Sweet and Sour Chicken over Brown Jasmine Rice and Red Quinoa
A very good friend of mine was excited to share a sweet and sour chicken recipe with me that was healthy and that her husband loved. How often does that happen? She thought I should try it too, since my kids tend to like sweeter foods. It sounded so good (and easy), I had to make it this week. The challenge was that I had soccer practice for both kids on the night I wanted to try it. How was I going to make this dinner and ensure we weren’t eating at 7:30 pm?
Ahh, enter the rice cooker and slow cooker! Since I wanted something a bit more nutritious and since I would be gone over an hour, brown rice seemed like the perfect solution. I cooked red quinoa with the brown rice to boost the nutrition even more. The family agrees the rice-red quinoa combo is a good one.
TIP: When cooking red quinoa with rice, add two times more water than quinoa. For example, if you add 1/2 c quinoa, add 1 cup of extra water. Even though the quinoa takes less time than the brown rice, it came out fine. I usually add about half the amount of quinoa that I add of the rice. For example, 1 cup of rice and 1/2 cup of quinoa.
The slow cooker came in handy to simmer the chicken in the sauce. Don’t always think of it as a piece of equipment just used for all day cooking; it is great for finishing a dish that cooks quickly. I par-cooked the tenders, placed them in the crock pot with the veggies and sauce, set the temperature to Low for 90 minutes and dashed out the door. When I returned, dinner was ready.
The other bonus was that the dish was naturally gluten-free. Now that 2 of us in the family are eating that way, it really was the perfect meal.
I cannot take the credit for this dish, either. It was based on this post which my friend had forwarded to me. However, the sweet potato was my idea along with the brown jasmine rice-red quinoa combo. I hope you’ll try it.
Gluten-Free* Sweet and Sour Chicken
2 tsp corn starch
1 egg white
1/2 tsp salt
1 – 1 1/2 lb chicken tenders
1/4 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of white vinegar
2 Tbl organic brown sugar
1 tsp fresh ginger (keep peeled ginger in the freezer and then grate right into the dish!)
1 small can of pineapple chunks, juice reserved
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into large pieces (if you like green peppers, you can use those as well)
1 Tbl safflower oil for frying
1 small to medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
Optional: 1/2 c peanuts or cashews for garnish
*To ensure this dish is gluten-free, make sure to use a gluten-free ketchup.
1. Mix egg white, cornstarch and salt in a bowl large enough for the tenders. Add tenders and, using your hands, coat each piece of chicken with the mixture. Put aside for about 5 minutes. (By the way, this is a great method for making gluten-free crispy chicken).
2. Pour ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, ginger and pineapple juice into the bowl of a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add pineapple and peppers.
3. Heat medium to large non-stick pan with the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken tenders and cook on each side until the chicken is lightly browned. The chicken may not be done but will continue cooking in the slow cooker. Place chicken in slow cooker.
4. Place pan back on stove and cook onions and sweet potatoes for about 3-5 minutes. Place this on top of the chicken.
5. Place cover on slow cooker, set to Low for 90 minutes. Serve with brown rice and quinoa. Optionally garnish with peanuts or cashews.