Monday, May 18, 2009

General Tso's Chicken and Roasted Asparagus
Tonight, I made two of our favorite things for dinner...General Tso's Chicken and roasted asparagus. This isn't the General Tso's chicken that you know and love from your local Chinese buffet, though. You see, a little over a year ago, I started making a conscious decision to lose some weight. A year later, I've lost about 20 pounds, and I've learned some ways to enjoy the foods I've always loved, just in a little healthier way. Real General Tso's chicken is deep fried and covered in a spicy-sweet sauce. Let's take a look at how we'll give him a healthier twist. You'll need some chicken breasts that have been diced into bite-sized pieces:
You'll also need some green onions and some minced garlic:

And yes, I used all that onion and garlic in this recipe. We like onions and garlic! They make everything better! (I used to use cheese that way...lots of cheese makes everything better. But garlic and onions are healthier!)
For the sauce, you'll need a few simple ingredients:

cornstarch, ground ginger, chicken stock, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, and sugar substitute (if that freaks you out, please feel free to use regular sugar. I do not fear the sugar substitute. Not even the dreaded Sweet 'N Low.)
Next, you'll mix all that stuff up into what's called a "slurry" I think. It'll look like this:

It looks a little like peanut butter, huh? Doesn't taste anything like it, though.
After you've sauted your onions, garlic, and cooked your chicken, you pour in the slurry and mix it. Since it's got that cornstarch in it, it's gonna thicken up pretty good. And it should look like this:

Mmmm! Spoon that over some cooked brown rice, and you've got some healthy Chinese deliciousness! Now, let's move on to the best part of the meal...the asparagus.
Check that out. Beautiful, huh? And it came straight out of Mama's garden (it's pronouned Mamaw, but no one spells it like that). She says the secret is planting male asparagus. I didn't know asparagus could be male or female, but I know I love the end result! Fresh asparagus is the best part of spring. I think David and I could each eat our weight in it every night! To get lovely, delicious roasted asparagus, just drizzle the asparagus spears in some olive oil and toss it around to coat it. I also sprinkle on some Greek seasoning, because that stuff is good on anything. Then, roast it in a 425-degree oven, until it's a tiny bit crispy, and you're ready for some good eatin'! Make sure you sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan over it, too.
Doesn't that look absolutely fabulous? Even though the flavors are a little disjointed together (Chinese with Greek-seasoned asparagus?), it's a great, easy, healthy weeknight meal.
General Tso's Healthy Chicken
recipe found at
For the sauce:
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. sugar substitute
2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.
For the Chicken:
6 green onions, chopped (use the white and green parts)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups cooked brown rice
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions, garlic, and pepper and cook 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes.
Add the reserved sauce and simmer until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about three minutes. Serve chicken and sauce over rice.

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