Posts

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling Stew

By Polly Conner

Chicken and Dumplings in the slow cooker? Yes! It can be done!

This classic comfort food will fill your home with delicious smells and is a total crowd pleaser. To make Chicken and Dumplings even more versatile for you, we’ve included instructions not only for the crock pot but also for how to make it a freezer meal AND how to make it in the Instant Pot!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings in a white bowl
Image credit: Helene Dujardin/From Freezer to Cooker (Rodale)

This easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling recipe comes from our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker ,and was good enough to make national television. Seriously! Here is a segment of us cooking Chicken & Dumplings on Hallmark Home & Family!

Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer on Hallmark Channel

In fact, all of the photos in this post were pulled from this very cooking segment on Hallmark.

Hopefully the process photos will give you a visual of how easily our Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling Stew comes together.

How to Make Chicken and Dumplings in the Slow Cooker

SAUTÉ YOUR VEGGIES

While we would love to not have to pre-cook vegetables for this slow cooker meal, we found that they don’t get cooked enough in the 3-4 hours it takes for the chicken to get done in the slow cooker. Plus, sautéing vegetables adds lots of flavor!

Sautéd vegetables for chicken and dumplings

SEASON THE CHICKEN THIGHS

Once those veggies start to get tender and you’ve added your garlic and seasonings, transfer them to the slow cooker and season your chicken.

We use chicken thighs for the recipe because they stay incredibly tender and juice when cooking in the slow cooker. Just make sure you cook the chicken the correct amount of time!

Chicken thighs on a baking sheet being seasoned

COOK IN THE SLOW COOKER

Add the chicken, broth, and bay leaves to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Trust us, this is really only how long you cook it or else it will turn out dry! Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves (make sure to return the lid to the cooker quickly).

MAKE THE DUMPLINGS

Set the slow cooker to High. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt the butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).

Making dumplings in a glass bowl

ADD YOUR DUMPLINGS TO THE SLOW COOKER

Working quickly and using a soup spoon or tablespoon, uncover the slow cooker, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.)

Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Get the lid back on the cooker as soon as possible.

Cook on High for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dumplings have doubled in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.

Scooping out dumplings into the slow cooker

DICE YOUR CHICKEN AND ADD IT BACK IN

Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.

When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Moving chicken into slow cooker

Can I Make Chicken and Dumplings in the Instant Pot?

One of the beauties of this recipe is that it can be made in both the slow cooker AND the Instant Pot.

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For the stew: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Place the butter in the pot. When the butter has melted, add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, until they just begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper and stirring in the poultry seasoning and garlic during the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Watch to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Press “Cancel.” (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, broth, and bay leaves to the pot and stir to combine.
  3. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, then quick release the pressure. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  4. For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
  5. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” and bring the stew to a boil. Using a soup spoon or tablespoon, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.) Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Cover the Instant Pot loosely with the lid, leaving a crack. Cook for about 12 minutes, until the dumplings double in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  7. When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

INSTANT POT FREEZER MEAL INSTRUCTIONS

FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container (do not stack the chicken thighs in the bag/container; instead, place them side by side). Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen). Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Set aside the dry dumpling mix. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen stew to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Follow step 3, but cook at high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes. Follow steps 4 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.

Want More Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot?

We’ve got you covered. Hop over to this post highlighting 20+ Best of the Best Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot. It includes freezer meal instructions for EVERY recipe plus tons of pro tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years.

Can I Freeze Chicken and Dumplings for the Slow Cooker?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for fabulous freezer meals. THIS IS WHAT WE DO!

Many would not consider Chicken and Dumplings to be a great freezer meal. Wrong! We have devised a way that Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings can be frozen and thawed and still taste like a fresh, delicious meal.

Holding a freezer meal of chicken and dumplings

FREEZER MEAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SLOW COOKER VERSION

FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Transfer the chicken-vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and follow steps 3 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.

What should I serve with this dish?

We love that Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings are a one-pot wonder. You’ve got vegetables, protein, and bread/starch all in one delicious bowl! But, if you’d like to add in something on side, here are a few ideas to round out this comfort meal…

Autumn Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Crock Pot Cinnamon Apples

Have questions? Feedback? Leave a comment and let us know!

