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Recipe Rescue: Orange Chicken

We Americans like to put our own spin on most international dishes, and orange chicken is no exception! Pile fried chicken pieces on top of fried rice and cover it all in a sticky sweet sauce and you've got a meal that's far from healthy. Can we rescue this restaurant favorite? (Scroll to the bottom of the post for a printable PDF version of the recipe!)

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Typical Orange Chicken Restaurant Dish:
  • Fried rice
  • Fried dark meat chicken
  • Sweet orange sauce

        Changes Made:

            • Fried rice: Decreased portion and switched to whole grain brown rice (more fiber and nutrients, less fat and calories)
            • Fried dark meat chicken: Switched to leaner chicken breast, "faux" fried for crispy texture with less fat
            • Sweet orange sauce: Used reduced-sodium ingredients, less orange juice and more orange zest to cut down sugar
            • Added steamed broccoli for more nutrients and to decrease calories for each portion

                  Nutrition Facts Face-Off!

                  Image removed.

                  Yum-Yum Orange Chicken and Broccoli (Printable PDF Version)

                  Serves 4



                  • 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
                  • ¾ cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
                  • Nonstick spray

                  Orange Sauce

                  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
                  • 2 cloves minced garlic (about ½ tablespoon)
                  • 1/3 cup orange juice
                  • Zest of one orange, divided
                  • ¼ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
                  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
                  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
                  • 1 tablespoon cooking sherry
                  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
                  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
                  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
                  • ¼ cup water plus more as needed
                  • Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper (optional)


                  • Sliced green onions/scallions
                  • Sesame seeds
                  • Orange zest

                  Serve with:

                  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (about 1/2 cup per person)
                  • 3 cups steamed broccoli (about 3/4 cup per person)



                  To make chicken:

                  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
                  2. Measure bread crumbs into gallon-sized plastic bag.
                  3. Add chicken pieces to the plastic bag and seal shut; toss chicken in breadcrumbs until coated.
                  4. Spread coated chicken pieces onto cookie sheet in one layer.
                  5. Bake until chicken is golden brown.

                  To make sauce:

                  1. Heat sesame oil in a skillet. Add minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
                  2. Add orange juice, ½ orange zest, broth, soy sauce, sherry, rice vinegar, sugar, and ginger.
                  3. Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cold water to make a slurry, then stir into sauce. Mix in additional water until sauce has reached desired thickness.
                  4. Toss cooked chicken and broccoli in sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper if desired.

                  To serve:

                  Portion out brown rice among 4 bowls or plates. Serve chicken and broccoli mixture over rice, dividing evenly among the 4 dishes. Garnish each with sliced scallions, sesame seeds, and remaining orange zest.


                  Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup rice, 1/4 of orange and broccoli mixture): Calories 450, Total Fat 8g (Saturated 1.5g), Cholesterol 90mg, Sodium 840mg, Total Carbohydrate 52g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 36g, Vitamin A 2% DV, Vitamin C 140% DV, Calcium 8% DV, Iron 10% DV

                  Today's post was written by Leia Kedem. Leia Kedem, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator covering Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion Counties. She appears weekly on WCIA-3/WCIX-49 and is a biweekly contributor to the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. She also maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts where she regularly posts health tips and answers nutrition questions for free.