Saturday, December 1, 2012

Freezer Cooking # 4: Soups!

My Freezer after Freezer Cooking #4

About a month and a half ago I asked for reader suggestions on soups I should include in my Freezer Cooking #4 post. Thank you everyone for your suggestions! Sorry it has taken me awhile to finish this post… Our baby boy arrived 10/22/2012, so needless to say I have been a bit pre-occupied this past month!

The concept for Freezer Cooking #4 is to fully prepare 4 different soups that you can easily thaw & serve within 30 minutes of taking out of freezer and 1 that you will “prep” to be placed in the crock pot. For this freezer cooking we will be doing a White Bean Chicken Chili (Thanks Holly Shaw for this delicious recipe!), a Beans & Greens Soup, Apple Chicken Stew, Perfect Winter Beef Stew (Thanks Pam Fallis for this amazing recipe!) and Chicken & Andouille Stew.

As I point out in all my Freezer Cooking posts, I prepare my “bags” to be for “2 servings.” Since there are only 2 of us eating…this helps with waste & portion control. If you will be serving more than 2 people with your freezer meals then you can cut the # of bags I tell you to prep for each soup in half so that each bag has more soup. ( i.e. – I will tell you to label 3 bags for “White Bean Chicken Chili”, these bags will have enough for 2 servings each in them when the prepared soup is divided equally between them, so if you would like your bags to have 4-6 servings, then divide the soup evenly between 2 bags instead of 3.)
Also, I will be using my FoodSaver system to seal/store all of the soup ingredients. For the sake of the instructions and so no one gets confused I will still refer to everything as “bags.” For this round of recipes you will need Quart sized freezer bags if you follow my instructions how they are OR Gallon sized bags if you are increasing serving sizes to (4).
Here is the menu for Freezer Cooking Round 4 “Soups”:
• White Bean Chicken Chili (3)
• Chicken and Andouille Stew (4)
• Greens & Beans Soup (2)
• Perfect Winter Beef Stew (3)
• Apple Chicken Stew (3)
Here is my grocery list: (don’t be alarmed! The list looks a bit long but most of the ingredients were already in my cabinet and are probably in yours! Everything in italics was already in my cabinet. Compare this list to your cabinets and cross out the items you won’t need to buy at the store. =) )
Fresh Produce:
• Sweet Onions (5 med/large sized) I bought a “bag” of sweet onions- it was less $
• Head of Garlic (1)
• 1-Green Pepper
• 1-Red Pepper
• 1-Bunch of Celery
• 1 Ib. Carrots (for slicing)
• Bag of Potatoes (you will need approx 6 potatoes)
• Fresh Sliced Mushrooms (3 cups)
• 1- Large Apple
• 2 Ibs Beef for Stew
• 4 ½- 5 Ibs Chicken Breast
• 1 ½ Ibs Fully Cooked Andouille Sausage (Link)
Bacon (approx 6 slices- I use the pre-cooked/microwavable kind)
• 64 oz Chicken Broth
• 42 oz Vegetable Broth
14 ½ oz Beef Broth
Worcestershire Sauce
• KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing (3/4 cup)
• 15 oz Tomato Puree
• 15 oz Stewed Tomatoes
14 oz Diced Tomatoes
• 11 oz can White Corn
• (3) 15 oz cans Great Northern Beans (white beans)
• 4 oz diced green chilis (can)

• Brown Rice (not instant)
• Packet White Bean Chili Seasoning Mix
Cajun Seasoning
• Salt & Pepper

