Recipe: General Tso Drumsticks

It’s no secret I love my Crockpot. And in the last year I have fallen more and more in love with my Instant Pot as well. I’m all about quick, simple, healthy and delicious meals. And when it comes to meal prepping for the week, it really can’t get any easier than this. Today you’re not just getting a recipe, you’re also getting a break down of time & cost to help show just how simple it is to make healthy meals at home and how much money you can save by doing so!

If you’ve never used an Instant Pot, it’s pretty amazing. It allows all the freedom and “hands-off” cooking that a slow cooker provides, without the *slow*. It has lots of different settings and functions allowing you to cook pretty much anything in it (including cheesecake!), as well as a manual function for flexibility, which I use most often. Another huge perk is the ability to cook meat from frozen in a very short time frame. If you don’t own one, I have also included the steps for how to make these same drumsticks on the stove top. They will be equally delicious and done in about the same amount of time, but they will require a little closer attention.

Now for the fun part. I served these drumsticks with Jasmine Rice and Steamed Broccoli. Creating this complete meal from start to plated/packaged took 35 minutes. I buy our organic drumsticks from Costco. They come in a 3 part package, each part containing 4-5 drumsticks depending on how large they are. This particular package had 5. Here’s my recipe for the General Tso Sauce and Chicken, both of which are cooked in the Instant Pot. I used to use a store bought sauce, but wished the ingredients were cleaner. So I experimented with making my own, and honestly, it’s not difficult at all. I love that I can control the ingredient quality and avoid some of the things I didn’t like about store bought varieties {such as excessive sugar, soy or canola oil, and added preservatives.}
 

General Tso Drumsticks

Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4-5 organic chicken drumsticks pat dry
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 T. Avocado Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. minced ginger or ginger paste
  • 2 T. toasted seasame oil
  • 3 T. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. sriracha
  • 1/4 c. coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 T. brown rice vinegar
  • 3/4 c. Better Bone Broth or other chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Set the Instant Pot to the Saute function and allow it to heat. Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper.

  2. Add the avocado oil to the pan, and allow to heat. Sear the chicken, turning to allow for even browning. Once the chicken is browned (takes approximately 6-8 minutes), remove it from the pot and set aside.

  3. Turn the Instant Pot off. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and whisk to combine. Add the browned drumsticks back to the pot and turn to coat.

  4. Close the lid and set to Manual for 10 minutes. Once the cooking time is up, hit "Cancel", and quick release the pressure.

  5. Once the pressure has released, open the pot and remove the drumsticks. Hit the saute button again on the machine, which will heat the sauce to a simmer. Allow simmering to continue for about 5 minutes, or until thickened to your liking. Place the drumsticks on a bed of rice or other grains and pour the sauce over them to serve. 

 

While the Instant Pot does its thing, I prepare the rice and broccoli. For the rice, your package should have cooking instructions, but I use 2 cups dry rice, 3 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter. I cook on medium low heat covered for 15 minutes. I measure this out and start cooking it once the drumsticks are seared and the Instant Pot has been set to do it’s thing independently. Doing so means the rice is done cooking a few minutes before the drumsticks are ready to come out. Cauliflower rice, brown rice, or quinoa would also pair well with this dish.

While the rice is cooking, I wash, chop and steam the broccoli over a pot of boiling water. Two large heads of broccoli, weighing about 16-20 oz. in total before removing stalks, yields enough for 4-5 servings. This entire process takes less than 10 minutes, so I start that last. Once the rice and broccoli are finished, I portion or plate them up. Often we will eat one serving each and package up the other servings for Jason to take to work throughout the week. He tends to be the envy of the office with his home-cooked meals, but let’s stay on topic.

 

So 5 complete meals in 35 minutes. But what about the cost? Here’s what I paid for the ingredients used, and I’m being extra generous on the cost of oils/seasonings 🙂 And yes, there was broccoli for the 5th meal container, it just didn’t make the photo.

  • Organic Drumsticks = $3.06 for five (purchased pack of 12 for $8.64 from Costco; equals $0.72 each)
  • Sauce Ingredients = $1.25
  • Jasmine Rice = $0.74 (purchased in five pound bags for $4.89 from Aldi, or $0.06 per ounce, 12 oz. used)
  • Organic Broccoli = $2.79

TOTAL Cost = $7.84 for FIVE meals! That’s $1.57 per meal!

 
The quality and value of a home cooked meal will beat the drive thru any day. Not to mention the fact that it will take almost the same amount of time to drive to and from the fast food joint. I hope you found this break down helpful and encouraging. I plan to share more of these details on future meal plans and recipes as well. Meal planning is a great way to save money, and when you know how to figure the cost of each meal, the savings can add up even more!

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