It’s really easy to make a beef stew on short notice with a crock pot. There are some extra prep steps you can take to improve the final product, but you can also get away with just dumping the ingredients in there. Get a nice cut of beef, like sirloin or something, chop like 3 onions into quarters or so, you want like 1 cubic inch hunks of onion. Chop up some carrots or just use baby carrots. I like to throw like 4 cloves of chopped up garlic in there, too, along with whatever herbs and spices you like. Last time I did this, I also threw in the remaining ~1/4 bottle of a savory bbq marinade I had lingering in the fridge, and that turned out really good. Add some potatoes or something if you want, I don’t bother because I’m trying to avoid carbs. Basically it’s important to have a sizable layer of vegetables in the crock pot to provide additional moisture, or else the meat will dry out. You can also add water, but this usually dilutes everything a little too much in the final product for my liking. I prefer everything to just taste like onion juice, haha.
Cut the meat into 2 or 3 large chunks, so it fits in the pot without having to fold it or anything. Don’t worry about this- the slow cooker will make the beef so tender that it basically falls apart when you get in there with your serving spoon. Throw on the spices you want, then put the vegetables on top. Cover and cook on low for like 10 hours.
Hard mode for if you want it to be better:
Chop the meat into chunks, about 1 cubic inch again. Now pre-cook that at high temperature in a skillet, just enough to sear the outsides a bit. This will help preserve flavor and structural integrity of the meat, since it’s already been cut into manageable small pieces. The rest of the process is the same.