It’s finally spring! The cherry trees and daffodils are blooming. The sun comes out, even if only for a little while. It’s one of my favorite times of the year.
With the warmer weather comes my craving for all things citrus. If I could choose between a chocolate dessert and a fruity, citrusy one, I’d definitely go for the latter. I’m also a fan of entrees that incorporate lemons or oranges. I’m pretty sure my Vitamin C level is through the roof. Tonight, I tried the orange chicken dish that I had previously failed at making. It was almost perfect! Not too salty, lots of tasty orange flavor. And the fried rice was the bomb, too. I made enough to have leftovers for a couple of days, but since Bryan played basketball tonight, he was extra hungry. And Wes stayed for dinner too, so my leftovers were significantly reduced. But I’m just happy they enjoyed it 🙂
Orange Chicken with Fried Rice
For the chicken:
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 can of frozen orange juice concentrate
- orange or lemon zest (I used lemon because I had some leftover from the dessert I made)
- sriracha, to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat the chicken in oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Combine the orange juice, soy sauce, zest, and sriracha in a saucepan over med-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce reaches your desired thickness (I might try adding cornstarch or some sort of thickener next time, because I was too impatient and had hungry boys waiting for me). Pour the sauce over the chicken.
For the fried rice :
- As much rice as you wish – I used 1 1/2 cups of uncooked brown rice, which is enough for 6 people
- 9 or so tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Bell peppers, diced – again, as much as you want – I had 1/2 of an orange pepper and 1/2 of a red
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- about 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- 2 green onions, chopped
- salt and red pepper to taste
Cook the rice, preferably the day before, according to directions on package. When I made this today, I split my rice into halves, and fried up each half separately because my skillet isn’t big enough for all of the rice. Add 3 tbsp oil to a skillet, and add half of the rice. Spread the rice out so it is evenly coated with oil and covers the bottom of the skillet. Press down with a spatula and let it sit for a few minutes. Flip the rice over, and repeat until it is browned, adding more oil if necessary. Create a hole in the middle of the rice and add half of the beaten eggs. Stir until the eggs are cooked thoroughly and transfer the rice to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining rice.
In the same skillet, add 3 more tbsp oil and the chopped vegetables. Saute until the onions are translucent and the carrots, peppers, and peas are soft. Return the rice to the skillet and stir everything together. Garnish with chopped green onions.
For dessert, I made my grandma’s lemon breeze bars. She makes some awesome desserts, and these are one of my favorites. She was so happy when I asked her for the recipe before moving out here. She even gave me her Betty Crocker cookbook as a little going away present. Thanks, Grandma!
Grandma’s Lemon Breeze Bars
- 3/4 c. butter, softened
- 1/3 c. powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 c. flour
Cream together and pat into a 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until it starts to get brown
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Mix well and pour over baked crust. Bake at 350 for 20 more minutes. Let cool and lightly dust with powdered sugar