Posts

Easy No-Peek Beef Stew

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Friends, making beef stew gets NO EASIER than this recipe. My mother-in-law taught me this one when I first got married, and I’ve been serving it up to big crowds ever since. Make ahead and freeze to have on hand for busy nights or when hosting a big group.

What Ingredients are in an Easy Beef Stew?

We took some shortcuts in this recipe so you can get dinner on the table with very little effort. If you’d like to make a whole foods version, try our Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe that’s still pretty darn simple to put together.

Bowls of easy beef stew with potatoes, carrots, onions, green beans, and stew meat in it. On a wooden table.

For this version, you’ll start with some chopped onions, carrots, and potatoes. Then, throw in some beef stew meat. I use grass-fed beef (here’s a round-up of our favorite grass-fed beef recipes and where we get our meat from), as it will get nice and tender during the long baking time. The final three ingredients just require a can opener: a can of green beans, a can of organic tomato soup, and a can of organic cream of mushroom soup.

Easy beef stew with potatoes, carrots, onions, green beans, and stew meat

Now, you’ll notice this recipe does include some canned, pre-made items, which I normally avoid. But, sometimes it’s nice to take some help from the store. So, I just do my best to find organic, BPA-free options. Definitely read labels and find the canned items with the most recognizable and fewest ingredients.

How Do You Make an Easy Beef Stew?

The beauty of this stew recipe is that you simple dump everything in the casserole dish that it bakes in, stir it up, and bake. You’ll end up with a tasty meal at the end of the day and only ONE dirty dish. Nice.

Uncooked Beef Stew in a casserole dish with stew meat, onions, carrots, green beans, and cream of mushroom soup

Throw all the ingredients in the oven around lunch time (or in the slow cooker in the morning), DO NOT PEEK, and you’ve got a hearty and tasty dinner ready later in the day!

Finished easy beef stew cooked in a casserole dish

If you can chop vegetables and open cans, you can do this! This dump and go, one-dish-wonder meal really is a cinch to pull together. Watch our 1 minute tutorial here…

This recipe makes 6-8 servings easily, so it’s great for a large family or for serving a crowd. Be sure to pin this image for later, so you can make it for your family anytime.

Process shot of Easy Beef Stew recipe.

How to Make Ahead and Freeze Beef Stew

Easy beef stew in a casserole dish covered in foil and ready to be frozen.

Our easy No-Peek Stew can easily be made ahead of time and frozen for later. We’ve included freezer meal instructions for preparing it uncooked or fully cooked in the recipe below. Pro Tip: If you’re making one No-Peek Stew for tonight, go ahead and double the recipe and freeze one for later.

Bowls of easy beef stew with potatoes, carrots, onions, green beans, and stew meat in it. On a wooden table.

When it comes to packaging and storing any Beef Stew as a freezer meal, selecting the right container can make all the difference. Packaging and storing it the right way in the freezer means your make-ahead meal will taste fresh on the other end of its stay in the freezer! Yes, it’s true.

Read our article about the 5 Best Ways to Package and Store Freezer Meals here and stock up on some great freezer storage containers.

I think you’re going to love my mother-in-law’s No-Peek Stew recipe. It’s nearly impossible to mess up and makes your whole home smell amazing! Whether you’re serving a group or want dinner plus leftovers, this delicious dump-and-go meal is a winner dinner.

A bowl of easy beef stew with potatoes, carrots, onions, green beans, and stew meat in it. On a wooden table.
Print
Finished easy beef stew cooked in a casserole dish

No-Peek Stew Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Making beef stew doesn’t get easier than this recipe! Throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning or in oven around lunch time, DO NOT PEEK, and you’ll end up with a hearty and tasty dinner for a crowd.


Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of beef stew meat (or chuck roast, trimmed and cut-up in about 1-inch chunks)
  • 23 baking potatoes, peeled and cut up into about 1-inch chunks
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut up into about 1-inch chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut up into about 1-inch chunks
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, or more to your preference
  • 1 (15 ounces) can of green beans, liquid and all
  • 1 (15 ounces) can of tomato soup (preferably organic)
  • 1 (15 ounces) can of cream of mushroom soup (preferably organic)

Instructions

Make It Now:

Oven Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 275° F.
  2. Spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Add stew meat, potatoes, carrots, and onions to the casserole dish. Season with the pepper and gently stir together.
  3. Dump the can of green beans, liquid and all, over the top of meat and vegetables. Then, pour the tomato soup and cream of mushroom soup over the top. Gently combine with a spoon if you want, but not necessary. Tightly cover with foil.
  4. Place casserole dish on a cookie sheet with sides, in case of overflow. Bake for 5 hours. Don’t peek!

Slow Cooker Method: Stir together all the ingredients in a 6 quart slow cooker. Place the lid on and set to LOW for 8-10 hours. (Do not peek!)

Freeze For Later:

Option 1 (Uncooked): Follow Steps 2-3, except cover tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap and foil, squeezing out any excess air. Freeze.

