Best Potato and Pork (or Chicken) Sheet Pan Meal

So--I've always kind of wondered about what the big deal was with sheet pan meals?  I mean,  meat and veggies roasted together on the same baking sheet.  And it seemed risky to me--What if things didn't get done at the same time?  Who loves limp, lifeless veggies and underdone meat?   Seemed like scary business.

But then I spent a substantial amount of time on roasted potatoes for a recent post and kind of got my head around roasted veggies. . And they . . are. . .SOOOO. . . GOOD!!!  And the really good thing is--cook's secret here--while they roast, you can do something else!!  And suddenly I got it--time to greet guests--or make a salad--or set the table.  While your dinner is merrily roasting away.  And it can go straight from the oven to the table on the baking sheet if you like a "cottage" style meal.

I recently served this Potato and Pork Sheet Pan Meal for a Sunday evening group of 6 adults and 4 kids.  I made one pan just as the recipe says, and another that was 1 1/2 of the recipe.  So in theory there should have been ten servings.  I served it with a simple fruit salad, and everyone had their fill with about a quarter of a sheet pan remaining.  As we sat at the table and talked at the conclusion of the main course, forks leisurely picked away at one piece of roasted goodness after the other, until every single piece was gone--and everyone was wonderfully stuffed.  Easy ingredients, easy to prepare ahead, and easy cleanup.  I get it!

Incidentally, this recipe uses Ultra Gel® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix.  The recipe is very simple and you'll find yourself using it again and again. 

Nutrition

Calories

555 cal

Fat

28 g

Carbs

32 g

Protein

52 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Yields 4 servings

Serves 2 c.

555

Best Potato and Pork (or Chicken) Sheet Meal
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Ingredients

  • 6 c. raw potatoes, preferably red or yellow, unpeeled and cut in 1" dice
  • 2 T. Ultra Gel® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. pork loin, chicken breast, or other TENDER meat cut cut in 1 1/2" dice
  • 1 T. Ultra Gel® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1-2 c. onion or shallot pieces, large dice
  • 4 c. firm zucchini squash, sliced about 1/3" thick
  • 1 T. Ultra Gel Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix
  • 1 t. chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 T. vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Wash and cube 6 c. potatoes.
  • Immediately toss with 1 T. Ultra Gel® Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix. The moisture left on the vegetables and will combine with the Ultra Gel® in the Salad Dressing and Seasoning mix to create a nicely seasoned coating that will crisp up during roasting.
  • Add 2 T. oil and toss to distribute evenly.
  • Spread out on a half sheet pan (12" x 18") or other shallow baking pan. Line with foil if you wish.
  • Trim the meat and cut into 1" cubes.
  • Immediately toss with 1 T. Ultra Gel® Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix.
  • Add 1 T. oil and toss to distribute the oil evenly on the meat.
  • Add to the potatoes on the baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle the onion or shallot pieces across the baking sheet.
  • Put the baking sheet in the hot oven and set a timer for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini by slicing, tossing in 1 T. Ultra Gel® Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix with chili flakes, then in 1 T. oil.
  • When the mixture in the oven has cooked twenty minutes, add the zucchini and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Check to make sure veggies are tender and meat is no longer pink (ovens vary substantially!)
  • Remove from the oven and serve.
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Wash the potatoes and cut into generous cubes.  Sprinkle with 1 T. Ultra Gel® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix and shake to evenly distribute.  It's important that the vegetables are still moist, as it will allow the seasoning to adhere, creating a flavorful starch coating that will provide crispness as well as flavor.  I like the visual effect of yellow and red potatoes, and I've even substituted sweet potatoes with really yummy results!

Add 2 T. vegetable oil, and shake the bowl of potatoes until the oil is evenly distributed.  Pour the potatoes out onto a half sheet pan or other shallow baking tray.

Prepare the meat by removing visible fat, then cutting into cubes.

For ease, you can use the same bowl you used for the potatoes.  Toss the meat cubes with 1 T. Ultra Gel® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix, then with 1 T. oil., then add them to the baking tray.  Tuck the pieces of onions or shallots in among the meat and potatoes

Roast for twenty minutes in a hot 450 degree oven.  Prepare the zucchini by washing and slicing, then tossing with the Ultra Gel® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix and chili flakes, then oil. 

