|I love my BaconWave!|
I love that the bacon cooks out of the fat, and the fat drips off the bacon into the tray...so it's slightly healthier than bacon in the frying pan, and a lot less greasy. I also love that the contraption goes in the dishwasher, so it's the easiest clean up ever. I do suggest buying bamboo skewers instead of using the plastic skewers that come with it--I hated handwashing those plastic ones (and they eventually break, leaving you unable to BaconWave...and you just can't have that!), so now I just use the bamboo ones and throw them away when I'm done. The best thing about using my BaconWave is that I can prepare the bacon during the boys' naptime and stick it in the fridge, then head out to my exercise class before dinner, and call Dan to have him pop the prepped BaconWave in the microwave while I'm on my way home. I get home in time to check the bacon, toast the bread, and get all the sandwiches ready for dinner. So that's what I did Monday night--I came home from step class to enjoy some delicious BLTs! Bacon is also the only meat Alex will eat, so that's a small victory--and no one complains about BLTs, either.
Then we had pizza Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights for dinner--on the third day, I usually make something else for a few of the kids or for Dan and myself, but this past Thursday was Abby's music concert at school...so I stretched the pizza for three days and made it easier on myself. On Thursday, Dan asked, "What happened to the crock pot meals you were making? We haven't had one of those in a while..." That made me laugh--apparently he was over pizza, and he actually missed my cooking! Unbeknownst to Dan, I was planning to fix a crock pot meal on Friday anyway, but it was nice to have him request one.
I had copied down a recipe from my go-to crock pot blog a few months ago that I hadn't tried yet, so I decided to go for it on Friday. Crock Pot Lemon Chicken caught my eye because I absolutely love the lemon chicken dish at PF Chang's, but I hadn't tried the crock pot version yet because it requires browning the chicken in a pan before putting it in the crock pot. My general feeling is that the wonderfulness of a crock pot centers around the ease of putting it together and the ease of cleaning it up--all because of it being a one-pot meal...so the use of another pan put me off a bit. I decided to just bite the bullet and try it anyway, because again, I love lemon chicken. I spent naptime getting everything together, starting with the browning:
|despite my misgivings, browning really wasn't hard|
I only used 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I cut into nugget-shaped pieces, because I figured that would be plenty of meat for our family and the nugget shape might encourage Jake to eat them without complaining (a girl can dream, right?). I also decreased the amount of flour and salt through which I dredged my chicken pieces before browning them--I used 1/4 cup flour, and 1 tsp regular salt (since I didn't have Kosher salt), and honestly, I could have used less of both for the amount of chicken I was making. It didn't really matter, though, because the chicken was only dredged in the mixture--so I just had a lot leftover that didn't make it into the pot. I mixed up the rest of the ingredients exactly as the recipe requires (even though the ketchup really threw me off...ketchup?? really???), and poured the lemonade concentrate mixture over my chicken pieces in the crock pot. I fired up the pot on low, and got to cutting up some veggies--I can't do a crock pot without throwing in veggies to round out the meal. I cut up two peppers, a head of broccoli, three whole carrots, and a bunch of snap beans, and had just enough time to throw those in before I had to get going to Zumba. I opened the pot to put the veggies in, and Dan asked if I was sure the chicken would have enough lemon flavor...I guess he got a whiff of the ketchup, which admittedly was an overwhelming scent coming from the pot. I had been toying with the idea of pouring the rest of the lemonade concentrate over the veggies to give them some flavor, so I went ahead and did that as a last-minute running-out-the-door decision. That means I used all 12 oz. of frozen lemonade concentrate in the meal--kind of a lot! I didn't have time to second guess myself, and it smelled delicious when I got home. Dan had made some rice for me, so all I had to do was plate it. The sauce was a little watery (probably the 12 oz of lemonade!), but everything really did look good.
|Crock Pot Lemon Chicken|
I cooked the chicken portion of the meal for 3.5 hours on low, and I added the veggies for the last 1.5 hours, in case anyone wants to try it at home. My first bite, I was totally sold on this meal--the chicken wasn't dry, it had a delicious lemon flavor, and the veggies tasted great with the lemon as well. It was fantastic! When I make this meal again, I will probably add some cornstarch slurry (I didn't have any idea what that meant, but a comment on the original blog recipe suggested it--it's just a mix of cornstarch and water) to thicken up the sauce right before serving it--I like that the PF Chang's lemon chicken sauce is a little viscous, which this sauce was not at all. Dan and Abby both loved this meal, Alex ate some rice only, and Jake cried and cried about the chicken... To be fair, he was ridiculously overtired--but I'm not sure that he would have been happy about it even if he had been well-rested. The boy just resists change, or stepping out of his hot dog comfort zone. I'm looking forward to making this lemon chicken again with a few tweaks--it was a delicious success!