Print

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: american

Description

Chicken and Dumplings are probably the ultimate comfort food.  This one-pot-wonder is filled with tender vegetables, juicy shredded chicken, and soft dumplings in a rich creamy-brothy gravy.


Ingredients

Stew

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 4 carrots, sliced ¼ inch thick (about 1 ½ cups)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Dumplings

  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (You can sub white whole wheat flour, but we do not recommend subbing whole wheat flour.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons dried parsley
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • ¾ cup milk (your choice)

Instructions

Make It Now

  1. For the stew: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, until they just begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper and stirring in the poultry seasoning and garlic during the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Watch to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker. Lightly season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker. Add the broth and bay leaves and stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves (make sure to return the lid to the cooker quickly). Set the slow cooker to High.
  4. For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt the butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
  5. Working quickly and using a soup spoon or tablespoon, uncover the slow cooker, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.) Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Get the lid back on the cooker as soon as possible. Cook on High for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dumplings have doubled in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  7. When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Freeze for Later:

Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

Prepare From Frozen:

Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Transfer the chicken-vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and follow steps 3 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.


Notes

“I added some leftover grilled corn to it, and that was an excellent addition.” —Ashley D.

Want to Stock Your Freezer with 6 Meals in 1 Hour?

Try our SUPER POPULAR 1 Hour Freezer Prep sessions. We give you everything you need to throw together 6 delicious, family-sized freezer meals in just 1 hour! Anyone can do it with our simple instructions, organized shopping list, and pre-filled out freezer labels.

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.

Print

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

Leftover Ham and Nine Bean Soup {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Cheap, rich and savory, and good for you too! This Ham and Bean Soup is a perfect winter comfort food. #freezermeal #realfood

Cooking within a tight grocery budget? Let me tell ya, this soup is the bomb. It’s not only cheap thanks to the beans, but it’s also very filling and boasts a rich savory flavor thanks to the ham. (Want to save even more? Try my equally delicious Ham and Bean Soup that’s even more budget-friendly due to only using a ham bone to flavor it.)

I created this new Ham and Bean Soup recipe after Thanksgiving as a way to use up the leftover ham for my Uncle Rich, who won’t touch turkey with a 10 foot pole. What makes this soup so simple is the use of a nine bean soup mix that you’ll find in the bean aisle of most grocery stores. Just be sure to follow the package directions, because YOU WILL NEED TO SOAK THE BEANS a few hours or even a day beforehand. That’s about the most complicated part of all this, which isn’t complicated at all. Soaking the beans just requires a wee bit of planning.

Cheap, rich and savory, and good for you too! This Ham and Bean Soup is a perfect winter comfort food. #freezermeal #realfood

Make this recipe before winter passes, because it’s one of those soups you need to sip on while watching the snow flakes fall outside your window. Add a hunk of crusty bread alongside it, and you’ll feel that all is right in the world for those 10 minutes. It’s true.

Print

Leftover Ham and Nine Bean Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Cheap, rich in taste, savory, and good for you too! This Ham and Bean Soup is a perfect winter comfort food.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 64 oz (2 cartons) salted chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 cups of ham steaks, cubed
  • 1 lb soup bean mix (Soak first according to package directions.)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced

Instructions

  1. In a large stock pot, saute onions in olive oil. Add garlic, red pepper, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Add chicken stock, water, ham, beans, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Lower heat, put on a lid (keep it tilted for venting), and simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Add more stock or water, if it reduces too much.
  3. Taste broth and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add carrots. Simmer another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the bay leaves.
  5. Garnish a bowl of soup with some fresh chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Notes

Freezer Instructions:

To freeze:
Simply fully cook the soup, let it cool completely, and freeze in a BPA-free gallon freezer bag or other air-tight freezable container for up to 3 months.

To prepare:
Either thaw in the fridge overnight and warm up over low heat on the stovetop or in a crockpot.

Pot Roast Sliders

By Polly Conner

Comfort food at its finest! Pot roast, mashed potatoes, and an onion ring creates your new favorite sandwich.

Take three hearty comfort foods, smash them all together and call it a sandwich.

This wonderful concoction of deliciousness is also known as Pot Roast Sliders.

Comfort food at its finest! Pot roast, mashed potatoes, and an onion ring creates your new favorite sandwich.

