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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.
And for more freezer crockpot cooking recipes- check out Round 1 and Round 2.
Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke says
i love the smeall of rosemary..i need to plant some!!!
Kristen- ME TOO! Herbs in general, really. But rosemary especially! I bet you guys have a super long growing season too… jealous!
Kathy Miller says
I love these ideas! Thanks for sharing.
Tammy Henderson says
Thanks for your great website. I can’t wait to try the honey chicken recipe. Here’s another recipe for your pesto. I tried this a couple of weeks ago but had to use meatballs since I didn’t have any chicken on hand. It was delicious! My family was so glad that I had some pesto in the freezer for this. :o) http://jamiecooksitup.net/2012/07/creamy-pesto-and-chicken-pasta/
Your blog is INCREDIBLE!! Thanks for all your sharing :0)
What a sweet comment- thanks Erin. So glad you like it! 🙂
Hey Kirst–I remembered you had some freezer meals up a while ago and I’m trying to prep for when school starts on the 14th! Do you have any others besides this Rosemary Chicken that wouldn’t require a whole day of chopping? I just want to freeze a few meals here and there to make the end of the day easier 🙂 Hope you had a Merry Christmas! Ruth
Hey love! I love seeing your name in the comments!
Yep, there are two other freezer/crockpot cooking posts- http://kojo-designs.com/2012/04/getting-organized-a-whole-months-worth-of-meals-via-crockpot-freezer-cooking/
Hope that helps! 🙂
Hey girl-thanks! Sometime we should catch up! xo
YES YES YES!
Frances Hilder says
Hi Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes ! For the honey rosemary chicken, is the marinade for all 6 bags of chicken, or do you have to multiply the amount shown times 6 ?? Again thanks so much !
Hey Frances- the marinade measurements are for one batch (not 6). Just add the marinade and chicken to each of six bags and you’ll be set. 🙂
Jordan Lewis says
These look awesome! I aspire to have a garden-and this is motivating me even more!
Jordan, love love LOVE the garden. You’ll love yours too, I’m sure of it! 🙂
Hi. LOVING all your chicken freezer crock pot recipes. Will be sure to make/freeze several for my husband to make whenever I am away. But..could you make a vegetarian/vegan version for us that can’t/don’t eat any animal products? (and for Food Allergies? Soy and Gluten Free would be awesome, too!). Thanks.
I just sort of stumbled upon your crockpot freezer meals posts because of a friend who posted your link to Facebook. They look great! I can’t wait to try some. I really appreciate that they use no junk like so many crockpot and freezer recipes do.
One tip about pesto, and I don’t know if it would work for you since I don’t put lemon juice in mine (is yours runny?) I use a cookie scoop and place scoops on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to freeze. They are about the same size as an ice cube, but you are only dirtying one tray instead of numerous ice cube trays that you then have to scrub the grease out of. 🙂
What a great idea Rachel- I’ll have to try that!
I am curious to know what other freezer recipes work with fresh vegetables and fruit. We did a freezer crockpot exchange a few weeks ago and discussed doing one with fresh summer veggies. I am just not familiar with how to do so and what works. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
Eileen, what great ideas- both the exchange and the idea of using fresh summer veggies. There are whole sites dedicated to freezer meals, so I’m sure there is info out there if you search around. From our garden, we’ve frozen tomatoes (both blanched whole and cut into slices and frozen on a cookie sheet before pouring into a bag), shredded zucchini (drained), all sorts of berries, and broccoli. I bet there are tons of others, though. Hope that helps!
Love the concept and would love the convenience. Can you help a vegetarian?
Hey Lance, I wonder if you could just add a ton of chopped veggies to the various sauces? If you try it, will you let me know how it works?
I stumbled across your recipes and can’t wait to try them! I’m a care giver for an older woman and I’m starting to use a crockpot more for our meals. This will really help! I’m also sharing your site with my daughter who has gone back to school while still working and raising a family. Thanx!
Julie, I feel like the crockpot meals are so great for several different stages of life- so glad they are helpful to you!
Do you only have chicken recipes? No beef or pork?
Hey Marcy- if you scroll to the other freezer cooking posts, you’ll see beef broccoli and pineapple pork. We also have a few more non-chicken dishes coming soon!
Kathy dumhart says
Was just thinking yesterday that I should unplug the freezer in the basement. There are only three of us at home now and maybe I don’t really need an extra freezer anymore. Boy was I wrong! I want to get started on these recipes ASAP!
Love it Kathy!
WHERE DID YOU GET THE METAL ROSEMARY GARDEN SIGN?
I LOVE IT!!!
Thanks Mary! My mom got it as a gift… isn’t it great? Sorry I don’t have a source for you!
You are an inspiration! I sure appreciate these great ideas. As a single person, it is far too easy to skimp on nice meals because of the variety of foods needed for interesting meals, not to mention the cleanup being the same whether for one or a family. Yay! Good meals and less kitchen clean up ahead! Thank you!
Nancy, so glad these are helpful to you! And, YES, I love it when there’s not much clean up!