One of my goals here at AOC is to share recipes with you that are not only simple, easy, and delicious, but also to give you ideas of how to use scratch cooking and any preserved food in our everyday family meals. I'm happy to say that this recipe for slow cooker sweet chili chicken and vegetables fulfills many of these goals:
- it's a slow cooker meal so, hello, can you say 'easy?'
- it uses our easy homemade sweet chili sauce, our newest 'pantry basic.'
- it includes frozen green beans, hopefully frozen this super easy way using your garden produce (but store-bought frozen is good, too, of course).
- the other ingredients are all inexpensive and probably things you keep in your pantry, fridge and freezer most of the time.
For our family, this passed the taste-test, too - everybody loved it, especially with more of the honey-sweetened sweet chili sauce drizzled over. It's refreshing to have an Asian styled slow-cooker meal, too, full of it's garlicky, lime, and ginger flavors. The house smelled amazing as it was cooking!
Layering ingredients in a slow cooker usually always follows the same formula: vegetables first, then meat, then sauce/liquids. When using both fresh and frozen vegetables like this recipe, it's a good idea to always put the fresh vegetables in first, then the frozen, since the fresh vegetables will need more cooking to be tender (closer to the heat). Since you don't want the green beans to be overcooked, don't bother thawing them at all and they'll turn out just right.
The boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be partially or fully defrosted (mine are partially), and I found it easiest to fit when I cut the thighs in half or thirds, depending on the size. As you can see, it's just a matter of chopping, layering, mixing and pouring - love the slow cooker!
And can I just go on record as saying that it's nice to have a slow cooker recipe that doesn't turn out as either a soup or stew? I've tried so many that call themselves 'roasts' or simply a main dish like "Italian Chicken" or something, but they are so soupy they have to be served in a bowl. It's become kind of a joke in our family. So I'm on a mission to find slow cooker meals that aren't soupy (not that I don't like soups - I LOVE them, I just want some variety, you know?) which you know I will happily share with you as I find them - like this one. 😉
You can serve the chicken and vegetables over any noodle - rice, wheat, buckwheat, or the mung bean ('glass' or 'cellophane') noodles like I used - or your favorite type of rice. Or, actually, over nothing if you're trying to limit your carbs and/or grains (but check out mung bean noodles - they are a source of good-for-your gut resistant starch).
Slow Cooker Sweet Chili Chicken & Vegetables
- 5 to 6 quart slow cooker
- 1 large or 2 medium onions trimmed, cut in half and sliced
- 4 large carrots* peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 cups frozen green beans
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 lbs.), if frozen, partially or fully thawed
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
- 1 medium lime zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons juice and 1 tablespoon zest)
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt & black pepper
- 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce preferably honey-sweetened sweet chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce to taste (we like 2)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- Cooked noodles or rice
- Chopped cilantro or parsley
- Lime wedges
- Layer onions, carrots, and frozen green beans in the bowl of a 5 to 6-qt. slow cooker.
- Combine starch, lime zest, salt and pepper and toss with chicken thighs in a large bowl. Layer over top of the vegetables, cutting as needed to fit.
- In a glass measuring cup, mix together the lime juice, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, garlic, and ginger. Pour over the chicken.
- Cover and cook on LOW 6-7 hours or on HIGH for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. Uncover and stir a bit, then let stand for about 10 minutes (the starch should thicken things up a bit).
- Meanwhile cook noodles or rice as desired for serving.
- Serve the chicken and vegetables with noodles or rice, topped with cilantro or parsley. Pass more sweet chili sauce at the table and lime wedges, as you like.
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