Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Orange Chicken

This recipe popped up a few months ago on a blog that I follow - Hugs and Cookies XOXO. She typically makes lots of rich and amazing-looking desserts, but will often post some pretty simple and healthy dinners.  It turned out great, and tasted even better the next day as leftovers.  The original recipe called for all coconut oil, and I will be honest, I had never cooked with coconut oil before because there is so much conflicting information about the benefits of eating it that I have just stuck with my staples of canola and olive oils.  But I thought I would give it a try, so used half coconut oil and half canola oil. This turned out to be a good combination because there was a slight coconut flavor without being overpowering - and I was able to use the coconut oil in moderation.  The sauce and chicken paired really well with brown rice, and I steamed some broccoli to go along with it as well.

Orange Chicken


1 pound organic free-range chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
2 Tbsp canola oil

1/2 cup water
Juice from 1/2 fresh orange
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp tamari
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
3 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water


1. Combine flour and salt in large sealable bag. Add chicken and evenly coat with flour mixture.

2. Heat coconut oil and canola oil in large skillet. Add chicken and and cook until completely cooked through and golden on outside. Remove chicken from heat.

3. To make sauce, combine 1/2 cup water, orange and lemon juice, rice vinegar, tamari, brown sugar, and garlic in a pan and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water in a small dish and stir to make a slurry. Add to sauce mixture in pan and stir until thickened.  Place chicken on serving dish and pour sauce over the chicken. Top with green onions and serve over brown rice.

(Recipe adapted from hugsandcookiesxoxo.com)

What are the nutritional benefits of this meal? Chicken is an excellent source of protein and is rich in B vitamins. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty-acids, which have been shown to raise HDL (good) cholesterol, but have also been shown to possibly raise LDL (bad) cholesterol as well, so use in moderation (which is why I used half coconut and half canola oil in this recipe).  Virgin coconut oil also contains antioxidants (possibly from the phenolic compounds it contains). Canola oil is the lowest in saturated fat of any oil, and is rich in healthy unsaturated fats. Brown rice is unrefined, so contains it's original abundance of iron, zinc, manganese, selenium, antioxidants and fiber.

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