This simple Orange Chicken is slightly sweet with a kick. It is gluten free, paleo-friendly and comes together in under 30 minutes.
Aging is a dangerous game, friends. In recent months I have received a letter about attending my five-year college reunion this summer and was tagged on Facebook to participate in some of the planning for my 10-year high school reunion next year. But don’t worry, I completely ignored both requests and will continue to do so. First of all, a five-year reunion doesn’t need to be a thing. I pretty much talk to all of my friends from college on a regular basis. Or have at least talked to them within the last five years. And if I haven’t interacted with someone in five years, I probably won’t start now. At least not beyond a surface level. That sounds harsh, but I’m going to assume they don’t want to talk to me either, so we’re even.
For my high school reunion next year, I just can’t do it. There’s just no way. Does our generation really need “reunions” to size each other up 10 years later? Can’t we just continue silently judging one another on social media like normal people?
That’s what I plan to do. Kthanks.
While I don’t plan on participating in any of the awkward “So what are you up to now?” conversations next summer, there are some aspects of high school that I do miss. The first is the music. Man, the mid 2000’s had some bangers. While I’m writing this, I’m listening to my “High School” playlist on Spotify that is full of classic tracks of the 2000’s such as Usher’s Yeah!, In Da Club by 50 Cent, anything and everything by T-Pain, and tracks on tracks on tracks that reference the crunk capital of the universe – the ATL. These songs make my soul happy. And make me feel incredibly old.
The second aspect of high school that I get nostalgic about is all the ridiculous food I used to eat. It makes me grateful for how far I have come in prioritizing my health.
I went through a phase where I alternated eating doughnut or bagel for lunch everyday. For months. No, I’m serious. Really, my approach was economical. My parents would give me $2-$3 for lunch most days that they assumed I was spending in the cafeteria. However, my thoughts were on the bottom line. Bagels and doughnuts were only 50 cents each at the Safeway across the street. So if I only spent 50 cents on lunch, I could turn a profit each month, and would have enough precious dollars to spend on several pairs of Forever 21 earrings. Because God forbid 15-year-old Les has less than 20 pairs of Forever 21 earrings at any given time. The horror. 😉
By the time my junior and senior year rolled around, I started working jobs of my own and spending more on food. That meant I could buy a full-blown Safeway Chinese food meal AND Forever 21 earrings. Ballinnnnnnnn! (another 2000’s reference, in case you were wondering)
No joke, the amount of Safeway Chinese food my best friend and I ate in high school is kind of absurd. All of the chow-mein. All of the General Tso’s chicken. Yes, all of it.
I definitely don’t recommend filling up on doughnuts, bagels and fake Chinese food these days, but sometimes it is fun to reminisce about the marvel that is the teenage metabolism. While this orange chicken is a bit different from that General Tso’s we used to eat – it definitely takes me back.
This orange chicken is one of my weeknight go-tos. It is sweet, but not too sweet. It has a bit of a kick, but isn’t spicy. With some cauliflower rice (I buy it pre-riced at Trader Joe’s!) and steamed veggies, it makes a lovely 30-minute meal.
- ½ Cup Orange Juice
- 3 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos (or Low-Sodium Soy Sauce)
- ¼ Cup Honey
- 2 Teaspoons Sesami Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Sriracha
- 1 Teaspoon Arrowroot (or Cornstarch if not paleo)
- 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Sauce
- ¼ Teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos
- 4 Tablespoons Avocado or Olive Oil, divided plus 2 teaspoons
- ⅓ Cup Arrowroot (or Cornstarch for non-paleo)
- Sesame seeds and Scallions for garnish (optional)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- For the chicken, whisk together the 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos and 2 tablespoons of oil. Place chopped chicken in a shallow dish and cover with mixture. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of avocado or olive oil.
- With a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the chicken from the bowl and transfer to a ziploc bag or separate shallow dish. Leave remaining liquid.
- Coat chicken with ⅓ cup of arrowroot and toss until evenly coated.
- Place the chicken in the skillet in an even layer and cook on all sides until golden brown and cooked through, about ~8-10 minutes.
- Remove chicken from pan, and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
- Add remaining 2 teaspoons of avocado oil or olive oil to the pan over medium heat. Add sauce to the pan bring to a simmer.
- Return chicken to pan and cook until sauce has reduced and evenly coats the chicken.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately.
- Class reunions: yay or nay?
- What were some of your favorite songs from high school?