My nephews, who I'm sure were toddlers just yesterday, were in town this weekend for a speed skating competition. I invited them with my sister and my parents for dinner on Friday, and made Lemon Chicken in the slow cooker.
I should preface this by saying that cooking for the boys has always involved cooking for however many adults would be in attendance, and making an extra spoonful or two for the kids. They've never been big eaters. My older nephew hates all things onions, and is convinced that celery is an onion is disguise. Sweet peppers somehow were tied into the onion family at some point, and are now considered inedible as well. That, of course, has expanded to all forms of pepper, regardless of colour or heat.
My expectations for him to eat a dish full of vegetables? Not so high.
Luckily, my mom offered to bring a butterscotch pie. It's a little known fact that children can live on butterscotch alone.
So, Lemon Chicken... couldn't be much easier.
4-6 boneless chicken breast halves, chopped into large-ish chunks
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 tbsp of kosher salt (optional)
1/2 tbsp of red pepper flakes (Don't tell my nephew)
Dredge the chicken in a mix of the flour, salt and pepper and shake off any excess. Brown (but don't cook) the chicken. Toss it into a slow cooker. Peel and chop up 3-4 carrots (2" chunks) and toss them in too.
Make a mix of:
1/2 can of defrosted frozen lemonade concentrate (don't add water)
3 tbsp of ketchup
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp of brown sugar
Whisk the above together, and pour over the chicken in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2-3 hours.
At this point, I can imagine that you might be asking - 2 hours in a slow cooker??? Why not longer? Why not on low? Because. Chicken cooked in a slow cooker turns out stringy if you're not careful. Cooking it on high for only two hours leaves it moist but most definitely NOT stringy.
Also, 2 hours is usually enough. Sometimes I leave it as long as 2 1/2 hours... on Friday my sister was *AHEM* late, so it cooked for three. It was OK, but starting to think about turning on me. I wouldn't want to leave it any longer than that.
ANYWHO... back to the recipe.
I'm a firm believer in vegetables. Even more so when they can all be cooked in the same pot. The more the better. So, about 45 minutes before you're ready to serve dinner, chop up and toss in some more vegetables. Mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower... whatever you've got. NOT beets. Also, not onions, celery or peppers either, if you're inviting my nephews. The only trick to adding the vegetables is that you shouldn't fill the slow cooker more than 3/4 full. The manual says no fuller than 2/3, but I walk on the wild side. I fill the slow cooker up to 3/4... almost 7/8 full. Any fuller, and those veggies ain't going to cook, no matter how long you leave them in.
In the meantime, boil up some rice. After the veggies are ready to go, mix up the contents of the slow cooker, and serve it over the rice with enough sauce that you should probably be eating out of a bowl instead of off a plate. If you're me, you'll probably run down the street and buy some bread from the world's greatest bakery to serve with this too.
Maybe it was the recipe. Maybe it's because they became teenagers when I wasn't looking. Whatever the reason, my nephews packed this away until there wasn't a crumb left... except a piece of the butterscotch pie. I hid the last piece of that for myself.
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