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Monday, March 8, 2010

Orange Chicken, Leprechaun Green & Out of the Red!

Tonight I made another yummy crockpot dinner that was pretty easy. I made Orange Chicken, fried rice and asian slaw. To make fried rice you just cook some regular old white rice and let it cool. (I use the boil in bag stuff.) Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Take one egg and whip it, whip it good and throw that on the oil cooking it quickly and breaking it up as it cooks. Then throw in the cooled rice, a handfull of frozen peas and carrots and quick fry it until it's all heated, then douse in soy sauce. Keep the rice moving until everything is hot and well mixed. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. My asain slaw is even easier. I take bagged slaw mix and throw it in a bowl. Then I take a handful of slivered almonds and throw those on a cookie sheet to toast. While the almonds are toasting I douse (apparently douse is the word of the day) the cabbage mix with asain vinegrette (mine is that salad spray stuff, only I didn't spray it, I dumped it.) Then top with toasted almonds. Done. Here's the recipe for the Orange Chicken:

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cut in 1-inch chunks

1/2 cup flour

olive oil, for browning the chicken

1 teaspoon salt

6 ounces (1/2 can) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons ketchup

1 pinch of red pepper flakes for a little heat (optional)

The Directions
Use a 4 quart slow cooker for best results. Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess. Go ahead and throw away any remaining flour, we won't need it. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove and brown the chicken on all sides. There is no need to fully cook it, just sear it enough for the flour to stick and get a nice coating.

Plop the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Taste. If you'd like the chicken to be a bit sweeter, add a touch more sugar. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4. Serve over rice.

Review: this actually tastes like the orange chicken I get from the local chinese place after it's been in the fridge overnight. Of course cooking something in the crockpot doesn't leave it crispy, but the flavor of the sauce is very true to take-out.
Last weekend Big Daddy and I went to the North Texas Irish Festival at Fair Park and it was really neat. We rode the DART rail and did some primo people watching. There's definately a sub-culture of people who go to fairs, festivals and other outdoorsy event things and the vibe at the Irish Festival was definately a new one for me. I'd really not experienced large numbers of men in kilts, and we're not just talking about people who were dancing or vending or playing the bag pipes, oh no my friend, we're talking about dudes just hanging out in their Ooops I Did it Again skirts. I have always been pro-kilt (no really, I think it's seriously sexy in an edgy nerdy classy kinda casserole) and when Big Daddy started looking at them, I was on it! We didn't buy, but I'm going to be shopping for one because if the man was just playing around, he pulled the wrong chain. Besides, Big Daddy has great legs!
I have paid off three nagging debts in the last week and I am feeling super good about my credit situation. I have never had an excess of credit so the negative things on my credit report are things that I have either decided to be a jerk about or things I've had trouble chasing down. The coolest part is that everything I paid out will be coming back to me over the next month or so, which is a really cool thing! I have been working on a better outlook and attitude about trusting God and doing what's right just because it's right and I have been very blessed by the changes that I thought would be far more uncomfortable than they proved to be.

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