My normal mode for making dinner is to keep it simple. If I find a recipe that takes too many steps or too much waiting in between steps, I skip right over it.
What I do tend to do to myself on a regular basis, though, is to make dinner more complicated than it should have been by having way too many ideas to execute at once.
Such was the case a few nights ago, when I started with wanting to make a recipe for orange chicken, which my sister sent over, ranting and raving about how good it was, and finished by also making from-scratch fried rice and a Japanese clear onion soup.
I began making dinner at around 5 p.m., and Joey didn’t have a plate in front of him until after 7. At least he’s used to my idiosyncrasies, and since the meal was amazing, there were no complaints on his end.
The orange chicken recipe comes from the blog “Dinner, then Dessert,” written by Sabrina Snyder. You can find the original post at https://dinnerthendessert.com/baked-orange-chicken/. I added extra garlic in my version, substituted dried ginger for fresh, and updated the directions a bit for clarity.
Baked Orange Chicken
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko
- cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon dried ginger
- 6 to 8 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons white wine or rice wine
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 10 tablespoons sugar
- 10 tablespoons white vinegar
- zest of one orange
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a large, rimmed baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.
- Cut the chicken thighs into one-inch, bite-sized pieces.
- Set up three bowls. In the first bowl, add the flour. (I ended up needing a lot more than the 1/2 cup, so be prepared to add more if necessary.) In the second bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. (I also had to add an additional egg by the end of my preparation.) In the third bowl, add the breadcrumbs. (If you’re using panko, run it through a food processor to get it into smaller bits, and again, be prepared to add some extra if necessary.)
- Dip the chicken into the flour, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs and then place on the baking sheet. Try to keep the pieces from touching each other, but don’t worry about crowding the pan.
- Spray the coated chicken with cooking spray and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown.
- For the sauce, heat one tablespoon vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red peppers and stir, sauteing for about 30 seconds.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, and bring the mixture up to a slow boil, stirring continuously. Once the mixture starts to thicken, remove the sauce from the heat.
- Once the chicken is finished, toss it in the sauce to coat it and serve.
This was amazing. It tasted just like takeout orange chicken from our favorite Chinese restaurant, so we were really happy with it. It does have a nice, spicy kick to it, so if you’re spice adverse, I’d recommend leaving out the red pepper flakes just to be safe.
We also really enjoyed this as leftovers later in the week, just like real Chinese takeout.
I’m planning on giving you the side dishes the next two weeks if you want to recreate my meal. It was all awesome and paired together nicely.
Really, it all should have come together more quickly if I would have planned ahead, but despite my best efforts, it seems like every recipe ends up taking longer than it should have.
At least I tend to enjoy my time in the kitchen, and especially, the fruits of my labor.
This piece first appeared in print on May 7, 2020.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.