 

After the first twenty minutes, add the zucchini pieces to the pan and roast an additional ten minutes.  Remove from oven and check to make sure the meat pieces are no longer pink and the vegetable pieces are tender.  Serve as desired

Instant Pot Spicy Chicken Thighs

Instant Pot (or other electric pressure cooker) and Ultra Gel®?  What a great combination!  The Instant Pot relies on superheated steam to cook food quickly, which means there has to be a source of liquid.  That means that there is usually a sauce or gravy as a part of the Instant Pot dish.  But that raises the eternal question--if I don't like to make gravy ANYTIME, why would I like it any more with the Instant Pot?  I mean, you still have to make a cornstarch slurry or flour thickening, and there's still the lump thing to worry about. . .  

Ultra Gel® to the rescue!  Because Ultra Gel can be poured directly into hot cooking liquid, it's incredibly easy to get a meal on the table quickly and without drama!

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a great choice for Instant Pot meals.  Because dark meat has a higher fat content than breast, it's more forgiving  and stays moist much more gracefully.  Boneless, skinless thighs often need a little trimming, but don't get carried away--trim out the large fat globules, but don't worry too much about every piece of fat--much of it will cook out.

Nutrition

Calories

8939 cal

Fat

514 g

Carbs

751 g

Protein

203 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info
Instant Pot Spicy Chicken Thighs
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Ingredients

  • 2 T. cooking oil
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 c. onion, large dice
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1/2 c. pineapple juice (I save this from a can of chunks when I drain them--freeze for later use)
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 5 T. brown sugar
  • 2 T. Sriracha (this is pretty mild--add up to 2 T. more if desired)
  • 2 T. hoisin sauce
  • 6-8 T. Ultra Gel®
  • cilantro

Instructions

  • Set the Instant Pot to the "Saute" function.
  • Add the oil.
  • When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken thighs a few at a time to brown. For best flavor, don't crowd them. Remove to a plate when browned (the chicken will not be cooked at this point!) and add more pieces until all are browned and removed to the plate.
  • Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent.
  • Add the chicken pieces back to the Instant Pot.
  • Combine the pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, sriracha, and hoisin sauce in a cup, stirring until the brown sugar is largely dissolved, then pour the sauce over the chicken in the Instant Pot.
  • Add the lid to the Instant Pot, close the steam valve and set to manual, pressure, high for 14 minutes
  • When done, release the steam slowly, then lift the lid.
  • Remove the chicken to the serving platter, and gradually stir in the Ultra Gel®, using a wire whisk, until the desired consistency.
  • Pour the sauce over the thigh pieces, garnish with cilantro, and serve.
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Start by browning the meat pieces on manual in the electric pressure cooker.  You can add a little oil to the Instant Pot to keep the meat from sticking at first, but fat will begin to accumulate, so keep any added oil to a minimum.  Brown both sides well, working in batches if necessary, then remove the meat to a plate.  It won't be fully cooked at this point!

Add the onions to the fat and browned meat bits in the Instant Pot pan. Continue cooking on manual, stirring occasionally, until the onion pieces are translucent and tender.

Measure the pineapple juice into a measuring cup, then add the soy sauce.  

Add the brown sugar, hoisin sauce, garlic, and sriracha sauce to the pineapple juice/soy sauce mixture.  Add the meat back to the Instant Pot pan and pour the sauce over all.

Add the lid to the Instant Pot, and set to high pressure for 15 minutes.  Release the pressure, slowly, then remove the lid.  Remove the chicken from the pan.

Stir the Ultra Gel into the remaining sauce gradually.  Adjust to your desired thickness by adding a little more Ultra Gel if too thin, a little more liquid if the the sauce is too thick.  Totally adjustable!!  Add more Sriracha sauce to taste if desired.

 

Arrange the chicken pieces on a plate or serving tray with rice.  Cover with the sauce.  Garnish with cilantro and serve!

Yummy!

