Going out to dinner is a fantastic treat that most of us enjoy as a break from the day to day shuffle of work, school, cooking, cleaning & whatever else you’ve filled your days with. Then there are those times you go out because there was nothing in the fridge to cook up, you are too tired to go to the store and overall uninspired as far as food goes. Even choosing where to go seems like a chore too daunting to tackle!
Those are the nights it is so freaking fantastic to be able to pull out a meal from the freezer, pop it on the stove or microwave and voila! A healthy, homemade meal is on the table in minutes without you doing anything else than open that freezer door an pat yourself on the back for a job well done 🙂 Not only did you save time, but you saved money as well!
This Crock-Pot Orange Chicken requires about 15 minutes of active cooking time, the rest is taken care of by the little crock-pot fairy so you can get on with your life until its time to indulge! Add as much or as little red pepper flakes as you want for a totally adaptable heat range and this meal is sure to be a hit with kids and grown ups alike. And you know what else? It’s the perfect as a freezer meal! Double the batch this weekend, enjoy some for dinner then freeze the rest for one of those busy weeknights we talked about! Check out this article for some easy to follow steps to getting set up with a weekly meal plan.
Source: Slightly adapted from: A Year of Slow Cooking – Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
- 1½ Ibs boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- olive oil ~ for browning chicken
- 6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed out (1/2 can)
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoons brown sugar
- Dried red pepper flakes ~ optional
- Ziploc bag, for tossing chicken if flour
- Trim chicken off excess fat and/or "veiny" parts, and chop into 2 inch chunks.
- Sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Use hands to gently toss chicken to ensure that the seasoning is evenly distributed.
- Pour flour into Ziploc bag, then add seasoned chicken. Seal tight and shake baby shake! The chicken pieces should be fully dredged in flour.
- Heat non-stick skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Working in batches, brown chicken bits on all sides. Shake off excess flour before dropping into pan. A "light brown" on all sides is all that is needed at this point, since chicken will continue to cook thru in the crock pot. Chicken should cook in a single layer and without touching each other. As you work thru each batch, add applicable extra amount of olive oil to keep chicken from sticking to pan.
- Add browned chicken to crock pot as you work thru the batches. I usually make it thru in three batches.
- Make sauce by adding thawed juice concentrate, brown sugar, ketchup and balsamic vinegar to a small bowl, use a whisk or a fork to blend well. Taste, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more sugar if you want a sweeter sauce, add a little bit more salt and pepper for a more savory sauce. For some heat, add dried pepper flakes to taste.
- Pour on top of chicken in crock pot, cook on high for 1½ to 2 hours, or on low for about 3 hours. Keep checking the chicken to make sure it does not overcook. Note that different crock pots heat at different levels.