One Pot Dinners: Two Recipes for the Slow Cooker

asian bowl

Here’s the thing: Most of us flavor lovers enjoy a bit of variety in our diets. Unfortunately there are times when our children do not. So I try and mix up the same old with some variations. I insert these meals throughout the month, mostly on the nights when I don’t have time to be super creative and I know the family needs so “same old.” These two dishes are sure to please and you can swap chicken or beef in either recipe for even more “variety”.

With two cookbooks under her belt, Kimberly is definitly the queen of the slow cooker or “crock pot” but recently I’ve taken to creating a few gems for the family. Working from home allows for me start these in the afternoon just before school is out when I don my chauffeur’s hat for the few remaining hours of winter day light. I found the original recipes on pinterest so if you’d like to see the original recipes you can follow the “recipes tried from pinterest” board that I made.

Chinese Vinegar Chicken (Serves 4 to 5)
The changes I made from this recipe are mostly on the ingredient side. I used thigh meat instead of breast as I prefer the texture of thigh meat in slow cooker. Also instead of balsamic vinegar I used Chinese Chinkiang vinegar.

Chinese vinegar

This vinegar is made from black rice and originates from Jiangsu province of China. While it’s balsmic-like – it really has it’s own special flavor profile. You can find this in Asian grocery stores or on Amazon. I think it tastes a little better in this application. Certainly balsamic can be used but don’t use a thick high sugar one. A cheaper un-aged variety will work better. I decided to serve the yummy chicken over brown rice noodles but think next time I will try Japanese egg noodles. Of course, rice works well too.

1/2 cup of each: Soy sauce,  Chinkiang vinegar, water
6 bonesless chicken thighs (you can used bone in for even more flavor, just add another 1/2 cup of water)
4 tsp. coconut sugar (white or brown sugar can be substituted)
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger (don’t use powdered)

Garnish: Toasted sesame seeds, chopped scallions and cilantro plus Sriracha or hot sauce of your choice.

Spray the inside of you slow cooker with oil. Add the chicken and seasonings, everything except the garnishes. Turn the slow cooker on high and cook for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool. Meanwhile lower the cooking settings to low. Shred the cooled chicken meat by pulling it apart with your finger and add back into the sauce. Stir it around and adjust seasonings. Serve over the starch of your choice with the garnishes sprinkled on top.

If you choose to use red meat, then I recommend hanger steak or skirt steak. Add 1/2 cup of beef broth. If you want a bit more depth, 1 Tbsp. Chinese Black Bean sauce works really nicely.

Adapted from 6 Sisters Stuff.

Taco Bowl

Hanger Steak Taco Bowls over Quinoa  or Rice (Serves 4 to 5)
This original recipe used chicken but I like hanger steak better for this dish. The family loved this dish and it lends itself well to a taco night.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 3/4 lbs. hanger or flank steak, slice into 3-inch sized pieces, lengthwise with across the grain of meat
1 (12) oz. can diced tomatoes (or you ccan use your favorite jarred salsa)
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp. taco seasoning (or mild chili powder)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow or white onion, thinnly julienned
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf
1 large can of black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Garnishes: Sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, tomatillos, grated cheese and sour cream  Serve on top of rainbow quinoa or rice.

Coat the bottom of your slow cooker dish with about 2 Tbsp. olive or canola oil. Rub the dry seasonings over the meat. Place the tomatoes (or jarred salsa), water, sliced onions and chopped garlic into the pot. Add the meat slices and bay leaf, salt and about 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Stir the pot so that everything is mixed together. Turn the setting on to high and cook for 4 to 5 hours.

Remove the meat to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly. Add the black beans to the pot and stir. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking (and more salt and pepper or some hot sauce of your choice). Shred the meat into long pieces and return to the pot. Stir to coat. reduce heat to low.

I make my quinoa in a rice cooker. I am partial to the rainbow variety as I like the nutty, earthy flavor, plus it’s pretty to look at. Once your grains are cooked you simply place some at the bottom of a bowl and ladle the meat mixture on top. Garnish with whatever you like.

Inspired by Budget Bytes

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