Monday, September 24, 2012

orange chicken--the cheater way!

Orange Juice Recipe, Orange CHicken Recipe, Concentrate orange
Orange chicken was a staple of my college days. In fact, you can probably plot my culinary progress throughout my college days by the way I would fix orange chicken: 
Once I moved into my own apartment (read: didn't have to fight for kitchen space or clean dishes), I started getting a little more "gourmet" with it. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and orange zest! Vegetables! A little breading!

But to be honest, there are times when I miss the convenience of reaching into the freezer for some pre-made orange chicken. 

Lazy lazy lazy.

So what's a girl to do? Go to Trader Joes or Costco and pick up a bag? Go gourmet and make the whole thing from scratch, praying that the oranges in the produce department aren't gross?

How about a nice happy medium, mmkay? Something that's still fresh and delicious, but that doesn't involve juicing and zesting until your sauce has the proper level of tanginess. Because that's a pain and I don't have time for that on a weeknight.

Enter the surprise superhero of the weeknight dinner: Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate.
I don't know how it took me so long to figure this out, but DUH frozen orange juice is concentrated, so you don't need to worry about your oranges not being juicy. No need for orange zest to temper the sweet acidity of the oranges, because the pulp does the trick for you. And whatever concentrate is leftover in the can, just mix it with water and drink it for breakfast!
**My trick for perfect flavor when using sauces on meat? Cornstarch. Not so much a secret as it is oft-forgotten. Coat the chopped-up pieces of meat in cornstarch, and the sauce will have NO trouble sticking to it after it's cooked!

Ingredients:
3 Chicken Breasts, cubed (and tossed in enough cornstarch to cover those bad boys thoroughly)
1 Cup Broccoli
1 Cup baby carrots, chopped if needed
1T olive oil
1T water
Optional: 1 Cup whatever other veggies you want. Just make sure to make more sauce if you add more veggies!

For the Sauce:
2TB Soy Sauce
2TB Water
1tsp olive oil
1 Cup Orange Juice Concentrate (From the freezer aisle!)
Optional: 1t rice vinegar (I like mine nice and tangy! Feel free to omit it if you don't want to go out and buy it  like it sweeter)
Sugar/honey to taste

Procedure:
  1. Pour the olive oil into a HOT pan or wok, and slowly add the coated chicken pieces when the oil is hot. Cook until the chicken is cooked on all sides and alllllllmost no longer pink in the middle, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove the chicken from the pan, and add the vegetables. Toss in the water and cover, stirring occasionally. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. While veggies are cooking, mix the ingredients for the sauce. Taste, and add sugar/honey if desired. 
  4. Add chicken to vegetables, pour sauce mixture over the pan.
  5. Cook until sauce begins to boil, then remove from heat (Sauce will thicken slightly as it cools)
  6. Serve over rice, and bask in the compliments you receive.
Serves about 4
Let me know if you give this a try!

4 comments:

  1. OK, so now I'm totally going to have to make my own orange chicken: that looks super-delicious! Too bad my fiance hates pretty much all things citrus and all things Chinese food :(

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  2. Lol that pyramid is too cute! That chicken looks awesome!

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  3. Whoa. That is genius. Though I do love using my zester...that is an amazing revelation!

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  4. sounds yummy!! will try this one day ;)

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