Kung Pao Chicken
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I genuinely enjoy cooking and I think if more people gave cooking a chance they would enjoy it too. There is nothing quite so rewarding as sitting down to a dinner table with family and friends and watching everyone dig-in to something you spent time preparing. I think the only thing that can top that is saying, “I did the cooking, so y’all get to do the dishes!”.
But now, fewer and fewer people know how to cook. I remember when I got to college I was one of the only girls in our dorm who knew their way around the kitchen- one of the girls on my floor didn’t even know how to scramble eggs. And I wondered, what are on earth are these people going to do when they grow-up? And don’t live with their parents. And have a family. And then I realized, more and more people are eating out and/or eating prepared foods.
Don’t get me wrong- I love boxed mac n cheese as much as the next gal, but it doesn’t hold a candle to real, homemade mac n cheese. There’s just no comparison. Plus, when you make something yourself, it will always be healthier than any boxed food you can buy (goodbye preservatives!). Which means homemade chocolate cake just got healthy y’all. That’s reason enough to learn to cook right there.
Now I know that not everyone is fortunate enough to work from home, and so getting a home-cooked dinner on the table without the help of Kraft may seem like a daunting task. But the truth is, it really isn’t- and I know that because I didn’t always have the luxury of working from home. You just gotta put in a little time planning ahead and then you too can bask in the glow of serving your family a real-food dinner.
So trust me when I tell you that this Kung Pao chicken is a great go-to recipe for weeknight meals. The rice can be a little time consuming, but that can easily be made during the weekend and saved in the fridge for up to a week (or the freezer for even longer). Other than that, all you have to do is let the chicken marinate while you’re at work and then spend about 20 minutes at the stove cooking everything.
And just ’cause you’re standing at a stove doesn’t mean you can’t be having fun. Pour yourself a glass of wine (or maybe Saki?), turn on some Netflix or Spotify, and rock-out. Cooking is only a chore if you let it be.
For this recipe, I used the brown rice cooking method from Skinny Taste and it was perfect- no gummy, glue-y rice. A little more time consuming, but worth it to me to have clump-free rice. Other than that it was really just a matter of letting the chicken marinate and stirring things around in a skillet. I hope you will give this recipe a chance for one of your weeknight meals- it’s better, cheaper, and healthier than take out. Plus, you get to skip-out on the dishes- and that is a win!
- 8 c. water
- 1 t. salt
- 2 T. butter
- 1 c. brown rice
- 1/2 T. soy sauce
- 1 T. rice vinegar
- 1 t. toasted sesame oil
- 1 t. brown sugar
- 1 t. corn starch
- 1 t. minced garlic
- 1 t. minced ginger
- 4 chicken breast, diced into small pieces
- 3 t. rice vinegar
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 3 t. toasted sesame oil
- 2 t. corn starch
- 1 t. sriracha
- 1 t. brown sugar
- 1 T. minced ginger
- 1 t. minced garlic
- 1 head of broccoli, chopped
- 4 small sweet peppers, julienned
- 1 c. peanuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
- 1/4 c. chopped scallions (optional)
- To prepare the rice, bring 8 cups of water and salt to boil. While water is heating up, rinse rice under cold running water for 30 seconds. When water is boiling, add rice and partially cover; cook for 30 minutes on medium-high heat. Turn off stove. Drain rice and return to pot- cover lid tightly and allow rice to steam for 20 minutes. Fluff with fork and enjoy!
- While rice is cooking, prepare marinade for chicken by mixing together 1/2 T. of soy sauce and next 6 ingredients in a ziploc bag. Place chicken in bag and put in fridge.
- While rice is cooking and chicken is marinating, prepare sauce by mixing 3 t. rice vinegar and next 7 ingredients. Once rice is steaming, remove chicken from fridge. Spray a large nonstick skillet with Pam, and add chicken. Stir to break-up chicken. Cook 10 minutes. Add broccoli and peppers. Stir in sauce and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. Once chicken-veggie mix is cooked and rice is done steaming, plate rice. Top with chicken, peanuts, and scallions and serve. Enjoy!
- Prepare the rice up to a week in advance and keep in fridge (or in freezer for longer than 1 week). Chop chicken and veggies the night before. Mix-up marinade and sauce. Before you leave for work in the morning, add chicken to marinade and return to fridge to marinate while you're away. When you get home, cook chicken, veggies, and sauce as directed above. Reheat rice and serve!