A Budget-Friendly Freezer Meal: Veggie-Heavy Beef Stew

by lydia on April 17, 2014

Eating healthy on a budget is totally doable, even if you think it’s not. For some reason there is a common mindset that it’s too expensive to eat real, healthy food without breaking the bank. I’m here to tell you that is a myth.

Can you really eat expensive grass-fed meat and stay on a budget? Yes, yes indeed you can. It’s simply a matter of planning and learning how to find the best deals, the cheapest cuts of meat and how to optimize the nutrients in your food. For example, meat is the most costly part of my food budget. Rather than cut it out and simply eat rice and beans or Ramen noodles, I find ways to still consume meat that fit into my current budget. This veggie-heavy beef stew is one such example.


Loaded with hearty veggies, homemade beef stock (which is essentially free in the grand scheme of things) and paired with simple seasonings, beef stew is totally affordable for just about anyone’s budget. Utilize simple cuts, such as soup bones or simple roasts purchased in bulk if possible to keep the cost down. Then use a little bit less meat in the recipe than you might usually prefer. Since bone broth is protein-sparing and loaded with minerals and amino acids you won’t be lacking in nutrition with this simple veggie-heavy beef stew.

Another awesome perk to this recipe is that I’ve converted it to be a FREEZER-TO-SLOW-COOKER meal. What is that you ask?

The Freezer-to-Slow-Cooker-Meal Method:

  • a simple preparation of meat, veggies and spices
  • place the mixture into a large freezer bag; label and freeze
  • when ready to serve it as your dinner, simply pull it out of the freezer,
  • dump into your slow cooker (thaw a little beforehand if need be),
  • add liquid (whatever the recipe calls for),
  • turn slow cooker on low- stir once or twice if you can
  • 6-8 hours later you have a piping hot meal to feed your family.

This freezer-to-slow-cooker method has saved me so much time in the kitchen that I have time for other things. It’s wonderful to have dinner READY early enough to stave off hungry kids that want to eat everything in sight. To see FIVE more freezer-to-slow-cooker recipes, check out these posts: Make Dinner Time a Snap with These Freezer Recipes and Solve The Mystery of What To Make For Dinner Tonight.


Budget-Friendly Veggie Heavy Beef Stew


  • 2 beef soup bones with meat or 4 cups cubed beef (chuck roast or whatever type of roast you have)
  • 2 cups water (if using the soup bones) or beef stock (if using cubed beef)
  • 2-3 tbsp. dried minced onion, or 1 cup onion, minced
  • 2-3 tsp. garlic powder, or several garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 head red or green cabbage, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 head cauliflower florets or 1 bunch broccoli florets
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 turnips, peeled & cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 2-3 tsp dried thyme
  • 2-3 tsp dried cumin
  • 2-3 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 Tbsp coarse salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 - 2 inch knob of ginger, grated
  • Crushed chili peppers or red chili flakes to taste
  • Cilantro, minced for garnish(optional)
  • Butter or coconut oil


  1. Freezer-to slow cooker method:
  2. Place all ingredients, minus the stock and the cauliflower into a large freezer bag. (*note: if using the soup bones - you do not need to add them to the bag).
  3. Label and freeze.
  4. To make - remove from freezer - thaw slightly if you have time.
  5. Place all ingredients into your large slow cooker. If using the soup bones add those to the bottom then add the veggies. If you desire you can brown them first in a cast iron skillet with some butter or coconut oil.
  6. Turn the slow cooker on low.
  7. Add the liquid. Allow to cook for about 6 hours, 8 hours max.
  8. In the last hour of cooking, add the cauliflower florets and stir.
  9. If you want this to be more of a soup feel free to add more broth to thin it out.
  10. Serve -top with the minced cilantro if desired.
  11. If you used soup bones for the stew - Remove the bones and cut the meat off the soup bones -shred it into bite sized chunks.
  12. Save the marrow and place it back into the stew as well.
  13. Check for seasoning, correct with salt and pepper as needed. Serve.
  14. Serve warm with some fermented veggie juice for an added probiotic benefit to your meal.
  15. Variation: Substitute 1-2 cups of whole coconut milk for the stock if you like.


From Your Freezer To Your Family

If you want loads more of easy-to-prep, tasty, healthy gluten-free recipes like these, I highly recommend you grab a copy of From Your Freezer to Your Family: Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes For Every Season.

FromYourFreezer_Cover_finalALL the recipes are 100% Grain-free, Gluten-free and Dairy-Free.  They do not contain corn or legumes (both are not technically grains but extremely hard to digest and common allergens). The recipes are all Paleo, Whole 30, Weston A. Price, GAPS, and Real Food compatible meals. These recipes do use natural sweeteners in some of the recipes, but if you are eating completely sugar-free, omit the sugar and the recipe will still taste great. So if you read my blog and eat the way we do -these recipes are a perfect fit for your family as well. (And they can be easily modified if need be). Grab your copy of From Your Freezer To Your Family today! 

Do you use the freezer-to slow-cooker method in your home?



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