To my delight, my darling friend Emma joined me for a midnight dinner party last night to break up the monotony of my exam week. We agreed to experiment with orange chicken, which neither of us had made before, and it turned out WONDERFULLY! I attribute this dish’s utter deliciousness to her wise and calming presence in the kitchen, so if you have an Emma (or someone like her) I would definitely recommend throwing her into the mix.

Now, we firmly believe in making recipes accessible to everyone, no matter how stocked your pantry may be. There have been plenty of times that I’ve found a good-lookin’ recipe that gets me all excited, only to realize I’m either gonna have to shell out $50 for random stuff I’ll never use again, or make a half-assed version that can’t possibly compete. To prevent this from happening here, we’ve marked the use-if-you-have, but don’t-worry-if-you-don’t ingredients with an *. Let us know how your version turns out, what was awesome and/or what may have been lacking…our final product was thrilling, and I hope yours is too!

P.S. This recipe allows for plenty of leftovers. I’ll let you know what I did with mine tomorrow!
P.P.S. Try this dish with tofu instead of chicken for a vegan delight!

Ingredients (serves 4, plus extra chicken):
2 pounds, 8 oz. frozen chicken tenderloins (boneless & skinless)
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized trees
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup brown rice (uncooked)

sauce
2 cloves garlic
1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled (you can substitute 1 tsp ground ginger if you have it)
2 green onions, chopped (the white parts are for sauteeing and the green parts are a garnish)*
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar*
1/4 tsp white pepper*
1/2 tsp garlic chili paste or siracha hot sauce (this addition depends on your threshold for heat)*
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP light brown sugar
1 11-oz can mandarin oranges in light syrup (don’t drain–you want the syrup too!)
juice of 1-1/2 oranges (or about 3/4 to 1 cup of store-bought orange juice, depending on how sweet you want your sauce)
zest of 1/2 orange*

garnishes: bean sprouts, crushed red pepper,green onion, orange slices (you can use the remaining 1/2 of an orange that you didn’t juice)

1. Thaw chicken. You can do this by placing it in the fridge for about 6 hours, or submerge the package in a sink full of water for 30-45 minutes. When the tenderloins are thaw, slice them into one-inch cubes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat water for rice and follow directions according to package. It will take about 40 minutes to cook the rice, giving you plenty of time to prepare the rest of the meal.
3. Gather your ingredients, wash & dry your produce, and chop up your garlic & veggies. Steam the broccoli and peppers in a steaming basket, or covered in a frying pan with about 1/2” water.
4. Sautee garlic, green onions & grated ginger (if you’re using powder, add it at the end) in a BIG POT with 2 TBSP canola oil til garlic is slightly browned and everything smells AMAZING. Turn off heat.
5. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the pot. Add the chicken and coat well.
6. Transfer the chicken to a baking pan at least one inch deep, and pour all the extra sauce over the pieces. Bake for about 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
7. Create a base of rice and veggies on each plate. Add chicken and drizzle with extra sauce. Garnish with crushed red pepper, green onion, orange slices, and bean sprouts if you have them. MMMMMMM!