One failure and one success! (Eh, can’t win ’em all.) To start with the failure…
1. Cranberry Chicken
I admit, I was worried about the cranberry chicken pretty much as soon as I put it in the bag. It’s little more than chicken, apples, cranberry sauce, an onion, and some flavoring agents (lemon, honey, etc.). It made a lot less than the other recipes, only enough for dinner for me and Marc and a half-serving of leftovers. But that’s okay, because it wasn’t very good.
It might be that we cooked it too long. The directions are for 8 hours on low, and we probably had it in the crock pot around 10, but this was clearly Much Too Long. Despite being in a slow cooker all day, the meat was tough (i.e. overcooked) and the taste was… meh. Tart and sweet, but not in a good way. We ate our portions for dinner (reluctantly), but neither of us touched the leftovers. So this one — not so much a keeper.
2. Beef Stew
This one, on the other hand, went quite well. It’s admittedly kind of hard to screw up beef stew (recipe here), but still. It’s always nice when things come together, especially after the cranberry chicken disaster. The taste is good, it’s very hearty, and it makes enough for dinner plus another 2-3 servings. Putting it from the freezer to the fridge last night wasn’t quite enough time to defrost it, but it’s okay. Ten hours in a crock pot means that it was fine.
The one change I’d make next time is to add some barley. There’s a lot of liquid in this recipe, and I think adding in a 1/2-cup of barley when I toss everything into the crock pot (not in the freezer bag — I don’t think barley freezes that well) would do just the trick.
In any case, we had this with some baguette for dinner, and… yum! Just what we needed on a cold day like today. This one’s a keeper.
So we’re now halfway through the recipes I made for the first batch. Still to go: fajitas, taco soup, cilantro-lime chicken, and BBQ chicken. Clearly, our meals are gonna be somewhat Mexican-inspired for the next few weeks…