Panda Express Orange Chicken

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One of my go-to meals on the craziest of the crazy nights is the orange chicken from the freezer section of Trader Joes.   It takes just 10 minutes to whip together and my kids gobble it up like it's candy.    It was with this in mind when I found this knock-off recipe for Panda Express' Orange Chicken in a church cookbook, that it was one of the first ones I bookmarked to try.  The box of frozen popcorn chicken was a bit of pain to find, so the second time I made it I just used regular cooked and diced boneless skinless chicken breasts instead.   The kids devoured both versions no problem and were asking within the week when I would make it again.   This one's definitely staying on the keeper list!

this version was made with the frozen popcorn chicken as listed in the recipe

Click here for printable recipe. 
The ingredients:

2 packages (12-oz. each) frozen, precooked popcorn chicken (or cooked and diced chicken breasts)
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. minced ginger root
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 Tbs. rice wine (I omitted this)
3/4 cup water
1-1/2 tsp. sesame oil
3 Tbs. soy sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white vinegar
zest and juice of one orange
crushed red pepper, to taste
hot cooked rice

Put desired amount of chicken on baking sheet and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile combine above ingredients in a saucepan. I blended my sauce ingredients together in a blender before heating to make the sauce nice and smooth. Mix and stir until heated through. Toss warm chicken with sauce and serve over warm rice. Makes 6 servings.
 This version was made with the boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I did not think it turned out as pretty as 
with the popcorn chicken, but the kids sure didn't complain about the taste!


Heidi December 29, 2009 at 8:39 PM  

Sounds great Lara!!! What is Trader Joe's? I don't think we have one anywhere close. Is it like Sam's club?? I've been doing a lot of baking with that awesome pie plate. Thanks again for the great giveaway!!!

Julie December 30, 2009 at 12:10 AM  

It sounds super yummy. The popcorn chicken one is prettier, but I'll bet the other is better for ya!

Peggy Clyde December 30, 2009 at 12:41 AM  

I have been looking for a recipe like this for a long time. Thanks.

Tia December 30, 2009 at 1:42 AM  

wow this sounds super easy!

Arlene Delloro December 30, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

Sounds delicious; I'd try it with boneless, skinless thighs to save some calories. Thanks for a great recipe.

Katy ~ December 30, 2009 at 3:08 PM  

Nearest Trader Joe's is 3 hrs away :o( but this sounds good!

Lara December 30, 2009 at 11:08 PM  

Heidi, Trader Joe's is an awesome grocery store that sells fun, gourmet type foods without the high prices. I try to get there at least once a month. I know my sister has one near her in California as well as several here in Virginia, so I kind of assumed they were nationwide.

As far as finding the popcorn chicken, my friend just told me you could buy a big bag of it at Costco.

teresa January 3, 2010 at 12:25 AM  

i love that you did this without the breaded chicken. i've made a few orange chickens, but nothing like this. i love the sweetness! i'll have to try it for sure!

HorseJumper12341 January 4, 2010 at 12:27 AM  

I love Trader Joe's. I've only been there once since but I fell in love with their Cranberry Goat Cheese!! I was sort of leery when I picked it up, it didn't exactly look that appetizing, but when I tried it on crackers for lunch the taste came as a bit of a surprise. It was really good!

Karine January 5, 2010 at 7:32 AM  

this looks fantastic! Great job :)

MaRiN January 5, 2010 at 9:19 AM  

Mmmm, just made orange chicken last week. Stop by for the super easy, cheater version of Panda Express Chicken over at my blog...Costco sells their orange sauce now!

Mandy January 11, 2011 at 9:52 PM  

Hey Lara - Just wanted to let you know that I made this recently and it turned out really good. My family enjoyed it. I altered some of the measurements and left out a few ingredients....but all in all, a very tasty recipe! Thanks for sharing it.


Brittany in So. California,  February 11, 2011 at 12:27 AM  

Hi there, I found your blog from MPM at
I love your blog and I made this tonight and it was awesome! I did it with chicken breasts that I just browned over high heat. I also added snow/snap peas (the skinny ones) to it and it was delicious! Thank you for a delicious recipe that doesn't have any funky chemicals or preservatives, etc. I will be making this a lot more!

Elissa,  January 16, 2012 at 8:13 AM  

I know that it is pretty easy to make "baked" chicken nuggets in the oven (Just coat in egg and bread crumbs and cook for 20 or so minutes at 400) So if you have a little extra time there is no need to buy the pre-cooked chicken nuggets!g

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About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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