When I was a kid I remember my family ordering chinese take out as a special treat on Friday nights. I always liked the sweet and sour chicken the best. Probably because it was red and had pineapple in it. I LOVED pineapple and red has always been my favorite color. The sweetness of hot cooked pineapple, mmmm, I can’t get enough of it, even still.
Last Monday night I was trying to figure out a new dish I could make with chicken in it. My husband is a very simple eater, but I get sick of cooking plain girlled chicken with broccoli and pasta or rice. He never gets sick of it, but I do. And because of my love for most chinese food, especially sweet and sour chicken, I thought I would give it a go.
I was so pleased with how this turned out. It was exactly what I was craving. You can add really any veggies you want. I would have loved to add onion, but Jon REALLY HATES onion so I left that out. Next time though, next time… The sauce turned into the perfect consistency that I see at chinese food places. I was a little leary of the ketchup, but I could taste the tiny bit of tang it gave the sauce. This is also a great weeknight dinner, or even a dinner to feed to guests because it didn’t take very long. About 45 minutes, including the prepping of chopping and cutting.
The next day I ate the leftovers for lunch and they were GOOD. The veggies and chicken absorbed the sauce and made it so flavorful.
Recipe adapted from Evil Shenanigans
Serves 4 (or 2 with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day)
1 cup water
3/4 cup pineapple juice (pretty much all the juice from 1 can of pineapples chunks)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
sesame oil (about 2 tbsp)
6 chicken strips, boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large red bellpepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks (the entire can)
1 bag frozen brown rice (the microwavable kind)
If you follow the steps in order, dinner should be on the tabel in about 30 minutes.
1. In a medium sized saucepan combien the water, pineapple juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, and ginger. Whisk to combine and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and allow it to reduce to half the size (takes about 30 minutes)
2. In a skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp seasme oil. Add the chicken chunks and cook until they are just done. Don’t over cook. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another tbsp seasme oil to the pan and add the bell peppers, carrots and mushrooms. Cook until they are tender, then add the minced garlic (I don’t add this earlier b/c I don’t want the garlic to burn). It will take about 10 minutes for the veggies to become tender.
Add the pineapple chunks and chicken back to the pan.
3. Mix the cornstarch and water in asmall bowl until there are no lumps. Bring the sauce to a bowl and whisk in the cornstarch. Cook it on high for about 30 seconds as the cornstarch thickens the sauce. Turn off the heat and pour half of the sauce over the veggies and chicken.
Pour the remaining half of the sauce in a small bowl and serve it on the side.
4. Heat the rice in the microwave (most brands usually take about 3 minutes).
5. Put some rice on each plate and top with the sweet and sour chicken and veggies. Serve hot and enjoy.