Recipe Du Jour: Seared Chicken in Orange Glaze with Scallion Brown Rice

Orange Chicken
Orange Chicken

I’m not sure I have a lot of background for this recipe.  It’s something that I’ve had floating in my “Want to Try” recipe box (a story for another time).  It’s originally from Shape magazine, a subscription my mom had gotten me as a Christmas gift one year.  I can no longer find the recipe on their website, which I think means I’m free to reproduce it here for you.  Yippee!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups brown rice, instant or otherwise
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 green onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • (4) 4 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 4 ears of corn on the cob (In the original recipe.  I didn’t make them, but it’ll affect the nutrition information.)

Directions:

Spray outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan with cooking spray and preheat.  (I used a George Foreman.)  Cook the brown rice with your preferred method, adding the peas and green onions about 5 minutes from the end.  Meanwhile, cook corn.

In a small bowl, combine the orange marmalade, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Set aside.  Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken.  Place chicken on the hottest part of the grill.  Cook chicken 2-3 minutes, then move it to a cooler part of the grill and allow it 5-10 more minutes to finish cooking.  During the last 2 minutes of cooking, brush both sides of the chicken with marmalade mixture.  (I used a George Foreman, so the sauce was on there almost as soon as I got the initial sear.)  Serves 4.

Tastiness Factor:

Andrew gets a French vibe off of the dish, I got an Asian one.  Either way, it was fabulous.  Savory, and sour, and sweet, and salty.  The rice was a great complement, infused with the flavor of the scallions.  The peas just seemed to add some texture.  I felt like I needed to add butter to the rice to get a good taste out of it, it tasted rather bland without it.

Reheat Factor:

The picture up there is actually the reheated leftovers, and Andrew attests to the flavor being consistent the second time around.  He did state that it was a little dry, and next time we’ll pour the extra sauce over it when we put it in the fridge.

Overall Impression:

This is a tasty all-in-one dinner recipe.  With the corn, it was way to much starch/carb for my diet, so we traded out the corn for a small salad.  We normally don’t have orange marmalade on hand, but we had leftovers from an attempt at duck l’orange a while ago.  This gives me a good excuse to keep it on hand.  Almost everything else is something I have around though.  Sometimes, simple recipes are the best ones.

Nutrition Facts: (Per breast half, 2/3 cup rice, 1 ear corn)  510 calories, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 73g carbohydrates, 36g protein, 8g fiber, 36mg calcium, 3mg iron, 260mg sodium.
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Recipe Du Jour: Mac ‘n’ Cheese Soup

Ham and Mac and Cheese
Ham and Mac and Cheese

In every culture, there is the idea of comfort food.  The foods that remind you of home, or childhood, or just plain make you feel good.  Now, in most cases, comfort food is not good for you.  It’s meant to be good for the soul, not necessarily good for the body.  But I think in this recipe, it’s a step closer to being both.  I have many comfort foods, but one of my favorites is mac ‘n’ cheese.  It’s cheese and pasta.  What’s more comforting than that?  The source of this recipe is Little Yuzu, a blog that I used to follow for bento, but stopped reading when it turned to non-food topics more often than food ones.

Ingredients

  • Chicken Broth
  • Pasta (I used tiny shells)
  • Carrots, Broccoli and Cauliflower (This is what I used because I always have frozen on hand.  Any combination of these would probably be all right.)
  • Flour (for thickening)
  • Milk
  • Cheddar (I used sharp)
  • Ham (not in the original recipe)

Tastiness Factor:

I think everyone agrees that mac ‘n’ cheese and broccoli/carrot are a classic combo.  So is ham and mac ‘n’ cheese.  This is much thinner than what most people think of for mac ‘n’ cheese, but a smidge of salt and pepper made it great.  It was creamy, starchy, and had veggies.  I will note that because of the chicken broth and milk, the cheese flavor is not too strong.  I used a sharp cheddar, and the pasta didn’t taste that sharp.

Reheat Factor:

My bento basically looked like the bowl above, so I didn’t bother taking a picture of it.  While the soup thickened considerably after it had been taken off the heat, it still retained the same comforting texture.  Taste was about the same as the original.

Overall Impression:

This is absolutely great.  It makes me feel better about eating comfort food, and pairing it with a protein makes it a relatively balanced meal.  It reheated well, which makes for good bento food.  I will definitely be putting this into my regular rotation, as I always have the ingredients on hand.  I just wish I was good with coming up with recipes on the fly like Little Yuzu is.