Directions:
Place all ingredients into slow cooker and stir to combine.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Review:
Two issues. DO NOT out the rice in at the start of the cooking process. This turned the soup into a stodgy mess. A tasty one favors wise, but not appetizing. If adding the rice in at the end, either add the rice into the slow cooker a couple hours before serving or take out some liquid to cook the rice and then add it back into the pot. I just cooked rice in a rice cooker and added in and there was too much liquid. The flavors are great, but the rice is tricky.

Jerk Pork Sliders
Adapted from: Once a Month Meals
Ingredients:
1.5 pounds boneless pork loin
3 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons Jerk Seasoning
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 med onion, sliced
1 Tablespoons cilantro
8 ounces pineapple chunks

Directions:
Place all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. Serve on buns or over coconut rice

Review: These turned out really good. We left out the cilantro as hubby hates it.

Chicken Enchilada Soup
Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
2 cups good-quality chicken stock
1 1/4 cup (or 1 10-ounce can) red enchilada sauce*, homemade or store-bought
2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (15-ounce) can whole-kernel corn**, drained
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or more/less to taste
optional garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, diced red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips/chips

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 hours on high heat or 6-8 hours on low heat, until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily. Use two forks to shred the chicken.

Review: Very good. Will totally make again.

Pizza Soup – Serves 8-10 (freeze remaining soup, not doubled for freezer meals)
Adapted from: Once a Month Meals
Ingredients:
28 ounces pizza sauce
7 1/2 cups of water (add day of if you need to save on freezer space)
2 green peppers, diced
1 med onion red onion, diced
15.5 ounces diced tomatoes
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
6 ounces Smoked Sausage, already cooked, sliced and halved
1 cup sliced pepperoni, quartered
1/2 Tablespoons basil, dry
1 Tablespoon oregano, dry
1 1/2 cups uncooked pasta (not frozen, added day of)

Toppings (not frozen in bag):
French or Sourdough Bread
Butter
Garlic Powder
Parmesan Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese

Directions:
Wash and prepare veggies and place in 6 quart slow cooker. Add the sausage, pepperoni, basil, and oregano to veggies. Pour in pizza sauce and then water. Cover and cook on low 6 hours.

Thirty minutes before end of time, add pasta and turn to high. Allow pasta to soften. Serve topped with croutons and Mozzarella cheese.

To prepare croutons: slice bread. Butter one side and sprinkle with garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Broil for several minutes or until golden brown. Be careful not to burn. Remove from oven, cut into squares. Serve on top of soup.

Review: OMG this was amazing! Monkey even ate it! I served it with homemade garlic bread (melt butter and add crushed garlic; brush onto any bread and broil to toast) instead of making croutons. This is 100% on my list of meals to make again.

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About Emma BL

In the begining, there was just the two of us, then there were furbabies, and then a baby! We started trying to conceive in Nov 2010, but experienced complications and a miscarriage. Finally in April 2012 we welcomed Monkey and Bear joined in 2015. While preggo and trying to become preggo with Monkey, I often hit the web search for information about what is happening to me and I hope that through sharing my experiences, others gain some knowledge. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet. So take all my experiences and advice with a grain of salt! Now that Monkey and Bear are around and we have made the transition to parents... we try to answer the question "is there life after the baby bump?"
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