Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli

Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli ~ A no fuss meal that is healthier than takeout and rivals the taste ~ The Way to His Heart #copycatrecipe #chinese #slowcooker

I’ve been on a Chinese take-out kick lately. The problem is my husband doesn’t want it that often and my kids only like to eat from the buffet because they can have a little bit of everything. I know I can make it at home, but there is something comforting sitting at my counter eating something I haven’t made while everyone else is playing since I fed them beforehand. It’s a little oasis for me!

Alas, one can only indulge so much. So to satisfy the cravings and save my waistline and wallet, I make it myself. I love this slow cooker method because it’s super easy. Granted, you can fake this in a skillet and it doesn’t take as long if you forgot to get everything into the slow cooker in time, but sometimes, heck most times, just before dinner is the witching hour here. There are just nights where all I can get done is putting a pot of rice on the stove so the slow cooker saves me. That way I can work on homework, the crazy dogs, the toddler meltdowns etc. I’ve made this recipe even simpler by cutting out steaming the fresh broccoli. There is no need. Thirty minutes in the slow cooker is plenty of time to cook it and if you are using frozen, why defrost? Again, thirty minutes is plenty of time to defrost and cook! I call defrosting the meat a win each day. Defrosting veggies,etc. no thanks!

Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli ~ A no fuss meal that is healthier than takeout and rivals the taste ~ The Way to His Heart #copycatrecipe #chinese #slowcooker

Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs flank steak, thinly sliced and chopped into 2″ pieces
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 4 Tbsp cold water

Grease the inside of a slow cooker. Add steak, beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or low for 4 to 5 hours. Make sure you check along the way if you can, no matter what slow cooker I use, it always seems to cook faster!

In a small bowl, stir corn starch and water into a slurry. 30 minutes before serving, add to the slow cooker along with your broccoli. There is no need to defrost the broccoli if you are using frozen. Cover and allow to cook for 30 minutes.

Serves 4

Adapted from le creme de la crumb

Sriracha Boneless Wings

Sriracha Boneless Wings ~ These extra hot and spicy wings are given a fresh zest with lime and cilantro ~ The Way to His Heart #gamedayfood #appetizers #wings #thewaytohisheart #sriracha

This past weekend that big game that most everyone watches was on. While our team wasn’t playing in the Super Bowl, we still decided to make some yummy food because it was an excuse to snack on tasty appetizers and snacks that we wouldn’t otherwise do. Even though it was just my husband and I, and the little guy who refused to go to sleep, I’m glad we opted to make a few fun foods because the game was just okay and most of the commercials were lackluster.

When I told my husband I was thinking of making some chicken tenders, because we like to go right for the meat and not deal with the bones, I asked him to pick a sauce. I knew what I wanted wouldn’t be his favorite, to be posted on the blog soon. I should have known he’d find something with Sriracha sauce in it. The guy loves sriracha sauce. I even got him one of those little Sriracha 2 Go containers for Christmas, well Santa did. Sssh.

Anyways, this sauce and these boneless wings did not disappoint. I’m a known wimp so I could merely take a small bite drenched with ranch dressing. They definitely pack some heat. But before my mouth went on fire, I could definitely taste the fresh flavors of the lime and cilantro which is rare in a “hot” wing sauce. My husband loved the wings and the sauce and also noted that these were a bit different. Double coating the tenders also gave a great crunch that complimented the saucy tenders. Usually, they just end up soggy, not with these! These will definitely be made again when it’s time for a big game or to make some food for the guys.

Sriracha Boneless Wings ~ These extra hot and spicy wings are given a fresh zest with lime and cilantro ~ The Way to His Heart #gamedayfood #appetizers #wings #thewaytohisheart #sriracha

 

Sriracha Boneless Wings

Ingredients

For the chicken batter:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ chunks
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Sriracha chili sauce
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and milk. Dip each piece of chicken first in the egg mixture, and then roll in the flour mixture. Repeat so that each piece of chicken is double coated. Refrigerate the breaded chicken for 20 minutes or longer for a crispier coating.

Heat oil in a large, deep skillet to 375 F. Fry the chicken in the hot oil in batches until the outside is nicely browned and fully cooked, 165 F., about 5 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels.

While the chicken is frying, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and stir in the sriracha sauce. Remove from heat. Stir in the lime zest and cilantro.

Toss the chicken pieces with the sauce and serve immediately.

