Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crispy Orange Chicken Happiness--A Recipe

This one is dedicated to Dawn, a fellow lover of orange-ish things.

I have mentioned before that I am a fan of Do It Yourself cooking adventures. I celebrate cookbooks that utilize the phrase Copy Cat. Sometimes I will sit at my laptop, spending my free time just idly seeking out copy cat versions of my favorite foods. I'll stare at the screen as mental images of All Things Delicious drift through my mind, mentally snagging a few and running searches on them to see what I can uncover deep in the bowels of the Cyber Vaults.

One such foray yielded gold. Sheer gold.

I <heart> the Crispy Orange Chicken Bowl at Applebee's. So very much so that it is what I get, almost every single time I go. I say, "almost" because I also like to get the Asian Wrap or the Santa Fe Wrap. But that is neither here nor there at this moment in blog-time.

But I digress.

I found a Copy Cat version of this most favorite of all things one day and was eager to try it out. To my joy and surprise, the sauce is exactly like Applebee's version. Exactly. I'm including the recipe for the sauce, but not for the batter-fried chicken. I'll explain that later, so read on.

Orange Chicken Glaze

What You'll Need:

1 TBS veggie oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh orange rind
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Hoisin Sauce
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup granulated sugar

What You'll Do:

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the garlic, sauteing for 1 minute. Be careful not to let the pan get too hot or you'll end up with bitter garlic, which is boo.
Add the rest of your ingredients and bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, allow to boil for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring from time to time, until it gets to your desired consistency.

Applebee's serves theirs with stir fry veggies, rice, and some crispy noodles & slivered almonds.

Here's what I did to make this come together quickly and with amazing results. I used popcorn chicken to star as my Crispy Chicken in this particular role. If you get a good brand--the type that looks like fritters---you end up with the same result.It's quick. It's easy. And it keeps the Fry Daddy away and in the basement, which I consider a boon. I baked the chicken and then mixed it into the saucepan, tossing to coat well.

As the chicken was cooking, I stir fried some frozen veggies. Applebee's uses broccoli, snow peas, red peppers, and mushrooms.  To be quick, I used a frozen blend. Costco has a wonderful Stir Fry blend that has everything in it. By the time the chicken was done, the veggies were ready.

I served this on brown rice, in bowls, with egg rolls on the side.
My children, who traditionally hate all things that are not Peanut Butter, Pizza, or Yogurt, actually consumed the entirety of their bowls, and impressed me greatly in the process. They even asked me if we could make it again the next night. That's mighty high praise from these two Pizza Lovin' Ladies. So I mark this as a really good recipe.

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