 

The really good news is that Ultra Gel® thickened sauces refrigerate and freeze beautifully, providing a good meal for another day.  It certainly makes it worth making a double batch for a future night off!!

 

There are some people who, looking at our fridge, think we get a little territorial about these "plan ahead" meals.  I'm not sure exactly how they get this idea!  But when you're competing with two other desk-jockeys for future lunches, everything is fair!

Quick, easy, and delicious!  Plan to try it soon!!

Southwest Chicken Soup- Don't Cook your Chicken to Death!

Here is a low-cal any-weather soup that is so satisfying you will make it again and again. I think it has just the right amount of heat--even my most wary family members eat it with gusto (and corn chips) and the more adventurous add a little cayenne. And although it looks like it has alot of ingredients, in truth it is a "dump" recipe--where full cans of ingredients are used. Don't you hate recipes that call for odd amounts of canned ingredients, leaving you with bits and pieces in your refrigerator which often are wasted? This recipe seems big, but it goes to work nicely for lunch, or even freezes for a quick meal on a future day.

Nutrition

Calories

5578 cal

Fat

290 g

Carbs

467 g

Protein

67 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info
Southwest Chicken Soup- Don’t Cook your Chicken to Death!
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Ingredients

  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 lb. chicken breast cut in 1" cubes
  • 1 T. chile powder
  • 1 1/2 t. ancho chile pepper
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 1/2 c. green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 c. onion, diced
  • 4 t. minced garlic
  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper
  • 1-10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel is good)
  • 2-15 oz cans black beans, drained
  • 1-15 oz can corn, drained
  • 1-15 oz can tomatoes, diced
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. Ultra Gel®

Instructions

  • Heat the oil to shimmering in a heavy dutch oven. Add the chicken and brown on all sides on a medium high heat, then continue to cook until no pink remains. Remove the chicken pieces to a bowl and reserve.
  • Add the chile powder, the ancho chile pepper, and the cumin to the pan and stir while continuing to heat until the seasonings are fragrant.
  • Add the green pepper, onion, garlic and black pepper to the seasonings and stir until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained beans and corn, the diced tomatoes and the chicken broth and stir to combine. Then add the Ultra Gel® gradually while stirring with a wire whisk.
  • Bring the ingredients to a boil, then add the browned chicken pieces back to the soup and serve.
  • Corn chips are a nice accompaniment, and cheese, tomato, and sour cream are welcome garnishes.
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First, cut the chicken into cubes.  You may need to trim it a little but this isn't hard work.  Just a hint:  If you get jumbo breasts (the kind that are usually on sale for the best price), each lobe of the chicken breast will be roughly one pound.   Hate cutting up chicken breasts?  Just cut straight through into about 1 inch slices, then turn them on their sides and cut again if needed.  Really--it's fast. . .

 

Heat the oil, then add the chicken pieces and stir  while cooking untill all pieces are cooked all the way through and no pink remains.  Then remove the chicken pieces to a covered bowl for later use.

And here is where I get on my soapbox and preach the virtues of not overcooking chicken!!  The old days of killing the tough old red rooster and cooking it all day for chicken soup are gone.  The chicken most commonly available in supermarkets comes from chickens that are between 6 and 8 weeks old.  The breast is tender and easily overcooked.  Think of an expensive pieces of tender beef steak--would you cook it for hours on end and expect a tender, juicy product?  When cooking chicken, cook to a safe temperature (165 degrees), then serve for juicy, flavorful meat. (As a disclaimer, I like dark meat cooked to 170 degrees).

Add the chile powder, chile pepper, and black pepper to the pan.  Don't wash the pan first--those flavorful chicken bits will add flavor!  Heat until the chiles are fragrant.  

 

Just a note on chile pepper vs chile powder--don't get these confused!!  In the US, chile powder is a combination of dried, ground chile peppers with paprika, onion, and other flavorings.  It is quite mild and recipes frequently use substantial amounts.  Chile pepper will have only the dried peppers.  There are many different chile peppers with different flavor profiles--you may want to have several.  The secret is to check the ingredient statement before purchasing a powdered chile product to get an idea of how potent it is.

