Thursday, January 10, 2013

Attempting Chinese take-out at home

Tonight was a little bit of a disaster...Crockpot Orange Ginger Chicken.  I overlooked something in the recipe and I found the ginger recommended to be way too much.  My son thought it was too spicy too.  Overall, the sauce was not that good.  This was the third new recipe I tried this week, so I guess 2 out of 3 successes isn't bad.  ;)

I picked this recipe to try because I'm searching for healthier versions of that Chinese take-out that we love.  There is this orange chicken that our local Chinese restaurant makes and I just love it.  However, its made with deep friend chicken and the sauce is so sticky and bright red that I know its just so bad for me. 

I made some adjustments to the original recipe, (mostly regarding veggie swaps and the omission of mandarin oranges) and I served mine with stir-fried veggies and brown rice.  I just got a new rice maker and I couldn't wait to try it out!!!  Amazing!  Never making rice without it again!  As far as the veggies go, pick any of your favorites (even frozen if you are in a pinch) and saute them on high heat with 1 T oil (I use peanut oil because it has a high burning point and good flavor).  I also added some ground ginger, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. So good!

So even though it wasn't my best,  I would definitely make this recipe again, just less ginger and orange next time.  It has great potential, it's super simple, just a strike out this time around. 
Happy cooking!

Crockpot Orange Ginger Chicken
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/2 inch think
1 bag of frozen stir-fry peppers and onions
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2inch cubes
2 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
8 oz orange juice concentrate
cooked rice for serving

Put veggies and garlic on bottom of crockpot.  Add chicken on top and sprinkle with spices.  pout frozen concentrate on top of chicken and cook on low for 4-6 hours. (I cooked mine on low for 6hrs)
Here's what it looks like before you start cooking it...strange and kinda gross.

 And here's what it looks like after!  Not so scary anymore :-)

Before serving I wanted to thicken the sauce.  I made a cornstarch slurry as suggested in the original recipe (mix together 2 T water with 1 T cornstarch until completely absorbed).  Add to the sauce and let sit for a few minutes until it thickens.  This made the sauce have the perfect consistency, would rival any Chinese restaurant.  Just didn't taste right...ha!

I served this over brown rice and stir-fried veggies on the side.
Here is the link to the original recipe

And here is a picture of the highlight of the meal:  the veggies!  You can even see the steam as I was stir frying them.  Yummy!

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