It’s that time of year again-the start of school! I really cannot believe that its already September. I do have to say I love this time of year though with the newness of everything. The new teachers (read- trying to figure out how to login to their cute websites with ridiculous passwords and dealing with hours of homework) the new teams and coaches (read- the endless streams of tears because your kid didn’t make the “A” team or the coach is an insensitive jerk and makes 12 year olds run 6 miles), the new fall wardrobe (read- I cannot fit into anything because I was in vacation mode for 3 months and ate anything I wanted) or the new dinnertime routine (read-WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO MAKE FOR DINNER) Just kidding!!! Kinda… but really I do love the Fall. The weather finally starts to cool down and the trees begin to turn colors and the yummy fall comfort dishes are on the table!
So… you ask, WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO MAKE FOR DINNER?? I am all about quick, easy dishes that will get eaten. There is no sense making some fabulous gourmet dinner if the kids are going to not like it and eat Bagel Bites. BUT, that does not mean making mac and cheese every night. Part of our job is to introduce our kids to new flavors and get them to try new things. We will get to that…in October! For now, when the calendar is packed and everyone is trying to get their footing with the start of school lets stick to tried and true easy meals. This recipe is a classic take-out dinner, Orange Chicken. It is salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy and just perfect for a weeknight dinner. Yes, you can order this from the Chinese restaurant or Door Dash, but the salt, msg, fat and calories will blow your mind! Just make it at home-its easy!
We have been home this weekend with an injured kid so I have had time to play round with some recipes. I first tried this recipe in my crock pot. I just cannot come around to crock pots. I have TRIED! And yes, there are some dishes that it works with, but in my opinion chicken does not work. The texture is mushy and the meat is dry. But, I tried to make a slow cooker Orange Chicken and let my in-home taste tester give it a try and he said, “It’s ok, but not great”. Ok that is a thumbs down in my book. If I am going to take the time to find a recipe, write down the ingredients, drive to the grocery store, unload my car and make a dish it better be great! So, I tried to make the same Orange Chicken, but in the oven to cut down on calories and make it easy. Typical Orange Chicken is battered then deep fried and don’t get me wrong I love fried anything, but lets face it, its a pain in the ass! The oven is much easier on a weeknight in my book.
So give this recipe a try and send me your thoughts below! Hang in there during these first few weeks of back to school!
Oven Baked Orange Chicken
Delicious alternative to take-out
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 3 Eggs
- 2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
- 1/4 Cup Orange Juice
- 1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Orange zest-about 1 orange
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 Garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 1 Tablespoons Sesame seeds
- 2 Green onions, chopped
For the Chicken
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil sprayed with cooking spray.
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
Place flour into zip-top bag. Add chicken pieces and seal bag. Shake until all pieces are coated in flour. Set aside.
In a bowl, beat eggs until combined.
In a shallow dish add breadcrumbs.
Remove coated chicken pieces from flour and place in eggs. Coat completely. Remove pieces from eggs and place into breadcrumbs. Coat completely. Remove to prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
For the Sauce
While the chicken is baking prepare the sauce.
In a small saucepan combine 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Simmer over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.
In a small bowl or cup, combine cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons water. Mix thoroughly. Slowly stir in cornstarch mixture into sauce. It will thicken almost instantly. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until ready to use.
Once chicken is cooked through, remove from baking sheet to a large bowl. Pour sauce over chicken and toss to combine. Sprinkle sesame seeds and green onions over. Serve over steamed rice or with a side of steamed broccoli.
*Panko Breadcrumbs are just Japanese breadcrumbs. They are more crunchy than traditional breadcrumbs. They can be found in the same aisle as the flour and regular breadcrumbs.
*If you can find jarred, grated ginger that works just as well and is much easier than grating it yourself.