It is back to school time! I live on a bustling school street and have been amazed at how many more people can crowd onto a road so early (and late) in the day! It reminds me of how busy school nights really are, and how challenging it can be to get a tasty meal on the table (that’s good for you too!). To help stave off the temptation to turn to take-out during this hectic time of the year, I have a take-out, fake-out recipe for you to turn to instead! Lightly breaded and browned chicken is slathered with a sweet orange sauce using convenient orange juice concentrate, savory balsamic vinegar, a dash of ketchup and a bit of brown sugar. Everything is tossed in your slow cooker to cook throughout the day so it’s ready to feed you and your family when it’s convenient for you! Serve this better-for-you version of classic Chinese takeout with quick brown rice and steamed veggies (easy tip for steaming fresh veggies below). To start, we’re going to stir together our sauce ingredients. Add the orange juice concentrate, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and salt to a small bowl and whisk away!
Okay, now off to our chicken. Slice and dice a pound and a half of plain chicken into small bite size pieces. Lightly dredge the pieces in 1/3 cup flour, shaking off excess. Add the breaded chicken to a skillet pan with olive oil (or canola) that has been heated over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until just brown. (Note: Chicken does not need to be fully cooked, just browned, as it will cook all the way through in the slow cooker.)
Add the browned chicken to the slow cooker and smother with your orange sauce.
Give everything in the pot a good stir, cover, and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. When you’re ready to eat, serve with brown rice and a side of steamed vegetables. A tip for steaming fresh broccoli quickly:
- Chop a head of broccoli florets into small, bite-size pieces and place in a microwave-safe dish
- Add 2 Tbsp. of water to the florets (and a little seasoning if you'd like)
- Cover the dish with a microwave safe cover or plastic wrap (if using plastic wrap, wrap it loose on one edge to vent slightly)
- Microwave for about 2-3 minutes and enjoy!
In my opinion, the convenience of coming home to a freshly made dinner beats driving to pick up (and pay for) take-out any night of the week! What are your favorite school-night tricks and tips to get a wholesome meal on the table in a hurry?
Crock Pot Orange Chicken
- 6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. ketchup
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into small chunks (about 1.5lb.)
- ⅓ cup flour
- Olive oil
- In a bowl, mix the orange juice, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Set aside.
- Pour the flour in a small bowl. Cover the chicken breast chunks in flour and shake off the excess.
- Pour a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and brown the flour-covered chicken. Note: The chicken doesn't need to be fully cooked since it's going in the crock pot.
- Pour the browned chicken chunks into the crock pot, and cover with the sauce mixture. Give the pot a stir and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.
Yield: 4 servings
Per Serving*: Calories 370, Total Fat 5g (Saturated 1.5g, Trans 0g), Cholesterol 95mg, Sodium 790mg, Total Carbohydrate 42g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 33g), Protein 37g, Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 120%, Calcium 4%, Iron 10%
*Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is intended for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research constantly evolves. You should not rely on any information gathered here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals. Information may not be reproduced without permission from Festival Foods. We strongly encourage guests to review the ingredient lists of suggested products before purchasing to ensure they meet individual dietary needs. All products not available at all Festival locations.