Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken and Broccoli

So, this wasn’t one of my favorite types of slow cooker meals. You know, throw it all in the slow cooker, walk away for about 8 hours and come back to a delicious meal, but it was one of the quickest (3 hours) and tastiest.

I started off by combining hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, minced garlic and red pepper flakes in my slow cooker. I then added in chicken thighs that I roughly cut into 1 – 2 inch pieces. I set the slow cooker to low and cooked the chicken for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, I added in a cornstarch-water mixture to thicken the sauce and some fresh broccoli florets and continued cooking everything for an additional hour on the high setting.

And that was it…

 

To serve, I made rice to soak up all of the sauce.

 

The one thing I would do different next time I make this is omit the cornstarch-water mixture. I found that the sauce got even thicker the following day for left-overs.

 

Slow Cooker Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

Ingredients:

1/4 cup hoisin sauce*

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 heads broccoli, cut into florets

Cooked rice, for serving

*I used garlic hoisin sauce

**I used a low-sodim soy sauce

Directions:

In a slow cooker whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, water, sugar, garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the chicken and toss to coat with the sauce. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.

In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water.

After 2 hours, stire the cornstarch mixture into the slow cooker to thicken the sauce. Add the broccoli and toss to coat (don’t worry if you cannot coat most of the broccoli). Cover and cook for an additional hour on high, or until the broccoli is tender. Serve with rice.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Chicken Pad Thai

Whenever I go to a Thai restaurant my go-to dish is always Chicken Pad Thai. It’s pretty much foolproof and always delicious. A few years ago I attempted to make it myself and was happy with the outcome – it was super simple and tasted awesome. I recently dug out the recipe I used and whipped it up for dinner.

To begin I prepped all of my ingredients; minced garlic and ginger, sliced three thinly sliced chicken breasts into strips and julienned 2 carrots and 1 zucchini.

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Two of my other ingredients were rice noodles and Asian chili paste.

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Next I whisked together soy sauce, water, peanut butter and the chili paste until it was smooth.

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To cook the vegetables and chicken I began by sautéing the garlic and ginger for about a minute and then adding the vegetables and chicken and cooking everything until the chicken was cooked through.

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While I was cooking the vegetables I prepped the rice noodles by soaking them in warm water (I brought a pot of water to boil and then removed it from the heat). Luckily the rice noodles now come in these individual packets (there are four in a box) so I knew exactly how many noodles I needed – 2 packets. The last time I cooked with rice noodles – granted it was some time ago – they didn’t come in these nifty packages so I had to use my best guess as to what was half of the package.

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The noodles soaking…

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Once the noodles were ready (I followed the directions on the package and soaked them for 5 minutes) I added them to the pan with the vegetables and then added in the peanut/soy sauce I made along with light brown sugar and cider vinegar. I tossed all of the ingredients together to distribute the sauce and let everything cook for a few more minutes and then it was time to enjoy my homemade Chicken Pad Thai and it was delicious!

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Chicken Pad Thai – Modified from here

Servings 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons Asian chili paste

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons minced ginger

1 zucchini, julienned

2 carrots, julienned

8 ounces chicken breast, sliced into strips

1/4 pound rice noodles, follow directions on package to prepare

1 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoons cider vinegar

Optional for garnish:

Lime Wedges

Chopped Peanuts

Bean Sprouts

Directions:

1. In a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, water, peanut butter and chili paste.

2. Heat a large sauté pan (or wok) over medium heat and add the canola oil. Once the oil is hot add the garlic and ginger and cook for about a minute. Add the vegetables and chicken and cook until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Add the noodles and toss to coat them.

3. Add the peanut/soy sauce, brown sugar and cider vinegar and toss to distribute. Cook until heated through.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

The past few days I have been on a roll with cooking dinner. It probably helped that I went through my recipe binder and planned out a few meals for the week. Today I am going to share with you a quick and simple recipe for Sweet & Sour Chicken that I got from an issue of Rachael Ray Magazine a while back.

I usually try to do all of my prep-work for whatever I am cooking or baking before getting started, this way I don’t miss anything and I can work smoothly through the recipe. For this Sweet & Sour Chicken recipe I prepped my ingredients by doing the following: cut a pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs into 3/4 inch pieces which I then coated with cornstarch and soy sauce, chopped up a green bell pepper into 3/4 inch pieces, minced up a tablespoon worth of fresh ginger, and finally, drained the pineapple juice of an 8-ounce can of pineapple chunks and set the chunks aside while whisking the juice along with cornstarch, soy sauce, ketchup, sugar, cider vinegar and sugar.

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It was then time to start cooking. I began by cooking the chicken in a large skillet over medium-high heat that I coated with canola oil. Once the chicken was browned I added in the minced ginger.

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Next up I added in the pineapple chunks and the bell pepper and continued cooking the mixture until the peppers were just beginning to get tender.

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And lastly I added in the ketchup mixture and brought it to a boil and cooked it until the sauce thickened. I then lowered the heat to low and continued cooking it for about another 15 minutes to be sure that the chicken was cooked through.

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Then it was time to enjoy my homemade take-out cuisine. I served the chicken with basmati rice and it was the perfect complement. While you do get some hints of the sour components – the soy sauce and cider vinegar – of the chicken the sweet part is definitely the stronger flavor of the two. I am definitely not complaining though… This is one dish I can see myself making quite a few more times.

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Sweet & Sour Chicken

Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed, then cut into 3/4-inch pieces

6 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 can (8-oz.) pineapple chinks in juice, drained, juice reserved

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 green bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

 

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, 4 teaspoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining cornstarch and soy sauce, with the ketchup, sugar, cider vinegar, and pineapple juice.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the pineapple chunks and bell peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the ketchup mixture, bring to a boil and cook until sauce thickens, about 1 minute.