Serves 6

Source: Hot Sauce Daily

Silky Chocolate Pudding

Silky Chocolate Pudding ~ A decadent dessert that's so easy to make you'll wish you had skipped the box all of these years ~ The Way to His Heart #dessert #makeahead #pudding

We’re escaping the cold Maine weather in a week and heading down to Florida. This means many things. I’m a very busy mom packing, getting things ready for the house/pet sitter, getting things ready for the blog, all of the Valentine’s school activities etc. Since we are leaving on Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d make a nice dessert this past weekend to celebrate a little early. My mind immediately went to all of these wonderful, complicated and decadent desserts and then I realized just how busy I am. I figured you all may be busy as well. Looking for a sweet dessert that is easy to make and that everyone will love. Who doesn’t love chocolate pudding? Well, my husband doesn’t really love it, but he loved mine. Not sure if it’s because I’m his Valentine, it’s just that good (I think so), or it was there. Either way, everyone gobbled it up.

I also think pudding is just so comforting in the winter. It’s filling without making your stomach feel super full, which is a con in my book if you are making this for an intimate Valentine’s dinner. Enjoy it warm and it’s perfect for a snowy day.

Silky Chocolate Pudding ~ A decadent dessert that's so easy to make you'll wish you had skipped the box all of these years ~ The Way to His Heart #dessert #makeahead #pudding

I used semi-sweet chocolate because I knew the kids would enjoy it more, but using all bittersweet or a mixture of both is great. There’s also a note at the bottom of the recipe for a wonderful, simple, adaptation as well. I made it festive by tinting the whipped cream, placing two dollops of whipped cream on the pudding and using the back of the spoon to shape it into a heart. Voila! Dessert is served. This was really, really, delicious. I had more the following day, just a spoonful after working out ya, oops. I swear it got better overnight. It was supposed to be just a spoonful but I was amazed at how awesome it tasted and I had half a bowl. Sigh. Back to the elliptical.

Silky Chocolate Pudding ~ A decadent dessert that's so easy to make you'll wish you had skipped the box all of these years ~ The Way to His Heart #dessert #makeahead #pudding

Silky Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 6 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Slowly, with a thin stream, whisk in the  milk until incorporated and smooth. Place over medium-low heat and whisk occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. After 10 minutes, and when the mixture has begun to thicken and coat the back of a spoon, add the chocolate and continue stirring for another 2 to 4 minutes or until chocolate is fully incorporated and the mixture is quite thick. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.

Distribute among individual cups or one large serving bowl and chill until it is cool and set, about 2 to 3 hours.  To avoid the skin on top of the pudding, place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding before refrigerating.

Pudding keeps for 3 days.

*For an extra chocolate boost, replace one ounce of semisweet chocolate with unsweetened chocolate.

Serves 4 to 6

Source: Smitten Kitchen, adapted from John Scharffenberger

Lightened Up Sweet & Sour Chicken ~ Ready in 20 minutes, this lightened up version spares you the calories and sodium without sparing the taste! ~ The Way to His Heart #CLBlogger #CookingLight #Quickmeals

We’re big fans of sweet and sour anything around these parts, but I have always fried the protein in a lovely, thick batter. I have two recipes on the blog already, my authentic and quick sweet and sour. I decided to still share this recipe with you because it’s ready in 20 minutes, is lower in calories and sodium, and tastes delicious. Being a bit picky about sweet and sour sauces I was a little timid, but the folks at Cooking Light Magazine have done a fabulous job! I think it’s spot on, sweet enough that the kids go crazy over it, but not that overly sweet maraschino cherry flavor. Yuck!

What I love about this recipe is that it uses all of the key flavors and doesn’t miss a beat. Rather than just saying, brown the chicken, they use an egg-white and cornstarch mixture to give it a nice crispy coating that gives you a similar experience to restaurant style batters. I’m all for fresh and light eating but on classic recipes I need it to feel a little indulgent and this does the trick. I’ll be using this egg-white mixture on my other recipes often as well.

 

Lightened Up Sweet & Sour Chicken ~ Ready in 20 minutes, this lightened up version spares you the calories and sodium without sparing the taste! ~ The Way to His Heart #CLBlogger #CookingLight #Quickmeals

 

Lightened Up Sweet & Sour Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 4 tsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/8 tsp kosher salt

Combine egg whites and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken to bowl and toss to coat.

Combine remaining 1 teaspoon cornstarch, ketchup, and next 4 ingredients (through soy sauce) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add bell pepper to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add pineapple, ginger, and onions to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer bell pepper mixture to a plate.

Ass remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add chicken mixture, allowing any excess egg white mixture to drip back into bowl. Stir-fry 6 minutes or until chicken is browned and done. Add ketchup mixture and bell pepper mixture to pan. Bring to a simmer; simmer 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Sprinkle with salt; serve immediately.

Source: Cooking Light January/February 2016

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