Attention to all you men out there: Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Instead of being the guy that forgets, be the guy who completely surprises his sweetheart by making a romantic dinner at home. Valentine’s Day is one of the top nights for couples to go out to restaurants, but after our experience last year I think we will be the couple that passes on that tradition. Here are my top three reasons not to go out this Valentine’s Day: 1) There is usually a preset menu, which may not have your favorite dishes to choose from. 2) Restaurants are packed, which means your romantic night is spent in a loud, busy restaurant. 3) You end up seriously overpaying for your dinner just because it’s a holiday night.
Consider just for a moment, spending your Valentine’s Day dinner at home. Cooking can be a great activity to do together, especially if one of you normally makes dinner every night. In honor of Cupid’s big day, I’ve made a Chinese food feast- a meal that is definitely not in my comfort zone. I never make Chinese food; we always order it as takeout on the way home from the stadium. I order the same two things: dumplings and steamed chicken and vegetables. Not even slightly exciting. Most of the time I think that Chinese food is very sweet and over-sauced. I figured the first step to really loving Chinese food was to make it the way I want to eat it. Bursting with sweet and savory flavors that are balanced. For Valentine’s Day I made Ryan’s favorite Chinese menu order, Orange Chicken.
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes Total Time: 3 hours
1 large orange, zest and juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp sriracha hot sauce
1/2 cup ice cubes
2 large chicken breasts, diced into large, bite-sized pieces
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
3 tbs corn starch
2 tbs water
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, for garnish
- Fill a medium sauce pot with the chicken stock and 1 cup water. Add the orange zest and juice, and remaining seven ingredients (through sriracha) into the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil and remove from the heat. Add the ice cubes to the liquid to bring down the temperature. Stir until ice is melted and liquid is room temperature.
- Pour 1/2 of the liquid into a zip lock bag. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add the chicken to the zip lock with half the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and drain the liquid from the bag. Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and onion powder in a medium bowl. Add the chicken to the bowl and used a slotted spoon to coat all sides of the chicken with flour.
- Heat a large saute pan with a drizzle of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken for 6-8 minutes, or until crispy brown and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and use a paper towel to wipe off any excess flour and oil. Add the remaining half of the sauce to the pan and heat on medium heat.
- Whisk the 3 tbs cornstarch and 2 tbs water together in a small bowl until well blended. Add the cornstarch liquid to the orange sauce in a steady stream, whisking as you add it. Increase the heat on the pan until the sauce reaches a boil. Reduce the heat and add the chicken back to the pan. Toss with a spatula to coat all of the chicken evenly.
- Remove the chicken onto a serving dish and garnish with fresh parsley and orange slices.
One Year Ago Today: Chocolate Truffles
Other Chicken Dishes You’ll Enjoy: