If you’ve come to this post looking for a full-on take out fake out, I’m sorry to tell you this isn’t it. In the interest of transparency, I will let you know, right off the bat, if you’re hardcore craving fried up morsels of chicken and lots of sticky-sweet sauce, you’re gonna want to just go ahead and call your favorite take out place.
But if you’re looking for tender chicken, hearty and recognizable vegetables, and a well-balanced sauce that won’t send you or your kids into a sugar high followed by the inevitable crash, you’re in the right place. Added bonus? You can achieve all of that with your slow cooker and a pot to cook the rice in.
This healthified sweet and sour chicken hangs out in the slow cooker, doing its magical thing all day, asking you only to add a simple cornstarch slurry 30 minutes before serving time. For me, these 30 minutes are the ideal amount of time to change out of my work clothes, check the mail, throw in a load of laundry, and tend to a couple of household chores. Depending on how quickly you need to get dinner on the table when you get home, you can cook the rice just before meal time or the night before and reheat before serving.
Get the sweet and sour flavors of this takeout favorite without any deep frying and inexplicably goopy, neon sauce. Sweet and sour chicken, healthified and simplified!
Slow Cooker Healthier Sweet and Sour Chicken
adapted from Cooking Light, August 2018
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 c. chopped or sliced carrots
1 1/2 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 c. ketchup, divided
1/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP sambal oelek or preferred chile paste
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. pineapple juice
2 TBSP cornstarch
3 c. cooked brown rice
sesame seeds, for garnish
sliced green onions, for garnish
red pepper flakes, for garnish
1. Add bell pepper, onion, carrots, broth, 1/2 c. ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and sambal oelek to a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Nestle chicken breasts in amongst the mixture, turning once to coat. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
2. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker, set aside, and cover to keep warm.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the pineapple juice and cornstarch together to make a slurry. Increase slow cooker heat to high and slowly stir in pineapple juice slurry and remaining 1/4 c. ketchup. Cook, uncovered, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
4. Meanwhile, shred the chicken and leave covered and to the side.
5. To serve, divide rice among six bowls and top with chicken mixture. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onions, and red pepper flakes, as desired.
yield: 6 servings