Sweet and Sour Chicken with Green Beans

Cover recipe- EveryDay FoodSweet & Sour Chicken with Green Beans: January/February 2011

The cover recipe for today is from EveryDay Food Jan/Feb 2011, and it’s included in a section called, “Dinner 1-2-3, a meal in three easy steps.” They’ve lightened up a popular Chinese take-out dish- Sweet and Sour Chicken– claiming that it has all off the appeal of the original- with just a fraction of the fat and calories. The takeout version= 1009 calories. Their version= 447 calories. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

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Sweet and Sour Chicken with Green Beans

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 25 min + chill time

Cook Time: 35 min

Ingredients:

1 cup long-grain white rice
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and diced large
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and halved
5 scallions, thinly sliced
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

Directions:

1.  Cook rice according to package instructions.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar.  Set aside.
2.  In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over high.  Add chicken, bell peppers and green beans and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add scallions, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked  through and vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes.
3.  Whisk soy sauce mixture, add to skillet, and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Fluff rice with a fork.  To serve, spoon chicken mixture over rice and top with peanuts if desired.

Tips:

*I did use while long-grain rice, but I think this dish would be equally delicious using a healthier serving of whole grain rice.
*Sweet red bell peppers are my favorite, but it would be pretty to add some yellow bell peppers in there too.
*For easy grating, I freeze my ginger and then peel it and then use a microplane to grate it.  It's so much easier to manage since the little stringie things don't have a chance to clog up the microplane.
*The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of sugar. I think you could get away with 3 Tablespoons if you were trying to save on a few calories.
*Peanuts are not included in the nutritional information, just so you know.
*I'd definitely add-in some pineapple!

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1/4th of the recipe
Calories per serving: 447
Fat per serving: 8g
Saturated Fat per serving: 2g
Fiber per serving: 5g
Protein per serving: 36g
Carbohydrates per serving: 61g

Source:  EveryDay FoodJanuary/February 2011

The results:

This recipe was very easy to make- simple, easy to find ingredients and very quick to put together. My family all thought this dish was really delicious, but there was one big problem with it… it didn’t taste like the sweet and sour chicken that I love so much at my favorite Chinese restaurants.  If you’re expecting the syrupy & sweet sauce, you won’t find it in this dish.   It was more like a chicken and vegetable stir-fry than sweet and sour chicken. But regardless, my family did enjoy it quite a lot.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Absolutely! It was an easy dinner to prepare, it was family-friendly and it was light.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

7 Responses to “Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Arugula”

  1. 1

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — January 28, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

    I always get frustrated when magazines print flavorless and blah recipes as their “healthy” solutions. Healthy and simple food does not need to be flavorless. Ok, I’ll get off my soap box now. I like your idea to add the Laughing Cow cheese… I love that stuff!

  2. 2

    Lisa — January 31, 2010 @ 4:39 am

    I make different versions of this dish for my family’s dinner all the time. A couple of spoons of pesto or dressing give it a lovely flavor.

    I think your photo looks better then the original.

    Cheers

  3. 3

    Christine Whittington — February 1, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

    My husband made Martha Stewart’s version and we thought it was wonderful. We did have very tasty grape tomatoes, used the Niçoise olives, a fragrant and flavorful EVOO, and coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Green olives would have given the dish quite a different taste. Ours was superb. We did include a few paring of Asiago cheese on the top, but the dish would also have been fine without it. We may have roasted our veggies a tad more than those in your picture (or Martha’s for that matter)–the longer roasting may have brought out more flavor.

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 1st, 2010 @ 7:35 pm

      Christine- good to know! We just didn’t have good luck at all w/ this one but perhaps roasting the veggies a little longer & using a stronger tasting olive would be a better idea.

  4. 4

    Jace — February 4, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

    I made this last night and loved it. Brought it in for lunch and my coworker thought it was delicious! I subbed penne, sliced some onion in thin slivers for the shallots and increased the garlic by half again as much. I also microplaned some parmesan on top. I did have fresh thyme so that may have made a difference and I heavily salt my pasta water. This dish had a “sauce” that lightly coated the pasta, not dripping.
    I hate bland food and this was not bland; it was light and I’ll make it again. Would make a nice supper supper, too.

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 4th, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

      Jace- good to hear that you had success with it. That cheese addition is key, I think!

  5. 5

    marie — August 22, 2010 @ 11:50 am

    We make this all the time. I skip the olives and I cut the tomatoes in half prior to cooking. We love it. I also leave out the thyme and arugula! It is my fiance’s favorite dish! It is a must try and it is great in the summer and is great cold or hot!

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