A couple weeks ago, I got sucked into the Internet, as I usually do, following my 'theme du jour' from Pinterest to one blog and then another blog to another. 9 bookmarks later, I forced myself to take a break as surely I had only scratched the surface of my topic of interest: making Chinese food at home. I revisited my 9 bookmarks and selected 3 to make last week for what I have now dubbed "Chinese Take-In" week.
Recipe numero uno was Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken from The Recipe Critic. The ingredient list contained things I already had at home (score!), and the resulting teriyaki sauce was super flavorful. Plus the chicken to sauce to rice ratio was excellent (meaning loooooots of sauce to soak into the rice--perfection!).
Now, the recipe didn't specify to cut up the chicken before cooking, but I assumed that's what I was supposed to do based on Alyssa's photos. Since I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, there wasn't any fat to skim off the liquid when it was done cooking (as the recipe instructed). So since the insert in my slow cooker can be used on the stove (I have this one from Williams Sonoma--I HIGHLY recommend it), rather than removing the chicken and transferring the sauce to a saucepan to thicken, I picked up the entire slow cooker insert, plunked it on the stove, added the cornstarch slurry to the liquid with the chicken still in the pot, and it thickened up beautifully when it came to a boil. This was just a whole lot easier and reduced the number of dirty dishes I had to wash, which is a definite plus in my book.
One quick note: Alyssa says to cook the chicken on low for 4-5 hours. I did 4 hours but I think my chicken was a bit overcooked. When I did another cubed-chicken-in-the-slow-cooker recipe later in the week (see below), it was cooked perfectly after only 2 hours. So next time I make this Teriyaki Chicken, I'm going to significantly reduce the cooking time.
So the Better than Takeout Chicken Fried Rice contained leftover rice, shredded leftover Teriyaki Chicken, onion, carrots, frozen peas, and scrambled egg. It doesn't get any easier than this, folks. Plus, it didn't feel repetitive at all because this fried rice was a total transformation of the leftover chicken and rice. And it reheats beautifully in the microwave.
The third "Chinese take-in" recipe of the week was Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken from Creme de la Crumb. You're probably thinking: "how boring, how much slow cooker chicken can one woman eat in a week?" But! This one was totally unique! And here's why: I coated the cubed chicken in seasoned cornstarch, seared it on the stove (THIS is why the stovetop slow-cooker insert is a game-changer), and then added the sauce and cooked on low.
Tiffany's recipe says to cook for 4 hours, but based on my experience earlier in the week, I significantly reduced the cooking time. In fact, I cooked the chicken for 1 hour 45 minutes, added the rest of the sauce, and it was done after a total of 2 hours. With this shortened cooking time, the chicken was cooked perfectly, and the cornstarch coating added a nice texture and soaked up the amazing sauce.
Real quick: I have to share how I totally masterminded this week's recipes, both in terms of menu-planning and money. I bought 7 chicken breasts for about $11. Used 4 of them for Teriyaki Chicken and froze the other 3. Cooked 2.5 cups of rice (which cost 99 cents, by the way) on Teriyaki Chicken night. Two nights later, I used much of the remaining rice and all of the remaining Teriyaki Chicken to make Fried Rice. At the end of the week, I defrosted the other 3 chicken breasts, and made General Tso's Chicken served atop some still-remaining leftover plain rice (shhhh, it's our little secret). Plus I had leftovers for most of my lunches last week, I froze some fried rice for next week, and I'm looking forward to more General Tso's Chicken for upcoming dinners and lunches, too. Soooo, $11.99ish? Well, plus the veggies and sauce ingredients that I already had in the house. Isn't that about what it would cost to order ONE dish from a Chinese restaurant??! Masterminding accomplished!
Recap! This week's recipes had the theme of "Chinese Take-In." And they're so good that you'll think you ordered Chinese take-out! (but you get the peace of mind knowing all the ingredients in these homemade dishes, not to mention how inexpensive and easy it is to make Chinese food at home!!!).
Hi! I'm the creator of Pot Belly Bird, hailing from Spokane, WA. Here in my blog, I'll tell you about all the fun stuff I'm up to in addition to making cards, like cooking or biking or gardening!