Hearty Winter Stews

Hearty meals for cold days.

For those days when there are a lot of schedules spinning in your household, try a stew recipe in the slow cooker. It is easy to prepare, easy on the budget, and provides lots of nutrition and leftovers for lunches.

Nothing compares with a steaming warm bowl of homemade beef stew, a side salad and some fresh bread to end a perfect fall day. Many of these stews can be prepped ahead, chopped and seasoned the night before, ready to assemble in the slow cooker in the morning. Several of these soups improve in flavor when served a day or two after making them, and they all freeze well in individual servings ready for a quick meal.

If you are watching your fat calories, there are a few recipes that are low in fat and high in flavor. 


Judy's Ultimate Sweet and Sour Beef Stew
1 1/2 lbs. stew beef
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced onion
8-oz. can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 tsp. cornstarch
Noodles or rice

Brown meat in hot oil. Add next ingredients with 1/2 cup water and 1 tsp. salt. Cover and cook for 2 hours, or cook in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low. When ready to serve, combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup water, cook and stir until thickened. Serve over noodles or rice.


Hearty Beef Burgundy
3 lbs. lean beef, browned in oil and dusted with flour, salt and pepper
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups red wine
1 can beef broth
1 lb. canned mushrooms, drained
1 bay leaf

Add all ingredients to a slow cooker, and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or low 8 to 10 hours. Serve over noodles.


Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
2 med. onions, sliced
2 cups baby carrots
4 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (4 oz.) sliced mushrooms
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1/4 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Place onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms in bottom of large slow cooker. Arrange chicken over vegetables. Sprinkle chicken with thyme, tarragon and pepper. Mix cream of chicken soup with onion soup mix. Spread evenly over chicken. Cover, and cook on high 3-4 hours. Ten minutes before serving, mix apple juice with cornstarch. Pour over cooked chicken and stir well. Uncover, and cook on high, until sauce thickens.


Winter Cabbage Stew
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 sweet onion
3 cloves minced garlic
4 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 jar (8 oz.) tomato sauce with basil
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 red cabbage, shredded
2 tsp.. crushed oregano
1 med. baking potato, peeled and diced very fine
2 carrots, sliced
24 green beans, cleaned, cut in thirds, ends and strings removed
1 cup frozen white corn
1 cup frozen lima beans

Brown beef with onion, over medium heat, for about 5 minutes. When beef is browned, add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add beef broth, water, salt and tomato products. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring ingredients to a boil. Add cabbage, potato, carrots and green beans. Return to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Increase heat again to medium high, and add frozen corn and lima beans. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cool an additional 30 minutes. Potato should be completely dissolved in broth. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes before serving.


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