Option 2 (Fully Cooked): Fully cook and cool the stew (do not leave outside of refrigerator or freezer more than 2 hours!). Place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Try to remove as much air as possible and seal and/or wrap it well before placing in the freezer.

Prepare From Frozen:

Option 1 (Uncooked): Thaw the casserole in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Remove the plastic wrap and cover tightly with one layer of foil. Bake as directed in Step 4 (or use the slow cooker method).

Option 2 (Fully Cooked): To reheat, thaw for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator (preferred method) or in the microwave using the defrost setting. Then, warm over low heat on the stove or in the slow cooker, gently stirring occasionally until warmed through.

Try our Instant Pot Beef Stew for another quick meal the whole family will love.

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Freezer Friendly Balsamic Herb Grilled Chicken is moist, tender, and packed with flavor through and through. This easy grilling recipe be turned into a freezer meal and is a great recipe for groups of people. What more can you ask for in a chicken recipe!?

chicken on a grill and on a plate

Grilling season isn’t quite over yet in mid-Missouri thankfully. We’ve had 70 and 80 degree sunny days for what feels like months and our family is loving it! We just moved across town in late August to a “new” house that has a lovely back yard, so we’ve been enjoying many nights eating dinner on the deck.

A few weeks ago I decided to try out my Balsamic Dressing with Herbs as a marinade for grilled chicken, calling it Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken (original, eh?). I had a feeling the acidity from the balsamic vinegar combined with all those herbs and spices would transform this lack-luster piece of meat. And oh my! You can see the moisture and flavor on this chicken from the pictures. But, the taste…it’s even better! This will be one of my go-to marinades, in addition to Southwest Grilled Chicken, from now on.

Chicken on a grill

I threw some Mediterranean Shrimp Skewers on the barbie too. Have you tried these yet? My kids claw for them when I set them on the table. (What you can’t see is me holding my daughter’s greedy little hand out of the photo here.)

chicken on the grill

I added some cooked quinoa (seasoned well with salt, pepper, a little butter, and garlic powder), steamed green beans, and grapes to the table for what ended in a filling, tasty, and quite healthy dinner.

Balsamic Herbed Chicken on a plate with salad

The best part: no one complained. Can I get an amen to that, parents? 

Print

grilled chicken, rice, zucchini, and peaches on a gray plate with fork

Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken recipe is made with all pantry staples and turns out moist, tender, and packed with flavor through and through. 


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes, crushed in hand
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in hand
  • 4 chicken breasts (about 1 1/22 lbs)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even grilling.
  2. To a large zip-top bag, add the balsamic vinegar, oil, garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and oregano. Seal and shake to combine. Add the chicken and seal. (Freezing instructions begin here.) Refrigerate for about 2 hours and up to 24 hours to allow chicken to marinate. 
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done. Chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally or has no more pink inside.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. Seal the bag tightly and freeze. 

Prepare From Frozen: Defrost the freezer meal using one of these safe thawing methods. Cook the chicken according to Step 3. Note: Be sure to cook the thawed chicken as soon as possible so it doesn’t get mushy or tough from over-marinating.

Here are a few more easy chicken recipes you might like. All of these can be turned into freezer meals too!

Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

These Grilled Marinated Chicken Kabobs are one of our favorites for the grilling season. Make ahead and freeze before or after grilling!

 

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches

 

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches are the ultimate chicken sandwiches for any weeknight! Just prep and freeze all the components ahead of time. This well-seasoned, versatile grilled chicken also works to top pasta or salads. #freezermeal #realfood #thrivinghome

Southwest Chicken Tenders

 

This southwest chicken tender marinade is sure to please all the eaters in your house. This healthy, freezer friendly dinner idea is full of flavor, but not spicy. Great make-ahead meal or for freezer parties or freezer clubs!

 

Light & Easy Penne Rosa Pasta: 15 Minute One-Pot Dinner

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This four-ingredient pasta dish is so simple to make and has fantastic flavor. Garnish it with some basil and parmesan cheese for a meal you're sure to love.

Many nights of the week, I’m looking for a meal that I can pull together in just minutes and that doesn’t dirty up the kitchen. Penne Rosa Pasta fits the bill! Plus, this cheesy and filling pasta dish is also light and tasty! I like to steam some broccoli florets in a colander over the boiling pasta for a fast and healthy side. You’ll have this meal on the table in about 15 minutes. Score.

light and easy penne rosa pasta

This four-ingredient pasta dish is so simple to make and has fantastic flavor. Garnish it with some basil and parmesan cheese for a meal you're sure to love.

Print

Penne Rosa Pasta

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This four-ingredient pasta dish is so simple to make and has fantastic flavor. Garnish it with some basil and parmesan cheese for a meal you’re sure to love.


Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 cups marinara (either homemade or a good store-bought one)
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese (low fat works)
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (fat-free works)
  • Optional garnishes: chopped fresh parsley and/or basil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook penne pasta according to directions. Drain pasta.
  2. Combine hot pasta with marinara, cream cheese, and yogurt in the pot. Stir over low heat until cheese is melted.
  3. Serve warm with chopped parsley or basil and/or shredded Parmesan cheese on top.