Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken with Wilted Spinach

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken with Wilted Spinach

OK, I'll admit, I'm eating really healthy over the next couple of weeks so I can look and feel great in Savannah!  But I also love it when my friends encourage me to think outside the box and challenge myself.  My friends Kristen and Tom eat very healthy, and at times even gluten-free.  It's hard here in the U.S. where lots of dishes revolve around flour, bread and pasta (three of my favorite things, by the way).  But, more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of a gluten-free diet.  Aside from the caloric benefits, substituting those starchy carbs for whole grains and veggies pack a ton of additional nutrition!
I absolutely love Asian fusion dishes, and Orange Chicken is my hands-down favorite.  Here's a low-cal and gluten-free alternative, with just a little flash cooked spinach added at the end for some super nutrients and a little color.

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken with Wilted Spinach

Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cook Time:  40 minutes / Servings: 4
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1lb. chicken tenders, cubed
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cubed
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp. orange zest (for garnish)
  • 1 orange, cubed (for garnish)
  • cooking spray
  • salt and pepper
  1. SAUCE :  Mix the corn starch in a glass with 1/2 cup cold water.  Stir with a fork until corn starch dissolves completely.  
  2. In a small saucepan, combine orange juice, brown sugar and 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Bring to a simmer and whisk in corn starch mixture until the sauce thickens.  Reduce heat to low and stir frequently.
  3. CHICKEN:  Spray a large skillet generously with cooking spray.  Add carrots and bell pepper.  Season generously with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until carrots and peppers begin to soften.  
  4. Add chicken and garlic powder and continue to cook on medium heat for an additional 5-7 minutes, until the chicken browns and is almost cooked through.  
  5. Add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth, deglaze the pan with the broth, and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through and the broth is almost cooked off.
  6. Pour the orange sauce slowly into the chicken mixture, reduce heat to low and stir well until all the ingredients are combined.  Fold in spinach and stir around until the spinach is wilted, just about 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  7. TO SERVE:  Spoon 1/2 cup brown rice onto 4 plates.  Spoon 1/4 of the chicken mixture onto each plate.  Garnish with orange cubes and finish with orange zest.  Serve immediately. 

1 comment:

  1. Great recipe Hoop. I have changed some of my eating habits also. Lots of fresh veggies and lean meets.

    Thank you for sharing.