Sometimes my adventures in the kitchen can be a little comical. Picture if you will, a small boxy kitchen, and in it, a ferret on crack determined to turn basic ingredients into something not only edible, but also tasty and attractive. Sometimes, I end up destroying my kitchen and leaving covered in half of the ingredients I was trying to create a meal with as well as several burns, a few cuts and maybe a bruise or two. Some other times though, I am able to keep everything neat and pain free. Tonight however....let's just say I am lucky I lived to tell the tale.
My husband had run to the store leaving me alone with the baby and a mission to create something that would be similar to something found at Panda Express or some other 'walk-in and get-it' Asian cuisine joint (yes folks, it is consider fast food!). So I popped in a Disney flick (we are a Disney family through and through) and hoped that would work it's magic on our 15 month old while I set to work in our tiny kitchen.
Yeah, right. As soon as I started getting the ingredients together disaster happened. He followed me in, knocking the magnets off the fridge. Ok Mom, stop prepping, pick magnets up so you won't trip over them, slide baby out of kitchen since you can't pickup anything over 10 lbs still, and get back to it. A minute later, I feel a tug on my pants. I look down, and there's Baby. "Hi" I say, and he waves in his cute little way. Scoot baby out again, this time I grab a pre-dinner baby snack and sit him in his chair in front of the big flashy TV.
Things are going well...sort of. I spilled the marmalade all over the counter and my hand which lead to a tasty if not sticky clean up. Then, just as I am putting the diced onions back in the fridge the baby makes another appearance in the kitchen, this time reaching for anything he can reach inside the fridge. "Ah!" was about the only word I could get out before the red onions decided to dive out of the fridge, landing lid down. What happened when I picked them up? Of course the lid stayed on the ground, the container stayed in my hand and red onions went all over my nice clean floor.
Any parent can guess what happened next....
The baby dove for the onions, and since I was trying frantically to scoop them up and toss them in the sink he decided it would be fun to smoosh them into the floor and eat whatever he could get into his mouth before I could stop him.
By this point I am silently cursing my husband for not buying a baby gate during his last Target trip. I manage to get the onions off the floor, the baby out of the kitchen and the dinner in the oven. Woo...ok, at least I haven't cut burned or bruised myself. And the only ingredient spilled was the marmalade and onions....as far as I knew I didn't have anything on my face or in my hair so I was actually in pretty good shape.
Never, and I mean NEVER count your chickens before they're hatched.
Making the "fried" Quinoa for this dish meant dicing a clove of garlic. Me and sharp objects have an interesting history. So somehow while I had one eye pointed on the baby, and the other on the garlic, I managed to slice my finger. Ouch. Not too bad, I've had worse. Of course, there I go, counting chickens again. I burned my finger trying to move the pot. Again, not so bad. There was one Thanksgiving where I burned myself 14 times. I mean, I didn't hurt myself anymore....but I did leave my kitchen covered in flour. Not my kitchen covered....me covered.
How? I was trying to clean things up and thought the bag of flour was sealed. As I was trying to put it into the cabinet, the bag came unsealed and dumped about a cup of flour on my head, clothes and counter.
If it was only Halloween, I would already have my costume on.
At least dinner was to die for. No need to worry about a pesky orange chicken craving anymore. And I would like to thank my Aunt Gael for the inspiration for this recipe....she suggested a recipe for apricot chicken, but since my husband doesn't fancy apricots, I went for orange chicken instead. The kids weren't here tonight, so I only made enough for two people.
Consider this a lower fat version of the Orange Peel Chicken you could find at a fast food joint. It's baked instead of breaded and fried, and there is no MSG.
Orange Peel Chicken
4 organic chicken breast tenders
1 cup marmalade jelly or jam
1 tsp crushed chili pepper flakes (add more if you like it spicier!)
1) pre-heat oven according to the directions on the oven bag you purchase. 2) cut chicken into bite size pieces. 3) if oven bag instructs you to flour the inside of bag, do so, then place chicken pieces inside bag. 4) in small bowl, stir together marmalade, chili peppers and salt/pepper to taste. 5) spoon marmalade mix over chicken until chicken is completely covered. 6) bake according to directions on oven bag. Lightly sprinkle with sesame seeds prior to serving, as to your personal preference.
Normally, I eat fried rice when I go out for some Panda. Instead of frying up some fattening goodness, I took some diced red onion, a diced clove of garlic and sauteed them together in some Smart Butter. I then boiled water and prepared some Quinoa according to the package directions. The result: a yummy tasting substitute for fried rice. Next time, I will add some diced veggies and a little cooked egg for a real fried rice dish!
I also made some edamame to go along with our Asian cuisine theme. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out!
The family reviews:
Dad: "Just as good as going to a restaurant." (Wow! I got more out of him then just 'delicious!' a good sign indeed!)
Baby: other than getting covered in his Quinoa, he ate every bite, asking nicely for 'milk please' in baby sign when he finished and making the sign for 'done'.
A successful meal. Next time we have an Asian food night, I think we will have to try one of my favorites, broccoli beef!