Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken

by Michelle on October 1, 2016

Hello readers. It’s been an entire summer since I’ve last written, mainly because I hardly cooked anything new all season! For the first time ever, I planted a garden (and actually grew vegetables!) so there were a lot of simple preparations, mainly involving the grill, pizza dough, and tomatoes. I’ve also been doing a nutritional cleanse (more on that later) to counteract the many margaritas and mojitos I imbibed all summer, so I haven’t been cooking as much.

BUT, with last week’s arrival of fall—and the cooler temperatures that soon followed—I’ve been itching to get back into the kitchen, especially since my Facebook feed has been blowing up with amazing recipes from various sources. And my slow cooker is one of my favorite cool weather tools, so it’s apropos that my first new post of the season would be for crock pot chicken.

This recipe hails from Goodful and I was intrigued by the low calorie content (281 calories per serving!) Sesame chicken is also my favorite take out Chinese dish despite the fact that it’s terrible for you. SO, when I happen upon a lighter version that I can make myself, I’m all for trying it. And since this recipe uses many of the same ingredients that my spaghetti squash pad thai calls for, I already had most of them in my pantry. I subbed out the sriracha for Thai chili garlic sauce because the hubs doesn’t like sriracha, but you could use either, or probably neither if you aren’t into spicy dishes. This dish was GOOD! Really flavorful and very easy, which are two key components to a quality recipe. I served it with broccoli and brown basmati rice (which upped the calorie content but it was worth it.) Make this the next time you have a craving for takeout. Your body will thank you.

slowcookersesamechicken

Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken (adapted from Goodful)

Serves 6

3-4 chicken breasts

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Thai chili garlic sauce (or sriracha)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Six cups of broccoli, cut into florets

Sesame seeds for garnish

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in slow cooker. Season with the pepper, then add the next eight ingredients. Stir, cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place in a bowl. Mix the water and cornstarch together, pour it into the slow cooker with the remaining juices and let sit, covered, on low for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli. When the sauce is done, add the chicken back into the cooker, stir to coat and serve with the steamed broccoli and brown rice if desired. Garnish with sesame seeds.

 

 

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We love kale in our house. We eat it multiple times a week and, when I planted my first garden this year, kale was definitely in the mix. (Two kinds!) My favorite is lacinato, also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale, and green curly, both of which I have been growing, to my great delight. This preparation is one of our favorites, and when my sister-in-law’s cousin was looking for kale recipes earlier this week, it reminded me to post about it. I also served it on the 4th of July to rave reviews. This salad really couldn’t be easier. Most of this kale came from my garden, but lacinato kale is easy to find at the supermarket. I like Cindy’s Kitchen Roasted Garlic Caesar dressing, but use your favorite. The squeeze of lemon cuts the bitterness of the kale (a trick I picked up from a salad place in the city that my husband often eats lunch at) and the toasted panko acts as “croutons” giving it some extra crunch. This salad is fantastic with grilled shrimp or pretty much anything you’re grilling this season. Buy the ingredients and make it this weekend!

kalecaesar2

Kale Salad with Caesar, Lemon and Toasted Panko Breadcrumbs

1 bunch of lacinato kale

1/2 cup of panic breadcrumb

Your favorite Caesar dressing

Olive oil

1/2 of a lemon

Drizzle a swirl of olive oil into a skillet and let it warm up. Add the breadcrumb and toss until it begins to turn brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Remove the tough stems of the kale and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Run them through a lettuce spinner, then put in a large bowl. Top with the toasted breadcrumb and as much dressing as you like. Toss to combine, then finish with a few squeezes of lemon. Serve immediately.

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Salad is one of my favorite things to eat for dinner. We generally eat some version of salad with dinner every night, with the exception being the first trimester of both of my pregnancies when I couldn’t even look at a green without gagging. I think salads are one of my better meal preps and my party guests frequently ask me what I put in mine. That depends on my mood…what I have in the pantry…what I want to use up in the fridge. I made up this version last week when I had some leftover quinoa and a clamshell of spinach that needed to be eaten. Feta, kalamata olives and pepitas were also on hand and to finish it off, I made a quick batch of my favorite tahini dressing from Food52.com. This dressing is seriously addicting and so easy. The salad it’s featured with is also tasty, but the dressing has been my go to anytime I have a tahini craving. Anyway, this salad was super tasty so I recreated it again, making sure to write down my ratio of ingredients. (I also added some Argentinian Red Shrimp from Trader Joe’s.) But I think salads are easily modified based on your taste, so add, swap, or omit ingredients at your leisure. But definitely make this for dinner. You won’t be disappointed.

Spinachsaladwithtahiniandfeta

Spinach Salad with Red Quinoa, Feta and Tahini

1/2 of a 16 ounce clamshell of organic spinach

1/2 cup cooked red quinoa

1/2 cup feta, crumbled

1/2 cup pepitas

1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted

For the dressing:

1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt

3 tablespoons tahini

3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons olive oil

Toss all of the salad ingredients in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the garlic paste and lemon juice. Whisk in the tahini, water and olive oil, until smooth. (If you want the tahini a bit thinner, add more water.) Pour as much dressing as you’d like onto the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

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