Healthy Chinese Orange Chicken


Who doesn’t love a bit of Chinese takeout?  Problem is they are often pretty unhealthy, and sometimes you just have no idea what goes into it, but likely MSG.  I actually really enjoy recreating our favorites at home, and there are no shortage of recipes floating around the net from which to do so.

Although I have made other versions of Orange Chicken in the past in the more traditional way of a breaded chicken bite, and they were great, I was very excited to come across this recipe which eliminates the breading making it not only healthier but a thousand times easier!  This recipe was so easy in fact I could hardly believe it!  It’s also made with honey in place of some of the sugar which helps keep it lighter and better for you.

I honestly didn’t miss the breading, and felt this had a nice heat level and orange flavor.  We had ours with some rice, which I also like to take a little shortcut with and use boil in a bag.  For me it just turns out way better than our rice maker which I have yet to perfect.  Overall it was a great dinner and one I would make again!

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Healthy Chinese Orange Chicken

Ingredients :

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 T. oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 T. white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 3 T. corn starch
  • zest from 1 orange
  • red pepper flakes to taste (I think I used about 1/4 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • sesame seeds and more green onion slices for garnish (optional)

Directions :

  1. Heat 1 T. of oil in a pan.  Add salt and pepper to chicken and saute until chicken is no longer pink.  Remove any excess water or oil from the pan.
  2. In a saucepan mix together the rest of the ingredients minus the garnish.  Bring to a boil and stir a few times until the sauce thickens.
  3. Pour sauce over the chicken and mix thoroughly.  Serve.

Recipe from Clever Spoon

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Day 122 : Garlic Croutons


If you’re anything like us when it comes time to eat your salad you suddenly realize you don’t have any croutons on hand.  Or you have tried many different ones and find that most of them are too hard.  Not only can you not stab them with your fork, but there might even be genuine concern about your teeth!  Ok… maybe not, but hard croutons are one of my pet peeves.

The simplest solution is to make your own!  It’s SUPER easy, and you have so much control over how they are made and the flavors you want them to have.  Some might say it is even fun coming up with new flavor varieties.  You could certainly even go healthy with them and use wheat bread.  The possibilities are endless.

Tonight I used part of a fresh french loaf from the store, and some garlic parmesan seasoning mix I got a LONG time ago from my mom.  The original recipe suggested using real garlic cloves minced up (2 or more) and plain white bread, and that’s how I did it the first time with great results as well.  I find these to be the perfect amount of crisp, buttery goodness, and flavor and as I said  you can beat the convenience.  I will list out the original recipe, and make note of things I have done next to it.

Garlic Croutons

Serves : makes about 2 1/2 cups of croutons
Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 4 slices white bread (I used maybe a third of a french loaf tonight)
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

optional additions

  • instead of the garlic cloves I used about a T. of the seasoning blend tonight (I was actually making more than stated though so just judge to your taste)
  • basil
  • parsley
  • oregano
  • italian blend
  • salt
  • greek blend
  • cajun blend
  • lemon pepper

Directions :

  1. Cut bread up into cubes.
  2. In a bowl combine melted butter and oil and whisk together.  If you are adding seasonings you can add it here or sprinkle on later.
  3. Toss bread cubes in a bowl with minced garlic and drizzle butter/oil mix over them as you toss to coat everything.  Just be gentle so as not to squish the bread cubes.
  4. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown at 325 degrees.  If you haven’t already added the seasonings to the butter mix sprinkle on before you bake them.
  5. Allow to cool, and store in a ziplock bag or other airtight container.

Published in: on May 3, 2011 at 8:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 16 : Homemade Amaretto Liqueur


As promised, here is that homemade Amaretto recipe.  What can I say….. not only is it fun to make your own liqueur, but it’s generally CHEAP!  I don’t know how much a bottle of Amaretto goes for, but I am willing to bet it is upwards of $20 at least.  You can get a bottle of vodka for maybe $8 and most people already have almond extract on hand as well as sugar.  Put it in a fancy bottle, and you’ve got yourself a great gift for friends!

It’s not only cheap, it’s super easy to make your own liqueurs.  I have now made my own Amaretto, Kahlua, and Framboise….. I am thinking of possibly making Limoncello next.  Anyway, having had both store-bought and homemade Amaretto, I can honestly say this comes very close.  One thing I did discover is that it only gets better the longer you let it sit, so keep that in mind if you decide to make it for something.  The recipe as stated results in a clear liquid, so if you’re like me and want it to look like the real thing you can add a bit of food coloring.  To get a amber color I use about 2 drops of red, 4 drops of yellow and 1 drop of blue.

Amaretto, of course, is used in the drink I shared a few days back (Heston), but a couple other ways I have used it include over ice cream, in a cake, and even in a shrimp dish where it lent a nice delicate almond flavor that turned something simple into something romantic.  I love almond flavor and I am sure there are MANY ways to use Amaretto.  I’d love to hear of some of your favorite ways, for those that drink it!

Homemade Amaretto Liqueur

Fills about a 750ml bottle                         Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 3 C. vodka
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 3/4 tsp. almond extract
  • red, yellow, and blue food coloring (optional)

Directions :

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil for 2 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.  This makes a simple syrup.
  2. In a pitcher combine the simple syrup, vodka, almond and food coloring (if desired) and mix well.
  3. Using a funnel transfer to your desired bottle for storage and enjoy!  Remember that the longer it sits (and it’s best to at least give it a day or two initially) the better it gets!

Thanks for stopping in!

Published in: on January 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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