Orange Chicken Meatballs

from: Life Made Simple

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My 6 year old is like most others – a picky eater. He has never, EVER liked pasta (seriously? Did they switch babies on me at the hospital?), would live off of pb&j sammies if I’d let him, and has recently started having hunger attacks at 8:07pm every night.

However, one of his favorite things in the world to eat is Chinese Orange Chicken. Yep. You heard me. SPICY Orange Chicken. Again, if he could eat it every day, he would.

So, when I found this variation, I asked him if he’d like me to make it. He said, “Yeah! Sure! That’ll be good!”

I was unsure. I’ve tried variations on other things he likes and it goes over like a lead weight.

Much to my surprise, he did love it, and wanted seconds! He is also currently eating Round 3 as an after-school snack.

For the meatballs

  • ¼ c. milk
  • ½ c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 
1½ lb. ground chicken
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 
2 tbsp. green onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 
1/4 tsp. salt
  • 
1/4 tsp. black pepper

For the sauce

  • ½ c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ c. granulated sugar or honey
  • ⅓ c. white or rice vinegar
  • ¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard size baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat, set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk and panko breadcrumbs. Allow to soak for 5 minutes. Add the chicken, egg, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix together just until combined (overworking it will cause the meatballs to be dense).
  3. Shape into meatballs and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until cooked throughout (internal temperature of 165).
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, sugar or honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a low simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the cold water and cornstarch, add to the saucepan. Whisk until combined, continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens (I usually let mine go for about 8 minutes).
  5. Place the meatballs in a large bowl and cover with sauce. Toss to coat, serve hot.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays

Cranberry Collage

  • One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brandy (my addition)

Rinse the cranberries under cold water. Zest the oranges. Add the cranberries and zest to a medium saucepan. Squeeze the juice from both oranges into the saucepan. Add the maple syrup and brandy and stir it all together. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s nice and thick. If the sauce still seems a little thin, just simmer longer until it’s the right consistency.

Transfer the sauce to a dish and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store in the fridge.

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