No matter how diligently I plan our plans each week, there are still some nights when I just don't feel like cooking and ordering take-out sounds like the best idea ever. And 9 times out of 10 when I want to order out, I want Chinese food. That presents its own problems though. First, Shane and I don't see eye to eye on our favorite local Chinese restaurant. He thinks the one I like is too fancy and I find his too greasy. And sure, we could just order from both places, but it's a hassle since they're on opposite sides of town. Also, the portions (at least at the places by us) are insane. I don't normally mind leftovers, but after the 3rd meal in a row of reheated Chinese food, I'm totally over it.
So, now you know why I'm always searching for recipes to make take-out at home. Even if I do have to cook, I look forward to these homemade dishes so much it motivates me to get in the kitchen even when I'm really not feeling it. It's been forever since I've had sweet and sour chicken - probably going back to the days of eating in the mall food court in high school - but I adore it. I wasn't sure what to expect from this recipe since the sauce has so few ingredients, but it was great! The chicken is quickly browned on the stove top, then transferred to a baking dish where the sauce is added and the whole thing is baked for an hour. When it emerged from the oven, the sauce had thickened perfectly, and both the sweetness and tang really come through. Shane doesn't even really like sweet and sour chicken (this was a totally selfish addition to the menu plan!), but he devoured his portion.
As soon as I find a homemade recipe to replicate the fried rice we get in restaurants, it's going to get very hard to justify ordering Chinese take-out ever again :)
Sweet and Sour Chicken
barely adapted from Fake Ginger
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or tenderloins), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Place the chicken in a pie plate (or other wide, shallow dish). Season with salt and pepper and then sprinkle the cornstarch over the top. Toss to coat. Add the eggs to a second pie plate and beat with a fork to break them up. Transfer the chicken to the eggs (shaking off excess cornstarch first) and coat the pieces thoroughly.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it shimmers, add the chicken. Cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides (you don't have to worry about cooking it through right now). Transfer the chicken to the prepared pan.
Whisk the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic salt together in a large measuring cup. Pour over the chicken. Bake for 1 hour, tossing the chicken every 15 minutes - the sauce will thicken as it cooks. Serve over rice.