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Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef is an easy, healthy, dump-and-go, delicious dinner. This freezer friendly recipe is a win for my family and is a great recipe for large groups. So simple!

 

Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef

Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Beef might be the easiest and very best slow cooker meal I’ve ever made for my family. You simply can’t beat the aroma of slow cooked chuck roast. It’s one of the best dump-and-go meals you’ll find!

Seasoned chuck roast in a slow cooker

Everyone, from ages 4 to 42, devoured this tender, flavorful meat dish. I have served it with mashed potatoes (and of course veggies and fruit), which is perfect for all that extra sauce in the crock, or Boiled Baby Potatoes go well with it, too. Then, the next night we had this same Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Beef on mini wheat rolls as “french dip” sandwiches. Again, a huge win!

Video Tutorial: How to Make Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef

How to Freeze Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef

This recipe works great to prep ahead and freeze. You can make lots of batches at once if you plan ahead a bit.

Freezer Meal Instructions:

Method One:

To Freeze: Place all ingredients together in a freezer friendly plastic bag and freeze. To prepare, let bag thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours.

To Prepare: After thawed, cook as directed.

Method Two:

To Freeze: Fully cook the meal (through Step #4). Let it cool completely. (Safety Note: Do not let the meat sit on the counter more than 2 hours.) Store meat and sauce in a freezer container or freezer bag after it’s cooled completely.

To thaw: There are at least three safe ways to defrost and warm up this meal.

  1. Let meat thaw in the fridge for 24-48 hours and then warm gently on the stove top or in the microwave. (This is the preferred method.)
  2. From frozen on stove top: Place the frozen meat and sauce on the stove top in a pot over medium-low heat. Dump 1 cup of water or beef broth over the top. Put a lid on and stir periodically until warmed through.
  3. From frozen in microwave: Place frozen meat and sauce in a microwave-safe bowl. Use the DEFROST setting to thaw, stirring occasionally. Then heat in the microwave on the COOK setting in 30-60 second increments until warmed through.
Slow cooker balsamic shredded beef on a plate

Can You Make Slow Cooker Balsalmic Shredded Beef in the Instant Pot?

You bet! Just follow the instructions in the recipe below but make the following changes:

  • Cut the beef into 2×2 pieces.
  • Place the beef and the sauce in a 6-quart Instant Pot. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10+ minutes.

If you want to know how to convert other recipes to the Instant Pot, be sure to download our Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart. We also have a cookbook that gives slow cooker AND Instant Pot instructions for EVERY recipe. You can check out From Freezer to Cooker here.

Need a side dish idea?

Serve this with our 3-Minute No-Boil Corn on the Cob or our Simple Baby Boiled Potatoes.

No-Boil Corn on the cob
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Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minute
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Slow cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Slow cooker balsamic shredded beef is packed full of flavor and oh-so-easy to savor. So. Good. 


Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pound boneless roast beef (chuck or round roast)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth (or sub chicken stock)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (Gluten-free option: Use coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (increase if you want more heat)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Put roast beef into slow cooker and season with Kosher salt and pepper on all sides.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over roast beef.
  3. Slow cook on LOW for about 8 hours, or until meat easily shreds apart.
  4. Using two large forks, shred the meat apart in the slow cooker.
  5. Serve meat warm on top of mashed potatoes or on a bun with a bit of the sauce over the top. There should be plenty of sauce for dipping sandwiches, too!

Freeze For Later:

Method One:

To Freeze: Place all ingredients together in a freezer friendly plastic bag and freeze. To prepare, let bag thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours.

To Prepare: Thaw using one of these three safe ways and then cook as directed.

Method Two:

To freeze: Fully cook the meal (through Step #4). Let it cool completely. (Safety Note: Do not let the meat sit on the counter more than 2 hours.) Store meat and sauce in a freezer container or freezer bag after it’s cooled completely.

To thaw: Thaw using one of these three safe ways and then warm on the stove over low heat or in the microwave.

Slow cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef

Hearty Baked Penne Pasta {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

Delicious dinner recipe? Check. Freezer friendly? Check. Makes a lot of leftovers? Check. Approved by all ages in the family? Check. Feeds a large group of people? Check. Easy to make? Check!

Baked Penne Pasta

Affiliate Disclosure:  Posts may contain affiliate links.

