Kelly the Culinarian: Guest Post: Kate's Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken Crock Pot Recipe

Friday, February 22, 2013

Guest Post: Kate's Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken Crock Pot Recipe

Hi readers! I'm dealing with car issues and have a jam-packed weekend, so here's another guest post from Kate. If you recall, she's sharing her tips and experiences feeding her family using the freezer to crock pot cooking method. Catch up on her past posts here.

Tonight we tried out a Paleo version of orange chicken.

Frankly, I didn’t have high hopes for this one. When I hear orange chicken, I think of fried nuggets of chicken in a syrupy sweet orange flavored sauce. You know, delectable fried fatness with sugar on top, sometimes garnished with something green that I might consider a vegetable.

However, this recipe:

1) Involves no frying

2) Follows basic “Paleo” principles (of which I gained a little experience when my husband went on a Paleo kick. Frankly that phase of his was a pain in my butt because it meant separate, specific food for him since he wouldn’t eat most of what the rest of the family was eating. This also meant that I very soon declared that he could make his own dinners.)

3) Is quite a bit more work than most of the other recipes I put together as part of this “40 Meals” Freezer Crockpot experience. Next time I’ll probably try a few shortcuts, like using orange juice instead of squeezing oranges myself. Note – the recipe calls for two oranges worth of zest. Make sure you have a zester, or at least a grater if you’re planning on following this recipe as prescribed.

4) Also Note – the recipe says to cut the chicken in to bite sized pieces, but since you’re cooking in the crock pot, that’s not necessary.

5) As most things made in the crockpot – the resulting food isn’t quite as beautiful to look at as the recipe intends, since the colors of everything wind up just blending together.

So after a lot of prep work for this recipe (remember – I just dump everything in the freezer bag together, but the ingredients were work-intensive) and overall low expectations – I was pleasantly surprised in the flavor.

It tasted appropriately orange-y without being overpowering, the chicken was nice and tender (I’m discovering a trend – dark meat chicken does very well in a crock pot), and the sweetness and spicy hotness were just exactly right. I served it with white rice I had left over from Chinese takeout we had over the weekend, and I also nuked some broccoli to round it all out.

Now for the bummer – this meal left us HUNGRY. Holy cow, whoever thought one pound of chicken (works out to about one chicken thigh per person) is sufficient for a meal is either a teeny tiny person or they’re starving.

Next time I’ll be at least doubling the meat for this recipe.

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (this would have been 5 stars, but I was so dang hungry afterwards that I had to deduct something for it being more of a light lunch than a dinner.)

Kate Appelman is a couples and portrait photographer trying to keep up with two toddlers and keep everyone fed and relatively clean. Besides photography, Kate daydreams about actually making something from Pinterest and sometimes fitting in a CrossFit workout.

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