My sister in law deserves credit for bringing this recipe into our family. Over Thanksgiving weekend we scarfed these down on a brisk day along with some vegetable soup. It was a perfect meal for a big family on a cold day.

Pot Roast Sliders are pretty simple, actually. They’d be a great way to make a post roast stretch to feed more people or to use up leftovers.

Simply layer a wheat roll with cooked pot roast, mashed potatoes, and top it with an onion ring. A note to all my real-food friends reading this — don’t skip the onion ring! It brings a wonderful crunch and flavor to the sandwich that would be greatly missed if removed. It’s only one, people. You can do it.

Comfort food at its finest! Pot roast, mashed potatoes, and an onion ring creates your new favorite sandwich.

If you need a pot roast recipe, check out this one. (You can leave the veggies out if you plan to just make it for the sandwiches)

Here is another good recipe for mashed potatoes if you need one.

For more dinner ideas that use beef, check out our recipe index for ideas!

Print

 Pot Roast Sliders

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Prepare
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Pot roast sliders are a delicious way to re-purpose leftovers into small nibble worthy sliders.


Ingredients

  • Pot roast, fully cooked
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Onion rings
  • Ciabatta roll, whole wheat roll or other bread of your choice

Instructions

  1. Place one serving of pot roast on bread or roll.
  2. Place one serving of mashed potatoes on top of the roast.
  3. Top with an onion ring before putting the top layer of bread on the sandwich.

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

I can’t wait to share this recipe with you. If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! It’s simply perfect for a summer day, especially when your fridge is overflowing with garden produce to use up.

Here’s a bowl full of veggies my green-thumb friend, Nicole, sent me home with last week. This palette was quite an inspiration. You know cooking is art, don’t you?

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup Recipe: If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

Now, let’s talk lentils for a minute. Did I scare you off with a mention of those? If so, don’t shy away from these small round, lens shaped legumes. I hadn’t tried cooking with them until this recipe, and I tell you, I’m sold! Not only are they full of fiber and protein, but they made this soup hearty and rich-tasting. They really cook down in the broth, adding a buttery creaminess to the texture. The key, I learned, is using lots of seasoning to keep them from tasting bland in this soup.

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup: If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

One more thing to share before we get to the recipe. Would you believe that my kids even tried and ate some of this soup? All three of them–the 2, 4, and 6 year olds. That’s because they helped me pick the produce and chop it for the soup. The push to get kids in the kitchen isn’t just a nice theory. It really works if you’re wanting your children to try new foods and take an interest in where their food comes from.

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup Recipe: If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

My 6-year-old has become an expert chopper, as we’ve worked on his knife skills over the past year. My 4-year-old daughter isn’t too bad either. I usually give them a butter knife and it works fine, although I now trust my older son with a small sharp chopping knife. The 2-year-old picked herbs off the back porch for me and then proceeded to make his own “soup” while we cooked. What great fun in the kitchen (and quite a mess…yes…but worth it)!

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup Recipe: If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

Keep in mind, you can use all kinds of veggies in this recipe. Just toss in what you have on hand in place of the ones I suggest, if you want. Happy summer soup making!

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup: If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

Print

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup recipe

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Dutch Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup that’s simply perfect for a summer day or a cold winter night.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • fresh thyme, bundle a few sprigs and tie together with kitchen twine or another sprig
  • 23 large carrots or 1 bag of baby carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups green beans, chopped
  • 1 small to medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • fresh herbs (i.e. parsley, basil, etc), chopped, to taste

Instructions

Note: Try to chop the vegetables about the same size and small enough to fit on a spoon bite.

  1. Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, bay leaf, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Saute until softened. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Add lentils and thyme bundle and simmer about 10 minutes less than the lentil package directions call for.
  4. Add vegetables and simmer another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove bay leaf and thyme bundle. Top with freshly chopped herbs. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Serving suggestion: Top with fresh Parmesan cheese and serve with a good loaf of crusty bread.


Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Cook soup completely and let cool. Put soup in freezer-safe container or bag. Freezer for up to 3 months.
To Prepare:
Thaw soup in refrigerator overnight. You can also warm it from frozen on the stovetop.
*Note, you may need to add some more water or broth because the vegetables will absorb some of the liquid.