Add the green pepper, onion, garlic, and black pepper to chile seasonings in the pan and stir over medium high heat until the vegetables lose their crispness.  Add an extra tablespoon of oil if the mixture is too dry.

Add all of the canned goods to the vegetables, then add the chicken broth.  Stir in the Ultra Gel® with a wire whisk and heat the soup to boiling.

Add the chicken back to the boiling soup and cook for 2 or three minutes to heat the ingredients evenly and blend the flavors.

Rich and delicious!  The Ultra Gel® gives the soup some body--The vegetables and meat don't sink to the bottom.  Perfect quick meal for a chilly day--or any day!

Incidentally, you can make this soup even faster by using pre-prepped chicken (see World's Best Meal Prep Chicken https://carnetfoods.com/?p=1175 ).  A package of frozen, pre-prepped chicken can be microwaved for about a minute, then added to the soup at the last step.  Best ever!!

World's Best Meal Prep Chicken Breast!

Chicken breast--my son describes it as "A blank canvas".  No matter what your cultural background is, chicken probably plays a prominent culinary role.  Boneless, skinless chicken breast is enjoying unprecedented favor for its low-fat, high-quality protein at a very reasonable price.  Chickens have been bred to meet the public's demand for large, meaty breasts and the efficiencies in the chicken raising business mean chickens can go from egg to slaughter in as little as six weeks, resulting in record low prices.

Consumer demand has also led to new techniques in chicken raising--from Organic, to No Antibiotics Ever (either veg fed or standard), to Cage Free to standard.  Regardless of your personal leanings toward chicken husbandry, at some point the goal becomes preparing the chicken for consumption.

In my busy CPA and mom world, the goal is for dinner to be on the table in thirty minutes.  Sometimes that means cutting a corner here or there (like every day . . ).  The biggest time-saver for me is to prepare protein items ahead and freeze for those busy nights (which seem to be about every night!!)  If you have high-quality cooked chicken breast in the freezer, the opportunities for quick meals are endless!

Too many of us have been disappointed by dry, freezer-burned chicken breast.  It doesn't have to be that way, and I'm excited to share what I think is the very best and easiest method of taking advantage of good buys on chicken breast to make your life easier.

.

World’s Best Meal Prep Chicken Breast!
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Ingredients

  • 10 lb high-quality boneless, skinless chicken breast without added salt and water
  • 2 t. seasoning salt (or combination of salt, pepper, onion power, and garlic powder)
  • 1 large (turkey size) roasting bag
  • Aluminum half-sheet pan or large roasting pan
  • 5 T. Ultra Gel®

Instructions

  • Position the roasting bag on the sheet/roaster pan and add the chicken breast pieces. Ten pounds will fit on one layer. I have been known to do twenty pounds at a time (two layers) and it can be done in the large roaster bag, but make sure you have a pan with high sides, so the liquid in the bag is supported.
  • Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the seasoning salt or other seasonings.
  • Close the bag with the provided tie
  • Cllp a few holes in the top of the bag per the manufacturers' direction
  • Roast at 250 degrees until the temperature reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part of the largest breast piece. DON'T OVERCOOK IF YOU WANT MOIST CHICKEN!
  • Allow the chicken to rest in the juices, without opening the bag for one hour. Pour the accumulated juices into a heat-proof container (a 4 cup measuring cup works great).
  • Measure 2 1/2 cups of the juices, then stir in 5 T. Ultra Gel®. The juices will thicken slightly.
  • Remove the chicken from the roasting bag to a cutting board and cut into cubes or slices, using a sharp knife. Collect in a large bowl.
  • Pour the thickened chicken broth over the chicken pieces, tossing gently to avoid breaking the chicken pieces.
  • Package in ten bags. Each will have the equivalent of 1 lb of raw chicken. I like to use zipper-seal sandwich bags for portion control and gallon size freezer bags for protection. Each gallon bag will fit 4 sandwich bags.
  • Allow each gallon bag to freeze before stacking to ensure quick and safe freezing.
  • When ready to use, start with one minute at full power in the microwave. Add an additional minute if the product needs more thawing--each microwave will be different.
  • If you're adding the chicken to a soup, stew, casserole, etc, wait until close to the end of the cooking time to keep those beautiful pieces of chicken intact!
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So first--start with high-quality chicken breast.  The first thing to look at is the ingredient list.  Some chicken has a salt and water brine added to it, theoretically for extra moistness.  Few of us need extra salt, though, and the consumer ends up paying chicken prices for up to 15% added water.  Just don't do it!  Watch for quality brands to go on sale and watch for a label designation of "No Added Salt".   It really isn't any more expensive!

