Crock Pot Orange Chicken

Looking for a healthy alternative to chinese takeout?  No matter what the season, Chinese food is one of the best comfort food (in my opinion) and it is the perfect rainy/snowy weather food.  Chinese food was the go-to take out option on a rainy day growing up, in college, and even now.  This recipe takes a few hours, but it is totally worth it!!!  You can also make this ahead and eat it later.

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I used skinless chicken thighs in this recipe, but if you’re looking for a lower fat alternative, chicken breasts would work too.  Chicken thighs are a little juicier and have more fat on their own, allowing them to carry more flavor and be just a little bit more tasty.  I usually never use chicken thighs, but I figured why not mix it up a bit.  A little bit of fat is not going to kill you, a little bit can even be good for you.

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Unlike other crock pot recipes, this one does require a small amount of stove top cooking prior to the crock pot.  You gotta brown the chicken before adding it to the crock pot.  That’s what’s going to give it that little crunch/crispier coating.

Step 1: In a bowl combine your flour (I used quinoa flour, but other flours would work too) and seasonings together.  When you season your flour mixture you can lock in even more flavor 🙂

Step 2: Make your sauce and set aside.

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Step 3: Place your bite-sized chicken pieces in a baggie or container with the flour mixture, and shake it up!

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Step 4: Get that chicken into a hot pan with a tiny bit, less than a tbsp of coconut oil and brown it up!  Only a couple of minutes here, you want to be careful not to cook your chicken all the way through.

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Step 5: Add that crispy coated chicken into the crock pot and pour sauce over top.

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Step 6: Cover, set on HIGH, and cook for 2-3 hours.

Crock Pot Orange Chicken
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5-2lbs. chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • ¼ cup quinoa flour
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • ½ cup soy sauce, low sodium
  • ¼ cup orange juice, not from concentrate
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken thighs into bite sized pieces.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour and spices-pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes(1/2 tsp. reserve other ½ for sauce).
  3. In another bowl, whisk together soy sauce, orange juice, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and reserved red pepper flakes.
  4. Place chicken bites in a ziplock bag or a container, add flour mixture, and shake up.
  5. Drop coconut oil in a frying pan and heat up. Put floured chicken into the hot pan. Brown the outside of the chicken pieces without cooking all the way through.
  6. Pour browned chicken into the base of the crock pot and pour sauce mixture on top.
  7. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ batch Calories: 391 Fat: 18.0g Saturated fat: 6.9g Unsaturated fat: 0.3g Carbohydrates: 14.3g Sugar: 6.4g Fiber: 1.1g Protein: 41.2g

Note that the nutritional information is calculated assuming you eat all of the sauce.  You probably won’t, and there will probably be left over sauce in the crock pot.  I like to make sure I have enough sauce to get a good marinade.  Originally, I put half of the sauce recipe in the crock pot, but I was worried the chicken would dry out, so I doubled it and it was delicious.  The doubled sauce recipe is what is posted here.

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Serve over brown rice with steamed broccoli.

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What’s your favorite healthy comfort food?

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