Orange chicken, on a budget

November 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

So this meal isn’t as much of a bargain meal as my other recession cooking posts (it’s hard to make every meal for less than $1 a serving). However, this still fits with the theme for the following reasons:

– Orange Chicken with fried rice from Panda Express is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.
– We went to Panda Express at least twice a month, at $15 or so per visit.
– With the ban on dining out, there has been no Orange Chicken in our lives, nor any Chinese.
– This is a lot cheaper than going to Panda.

What you need for 8 servings:

1 bottle of Orange Chicken sauce from Panda Express (they sell this at HyVee and WalMart and inside of Panda Express). Someday I will figure out how to make this sauce and it will be even cheaper. One bottle is enough to make about 8 servings of a meal.

1 bag of frozen popcorn chicken (or you can use cooked chicken breasts if you want to be healthy – but that’s not what orange chicken is about :)) – should be enough to make 8 servings

1 onion, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

2 green, red, or yellow peppers chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1 can pineapple, drained, 1/2 of liquid reserved

4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tsp Sriracha

2 cups uncooked white instant rice

3 eggs

1/2 cup frozen peas

For meat and veggie mixture:

Heat pan to medium high heat. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of sesame oil on the bottom. Throw in peppers and onions, cook for about 2 minutes. Then add pineapple and 1/2 can of pineapple juice, bottle of Orange Chicken sauce from Panda, sriracha and soy sauce. Stir until well blended. Throw in popcorn chicken and cook a couple of minutes until chicken is warm, stirring constantly to ensure chicken is coated. Turn burner to low and set aside while you prepare your fried rice.

Prepare instant rice per package instructions. (To make 8 servings, you want at least 4 cups prepared rice at the end)

In large wok, pour remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, and grease wok. Heat wok until almost sizzling. Dump in rice and peas. Gently push rice around, ensuring all sides get ‘fried’. Drizzle with soy sauce and additional sesame oil to taste. Push rice to one side of wok. Crack three eggs in walk and scramble, cutting into smaller pieces to incorporate into the rice. Mix altogether for one more minute of frying.

Serve in bowl with rice on bottom and mixture on top. Not quite as good as takeout (partially because you have to do the dishes after), but delicious and cheap!

Here’s the breakdown:

1 bottle Orange Chicken sauce: About $5.00, depending on your store.
1 bag of popcorn chicken: About $5, depending on your store/brand
1 onion: About 25 cents (when purchased as part of a 2 pound bag from Aldi. I ❤ Aldi)
2 peppers: $1 (when purchased as part of a 3 pack from Aldi)
1 can of pineapple chunks: 80 cents
Rice: $1
3 eggs: 25 cents
Peas: 40 cents
Sesame oil: 20 cents
Soy sauce: 10 cents
Sriracha: 5 cents

Total: $14.05 for 8 servings, or about $1.75 per serving. Not a bargain but compared to the about $45 it would cost for 8 bowls of orange chicken from Panda Express, a damn good deal.

Some day, I will figure out how to make my own sauce and shave another $4 or so off of this, but for now, I am thankful to have a reasonable answer to my Chinese takeout cravings.


Entry filed under: cooking, Food, recipe. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Recession cooking part 7, the potato edition Still alive

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About me

My name is Mallory Murray and I have a love of all things oldfashioned. I'm a modern day feminist who also adores Martha Stewart. Read on for my sewing, crochet, cooking, gardening, quilting and crafting projects. I am the chief officer of marketing and design at Northwest Missouri State University, so expect the occasional random post about marketing/universities/design. I dream of a hobby farm with baby doll sheep, a sheep dog, a small flock of chickens, and other animals to be announced. I'm also a Pitt State grad, football lover, HGTV addict and obsessed with the color aqua.

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