Good quality breast meat shouldn't have a lot of fat on it.  The little bit it has can be left on and trimmed off after cooking if it is objectional.

Place the breast pieces in a large turkey roasting bag.  Season with seasoning salt or your own combination of salt, onion, and garlic.  Paprika adds some nice color.

 

A meat thermometer is essential to cooking high-quality protein. You can get instant-read thermometers for as little as $6-7. The one displayed has a probe with a wire that connects to the monitor read-out. Its easy to watch, and some even have wireless so you can check them on an app. Makes watching tv in the other room much more do-able! Remember that the temperature on the chicken will continue to increase after it is removed from the oven, so don't hesitate to take it out at 163 or 164 degrees.  I usually plan about 1 3/4 hours for roasting.

 

After removing the cooked chicken  from the oven, let it rest in the juices for about an hour without opening the bag.  then carefully pour the juices off .  They will still be hot, so be careful.  If you just clip off the corner of the cooking bag, it is fairly easy to control the juice as you pour it off.

 

Remove the cooked chicken breasts to a cutting board to slice or dice.  The objective is to try to retain as much of the internal moisture as possible.  The cooking bag limits the moisture loss due to evaporation and also makes cleanup a breeze!!

 

Chicken can be sliced or diced to be used at your convenience.  (Click on any photo to see a carousel of images)

In order to keep the chicken moist and protect it from freezer burn, the juices that cooked out will be added back to the chicken.  Adding 2 T. Ultra Gel® to each cup of the collected chicken drippings will add just enough thickness to allow it to adhere to the diced chicken, providing extra flavor, moisture, and protection.  Stir it in gradually and let stand a few minutes to thicken.

 

Pour the thickened chicken broth over the diced/sliced chicken. You may not want to use all of the thickened juices--Start with half, then see how much the chicken absorbs.

Toss the chicken gently with the liquid. Remember, you're just adding back the juices that cooked out. If you were starting from raw chicken, these juices would be a part of your finished product!

Moist and juicy chicken!!

 

 

Divide the chicken into ten bags (or one bag for each pound of raw chicken you started with).  Most recipes call for a multiple of one pound of raw boneless, skinless chicken breast, so if you start with ten pounds of chicken and divide the finished product into ten bags, each bag will be the equivalent of one pound of raw chicken. Make sense?

I use sandwich bags for portion control--Gallon freezer bags for protection. They are flat and stack nicely after freezing.  Each bag will have about 2 cups of cooked chicken.

Here's an easy idea--prepare a boxed Fettucini Alfredo, add a package of chicken chunks and some bacon for garnish.  Thirty minute wonder at our house!  Nice, meaty chunks of chicken give extra crowd appeal!

 

Lots more great recipes using Meal Prep chicken coming--stay posted!

Easy Chicken or Pork Stir Fry

A stir-fry is one of the easiest dishes to prepare ahead for a quick trip to the finish line.  All of the washing, peeling, and dicing can be done ahead and the prepped ingredients refrigerated, ready to be quickly cooked when the time is right.

There are four main pieces of most stir fry dishes:  The meat, the firm veggies, the soft veggies, and the sauce.  See the printable recipe here:

