Chinese food. Ugh man, who doesn’t love to indulge in it every now and then?! I remember when I was a kid, we got Chinese takeout SO much…was that just my family in New Jersey or was this a thing many people did?? Anyway…as a health-conscious adult, eating Chinese food is a rarity…unless I am at a high end fancy Chinese restaurant.
Chinese food is known to be pretty bad for you: most things are fried in a ton of oil, there is SO much sodium in all the dishes, they are carb heavy and lots of places you MSG (which is a huge no-no for anyone who cares about their health and waist line!)
When I cook, I love to find ways to make delicious “bad” comfort food healthy, without sacrificing taste. I mean, baked chicken will rarely taste as perfect as a bucket of good old fried chicken, but I try my hardest and I add lots of flavor to make up for the “healthiness” of the dish.
I saw an orange flavored beef recipe in a cook book yearrsssss ago and I loved the recipe, but I wanted to make it with chicken, so I did just that. I made a lot of changes to the original recipe to make it my own and to make it a little saucier..and used chicken instead of beef (although beef would probs be amazing in this too by the way!)
After some experimenting I found my Sweet and Sour Orange Chicken. It’s healthy, its low fat, full of veggies and completely delicious. A serving has only about 250 calories. It almost reminds me of Chinese takeout from the good old days….
To make this dish a breeze to cook, slice and prepare all of your ingredients before starting!!
Sweet and Sour Orange Chicken
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch (for dusting the chicken)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cups broccoli, chopped
1 red bell pepper cut into 1 inch cubes
1 small sweet onion, cut in half and then sliced
2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
For the sauce
2 Oranges. The zest of these two oranges AND the juice of both
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp asian chili paste (more or less to your taste)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons rice vinegar OR apple cider vinegar
In a small bowl, dredge the chicken in the cornstarch, shake off excess (it should be a very light dusting). Heat 1.5 teaspoons oil in a heavy skillet or wok. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan and rapidly stir fry the chicken. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is slightly cooked and browned but not completely cooked through. Set it aside in a bowl. Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the onions. Sautee the onions for about 5-6 minutes on medium until they get soft and start to brown a bit. Add the broccoli, mushrooms and red pepper to the pan and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the orange zest, orange juice, marmalade, soy sauce, ketchup, chili paste, ginger and vinegar together until completely combined. Once the veggies are starting to soften, add the sauce to the pan and stir well. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the chicken back into the pan. Cook for another few minutes, making sure the sauce coats everything for another 2-3 minutes (or until chicken is completely cooked through). This all happens quick, so make sure your ingredients are ready! Serve over steamed spinach or steamed rice!