This is a recipe that I’ve been making for years. It’s simple, and quick, and perfect for a crazy weeknight. Plus, anytime I make a lighter version of a traditional recipe and it manages to hold on to some of the integrity of the original, I’m a happy girl. Come to think of it, this may have a little more integrity than the original, if the original you’re thinking of is the day-glo red/orange stuff they serve at fast food Chinese restaurants. How do you make a sauce that color? I mean, really. There’s something about that sauce that kind of creeps me out.
The recipe is from one of my favorite Weight Watchers cookbooks, called Take Out Tonight. It’s full of restaurant favorites that have been lightened up, but still taste great. If you’re looking to make things a little lighter in the kitchen, I highly suggest grabbing a copy.
The biggest change in this dish from the original would be that the chicken is stir fried, not breaded and deep fried. That alone knocks out a kazillion calories. The chicken is stir fried with some crisp green peppers, pineapple, and a delicious sweet and sour sauce, that isn’t a terrifying shade of creepy.
I start by whisking together the sauce ingredients. Into my bowl went some rice vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, water and a bit of cornstarch.
See? It’s not glowing.
Next, I sliced a pound of chicken breasts into chunks and tossed them with a bit of cornstarch. I then chunked up a green pepper, drained a can of pineapple chunks, and minced some garlic and fresh ginger.
Before long, I was ready to start.
First, I heated just a bit of oil in a large saucepan. Once it was hot, I added my chicken and stir fried it for about 3 minutes, until it was just about cooked through. Then, I added in my ginger and garlic, followed by the green pepper and pineapple.
After about two more minutes, I added in the sauce.
I stirred the mixture for a couple of minutes as the sauce thickened up and then, it was done!
I’ve also made this using pork tenderloin, instead of chicken, and it’s delicious too. You could also substitute shrimp if you really wanted to change it up.
In less time than it takes to order Chinese take out and have it delivered, you can have this better-for-you version on the table. The only downside? You’ll have to purchase your own fortune cookies.
LIGHTENED UP SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN
Adapted from Take Out Tonight
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp. ketchup
- 2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 Tbsp. minced, peeled fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 (8 oz.) can pineapple chunks, in juice, drained
- rice, cooked, for serving
- In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with 1 Tbsp. of the cornstarch. Toss well to coat, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining cornstarch, water, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce. Set aside.
- Heat a nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, swirl in the oil, and then add the chicken.
- Stir-fry until almost cooked through, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the green pepper and drained pineapple, stir-fry until crisp tender, about 3 more minutes.
- Add the vinegar sauce, stir to coat, and stir until the mixture boils and thickens, and the chicken is cooked through, 1-2 minutes.
- Serve over cooked rice.