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It’s hard being a Mom sometimes. You wake up after an hour of sleep, pull your kids into their clothes, try to get everyone fed, dressed, and ready for school, and then buckle about 23948729384729387 different snaps on all the carseats. You work hard all day. You get groceries, take the baby to the pediatrician, and call the insurance over your lunch break. You slip off your heels at the end of the day and rub your sore feet. There is laundry to be done, kids to be fed, and bills to be paid. You’re tired. Everyone is hungry and grouchy, and you have to get dinner on the table fast.
Sometimes it can be hard to come up with a quick and delicious meal that is also lighter on the calories. This skinny version of General Tso’s chicken will become your new best friend. The chicken is grilled and not fried, which means you cut about half the calories of the dish. The soy sauce is cut way down, which eliminates a lot of the sodium. And because we have eliminated the traditional flour coating on the fried chicken pieces, the dish becomes gluten free, as well. It’s also ready in 15 minutes, and you use only 1 skillet, which means 1 dish to wash! CAN THIS DISH PLEASE RUN FOR PRESIDENT!!!! Because everybody loves it! 🙂
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Skinny General Tso’s Chicken
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded thin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. peanut oil (may substitute canola or olive oil if desired, but peanut taste won’t be as strong)
1 tsp. sesame oil (like this)
4-5 green onions, chopped, green tops reserved for garnish
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4-1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, depending on heat preference
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 orange, juiced, and peel reserved
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. peanut butter
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup cornstarch, mixed with just enough water to make a milky liquid
Salt and pepper chicken breast and sear in a cast iron skillet to get a nice caramelized crust. When chicken is just done remove from skillet and tent with foil to keep it warm. In same skillet saute chopped onions and minced garlic in oils until fragrant. Add the rest of sauce ingredients and stir until bubbling. Meanwhile, cut the cooked chicken into cubes. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce thickens. Add chicken cubes and stir to coat with sauce. Serve immediately, garnishing with green onion tops, if desired.
Now, in pictures! 🙂
This recipe is a busy Mom’s dream. It uses one skillet, which means ONE dish to wash. And it’s ready in about 15 minutes, which means you can throw it together in a hot minute after you come home from work and the troops are revolting and screaming with hunger before you even get your coat off. You’re welcome. If you don’t tell them how easy it is, I won’t either. 😉
To begin with, I usually like to double this recipe, because it makes amazing leftovers for lunches the next day. 🙂 That’s just a little freebie tip. Again, you’re welcome. Start out by heating up a cast iron skillet. The one I have is a gorgeous Le Creuset here. I used to balk about spending that much on a pan, but let me tell you . . . this baby is WORTH it. I use this piece almost every day in my kitchen, for everything from Fluffy Breakfast Pancakes to Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookies (and who doesn’t love a GIGANTIC cookie?). I used to go through cookware every year or two, because I use it so much, but my Le Creuset pieces are just as nice as the day I got them, and LC has a lifetime guarantee (which I have personally taken advantage of). So one investment gets me primo cookware for life. Sounds like a win win to me.
Sorry. I got carried away with cast iron praise there, for a second. 😉 Get your cast iron skillet nice and hot (not smoking), and sear your chicken breast, salted and peppered to taste, in a cooking spray-coated pan until it has a nice caramelized crust and is just done in the center. Oh– the cast iron is also great for getting that amazing sear and crust on meat. Look like a chef with zero effort. 😀 Once the chicken is done, set it aside on a cutting board and tent with foil to keep it warm and allow the juices to recirculate back into the meat before you cut it.
In your same skillet (one dish wonder!), saute your chopped onions and minced garlic in the oil until the vegetables are starting to get soft and fragrant. Go ahead and add in everything else. The orange peel is just for flavor, but we will take it out at the end of cooking. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer, just bubbling, for several minutes, until the sugar is incorporated and the sauce thickens, just slightly. Remove and discard the orange peels.
Let’s talk cornstarch. Don’t add cornstarch directly, in powder form, to a recipe, because it will get all clumpy on the bottom of your pan. You need to add a few tbsp. of water to cornstarch, first, in a separate bowl. Then add the milky fluid, all at once, to your hot liquid. Stir until the sauce is thick enough to leave a line in your pan with the wooden spoon when you stir. At that point, turn the heat to low and cut your chicken into 1″ cubes.
At this point you will probably be placating the kids with “Mommy is almost done! Supper is almost ready! Be patient! Help me set the table!” Goodness. Don’t worry you’re almost there! 😀
Stir your chicken cubes into that GLORIOUS sauce . . .
Dinner is served! With this meal I like to throw some minute rice in the microwave when I first start, and maybe a steam-able microwave bag of broccoli too. Spoon your gorgeous chicken, coated in finger-lickin’ sauce, over your rice and garnish with some of your leftover green onion tops, if you like.
Look at that. Seriously. You MADE that. You made this gorgeous meal in 15 minutes, after working all day, picking up your kids, and solving world peace in your spare time. You eliminated most of the fat, served it up nice and hot, and added a vegetable. And you used paper plates, because you’re smart like that.
You wonder woman, you.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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