Nutrition

Calories

3963 cal

Fat

187 g

Carbs

305 g

Protein

193 g

Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Easy Chicken or Pork Stir Fry
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast or pork loin, cut in 1” cubes
  • 2 T. soy sauce (if you want gluten-free, check the ingredients in the soy sauce)
  • 2 T. ULTRA GEL®
  • 2 t. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 t. red chile pepper flakes
  • 1 T garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 c. chicken broth
  • 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 4 t. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 t. sugar
  • 4 T. Ultra Gel
  • 1 lb firm vegetables (broccoli, carrots, celery, etc)
  • 1 lb soft vegetables (mushrooms, onion, summer squash, etc)
  • ¼ c. vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Add soy sauce, 2 T. Ultra Gel, ginger, red chile flakes, and minced garlic to meat and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  • Combine chicken broth, 1/3 c. soy sauce, water, sesame oil, and sugar and mix well. Add Ultra Gel gradually while stirring with a wire whisk or fork. Set aside.
  • Pour 2 T. vegetable oil into a large wok or frying pan. Heat on a high heat until shimmering, then add the meat. Stir meat regularly until it is no longer pink in the center. Remove meat from pan and reserve.
  • Add another 2 T. oil to the pan and heat. Add the firm vegetables and stir fry until crisp-tender. Don’t hesitate to cover with a lid occasionally for more even cooking. Remove the firm vegetables and reserve.
  • Heat the pan until hot again and add the tender vegetables. Stir fry them only about 1 minute. Return all the vegetables and meat to the pan and toss with the sauce (which should be thick) until heated through. Serve with prepared rice..

Tags

Allergy
dairy free
egg free
seafood free
treenut free
mustard free

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https://carnetfoods.com/easy-chicken-or-pork-stir-fry/

For our Americanized stir fries, the meat is often boneless chicken or pork--easy to prepare for use--just cut the raw meat in 1" cubes.

The firm vegetables are the ones that "crunch" if you take a bite such as broccoli, carrots, celery, and bok choy.

The soft vegetables are usually very moist and include mushrooms, summer squash (ie zucchini), and small pieces of Asian cabbage.  I see onions going either way, according to whether you like them soft or crunchy.  If you like them soft, put them with the firm veggies.  If you like them crunchy, put them with the soft veggies.

There are many different sauces--I'm including a very basic sauce but feel free to get creative!

Start with the meat.  Add the Ultra Gel, soy sauce, ginger, red chile flakes and minced garlic to the meat and mix.   The soy sauce will add a bit of salt, which will be absorbed into the meat, not only adding flavor, but also helping keep the protein moist.  The Ultra Gel will also help keep the moisture in the meat, and will help it brown nicely.  The ginger, chile flakes, and garlic will infuse the protein with the great flavors we expect in a good stir fry.  But they need a little time to work, so prepare the protein element first and let the meat absorb the flavors while you prepare the other items.

Next, prepare the sauce by adding the chicken broth, 1/3 c. soy sauce, water, and sesame oil.  Stir in the Ultra Gel with a fork or wire whip and set aside.  The Ultra Gel will thicken the sauce--no cooking necessary!

Then prepare the vegetables by chopping into bite-sized pieces.   Keep the firm veggies separate from the soft veggies as they will be cooked separately.

 

Don't discard the broccoli stems--if a knife will pierce stem pieces easily, they are totally usable.  Pull the skin off if it is tough, then julienne the stem pieces and add to the other firm vegetables.

To cook the meal, start with a heavy frypan or wok.  Add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat at a medium high heat until shimmering, then add the meat all at once and stir regularly while cooking until no pink remains.  The meat will taste better if some browning is allowed to occur, so don't stir constantly--just regularly.  When done, remove it to a bowl.

Add additional oil to the pan if necessary and heat again to shimmering and add the firm vegetables.  Cook them until tender, stirring regularly.  Add a lid for a few minutes if you wish to help the firm veggies cook more evenly, but for best color, make a lid infrequent and short-lived!  The veggies should not be accumulating juices!!  When the firm veggies are cooked to your liking, remove them from the pan. If more oil is necessary, add a little more and again heat to shimmering.

Add the soft veggies and cook quickly (only thirty seconds or so)-just enough for them to get a little searing on them.  Remove the soft veggies from the pan.

Heat the pan back to a high heat, then add the reserved protein, crisp veggies, and soft veggies in that order to make sure everything is hot.  Drizzle the sauce over and stir lightly, then serve immediately with rice.  Yum!!

Orange Chicken - Quick and Easy

Here's a quick and easy orange chicken recipe that makes your kitchen smell like heaven!  You might want to start the rice before you start the recipe so they'll both be ready to serve at the same time.

