Mock Chinese Take Out

I am a big fan of Chinese take out. If it’s a Friday night, you can find B and I either grabbing a pizza or hitting the local Chinese place for something quick and tasty. Abby is a big fan of the sweet and sour chicken and so most of the time, we end up with at least one order of that on top of some fried dumplings and egg rolls.

But there is a snag or two when it comes to Chinese take out. Not only is more expensive than I’d like it to be, it’s also a lot more caloric than I want. Sure, the golden, deep-fried chicken slathered in sugary, sweet sauce is amazingly tasty. I just don’t want the extra added calories attacking my thighs and gut. That’s what potato chips are for.

When I came across this baked sweet and sour chicken from Six Sister’s Stuff, I knew I had to make it. The picture was so enticing and delicious-looking. How could I not give it a whirl? I adapted it slightly by adding some bell pepper and onion to it. I meant to add water chestnuts (bought them JUST for this recipe) but I forgot. I sloshed it down on top of some brown rice and went to town.

So, so, so good. So close to the take out version, I might never go back.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
Recipe type: main course, Chinese, mock takeout
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

A lighter version of traditional Chinese take out.
Ingredients
  • Chicken:
  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce:
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 tbs ketchup
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic salt

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cut your chicken into 1″ chunks. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs.
  4. Heat your ¼ cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned. Place the chicken in a 9×13 greased baking dish. Toss the pepper and onion in the dish and arrange them around your chicken.
  5. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken.
  6. Bake for one hour. Turn the chicken and baste with sauce every 15 minutes.

Notes
This dish is perfect over brown rice.

 

Sweet and Sour Chicken

We eat a lot of take-out in this house. Typically, Fridays are the days we order in or grab something quick. And when we have Girl Scouts, the food has to be even quicker.

One of our favorite take-out spots is a little hole in the wall Chinese place around the corner. You can’t pay with credit cards. You typically end up waiting for at least 45 minutes when they tell you 15.  The woman who takes the orders cuts you off before you finish.

The food is awesome.

In this day and age, however, eating out gets pricey. And when Chinese take-out ends up costing upwards of 35 dollars per person, you need to improvise. Find new ways to satisfy those needs to MSG.  Get the crunch of water chestnuts and snow peas.

We accomplish this through homemade Chinese. I’ve shared my recipe for easy stir fry before.

Here’s my recipe for DIY sweet and sour chicken. It’s an easy weeknight dish and is also perfect for those busy Fridays when you just don’t feel like cooking.  I serve it over some white rice, but you could also try brown rice or quinoa.

Give it a shot!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients:

2 breasts of chicken, cut into chunks

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1/2 head of broccoli

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained

For sauce:

3/4 cup white sugar

1/3 cup white vinegar

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tbsp. ketchup

2 Tbsp. corn starch

In a sauce pan, add all of the ingredients for the sauce. Bring it to a boil and stir constantly until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Pour a tiny bit of oil into a frying pan. Add your chicken and cook over medium-high until browned. Add your onions and peppers. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft. Add the broccoli. Cover and let cook five more minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Take the lid off and add your water chestnuts. Stir to combine.

Lay your chicken mixture on top of some rice. Top with sweet and sour sauce.

Enjoy!

What are your favorite take-out staples?

Easy Stir Fry

A very dear friend from high school contacted me recently. She was on a mission.

Simple recipes that will prove she can do more than just burn grilled cheese.  She just gave birth to the most adorable baby boy, Davis (don’t you love that name?!) and she wants to prove to him that she can cook.  As with many just starting out in the cooking world, she’s nervous and easily discouraged.

Hmm… that sounds so familiar! Should we revisit the Christmas cookie debacle when my bowl ended up in the trash?

Let’s not.

I remember when we were in high school.  There were many nights of sleep overs, scary movies and onion dip.  We would make a giant bowl of onion dip in its most basic form.  Sour cream and onion soup mix.  Then we’d chow down until 4 in the morning while watching horror flicks.

I’d like to think we’ve grown since then and can make somewhat adult food with the same ease.  And it is possible! I promise.  One of my favorite recipes, chicken stir fry, is incredibly simple and tasty.  It’s almost impossible to screw up.  Perfect for a beginner, an advanced chef or anyone short on time.

Jenn, this one’s for you!

Chicken Stir Fry

2 breasts chicken, cut into 1″ cubes

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tequila pepper, sliced into strips

1 ivory pepper, sliced into strips (feel free to use any 2 bell peppers)

1/2 summer squash, cut into strips

1 head broccoli, cut into chunks

1 can water chestnuts

Sauce:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

4 Tbsp. sugar

Begin by slicing and assembling all of your ingredients.  Open your can of water chestnuts.  Slice up all of your veggies and your chicken.  Stir fry goes fast, so be prepared.

Once everything is sliced, grab your sauce pan and heat it over medium-high.  Add a bit of oil, then toss in your chicken.  Brown it on all sides and let it cook through a bit.  Add your peppers and onions to the pot.  Let them cook about 2 minutes.  Then add in your broccoli and let that cook about 2 minutes.  Add in your squash last and let that cook about 2 minutes.

By now, everything will be nice and aromatic.  While that is cooking, you can prepare your sauce.

Combine your soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and sugar in a bowl.  Using a fork, whisk it around to get it good and mixed. Pour it on top of your chicken mixture, then cover it.  Turn the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or so.  The sauce will thicken a bit.

After 15 minutes, take the lid off and add the water chestnuts.  Stir them in gently, then remove your pan from the heat.  I serve this over rice, but feel free to use noodles or quinoa.

Quinoa gives this a great flavor and is a nice change from rice. I was cooking, however, for some picky critics so I served it over regular rice.

It doesn’t get easier or tastier!