Whether you were full of elation or sorrow for it, the back to school season means no more easy BBQ dinners and lazy summer evenings. It means long days, back to work, homework, and rushed meals. For many family members this is also the time to become a personal taxi service from school to sports to dance to home.
On our journey to healthier eating, my daughters (I call them the Divas) and I are trying to get away from take out and get back to homemade meals. The kind of meals that we can make together while using simple ingredients and creating fabulous flavours. So, on those busy weeknights filled with extracurricular activities, I prefer cooking comfort foods that are easy to make and healthy.
One of the best websites for quick meals that are family friendly is kraftrecipes.com. I don’t know a lot of people that don’t have something from Kraft in their cupboards. While I prefer to try to make my own sauces and dressings, the reality is, every once in a while I need help from a bottle when we have a busy night.
We came across this Orange Chicken recipe (and gave it a few small tweaks). Since the Divas enjoy Chinese Food, we decided to give it a try. It has an abundance of peppers which are excellent sources of Vitamin A and C, folic acid, potassium, and fibre. This was fast and easy to make and according to the Divas it was better than anything we have ever ordered in.
1/4 cup KRAFT Asian Sesame Dressing
Zest and 1/2 cup juice from 1 orange
2 Tbsp. Honey
2 tsp. minced gingerroot
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp. Oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 each orange, red and yellow pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 green onions thinly sliced
Mix dressing, orange zest, juice, honey, ginger and crushed pepper until blended. (This dressing is out of this world! Combined with the orange juice and the honey this makes a great dressing for stir fry or salads or even as a marinade for grilled chicken.)
What is this zest thing you speak of? There are some great gizmos out there for the kitchen. I know because as my husband will tell you, I have drawers full of them. I may have an addiction BUT in a pinch I always have the thingamajig that some recipe calls for!
If you have not tried using citrus zest, add it to your grilled vegetables, meats and seafood and even in your baking.
Heat the oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and peppers and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is done and peppers are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove chicken mixture from skillet and cover to keep warm.
The Divas love peppers and I think the reason is we introduced them in small bites. I do a julienne type of cut meaning short and narrow. They can get the taste of the pepper without being overwhelmed. Some people like to do chunks but when starting off a vegetable with children go small or go home. This is now a favourite raw snack around here and the girls have been known to swipe my premeasured pepper for a recipe off my cutting board when my back is turned.
Add dressing mixture to the skillet and cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened.
Add the chicken mixture back to the pan and stir well to combine with the sauce. Cook until mixture is heated through. Spoon the chicken and peppers into bowls and top with green onions.
We always serve this in a bowl on top of jasmine or basmati rice. You can find instant packages of either made by Uncle Ben’s in your grocery stores that are ready in 90 seconds in the microwave.
Not the family to just settle for ordinary, we like to top our dinner off with extra green onions, fresh cilantro and toasted cashews, almonds or sesame seeds. (Be aware of nut allergies if making this for company!)
Get some chopsticks and enjoy! There you have it. An easy Orange Chicken recipe that’s just as good as take out. Now tip yourself instead of the delivery person!
Originally appeared on Dining with the Duncan Divas
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Author: Kristen Duncan
Kristen Duncan is a 40-something wife, mother of tweens and cuddler of her puppy. When she is not creating in the kitchen with her two Duncan Divas, she can be found sipping a cider, recovering from knee surgery and cheering on the Green Bay Packers.