Nutrition

Calories

3009 cal

Fat

80 g

Carbs

166 g

Protein

268 g

Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

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Ingredients

  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 t. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 t. garlic, minced (or used
  • 1-2 T. chile paste (ie Sambal Oelek) One T will give a touch of heat--2 will give more pronounced heat!
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 c soy sauce (watch ingredient list for gluten-free)
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 6 oz sweet orange marmalade
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 4 T. Ultra Gel® (or as needed)
  • Whole orange slices for garnish if desired

Instructions

  • Add the oil to a heavy frypan, tip to distribute, and heat to shimmering.
  • Add chicken thigh pieces and brown on both sides on a medium heat, leaving plenty of room between chicken pieces. Work in batches if necessary.
  • Remove chicken pieces to a plate. They will not be fully cooked at this point.
  • Don't wash the pan--the crusty bits from browning the chicken will add flavor.
  • Add ginger and garlic to the fry pan and cook until fragrant and softened.
  • Add chile sauce, salt, soy sauce, orange juice, chicken broth, marmalade, and brown sugar. Cook and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed and brown sugar has liquified.
  • Add chicken thighs back to the frying pan with the sauce, add a lid, and cook until thighs reach at least 165 degrees. Turn the thigh pieces after ten minutes to allow the flavors to permeate both sides.This will only take about 15 minutes, as they have already been partially cooked.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan to a serving plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Thicken the sauce by gradually stirring in the Ultra Gel®. Adjust to your desired thickness by adding additional Ultra Gel® for more thickness or more chicken broth or water to thin.
  • Pour the sauce over the meat on the serving plate.
  • Freeze any extras for future no-fuss meals!
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https://carnetfoods.com/orange-chicken-quick-and-easy/

Here are a few hints--This recipe doesn't start with a lot of oil.  The dark meat will contribute more.  You might want to trim the meat a little if there are large globs of fat, but thigh is a fatty cut, which helps keep it moist.  Much of the fat will melt into the meat as it's cooked.  Don't worry if the meat seems like it might stick--if you're using a good, heavy pan and a medium heat, the meat will release from the pan as it develops a "crust".

Turn to brown both sides as the color develops.  The browning process adds flavor by a chemical reaction between the amino acids and the sugars in the meat that most people find very pleasant!  Make sure the chicken pieces are not crowded--work in batches if necessary.

 

Remove the browned chicken to a plate.  Don't wash the pan first--those little crusty bits from the browning add extra flavor!  But if there is more than about 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan, feel free to pour it off.  Heat the pan to medium heat and add the fresh ginger and the garlic and stir until fragrant.  Then add the chile paste, salt, soy sauce, orange juice, chicken broth, orange marmalade, and brown sugar to the pan and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved.

Add back the chicken pieces and cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer until the chicken pieces are done all the way through (165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), turning once to flavor and color both sides.  This will not take long, as the chicken will be most of the way cooked in the browning process.  Don't cook it to death!!

Remove the chicken pieces to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.  Meanwhile, thicken those lovely juices!  Here's the magic--The simmering process can leave different amounts of liquid depending on how hot the heating unit is, the amount of time the heat is applied, and the thickness of the pan and lid (more evaporation will occur if the pan and lid are not as heavy).  This can create a problem when thickening with traditional cornstarch, as it is highly dependent on the amount of liquid to starch.  But Ultra Gel® used as a thickener is very flexible.  Add it gradually while stirring, one tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is the desired thickness.  Be sure to wait about a minute between additions to give the Ultra Gel® a chance to fully thicken.  Pour the thickened sauce over the chicken pieces on the serving platter serve, spooning sauce portions over the meat and rice.  Queue for applause.  .

I've been asked if boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces can be used and the answer is an enthusiastic Yes!  Thighs are by nature more forgiving for long cooking and naturally more juicy, but chicken breasts can be impressive, too.  Just remember not to cook too long.  Chicken breasts are at their most juicy and flavorful at about 160 degrees (internal temperature).  Long cooking just makes them tough and dry.