• Canola Oil

• Olive Oil

• Flour

• Bay Leaves (3)
• Basil

• Sour Cream

• Garlic Powder

• Thyme

• Caraway
• Apple Cider or Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar
• Freezer Bags
The following ingredients you will need for later when you actually prepare the soup: Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Spinach or Kale, Green Onions
Of course, once you get everything home and you are ready to cook put it on the counter and admire what you are about to do!! =)
I label everything with name, date and instructions BEFORE I start:
• Chicken & Andouille Stew (4 bags): Thaw in Fridge or Sink- Warm & Serve over Rice, top with Green Onions
• White Bean Chicken Chili (3 bags): Thaw in Fridge or Sink- Warm & Garnish with Cilantro & Sour Cream
• Beans & Greens Soup(2 bags): Crockpot Low 5 Hrs/High 2.5 Hrs. Add 4 cups chopped spinach or kale just before serving. Sprinkle with Shredded Parmesan.
• Perfect Winter Beef Stew (3 bags): Thaw in Fridge or Sink- Warm & Serve
• Apple Chicken Stew (3 bags): Thaw in Fridge or Sink- Warm & Serve
Now it’s time to get started on the soups!
1. First, you want to assess your “pot” situation. You will need (2) LARGE pots for the Perfect Winter Beef Stew and the Chicken & Andouille Stew and (2) Crockpots for the Apple Chicken Stew and White Bean Chicken Chili. We will prep the Beans & Greens soup so that the ingredients are frozen together and then you put in crockpot to cook the day you will eat it. Get your pots/crockpots ready on the counter/stove. ( I label my pots so I know which soup is which for easy ingredient placement)
2. Next, I washed and prepped ALL the meat. For the Chicken; Wash and trim all breasts, leaving whole and set aside. Cut (3) Pieces of Chicken (approx 1.5 pounds) in half and rub with a mixture of 1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper, set aside. For the Stew Beef; make sure it is cut into 1 inch chunks. Pour ¾ cup KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing over stew beef – coat evenly and set aside letting marinate 30 minutes. For the Bacon; cook approximately 6-8 slices and chop, set aside. For the Andoiulle Sausage: Slice and set aside.
3. Now we will prep all the vegetables. Chop (4) Onions and Halve & Slice (1) Onion, Slice 10 Carrots, Chop the Green Pepper & Red Pepper, Chop 4 Celery Ribs, Mince 6 Garlic Cloves, Peel & Cut 6 Potatoes into cubes/chunks. *I use my onion chopper to chop the onions, green pepper, red pepper and celery- it makes it easier!
4. In the “Chicken & Andouille Pot” heat 2 Tablespoons of canola oil and brown the (3) chicken breasts rubbed in Cajun seasoning (you can do this in batches if you need to). Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add ½ cup canola oil to same pot and stir in ½ cup flour. Cook & stir on medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until browned (do not burn).
5. While oil/flour is cooking in “Chicken & Andouille Pot”, you can start on the “Perfect Winter Beef Stew Pot”. Warm (1) Tbsp oil over Medium-High heat and cook (1) chopped onion and 3 cups mushrooms for approximately 10 minutes or until tender. Remove beef stew meat from marinade(discard marinade) and add meat, approx 6 of the sliced carrots, 2 of the cubed potatoes, 14 ½ oz can stewed tomatoes, 14 ½ oz can beef broth and bacon to pot. Stir. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally and cover. Reduce to low heat and simmer 1 hour 15 min or until beef is cooked and sauce is thickened.
6. In the “Chicken & Andouille Pot” once flour/oil mixture is browned add 1 chopped onion, chopped red & green peppers and 2 ribs chopped celery. Cook & Stir approx 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add 4 cloves minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Gradually add 4 cups water, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning, ¼ tsp pepper and ½ tsp salt, 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce, 2 Bay Leaves, (3) Browned Chicken Breasts and Sliced Andouille Sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer for 1.5 hours or until chicken is tender. Once chicken is tender- shred and return to soup. Discard Bay Leaves.
7. While the above soups are simmering, assemble the crock pot soups:
White Bean Chicken Chili:
- Mix all of the below together in largest crockpot and cook on High 4 hours or Low 8 hours.

 32 oz chicken broth

 11 oz can white corn
 2- 15 oz cans Great Northern Beans (white beans)
 ½ cup sour cream
 1 chopped onion
 1- 4oz can green chilis
 1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1/8 tsp pepper
 1 packet White Bean Chili seasoning mix
 3 Chicken Breasts (approx 1.5 pounds)
 Shred Chicken once Chili is done.
 Apple Chicken Stew Crock Pot:
 In Crockpot Layer the following:

 4 Sliced Carrots
2-4 potatoes (cubed)
 1 Sliced Onion
 2 Chopped Celery Ribs
 Combine 1 ½ tsp salt, ¾ tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp pepper, ¼ tsp caraway seeds and sprinkle half over vegetables.
 3-4 chicken breasts
 1 large apple cubed
 1 ¼ cups apple cider or juice
 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
 1 bayleaf
 Remainder of salt/thyme/pepper/caraway mixture
 Cook on High 4 hours or Low 8 Hours. Shred Chicken when done, remove bay leaf.
8. Now that all of the above are prepped we will make the Beans & Greens bags:
 You should have (2) Bags Labeled Beans & Greens Soup.
DIVIDE the following ingredients between the 2 bags:
 42 oz Vegetable Broth
 15 oz tomato puree
  15 oz Great Northern White Beans (drained and rinsed)
 ½ cup uncooked brown rice
 1 chopped onion
 1 tsp basil
 ¼ tsp salt
 ¼ tsp pepper
 2 garlic cloves minced
 Squeeze excess air out of bags and place in freezer flat.
Once all of your soups/stews have simmered & cooked for the noted times let cool.  (I put in fridge overnight before distributing amongst bags- easier to handle cold soup that HOT!)
Distribute soups/stews evenly amongst # of prepped bags.
I usually put them in the freezer stacked as flat as possible on top of each other for easy storing.
I typically take the soup out of the freezer and place in the sink in luke-warm water for about 15 minutes and then transfer from the bag to a pot and warm & serve.


  1. We've tried the Apple Chicken Stew and the Chicken and Andouille Stew. Tonight we will have the Beans and Greens. So far the Chicken Andouille is our favorite. Thanks for sharing! Cathy

  2. Thank you so much for your Freezer Meal series of posts. I'm in the process of joining the Royal Canadian Army reserve unit near me and I'll be heading off for training for 24weeks give or take. I think with your guide and recipes I can make it a bit easier on my husband when I go. (he's military as well) He's not the greatest cook in the world, and these are so healthy compared to his staple cooking..the kids will be grateful to have some "Mommy food" even once or twice a week! hehehe.

  3. Can you freeze any kind of soup?

  4. quick question about the chicken and andouille step 4, when you remove the chicken, add the canola oil and flour, are you then cooking the canola oil and flour for 30 min or do you add the chicken back to the pot and cook for 30 min? Thanks!

    1. You just cook the oil & flour for 30 min =)

  5. somehow I ended up with 4 potatoes that were not used.....did I miss something? (Thanks for sharing these recipes...)

    A nesting mommy....

    1. Julie- Thanks for pointing this out! I left the potatoes out of the "assembly" for the Apple Chicken Stew!