The Slow-Cooker As Mama’s Best Friend

January 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm Leave a comment

The dinner hour has turned into two or three hours of baby care… Thomas eats between 4:30 and 5, which takes half an hour to an hour, and then we have a little play-and-digest time, and then we have bath time, and then bedtime takes a half an hour or so, which means from 4:30 to 7 or so I’m not in the kitchen cooking.

This leads to many a dinner of leftovers from weekend cooking marathons, jazzed-up frozen pizza, scrambled eggs, or 8 p.m. mealtimes. But when I remember the slow cooker, or when Real Simple runs a slow-cooker recipes article, we get a fresh hot meal that needs hardly any attention between 4:30 and 7.

The last two slow-cooked suppers both made use of organic boneless skinless chicken thighs from Costco. Slow-Cooker Chicken Pot Pie, and Slow-Cooker Soy-Glazed Chicken & Butternut Squash with Stir-Fry Greens. I’ll post the chicken pot pie recipe later, but here is the Soy-Glazed Chicken. It’s based on a recipe from the February 2012 issue of Real Simple; I’ll post their original as is, and note my changes in parentheses.

1/2 c packed light brown sugar (I had dark)
3 T low-sodium soy sauce (I used my organic wheat-free tamari)
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 T Asian fish sauce (finally, keeping that on the condiment carousel pays off!)
1 T grated fresh ginger (I’m sure I used a bit more, since I love ginger)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (I just did several squirts of Sriracha while I was on my condiment carousel)
1-1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 8 (I used about a pound; it was the third packet from the three-pack of organic ones from Costco)
(1 butternut squash, or 2 if they’re small like mine was, or even 3 if they’re as small as some others that have come in my produce box; peel and cube)
1 c long-grain white rice
1 T canola oil
(here is where I diverged 100 percent; Real Simple stir-fries a bunch of good vegs, and I saute greens)
3/4 lb snow peas, trimmed
2 heads baby bok choy, leaves separated
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
black pepper
(I used mustard greens, turnip greens, komatsuna and mizuna; wash them well)

1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, mix together sugar, soy sauce/tamari, lemon juice, fish sauce, ginger, and crushed red pepper (Sriracha). Add chicken; turn to coat. (Add butternut squash cubes; work into the sauce for coating also. I had less chicken than the recipe called for but as much sauce, so I had enough; you might want to do just a little extra sauce.)

2. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 7 – 8 hours on low or 4 – 5 hours on high (mine wound up being about 3 hours on high and then another hour on warm).

3. Twenty minutes before serving, cook rice according to package directions.

4. Meanwhile, transfer chicken and butternut squash to a plate, reserving cooking liquid/sauce.

5. Real Simple says to stir fry the vegs. Here’s where I heated the oil and sauteed my greens instead. Real Simple says to drizzle the cooking liquid over the finished rice/chicken/veg when you serve; I poured the cooking liquid over the greens once they had wilted down, let them bubble for a few minutes, drizzled a tiny bit of Steen’s over for depth, and sprinkled a little cornstarch over to thicken at the end. With the soy-glazed chicken and squash, this was GREAT. Just typing it in makes me wish I had a crisper drawer full of greens again.

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Cooking for three Slow-Cooked Supper: The Comfort Food Edition

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Some of my cookbooks

In no order except for how they appear in my LibraryThing cookbook catalog: True Women Cookbook: Original Antique Recipes, Photographs, & Family Folklore, Janice Woods Windle (1997) * Made in Texas; H-E-B's 100th Anniversary Cookbook (2005) * The Texas Cowboy Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos, Robb Walsh (2007) * The Silver Palate Cookbook, Julee Rosso, Sheila Lukins (1982) * In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks, Ti Adelaide Martin & Lally Brennan (2007) * Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine, Daniel Boulud (2006) * Moosewood Cookbook : Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Mollie Katzen (1977) * Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans, Susan Spicer (2007) * Saveur Cooks Authentic American: By the Editors of Saveur Magazine, ed. Colman Andrews (1998)

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