If you’ve ever been to a Trader Joe’s, you understand it’s allure. I can’t walk out of that place without a basket full of provisions, most that I don’t really need. Spinach-Artichoke Dip? Frozen pizzas? Spring rolls? Chocolate-covered espresso beans? Chocolate-covered almonds? Chocolate-covered ANYTHING?
The star of the show at TJ’s: Mandarin Orange Chicken. This stuff is wonderful. Chunks of tender breaded chicken that only take like 25 minutes to heat in the oven until they’re nice and crispy? A sweet orange sauce/glaze that covers the chicken and flavors your rice, too? Outstanding. However, this dish is not outstanding in the health department. Shocker, I know.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make a much-healthier orange chicken dish at home! The TJ’s version takes about 30 minutes to prepare, and this version shouldn’t take you much longer than that, if you exclude the hour it’s sitting in the fridge to marinate. What I generally do is come home from work, prep the marinade (or even prep it the night before!), toss the chicken in, then spend an hour catching up on household chores. Or, to be honest, watching the most recent episode of “Girls.”
Update 10/15/13: This recipe was chosen as the winner of Whole Foods Market Cooking’s “Your Best Stovetop Chicken” contest and professionally photographed by Mark Weinstein (below).
Spicy Orange-Ginger Chicken
- 1-1/4 cups orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed) (make sure you zest 1 of the oranges first!)
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons sriracha (or more if you want it really spicy)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1-1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Brown rice, white rice or quinoa for serving
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- In small bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, sriracha, vinegar, brown sugar, orange zest and pepper. Place chicken in a large ziploc bag; pour 1/3 cup marinade over chicken. Seal bag and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.
- Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Heat large skillet or wok over high heat. Add remaining oil. In 2 batches, add chicken and cook each batch 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and has lost its pink color throughout, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from pan.
- Reduce heat to medium-high; add remaining marinade to skillet; heat to boiling. In small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water; whisk into marinade, and boil 1 minute. Return chicken to skillet; cook 1 minute or until heated through. Serve over rice or quinoa, sprinkled with green onions.