AK canning jar

See that stew?  Honestly, we made it for dinner, but the next day it also made it into the lunch box.  Some meals are like that.  No matter how good they might have been for dinner, for lunch they are fantastic!  Stew is one of those meals, it always seems better the next day after the flavors have had more time to develop.  As a lunch-time meal option, Gluten Free Dairy Free Beef and Butternut Stew is a welcome change from the usual gluten free sandwich.

If you don’t have access to a microwave at work or school (my kiddos don’t), try using a thermos or thermos bowls.  I find them in the lunchbox and travel sections of my local store.  I preheat thermoses by pouring boiling water into them and capping.  I let the bowls set while heating the stew in a sauce pan.  When the stew is heated, so are the thermos bowls.  Dump out the water and add the stew.  Preheating the thermos bowls keeps the stew and other hot dishes toasty until lunch time.  Try it the next time you are sending a hot meal in the lunch box.  Works like a charm!

Butternut Squash & Beef Stew for the Slow Cooker

adapted from RealFoodMoms.com
Serves 8
1 medium sliced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium carrots, scrubbed and sliced
2 cups red potatoes, quartered
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, pealed, seeded, and cubed into 3/4″-1″ pieces
1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup red wine, gluten free beer or beef stock
1/2 cup gluten free beef stock
1 whole bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1  10 ounce package frozen green beans or peas
1 cup diced asparagus
Put all ingredients, except the green beans or peas and asparagus, into slow cooker.  Cover with lid and cook for 7-8 hours on low or for 3-4 hours on high.  Stir in green beans or peas and asparagus.  When beans or peas and asparagus are cooked through it is ready. Remove bay leaf and serve.
Freezing Directions: Turn off slow cooker after meat is cooked through and remove lid.  Stir in beans or peas and asparagus, and allow to cool.  Package stew into individual servings or dinner sized portions in freezer safe containers. Label and freeze.
To serve:  Thaw.  Warm through.