For Valentine’s Day Z and I devised a plan: he would be responsible for dinner and I would handle dessert.
This plan was perfect due to the fact that dinner is my least favorite meal of the day and the one that I most often put very little thought in to. I’m never overly hungry in the evenings and find myself unmotivated after having worked all day to put much effort into anything fancy.
Having a dinner planned and prepared for me was an ideal Valentine’s gift. Let me just say, Z did not disappoint. It was the best dinner we’ve had in awhile.
This dish tasted JUST like Chinese take-out. You know, the wonderfully tasty but not so healthy food that is loaded with sodium, and odd ingredients (helloooo MSG)? Well this rivaled it in flavor and was made with simple ingredients.
Z found the recipe on Pinterest (yes, he’s on it too) and made some alterations to create the finished product.
Adapted from: The Fiskerelli Bellies
2 chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 TBSP. sesame oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2/3 c. orange juice
4 TBSP. coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
3 TBSP. organic ketchup (We use Annie’s Naturals)
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 medium-large zucchini/summer squash
- Combine cornstarch and ginger in a bowl. Dip chicken pieces in and coat evenly.
- In a frying pan, heat sesame oil and cook chicken until lightly brown turning occasionally. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plated.
- Use same pan to sauté zucchini “noodles” until tender.
- In the mean time, combine sauce ingredients into a sauce pan and whisk together until smooth.
- Bring sauce to a boil and remove from heat immediately.
Stir chicken into sauce. Serve over bed of zucchini noodles.
Since it was Valentine’s Day after all Z got fancy with the preparation.
We enjoyed our meal accompanied by another viewing of Pitch Perfect (the second time in a week…love the movie). It was a happy Valentine’s Day indeed!
HEALTHIER, YET STILL INDULGENT
I wanted to note that this recipe is made using cornstarch. It’s what gives the chicken a crispy coating. But I’ve never been sure about what that actually is. Thankfully I found a post Cornstarch: is it bad for me? which enlightened me.
Simply put it’s an overly processed form of corn that is used as a thickening agent in many recipes. There is little nutritional value to it so I wouldn’t recommend using excessively in life. But for one special-holiday dinner? It’s probably OK.
However, if it’s something you’d rather avoid you could coat the chicken in whole grain flour instead or just omit altogether. The sauce is tasty enough that its absence would not affect the overall dish.
I want to know…
Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day?
What’s your favorite Chinese take-out dish?