Monday, April 18, 2016

Crockpot Meals: Edition 3

Cashew chicken with fried rice
Time for Chinese take out... crockpot style.

My go to order at any Chinese food court counter, family restaurant, or delivery dive is always fried rice and general tso's chicken. Sometimes I'll get kung pao chicken with peanuts or sometimes beef with eggplant. But usually general tso's is a given.

The past couple of weeks I tried out recipes for cashew chicken and general tso's chicken, and while they're not as greasy as the stuff you get at the mall, this is just as tasty. I served both of these dishes with fried rice, and if you have a Chinese craving and a few hours for the crockpot to work its magic, check these recipes out!

You can honestly skip the cornstarch step if you don't want to precook anything, but this will give the chicken a much better textured coating. Feel free to change up the measurements of the sauces and make things more or less spicy. I also had a huge bag of frozen stir fry veggie mix from Costco so I tossed in a bunch of those. If you want to forego this step, just steam some greens and serve along side the chicken and rice instead.

Below are both of the recipes!

Cashew chicken
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
3 tablespoons cornstach
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons ketchup
4 tablespoons sambal olec chili sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1.5 cups cashews
2 jalapenos
3 cups frozen veggies (broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, green beans, chestnuts, and onions)
2 tablespoons spice mix (ground ginger, garlic, paprika, chili, cumin powders, and cumin seeds)

  1. Combine cornstarch and pepper in resealable food storage bag. Add chicken. Shake to coat with cornstarch mixture.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side. Place chicken in slow cooker.
  3. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sweet chili sauce sugar, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, spice mix, jalapenos, and frozen veggies
  4. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours and stir every hour or so
  5. During the last half hour add the cashews (I prefer them with a crunch. If you like them softer add them in the beginning of the cooking process)
Recipe source: slightly adapted from The recipe critic

I served the general tso's chicken with "fried quinoa" I sauteed with with garlic, spinach, corn, peas, carrots, green beans, scrambled eggs, and the same sauces and spices used for the chicken. I had a bag of frozen quinoa in the freezer so I figured I might as well try it out and put a little spin on the classic fried rice.

General tso's chicken
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), chopped into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons sambal olec chili sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons spice mix (cumin powder, coriander powder, cayenne powder, onion powder, garlic powder, crushed red pepper)
3 cups frozen veggies (bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, water chestnuts, onion)

  1. Preheat oil in a nonstick pan or skillet over medium heat. Whisk together corn starch, salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and pepper.
  2. Add corn starch mixture and chicken pieces to a large zip lock bag. Seal and shake to coat chicken.
  3. Add coated chicken pieces to pan. Saute 1-2 minutes until browned.
  4. In a bowl combine all sauce ingredients and whisk to combine. Add half to the crockpot along with chicken pieces. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  5. Immediately before serving, add remaining sauce to the crockpot and stir gently.

Recipe source: slightly adapted from Le creme de la crumb

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