Summertime is finally here. Filled with so much activity squeezed into a small time frame that there just isn't much time or energy left for anything else. This is the time of year when my family eats out the most. Not only are we tired but we are also trying to enjoy the new summer weather by spending as much time outdoors fishing and swimming!
As soon as I begin to think about heading indoors to start cooking dinner a fast food craving magically appears. Funny how that happens huh? In an effort to start out the summer in a healthier state of body and mind, I have a lineup of super easy and fresh dinners on the menu. If I know that I can cook something that will satisfy my craving in less time than it takes to pull fishing poles out of the kid's hands and drive to the nearest drive thru, chances are I'll stay home and cook! This method of thinking has so far led us down a road of great success, and today is our last day of school! We made it to summer vacation and are feeling healthy and energized from all of this healthy home cooking! So far our favorite "take out knockoff" is this Sticky Orange Ginger Chicken with a Crispy Sesame Noodle Topping. I absolutely hate to love that sweet goopy chicken from our local Chinese takeout restaurant; you know the one with a few veggies tossed in and all of those fried noodles on top? Yeah that's the good stuff I was after when I came up with this recipe. A light egg white and cornstarch coating for the chicken insures that the sweet orange ginger sauce clings to every bite while lowering the calories usually provided by heavily flour coated and fried chicken found in the restaurant version. I also threw in a ridiculous amount of vegetables, because it allows me to eat a big ole' bowl with less guilt.
While it can seem a daunting task to come up with a great replacement for that crispy fried noodle topping, it was actually quite simple! A block of Ramen noodles crushed up and toasted with heart healthy almonds and sesame seeds provides the savory and crunchy bite to offset the sweet sauce and tender vegetables. Use as much or as little as you need to get that satisfying flavor and texture.
To save time prepare the vegetables in the morning and dinner will take 20 minutes to prepare! Peel, chop, and slice your favorite mixture of veggies and throw them all into a big bowl until you're ready to cook! For this dish I used broccoli, baby carrots, bell peppers in every color, and onion but you could easily replace or leave out any vegetable that you'd like to suit your tastes. Using Litehouse's Instantly Fresh Ginger and Garlic in the sauce saves time from having to peel and mince fresh ingredients, but you still get that fresh flavor. Don't let dinner time cramp your pre summer style during these hectic end of school days. Prepare ahead, keep it simple, keep it delicious, and enjoy the healthier new you all summer long!