Friday, August 27, 2010

Foodie Friday: Sweet & Sour Chicken

*As this is a more complicated meal than the Salsa Turkey Burgers, I feel the need to remind everyone that I do not in fact have any idea how to cook.  I scrap by, making it up as I go along.  I do not know the proper terms for hardly anything, and I am the definition of Learning As You Go.  And I will write this recipe in the exact fashion that I try and do that, and in a way that probably anyone, could follow. Enjoy.*

This is probably the most complex meal I have ever made. And for most people, it's probably really easy.  We have it every week to two weeks.  It's pretty incredible that just by putting some stuff together I can create something that tastes so darn good.  We've made it for friends and family, and I've shared the recipe with co-workers who loved it as well.

So, here's a rough ingredient list:
  • 1 lb. boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup green bell pepper strips
  • 1 cup red bell pepper strips
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/4 cup Kikkoman lite soy sauce
  • 1 8-oz. can chunk pineapple
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Seems like alot right? It's really not bad.  This is what was listed on the original that I found when I discovered how to make this.  Now, a few modifications I make... I buy almost exclusively green peppers.  They're cheaper. I have no idea why and don't really know what the difference is.  It's way more fun to have the red in there too (and maybe go crazy and get a YELLOW pepper!), but, I'm totally cool with a little less flare for a little less $$. 

I also always buy the crushed pineapple.  I did it the first time by accident, but I've loved it that way since.  If you want more...chewing? I'm sure it would taste just as great with the chunk, or any other version you find.  All personal preference.

Also, I've never once used ground ginger. I don't own any, and I tend to not buy spices I don't think I'll use alot, cause those things are expennnnsive.

I start by "cubing" the chicken. And there may be a proper cubing technique out there, but for me, it just means cutting it into bite(ish) size pieces.  I buy, pretty much exclusively, Perdue Chicken Breasts, and since I buy multiple packages of said chicken (as well as our beef and ground turkey) when they have 2 for 1 sales, sometimes, the chicken is frozen when I cut it.  Yes, I know what defrosting is, and I take it out of the freezer the morning of and leave it in the fridge, but it's still pretty solid by the time I get home. (There is no where in the house I would feel safe leaving it out with M running around by herself all day...imagine the massacre!)  Easier to cut frozen, takes a little longer to cook.  Whatevs.

"Brown" those cubes up in pan with some olive oil.  You can measure the oil if you want to be precise. I used to. I've gotten lazy and just drizzle it on. *shrug* (but not too much)  And by "brown" its really "whiten" with some hints of brown, when you don't mix it up to get all the sides cooked fast enough.

While the chicken is "browning", I chop up my veggies, moving the chicken around on occasion.  Once the chicken is "browned" I put it on really low heat, just to keep it warm, and saute the onions and peppers - in a different pan.  Which is, for me, pouring a little oil on them and enjoying that sizzling sound, again mixing them around so they don't get burned or anything.

While the veggies are sizzling, I gather up my ingredients, and mix the cornstarch and soy sauce.  Don't let it sit too long, cause it starts to look funny.  Once you feel like the veggies have sizzled alone long enough, move the chicken into that pan.  Add the cornstarch/soy sauce mixture, the brown sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, pineapple (with juice) and the ginger if you're using it and mix it all up til the chicken and veggies seem like they're pretty well coated.

Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to low (or if you have a fancy schmansy cook top like, get some use out of your "simmer" setting) and let stand for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce thickens. You'll be able to tell.

While it's simmering, I typically cook up some Minute Brown Rice as well to serve it over.  And do the dishes.  Favorite part of this meal... makes me feel like I can get the dishes almost all done before we even eat. Awesome.

I promise, it may sound complicated, but if I can do this, on a regular basis, its easy.  OH and the best part, it's pretty darn healthy :)

If you prefer more straight to the point, not quite so rambling directions, you can check out the recipe here: Sweet & Sour Chicken.

Try it, you might like it. :)  And come back and let me know how it went and if it made you feel like a real chef!!

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