Orange Chicken

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Like many of you, I’ve been scouring the internet looking for lighter fare, low-fat, healthy recipes since the middle of December (especially since the only thing healthy about the dishes we enjoyed over the holidays were the doses!). So when I discovered this healthy Orange Chicken recipe, I knew I’d be adding it to my repertoire!

As you might recall, back in December I told you I’d be dedicating this entire month to healthy cooking, and so far so good! We kicked our year off with 36 hours worth of detox smoothies (it was supposed to 72) but with the girls departing for California tomorrow, I just couldn’t let them leave on a kale and coconut drink as their final dinner before heading out. :)

 

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…and as a result of my successful stumbling on Pinterest, we were able to keep dinner healthy and straw-free! Good times!!

 

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We love Chinese food but it’s rare that we make it from scratch, so I was excited to take on the challenge of this dish. However, it wasn’t a challenge at all. Can I tell you how simple it was? We’re talking 25 minutes – start to finish. If we had to come up with a word that really captures the essence of this meal it would be….wait for it… “Chineasy”! Get it? Chineasy? Hey! We had a great laugh over that one! (Thanks, Luc!) See – I am not the only goofy one in the family – we all have our moments!

 

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This is a perfect weeknight meal. We immediately decided it would become a staple in our house. The thing we really loved was that it’s richer than you would expect something so healthy to taste. It is restaurant quality without the fat and calories you would normally find. The biggest difference is that the chicken is sauteed rather than breaded and deep-fried, and we ate it over brown rice vs. sticky white rice. It’s versatile too. I can imagine adding additional ingredients like broccoli or snow peas which would be delicious and you could just as easily substitute quinoa for the brown rice.

Although everything I’m describing here is great, in my opinion, the real star is the orange sauce. Oh man – it’s as good as I’ve ever had it – and I’ve had some great Chinese food. A perfect balance between sweet and savory.

 

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This dish, topped with some toasted sesame seeds, chopped scallions, and red pepper flakes makes for a very special dinner!

Buon Appetito!

Ciao!

Orange Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. white pepper
  • zest of one orange
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • thinly sliced scallions
  • toasted sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chicken and salt and pepper to taste to pan and saute for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and nearly cooked through.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the garlic, orange juice, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, ginger,white pepper, and orange zest.
  4. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to combine.
  5. Let sauce come to a boil and continue boiling and stirring for another minute or two until thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and serve immediately over rice or quinoa.
  7. Garnish with red pepper, scallions, and sesame seeds.

(Inspired by Skinny Orange Chicken.)

Comments

  1. Asha says

    This turned out great and not spicy one bit especially since I’m not much of a spicy eater…what is the nutrition count on this, like calories and fat?

  2. Jennifer says

    Tried this recipe today. It was good but my kids don’t appreciate spicy things – so they didn’t like it.

    • says

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks for your feedback. You can eliminate the red pepper flakes from the recipe the next time you make it for your kids and it will take care of that little bit of spice. I remember when my kids didn’t like spice back in the day…

      Annie

  3. Jasmin says

    Hi Annie :)

    I came across this recipe on pinterest and thought it looked really yummy! So I made this a couple of days ago and guess what… it WAS really yummy! *thumbs up*
    My Mom and Dad liked it too and I’ll definitely make this again soon!
    A couple of things I made differently though:
    1) I didn’t use that much honey and it was still sweet enough.
    2) I used white wine vinegar, since I didn’t find rice wine vinegar.
    3) My Mom doesn’t like the zest of an orange cause she thinks it is too bitter, so we used the instant one you usually use for baking.
    4) I didn’t have ginger and sesame seeds, so I just left that out. And for some reason we don’t seem to have red pepper flakes at my place. I asked my Mom and she looked at me like “What?? Never heard of that.” So we went through every shelf in the grocery store but nope… So, these three things I left out and it was still amazing!! :)
    Thank you for this great recipe!

    Greetings from Germany! :)

    Jasmin

    • says

      Hi Jasmin!

      Wow! I love that! So happy to know you enjoyed it! I love all the adaptations and that it was still a success! Thanks for sharing your experience with this dish(!) all the way from Germany!

      My best,
      Annie

  4. Sharon Walker says

    Looks and sounds great.. I will give it a try.. Nice to happen upon a fellow Italiana who likes to cook.. I am also an empty nester .. I really like Pinterest to find new ideas and recipes.. Thanks for posting.. :)

    • says

      Hi Sharon,

      Well – I am so glad you stumbled upon this recipe! You know, I didn’t start pinning until relatively recently, and I enjoy all that it offers, as well!

      Here’s to all the empty nesters finding creative ideas on Pinterest to fill some of our quiet spaces!

      Thanks for writing!

      Annie

  5. Jeanna says

    Hi Annie, I’m making this right now to portion out for lunches this week, how many servings does this make? It smells so good I can’t wait to taste it! Super easy too, thanks for posting.

      • Jeanna says

        It is awesome, I posted a picture on Instagram with a credit to you. I wish you posted there more often, but I’m sure you’re busy enough already!
        I ended up with 7 servings because I wanted to have room for lots of broccoli in my lunch containers.
        Thanks again

        • says

          Thank you so much Jeanna! I’m so happy you like it! And, of course, thank you for sharing on Instagram! You just reminded me that I need to do better with that! I’m going to try!! :)

          Happy dining this week!

    • says

      Hi Heather,

      I bet you could. I haven’t tried it (yet!). The only thing I would recommend is that you brown your chicken in a little bit of olive oil in a skillet before putting it in the crockpot – get a nice sear on all sides. Cook it on LOW for 6 hours or on HIGH for 3 – 4.

      If you try it, I’d love to know how you liked it!

      Thanks for your question,
      Annie

  6. cheryl says

    I got all the ingredients to make this for dinner tonight except for the rice wine vinegar. not sure if I should use red wine vinegar or rice vinegar. did you find this at a specialty store?

    • says

      Hi Cheryl,

      I did find the rice vinegar at our local grocer, however, I’m sure you could substitute red wine vinegar without noticing much of a difference.

      Have fun!

      Annie

    • says

      Hi Jade,

      It is citrus-y, however, it’s very easy to adjust the level by simply adding more orange zest just before serving.

      Thanks for your question.

      Annie

      • Jade says

        Thank you for your response. I can not wait to try it!
        Next silly question. The sauce will work well with beef too?

        • says

          You are very welcome! You know what, I haven’t tried it with beef but I’m sure that would be delicious too! You’re on to something! Happy Cooking!

  7. andrew says

    everyone seems to think low-fat is the way to go with “healthy” but its the opposite, its not gonna do anything for you in the long run. what you have to do is low carb. get rid of starches, sugars, wheat flours to truly be eating healthy. just a suggestion if you are looking to actually lose weight and keep it off. often times, low-fat products have more salt and sugar to make up for flavor. dont fear fat, its essential in our diet to transport nutrients to cells. unhealthy (non-fiber) carbs, on the other hand, just get converted to sugar and get stored as fat in our bodies.

    • says

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for this information. Your insight will serve as a helpful lesson in my quest toward healthier eating.

      Happy New Year!

      Annie

    • Lauren says

      While everything that Andrew said about fat vs. carbs is true, that is not to say that this recipe isn’t still a fantastic option for healthier eating. As someone who has actually eaten the dish, I can tell you that it is a very fresh, delicious and healthful choice when craving that Chinese food fix.

      • says

        Thanks, Lauren! I agree – it’s one of my new favorites! It will certainly keep us from ordering out, which is always a healthier option! :)

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