Welcome to Direct Your Dining! This cooking series will introduce you to energy efficient recipes full of tips to keep your meals delicious without using every appliance in the kitchen. Preparing recipes with energy efficiency in mind at least once a week will make cooking a little easier, and may even help reduce your monthly electricity bill. Check in every week for a new recipe full of flavor and creativity that will surely impress your friends and family.
Looking to up your slow cooker game? This week’s low-energy-use recipe features a combination of orange and ginger to enhance your classic chicken and vegetables.
Working with a slow cooker is always one of my top choices for a low energy use approach to preparing meals. Sure, you could bake this dish in the oven for an hour, but it makes the kitchen so hot, and since it’s summer, I really like to avoid using the oven for too long.
Along with the orange and fresh ginger mentioned in the title of the recipe, I’ve added some maple syrup for sweetness, while the Dijon mustard provides a much-needed kick of tang and acid. The fresh lemon juice and shallots in this recipe also deliver a real brightness to the recipe and chicken.
I like complementing the chicken with green beans and yellow summer squash. Not only are they in season right now, but these two vegetables really absorb the flavors of the marinade, water content of the vegetables, and rendered chicken fat from the cooking chicken. You can substitute or swap either of these for carrots, potatoes, zucchini, or even butternut squash as all of these vegetables taste quite delicious with the sauce and won’t overcook.
I tend to use bone-in, skin-on leg quarters for the chicken in this recipe because they are very cost-efficient, moist, tender, and delicious! While you can use boneless options like chicken breasts, I suggest sticking with the bone-in, skin-on variety because the bone and skin create very tasty flavors for the vegetables to absorb.
Orange and Ginger Slow Cooker Chicken and Veggies
- 4 Bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters
- ¼ c. Orange juice
- ¼ c. Orange marmalade
- 1 tbsp. Fresh ginger paste or grated ginger
- ¼ c. Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp. Maple syrup
- ¼ c. Shallots, finely diced
- 4 c. Fresh green beans
- 4 c. Fresh summer squash (about 4 squashes)
- 1 tsp. Sea salt
- 1 tsp. Coarse ground black peppercorns
- ½ Fresh lemon juice
1) Wash the green beans and squash. Slice the squash into large pieces.
2) Place the vegetables on the bottom of the slow cooker and top with half of the the finely diced shallots. Sprinkle ¼ tsp. of the sea salt and black peppercorns over the vegetables and squeeze the lemon juice over the vegetables.
3) Season the chicken leg quarters with the remaining ¾ teaspoons of the sea salt and the black peppercorns.
4) Add the orange marmalade, ginger, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and shallots in a mixing bowl. Pour in the orange juice and stir to combine.
5) Place the chicken in the slow cooker on top of the vegetables. Pour the marinade over everything.
6) Set the slow cooker to low heat for six hours.
7) After six hours, remove the chicken. Broil it on high in the oven for five minutes to crisp the skin before serving.
This would also be a great recipe to make on Father’s Day. It takes only minutes to prepare and the slow cooker does all the hard work, giving you plenty of time to spend with your family as you celebrate the dads and father figures in your life.
Check back in every week for more Direct Your Dining recipes to help reduce your energy use in the kitchen while getting creative with delicious dishes!
Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan