Mandarin Orange Chicken

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Finally a bit of a lighter meal.  See I told you I eat more than ribeye steaks. I made this dish with boneless skinless thighs but you could easily make this with breast if you wanted to go with white meat but honestly the thigh meat is the best part of the chicken.  Thighs have a lot of flavor and stay nice a juicy.  They are a bit more forgiving so you can over cook them a little and they don’t dry out like breast meat does.

I have tried this with different types of rice with this dish, white, brown, wild, jasmine, Basamati, and have not found one that doesn’t work with this chicken dish so use whichever is your favorite just make sure that it will suit your taste mixed with the orange sauce.  The one time I did it with jasmine rice I liked the combination of the citrus from the orange and floral notes from the rice, however the wife didn’t really like the combination so it is really up to your personal taste.

My favorite thing about this recipe is it does not take long at all to make so it can be a quick week night dinner. It literally takes maybe 25 minutes from prep to table.  You can seriously make this in less time than it take to cook a frozen pizza, and have a better tasting and better for you dinner.

Arrange the oven rack to the center position and pre heat your oven to 425. Place 1 lb boneless skinless thighs in a baking dish and pat dry both sides with paper towel. And of course the step that I always harp on, SEASON they chicken. I know this is going to have a sauce on it but please please please salt and pepper the thighs. Salt and pepper will just enhance the chicken flavor.  Then a light drizzle of olive oil over the top. Place the baking dish in the oven on the center rack and cook for 20 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 165. When chicken is done remove from oven and loosely wrap in foil to rest for 5 minutes.

The rice all depends on what type of rice you are making as to when to start it. When I make this it is usually after I get home from work around 7:30 pm and take care of all of our animals so I use rice that you boil in a bag and it only takes about 10 minutes once the water boils so I start the water right after I put the chicken in the oven.

While the chicken is resting it is time to make the sauce. In a bowl add 1/3 cup sugar (or a granular sweetener like Splenda if you don’t want sugar), with 2 tablespoons of corn starch whisk  together to blend.

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Once that is combined in the same bowl whisk in 1 cup of orange juice. Transfer this mixture to a medium sauce pan over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Take a 11 oz can of mandarin orange slices and drain the liquid. Once the sauce mixture has thickened remove from heat and add the orange slices, 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, 1 teaspoon dried minced onions, and 1 teaspoon dried parsley.  Make sure you take notice that I removed the sauce pan from the heat before adding the orange slices, you want to warm them not cook them.

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By the time your sauce is done the chicken should be fully rested and ready to plate. Lay down a bed of rice and place chicken on the rice and generously top the orange sauce.

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I like to have either a nice spring salad mix or fresh green beans with this.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 cup orange juice

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

11 oz can Mandarin oranges (drained)

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

1 teaspoon dried minced onions

1 teaspoon dried parsley

STEPS:

prepare your rice as per rice directions

1 preheat oven to 475

2 pat dry and season with salt and pepper thighs arrange in baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.

3 place baking dish on middle rack in the oven cook for 20 minutes or until internal temp of 165.

4 remove from oven and loosely wrap in foil to rest

5 combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

6 add orange juice to dry mixture and whisk well

7  pour sauce mixture into medium sauce pan over medium heat stirring constantly until sauce thickens

8 remove sauce pan from heat stir in oranges, almonds, onion and parsley

9 plate chicken over a bed of rice and top with sauce.

 

 

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