What to do with all those Cuties? Orange Chicken Stir Fry saves the day!

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My girls always put in requests when they know I’m going to the grocery store. Usually it’s for Pop Tarts, Ice Cream Drumsticks, and Chocolate Donuts. You know, all the important and healthy items needed to make it through the week. Normally I stand firm on a lot of un needed items, but when they repeatedly request Cuties or the marketing neighbor Halos, I usually give in. I like to have a lot of fruit in the house (which reminds me, I have some red grapes that need to be eaten) and I usually encourage some sort of healthy snack like a piece of fruit and then they can have something not so healthy. Cuties and Halos include two mandarin varieties: Clementines, which are available from November to January, and W. Murcott Afourers mandarins, which are available February to April. This last purchase, which I made at our local Aldi was Cuties of the mandarin variety. If you check the package, it will say which one it is.

I bring home the apples and grapes which go in the fridge.  The bananas, which our youngest monkey can’t get enough of, and the Cuties go on a white platter, along with lemons, avocados, and oranges. What normally happens during the week is I notice the Cuties not really diminishing. A handful are eaten right away after the grocery trip and a couple more in a few days, but then after that they just kind of sit on display, forgotten and not eaten. My oldest says the skin gets too loose and therefore she thinks they are bad. I’ve explained the skin is loose on purpose making them easier to peel for little hands. Is she not watching the commercials? So I force them to eat the Cuties, and force, and force. Then after about a week or so they either need to be moving along, or my birds and squirrels are going to have their own little fuzzy fruit party. So I was thinking of how I could use up those cute little Cuties and this recipe came to mind. I love stir fry and I love citrus so why not make a yummy orange chicken. This orange chicken is not the typical breaded orange chicken. It’s a little time-consuming and I actually prefer unbreaded and unfried protein in my stir fry. It’s also a lot healthier and leftovers keep a little longer since there’s no breading to get soggy. I was telling a friend about this recipe and how I was trying to find a way to use up those lonely Cuties. She said the same thing happens in her house. She buys the requested fruit and then it just sits there uneaten. So maybe there are more houses like this where mom or dad bring home that tasty good for you snack, expecting to be the hero as seen on the commercials, but then those prized snacks end up going bad before they are all be eaten. Help is here!! This recipe will help get rid of at least half a dozen of those Cuties that seem to be multiplying in the night!

Orange Chicken Stir Fry
Ingredients:

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1-2 lbs boneless chicken cut into chunks.

1 TBS Olive oil

5-6 Mandarins or Clementines

1 bundle of green onions – white and green part – chopped on diagonal

whatever veggies you like in your stir fry – I used broccoli, carrots, and onion

Rice or noodles, whichever you prefer

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 teas Sesame seeds, green onions, and orange zest for garnish

Orange Sauce:

2/3 C Low Sodium Soy Sauce

2/3 C Rice Wine Vinegar

Juice and Zest of one navel orange

2 TBS honey

2 teas Sriracha Hot Sauce

1/3 C light brown sugar

2 TBS corn starch mixed in 1/2 C orange juice

2/3 C additional orange juice

1 teas garlic powder

1 teas ground ginger

 

Directions:

Chop all veggies. I chopped the carrots in the food processor for a few pulses and I bought steamable fresh broccoli so I didn’t have a lot of chopping. Peel all your Cuties. This would be a great job for a little helper in your kitchen.

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Make the sauce. Combine the corn starch and Orange juice first and mix thoroughly.

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Then, all you need to do is combine all the ingredients of the sauce into a medium-sized pan and whisk them together over medium heat. Add in the orange juice, corn starch mixture and whisk sauce.

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Taste and adjust seasoning. I like my sauce to have a hint of spice, instead of an overly sweet sauce so that’s why I have Sriracha in mine. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, then reduce or omit the Sriracha. The sauce will thicken a bit as it cooks. Keep on low simmer until ready to use.

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If it becomes too thick, you can add a few more teas of Orange Juice.

Cook rice or noodles per package instructions and keep warm until ready to use.

In a large pan (I prefer a large deep non stick skillet) or wok, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add in the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Go light or omit the salt since the soy sauce will bring in a lot of sodium already.

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Cook the chicken on medium heat until it is almost all done.

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Steam your veggies if needed or just add them raw to the skillet. I only steamed my broccoli just for a minute in the microwave. The carrots and onion were added raw. I like my veggies a little crisp. Add the veggies to the chicken.

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Add the sauce to the stir fry. I reserved about 1/2 C of sauce to use later in the week for a salad dressing. I just added a few more TBS of orange juice to it to thin it out as a dressing and transferred it to a container for the fridge. Stay tuned for that salad post!

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Add in the oranges and toss gently to coat with sauce.

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I served over white Basmati Rice and I garnished each plate with fresh chopped green onions, sesame seeds, and a little orange zest.

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Enjoy!


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