Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are…
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect Tomorrow.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth,
or bury my face in my pillow,
or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky
and want, more than all the world, your return.
- Mary Jean Iron

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken...a PSA

It's the most hectic, crazy, out of control time of the year.  With endless to-do lists and life keeps on going, causing you stress, it's the most craaazy time of the year...

Are you singing with me?

Unfortunately, our kids go to school through Friday.  Other families obviously have different traditions, but in our family we use the few days the kids are usually out before Christmas to finish the shopping they want to do for Mark and I, each other, etc.  We make cookies, we watch sappy Christmas movies, we get in the spirit and have a good time enjoying the season.  Sadly, we are robbed of that this year.  Yes, we will have Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but Mark will be home those days as well and it's going to be a hectic, crazy time of trying to cram everything in instead of the nice, leisurely celebration we've enjoyed in the past.

Anywhoo, if your life is also crazy, you will love me for passing on this recipe.  I found it on Facebook, our neighborhood has a cooking group, and someone on there found it on the blog Foodie With Family.  Normally, I'm skeptical of slow cooker meals, more often than not they're just...well, a *miss* with us.  They're usually 'okay', but nothing memorable.  This one?  Awesome.  Awesome in that everyone ate it, Mark took leftovers to work today, and Jacob and Julianna fought over the remaining leftovers for their lunch.  That my friends is a successful recipe.  Normally I do not like recipes that have ketchup in them, I like ketchup on french fries and that's about it.  When I have tried recipes with ketchup in the ingredients in the past I have found they always taste like...ketchup.  Not what I'm looking for.  This one though?  Not so.  It works.  You wouldn't even know there was ketchup in it if you didn't make it yourself or have someone tell you.  You don't need to fuss with this recipe, you don't brown the chicken ahead of time, you just put the chicken in, pour in the sauce, and walk away.  Four hours later, you're good to go.  [One caveat, yesterday Julianna had to leave for dance at 5:00, Jacob had a sax lesson at 5:30 and Julianna had a dance to share with us at 6:20.  When to fit in dinner?  We decided to pack Julianna a dinner (she had another class at 7:30 so wouldn't be coming home with us and eat when we got back after watching her Christmas dance.  I set the rice cooker and timed the sesame chicken to be done at 4:30 so I could make sure it was done and pack up her dinner.  The slow cooker I use does not have a keep warm function so the slow cooker kept cooking from 4:30-6:40.  Aggravating that, I had popped the slow cooker up to high for a time when I became nervous that it wouldn't finish cooking in time...long story short, I think by the time we ate at 6:45 it was slightly over-cooked.  When I make it again I will time it more carefully and not bump it up to high, I think it would have been just fine.]

If your life is crazy and you need a recipe you can put in the crockpot, walk away from, and know you're going to have a delicious meal waiting for you when you're ready, this is your lucky day.  Bonus points if you have a rice cooker.  I set it up when I put the chicken on, and right when we needed it, yummy chicken and rice was ready when we were.

Slow-Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
Adapted from Amy of Very Culinary
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup minced onion (I used green onions)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Serve with:
  • Hot cooked rice
  • Sesame seeds
  • Scallions, thinly sliced

Very lightly season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place them in the slow cooker.
Whisk the honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, canola and sesame oils, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes together in a mixing bowl and pour over the chicken thighs. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a rimmed plate or bowl and cover lightly with foil, leaving the pan juices in the slow cooker.
Stir the cornstarch into the water with a fork or small whisk until dissolved. Whisk the mixture into the pan juices in the slow cooker. Re-cover the slow-cooker and turn the heat to high. Let it cook and thicken for 15 minutes.
Carefully transfer the chicken back into the slow-cooker. Serve the pieces of chicken over the hot cooked rice, spoon the sauce over the chicken and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.

**I made this exactly as represented above, though I used slightly less chicken, and I cut my chicken up into chunks.  Next time, and there will be a next time, I will use 3 pounds chicken thighs for sure, now that I know there's a home for the leftovers.  The other change I will make is that I will leave out the canola oil, I don't see a necessity for that here, though I'll definitely use the sesame oil.  I'll also use my favorite low-sodium Tamari sauce in lieu of regular soy (I had a bottle of regular soy I was trying to use up that I had bought when I couldn't find my beloved Tamari sauce), it was a touch salty, and I'm a person that enjoys salt.  All that being said, still, very happy with how it turned out.


Kat said...

Ooooo. This sounds so yummy. I'm always looking for new dinner options. Thanks!!! :)

Our kids get out of school on Friday too. That is when I finally feel I can begin to enjoy the holiday. No more concerts, and plays, and class parties, and blah, blah, blah. I know the kids really enjoy all that but with four into it at one time my brains feel like they are going to explode trying to remember it all. ;)

Murdock's mama said...

Sounds awesome...I'll be making this next time my sister comes over! :)

Thanks for sharing!!

Mum-me said...

Sounds like something my brood would eat – thanks for sharing. And I hope you do get a chance to do your Christmas shopping and relaxing before Christmas. We’ve been on school holidays for a week now but it’s so hot I don’t feel like doing anything


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