Quick. Easy. Not horrible for you. Quick.
Did I mention it was quick?
My favorite “recipe” for orange chicken is one that someone else makes and shows up at my door step in 35-45 minutes with a minimum $15 order. A minimum that I almost always double because the guy on the other end of the call has eggrolls and a wonton soup that make a killer lunch the next day. That orange chicken is spicier and more savory than the usual orange chicken. (A feat I know is achieved by adding a bunch of red pepper and extra fat to the usual orange chicken.) (Sooooo worth it.)
My second favorite recipe is not the at-home “so much better than take out” version that involves breading and frying, a million ingredients to make the sauce, and ending with a kitchen that looks like a just spent the day cooking Thanksgiving dinner. And let’s not forget about the bonus morning-after-frying smell that is now permanently embedded in every strand of your hair.
My second favorite recipe is a quickly whipped-up, stripped-down version created out of desperation. It requires a handful of ingredients, leftover chicken, and… that’s it. In minutes, you have a sauce with a bright citrusy punch and a light kick that marries perfectly with chicken and rice.
Semi-pro tip: There are three things you’ll always find in my fridge or freezer: a repurposed wonton soup container of lime juice, frozen rice, and already-cooked chicken breast for “emergencies.” (These days, that seems to basically be every weeknight.) Maybe I’m totally on my game (ha) and planned ahead (all of the LOLs) by cooking a large package of bone-in chicken breasts in the crockpot… or maybe I’ve just hit up Costco and splurged on the package of rotisserie chicken breast.
Skinny Orange Chicken
A healthier alternative to take-out with a fresh, bright sauce that packs a citrusy punch.
Calories: 353 | Fat: 6g | Fiber 0g | Protein 40g | Carbs 33g
- ~1 lb cooked chicken, sliced or shredded
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 4 small oranges for zest and 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp of fish sauce (optional, I add it if I have it)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Black pepper
- 2 Tbsp ketchup (I use a reduced sugar version)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- Sliced green onions, for topping.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest in long strips from 1 orange. Slice the strips into thin slices.
- If you don't have an emergency bag of rice in the freezer, cook 1 cup rice (to yield 2 cups) according to package directions.
- In a medium sauce pan, heat the sesame oil, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes (two pinches of you aren't sharing with any Littles), and black pepper over medium heat until it begins to sizzle.
- Add the orange zest, 1 cup orange juice, the ketchup, fish sauce, and the soy sauce/coconut aminos. Stir until uniform, increase the heat, and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes.
- In a small cup, mix the cornstarch/arrowroot powder with 1 tsp water.
- Stream into the sauce while whisking.
- Turn off the heat and add the chicken, tossing to coat.
- Serve over cooked rice with a sprinkling of green onions, next to something green.
Yields: 4 servings
Estimated time: 20 minutes