Outward Bound. In a Way.

This week I had my own personal outward bound experience. Sort of.

I was preparing meals for my family…without the use of our stove or oven because…ours decided to die at the very beginning of Valentine week. Dang stove. Really? This week?

Goodbye, homemade treats for my daughter’s class party (it KILLED me to purchase some) and goodbye homemade special Valentine’s Day dinner for my family. No heart-shaped pancakes or nice muffins yesterday morning, no delightful dinner, no glorious, sweet dessert.

I’ve been microwaving foods, we’ve been eating out and I used a crock pot last night. The first two nights of this was novel…cool! A little break! After night two, forget it. We didn’t fire up the grill because it’s been a tad cold to be standing out there and as for our camping stove, I can’t find the other can of propane. This has been a pretty weird week for someone who actually likes using her stove and oven.

Funny part was that I was totally on auto-pilot. You forget how much you use it until you can’t use it. I was making my schedule for the week on Monday and I marked in what day to do the dough for the cookies for my daughter’s class party (dough one day, bake another)….got up and made the dough the other morning, had a little cheerleading session for myself thinking that I was on-schedule and would squeeze it in with the other thousand things to do this week…then I went to bake them and realized, WOW NO OVEN. Am I a moron? I hadn’t put 2 and 2 together as I was creaming the butter? No lightbulbs went off when I was there dumping in the brown sugar? So now I have a gigundous lump of chocolate chip cookies dough with Valentine M & M’s in my fridge. Not a bad dilemma, I must admit.

The other night, I did finally manage to find a crockpot recipe that doesn’t call for a can of soup. I hate those recipes, I’m just going to say it right now. If it says Campbells, cream of this or cream of that, I’m turning the page and out of there. No thanks.

This recipe (devoid of any of the aforementioned products) actually got good reviews by my family. Husband is hardest to please in this case, as he’s convinced that all crock pot recipes can start out with different ingredients, but by some weird crocky-magic, they end up tasting the same. I can’t say that I totally disagree with him. I haven’t gone so far as to attempt a dessert in a crock pot, but who knows, it could end up being interchangeable with Honey Sesame Chicken.

BUT, this was pretty good and I’ll probably make it again on those days that are particularly hectic or those nights when the stove decides to take a hiatus without notifying anyone. I hope your stove is cooperating with you these days…if not…try this…

Honey Sesame Chicken, courtesy of
*note: I served mine on a bed of brown rice and I also added fresh pineapple to the chicken recipe.

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1/3 cup water
2 packets minute rice, optional
1/2 tablespoon (or more) sesame seeds

3 scallions, chopped

Place chicken in Crock Pot and lightly season both sides with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine onion, garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oil and red pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, or high for 2 hours.

Remove chicken to a cutting board, leaving sauce. Shred chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside. Prepare rice according to package instructions.

In a small bowl, dissolve 4 teaspoons cornstarch in 1/3 cup water; add to crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Cover and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Add cooked rice to 4 plates, top with chicken and spoon sauce over top. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.

Happy Weekend, everyone! I’ll see you Tuesday at some point…take a long weekend break to celebrate the Presidents.

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