This day was bound to come. With a garden full of rosemary and basil, and only a few weeks to take advantage of these fresh herbs (and in a house that loves Honey Rosemary Chicken and pesto as much as we do), it was only a matter of time before the herbs turned into one big freezer cooking day.
I teamed up with my mama and sister-in-law. We used massive quantities of basil, rosemary, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, parmesan and garlic. And our hubbies could not be more thrilled with the freezers full of pesto and honey rosemary chicken.
What we made-
-6 batches of Honey Rosemary Chicken
-10 batches of pesto
Before I go any further, a note about keeping- I am not certain how long the Honey Rosemary Chicken will keep in the freezer. I am estimating 3 months based on what I see with other freezer cooking recipes. I made enough for my family for the next three months (though, we might be the guinea pigs to test whether they keep longer). I do know that the pesto keeps for 6+ months in the freezer. We separate the cubes into serving sized freezer bags (this year, we even took advantage of my dad’s food recently procured FoodSaver) and use them all winter long.
That said, here are the recipes/directions-
Honey Rosemary Chicken
IN THE BAG- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces, 1/3 c balsamic vinegar, 1/3 c honey, 1/3 c olive oil, 3 T chopped fresh rosemary, 1 t salt. Let marinate for several hours in the refrigerator before freezing.
TO COOK- Let defrost completely in the fridge. Add 1 cup of water and the contents of the bag to the crockpot. Then cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Ten minutes before serving, add cornstarch to thicken the sauce (I add a few tablespoons!).
TO SERVE- Serve over couscous (or rice). Be generous with the sauce- it’s the best part!
PREP- For each batch of pesto, combine 3 cups basil (or 1 1/2 c basil and 1 1/2 c spinach), 1/2 cup parmesan, 1/2 cup walnuts and 4-10 garlic cloves (according to your preference- we were on the lower end of that amount) in a food processor. Blend. Then add in 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of olive oil and blend again.
*There are more directions/pictures of the pesto making here.
TO FREEZE- Pour into ice cube trays and place in the freezer over night.
IN THE BAG- Place 4-5 ice cube sized pesto ‘cubes’ in each bag.
TO COOK- Make a big batch of noodles. After the cooked noodles are drained, add the pesto cubes, the noodles, and other veggies or chicken (whatever you have on hand- we usually add sun dried tomatoes and leftover shredded chicken) to the pot and warm.
TO SERVE- Add a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a salad and you have a dinner that tastes like the garden, even in the middle of winter.
-12 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
-honey (2 cups)
-balsamic vinegar (2 cups)
-olive oil (2 cups for the honey rosemary chicken, 2 1/2 cups for the pesto)
-fresh rosemary (1 1/2 cups)
-salt (6 teaspoons)
-basil- 30 cups (yep, seriously, 30)
-spinach (optional, for halving the basil… in that case, you’d need 15 cups of basil and 15 cups of pesto)
-5 cups parmesan cheese
-40-50 garlic cloves (the recipe calls for 4-10 cloves per batch… I think we ended up on the lower end of that this time)
-2 1/2 cups lemon juice
-5 cups walnuts or pinenuts (also optional)
For more freezer crockpot cooking check out Freezer Crockpot Cooking Round 1, Freezer Crockpot Cooking Round 2, more Freezer Crockpot Cooking, even MORE Freezer Crockpot Recipes and some tried and true favorites turned Freezer Cooking Recipes.
UPDATE- after trying this out for the last couple years, I wrote a review of our freezer cooking experience. It’s a good place to start if you’re new to Freezer Crockpot Cooking.