Tried and True Staples for Weeknight Dinners Part 2: Sesame Orange Chicken and Broccoli

One of my kids favorite fast food restaurants is Panda Express. How this came about is still in question. If I had to guess I'd say its because we're not real big fast food eaters in the first place and going to Panda when we are on the go between sporting and after school curriculars made me feel as though I was at least invoking vegetables into their carb intakes. I'd also have to say it comes from love of all things Asian and Asian inspired cuisine for members of this household. Think I've said it before but my kids would eat dumplings everyday of they had the choice (who am I kidding I would as well). This meal is inspired by those trips as this is one of my son's favorite dishes (orange chicken). This is 20 minutes meal from prep to table, so it's a weeknight staple. You can add 10 mins to it if you decide to make the sauce from scratch, which I do at times and it just as tasty and I know there are no additives. The addition of the cornstarch to the frying of your chicken pieces makes the chicken crispy and able to take the liquid addition at the end of the prep and not create a soggy texture. You can make this vegetarian by using cauliflower florets instead of a protein and it will be just as delicious. What are your favorite fast food at home meal incantations? Let me know below!


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of skinless chicken breasts cut up into 1/2 inch to 1 inch cubes

  • 3 cups of frozen or fresh broccoli cutlets

  • 2 eggs beaten

  • I cup of all purpose flour

  • sesame seeds (optional if you have on hand in your pantry)

  • 1/8 cup of cornstarch

  • 1 bottle of orange sauce ( we like to use panda express version because my kids then believe they're eating at one of their favorite fast takeout restaurants) remember no judgment people this is a fast weekday meal so no making sauce yourself unless you insist!

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/4-1/2 cup of vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil (if you have it in your pantry)

1. Heat vegetable oil in a wok.

2. Blend flour, cornstarch and salt and pepper in a bowl and place next to bowl of beaten eggs

3. Drop cut up cubes of chicken into the egg mixture and then directly into the flour mixture and dust off excess. Place floured chicken into the hot wok and let cook for about 3-4 minutes until chicken is golden brown and cooked and place on plate lined with paper towel for excess oil. Once all pieces of chicken have been cooked pour all remaining oil except for about 2- 3 tablespoons.

4. Reheat wok with that oil and the addition of the sesame oil if using and add in broccoli florets along with one tablespoon of water as broccoli is heating up in wok and cook for about 4 minutes until broccoli is cooked thru but still bright green in color.

5. Add chicken back to the wok with broccoli and pour orange sauce into the wok (I like to eyeball how much I'm going to use, so I say anywhere between half a jar and 3/4 of it based on your preference of how much additional sauce you may want to cover any rice or noodles you're serving with the meal). Heat for an additional two minutes and once you pull wok off heat sprinkle entire dish with sesame seeds and serve.


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