Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Dinner: Baked Orange Chicken w/ Black Sesame Seeds

Happy Halloween!


Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! To celebrate, me and Amy decided were going to watch some Halloween movies, hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.... and I would make some Baked Orange Chicken topped with Black Sesame Seeds! (orange and black... Halloween colors, get it?) 

I didn't want to fry the chicken like an authentic Chinese orange chicken dish calls for... since I've eaten my weight in Halloween candy this last week! So I searched for a healthier recipe where the chicken was baked instead of fried. To my surprise, there were quite a few recipes! Some called for a corn flake crust, some called for panko, and some called for breadcrumbs. And almost all of the recipes had different ingredients for the orange sauce! I didn't really know where to begin since all of the recipes had good reviews, so I picked the one that I already had the most ingredients for (of course).


It was a good gamble... the Baked Orange Chicken turned out crispy and delicious! The orange sauce was really flavorful, but not too sweet or spicy. This Baked Orange Chicken recipe is a great healthy alternative to the original, authentic version... no heavy fry coating or sweet, thick, sticky sauce. It really is the perfect balance of flavors and textures. And in full disclosure, it was so good I had seconds... and thirds...

Baked Orange Chicken
recipe via thefamilyfeed.com

Ingredients:
Orange Sauce: (adapted from thenoshery.com)
1 1/2 Cups water
1/4 Cup fresh orange juice (1-2 large oranges)
1 Tbsp orange zest (1 large orange)
1/3 Cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger root, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp cornstarch into 1/4 Cup water, mixed thoroughly
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
2 Tbsp green onions or cilantro, chopped and set aside as garnish

Baked Chicken:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Cups whole wheat panko bread crumbs
Non-stick canola spray

5 Servings of white or brown, prepared

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (f) and position a rack in the center. Line a cookie sheet or rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non stick canola spray.

Make the sauce first by combining the 1 1/2 Cups water, orange juice, rice vinegar and soy sauce into a large sauce pan. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes to warm. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil then slowly add the 1/4 cup of water and 3 Tbsp of cornstarch. Heat until the mixture thickens.


To make the baked chicken, in a medium bowl, pour the olive oil. In a separate, large bowl, place whole wheat panko bread crumbs. Dip the chicken pieces into the olive oil to coat entirely. Transfer to the bread crumbs and toss to coat. Place the chicken pieces on the lined baking sheet, leaving just a little space between each piece. Spray a light coat of canola oil over the assembled pieces.


Bake for 12-15 minutes until the crust is slightly brown and crispy.

Serve the chicken over brown rice and pour the orange sauce over the chicken to taste. Sprinkle the black sesame seeds and green onions or cilantro over the sauce and serve.



This tasty orange and black dish was a perfect addition to our Halloween night. Hope you had a spooktacular Halloween too!!!

*Janel*

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