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Friday, July 24, 2015

Orange Chicken with Stir-Fried Veggies

This is one of those recipes that I make when I don't know what to make for dinner.  

I usually have all of the ingredients on hand. The veggies I make will vary depending upon what is in the fridge, I may make white rice instead of brown, or use beef instead of chicken, but the prep method and the sauce ingredients work well no matter what!  
Think of this as preparing your own take-out! You could make this in the same amount of time that you would spend discussing where you should order from, calling in your order, and picking it up.  And I think you'll like this more!

Today's Playlist
  • "Steady, As She Goes"...The Raconteurs
  • "Say Hey (I Love You)"...Michael Franti & Spearhead
  • "Breakfast At Tiffany's"...Deep Blue Something
  • "Run Around"...Blues Traveler
  • "Kick Drum Heart"...The Avett Brothers
  • "Fell In Love With A Girl"...The White Stripes
  • "Original Prankster"...The Offspring
  • "Got To Move"...Cake

Orange Chicken with Stir-Fried Veggies (serves 4 to 6)

  • 6 cups veggies cut into bite-sized pieces (celery, onions, peppers, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, etc...)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided 
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts (or tenderloins), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
Sauce ingredients:
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 generous teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch red pepper flakes

Gather your ingredients.  Missing from this picture: sesame oil.

Put the corn starch into a large (1 gallon size) zip-lock bag.  Add the chicken chunks.

Shake the bag to coat the chicken with the corn starch.  Set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat one tablespoon of the coconut oil over high heat.

Add the veggies.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Allow the veggies to sit for one minute without stirring.

I know you want to stir them.  I like to let them sit so they can develop a little bit of browning and flavor, and one minute is usually all that it takes.

Okay, one minute has passed, go ahead and give them a good stir!

Now...wait one more minute.  

After the second minute has passed, stir and toss the veggies with the teaspoon of sesame oil.

Remove the veggies from the pan.  I put them into an oven-proof serving plate and covered them with foil.  

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  (After you prepare the chicken you will pop the veggies & chicken into the oven when you prepare the sauce.)

Lower the heat of your pan to medium/high.  Heat up the last tablespoon of coconut oil.

After the oil is hot, place the chicken (in a single layer) into the pan.  

It's best if you don't crowd the pan! My pan is a bit crowded because I had a bit more chicken than the recipe calls for.

Do not stir the chicken while it cooks.  You want to brown the bottom a bit before you flip it.

While you're waiting, prepare the sauce.

Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together.  You can see my "generous" teaspoon of ground ginger in the picture above.  It's not level, it's not heaping, it's simply generous!  If you want to be precise, I suppose you could say it's 1 1/4 teaspoons.

When the chicken starts to turn white around the edges, it's time to flip it and cook the other side, which has hopefully started to brown.

Whew.  Yep, started to brown.

I find that it's easiest to get them all on the flip side by stirring them first, and then only taking the time to flip the ones which haven't been upended.  It takes a lot less time that way!

Let the chicken sit (without stirring) until it's cooked through, about 3 minutes.

After the chicken is cooked, place it onto an oven proof dish.  Place the chicken (uncovered, so that it will not get soggy) and the veggies (which you've covered with foil) into your preheated 300-degree oven to keep warm.  And turn the oven off!  You just want the chicken & veggies to stay warm while your thicken the sauce, you don't want them to continue to cook.

Return the pan to high heat.  Pour in your sauce.  Stir it constantly until it reduces and thickens.

Make sure you scrape up all of those browned bits while you're stirring the sauce!  After a few minutes, if you feel that it isn't thickening enough, combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir it into the sauce.  The cornstarch mixture should thicken the sauce right up!

Remove the chicken from your oven and return it to the pan.

Stir to coat it with the sauce.

Serve the chicken and veggies with rice.



I love to hear what you think!