Do you know about freezer cooking? I’ve only just discovered that it is A Real Thing You Can Do With Food, and I’m very excited about it. It’s exactly what it sounds like: you prepare a meal (sometimes cooking it beforehand, sometimes just assembling all the ingredients) and then stick in the freezer, so that you have easy, balanced dinners on hand whenever you need them. It’s brilliant. (It may seem obvious to those of you who are cook-minded, but I distinctly am not.)
Here’s one freezer meal recipe that I tried and enjoyed. It’s ridiculously easy, and it is darn delicious. Here’s what you do: take chicken. Slice vegetables. Plop on oil & stuff. Put in bags. Freeze. The end. It’s like magic.
I used five chicken breasts to make five individual dinners, and I’ve used two of them so far. One especially interesting characteristic of this recipe is that the character of the individual vegetables seems to change over time: the first time, the sweet potatoes were less interesting; the second time, the sweet potatoes were phenomenal (while the zucchinis were more boring). You could easily swap in half the amount of chicken—or none at all—as the vegetables are the most mouthwateringly delicious part.
I now aspire to find a million good freezer cooking recipes, and make them all, and thus have a freezer stocked with almost-ready dinners at all times.
Gluten-Free Rosemary-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
(Originally from Angela’s Kitchen, adapted slightly)
- 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 pound new potatoes, parboiled
- 1 pound sweet potatoes or yams
- 4 carrots
- 4 small zucchini
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh rosemary (about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons fresh leaves)
- 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- Parboil the potatoes: that is, cover them with room-temperature water. Bring to a light boil, then let boil for 10 minutes. Then, take the potatoes off the heat and immerse in cool water.
- Clean all the veggies. Quarter the potatoes. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Cut the carrots and zucchini into 2 inch x 3/4 inch sticks.
- Get 5-6 quart-sized freezer bags. To each bag: add 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus salt, pepper, and rosemary. Add 1 chicken breast and a portion of each vegetable to bag.
- Seal bag, smoosh contents of bag around until everything is evenly coated with oil mixture. Open a bit of the bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. Reseal bag, label and freeze. [Note: the original recipe instructs you to put everything in one gallon bag, but since I usually cook for 1 person, I find individual servings better.]
- To serve: Thaw contents of bag. Place contents of bag into a lightly oiled 8 x 8 roasting pan. Place into a 400° F heated oven. Roast for 25 minutes, then remove from oven long enough to flip chicken and gently stir the vegetables. Continue roasting until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes more.