I’ve been making this Baked Penne Pasta Recipe for a while now. It’s finally time for me to share it with the world. If any of you dear readers out there embark on making this recipe, the world will be a better place. Share the love and impress your eaters.

Video Tutorial: Baked Penne Pasta

How to Make Baked Penne Pasta

To get started with the hearty-gooey-tasty deliciousness, you make the sauce first.

Ingredients for Baked Penne Pasta

Start by softening up your garlic and diced onion in some olive oil. (PS-here is a little tip on how to dice an onion!) Now add your ground beef and brown it up until there is no pink showing. (Here is where you can find meat you can trust, btw.)

Browning ground beef

At this point, things will start smelling really good and your toddler will begin his attempts to climb up your leg. When he fails, he will likely take any loose-fitting pants down with him. Just sayin.

Now that your toddler is occupied watching fire trucks on your iPhone (wait, I’m not supposed to do that before two years old, right?) Well, at least I’m not cooking pantless anymore. I digress.

After the meat is browned up, drain off some fat and add in the tomato sauce and tomatoes. You could sub these two for two jars of marinara if you want. Add your salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and anything else you feel it needs.

Now let it simmer on low for about 25-30 minutes. After that, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down. You’ll see why in a bit.

Making tomato sauce

After you get that sauce a-simmerin’, start multitasking. If you need to shred your cheese (here is why you should shred your own cheese by the way) go ahead and do that. You can also start to boil your pasta. Make sure to undercook it a tad. Seriously. If not, you’ll have some funky texture going on after it bakes in the oven.

In another bowl, combine your creamy stuff: ricotta, egg, 2 cups mozzarella, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Give it a good stir. But not TOO good of a stir. Just enough to mix it together, k?

Once pasta is cooked and drained, mix it with your cheese mixture. After the pasta and cheese mixture is combined, add in that cooled pasta sauce I told you about earlier. You did follow my directions, right?!

Once you’ve mixed that together, you have a delicious, gooey mess.

Pour the pasta into a baking dish. 

Pasta in a 9x13 dish

Now top it off with remaining pasta sauce.

Pasta & sauce in a 9x13 dish

Now finish it off with a layer of mozzarella.

Cheese on top of pasta in a 9x13 dish

If you’re planning on freezing this meal, this is the point in which you put your lid on and freeze it. Here are the freezing containers we use and recommend.

Either freeze your baked pasta at this point, or….

Freezer meal

Bake it!

Baked Penne Pasta in a 9x13 dish

Let it cool a bit before serving it up.

Baked penne pasta next to a green salad

Goodness. I need to make some more after writing this post.

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Baked Penne Pasta

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Freezer Friendly Baked Penne Pasta Recipe. Easy, kid-friendly dinner idea. Great for large groups too.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground beef (or one pound ground beef & one pound Italian sausage) Here is where you can find meat you can trust.
  • 1 can (28 ounce size) whole tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounce) tomato sauce or marinara sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 tub (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 11/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Begin to boil your pasta. Make sure to undercook it a tad–especially if freezing!
  7. In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and a dash of salt and pepper.
  8. Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and barely mix it together.
  9. Add the cooled meat sauce that you set aside earlier and toss to combine.
  10. Dump the pasta mixture into a large greased casserole dish or lasagna dish. (NOTE: I ended up using a 9×13 AND a 9×9 dish to fit all of it!) Spoon the remaining sauce over the top, then top with remaining mozzarella cheese. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Hint: Sprinkle chopped parsley over the pasta before serving!

Freeze For Later: Follow the recipe through Step 10. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, foil or a lid. Freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: When ready to cook, you have two options:

  1. Thawed: Thaw in the fridge (may take up to 48 hours) or thaw in the microwave on defrost setting. Bake at 375 degrees F according to Step 11 in the recipe.
  2. Frozen: If cooking directly from frozen state, cover with foil. Bake in a 375°F oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or so, until heated through and bubbly. Remove the foil the last 20 minutes.

Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox*. The ground beef is grass-fed, grass-finished with no hormones or antibiotics and is absolutely delicious! We highly recommend this service to source DELICIOUS and HEALTHY meat–like heritage-raised pork, organic chicken, wild salmon, and uncured bacon–and have used it for years ourselves. *Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox.

Looking for more ground beef recipes?

Check out our Top 10 Ground Beef Freezer Meals!

Ground Beef Freezer meals