Though I am a huge supporter of eating local, there are nights where my dinner comes straight from the store. There’s nothing wrong with a helping hand from all of the geniuses who figured out how to portion, package and freeze meals to make a day or more in our week easier. The great thing is you can always make it healthier. While browsing in Trader Joe’s they had samples of their Mandarin Orange Chicken and I decided it would be the star of a meal this week.
Don’t be alarmed by the 550 mg of sodium per serving. While it sounds like a lot, there’s more than twice a much sodium in a teaspoon of salt. But given the chicken is intended to be crispy, I decided an alternative for rice was in order as well as a salad.
I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about riced cauliflower as a substitute for rice. I will make no claims that my palate was fooled when I took the first bite, but seasoned well and with the crunch from the chicken, it made a complete meal. Keeping with the theme, I added a fresh cucumber salad with sesame seeds that took all of 5 minutes to make.
This was something new for me and I hope you will give it a try too. If you have other thoughts on how to prepare the riced cauliflower, I am all ears! I’m planning to try roasting it next. Enjoy!
Mandarin Orange Chicken with Riced Cauliflower
One bag of Mandarin orange chicken (Trader Joes)
1/2 bag of riced cauliflower (8oz)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 cup of water
2 tbsp. chopped green onion
Cucumber salad with sesame seeds Ingredients:
1/3 of a large cucumber
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. sesame seeds
Pinch salt and coarse black pepper
1. Preheat oven and follow cooking instructions on the package. Set the timer.
2. Cut off a third of the cucumber. Peel it and cut it in half.
3. Seeded side down, slice one half in half horizontally, meaning you should have two pieces stacked on top of each other. Then slice longwise thinly. Repeat with second half.
4. Mix vinegar and sugar in a small bowl and mix with a fork or whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add cucumber and seasoning, mix with a fork, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
5. With 5 minutes remaining on the chicken, place a small pot over medium heat.
6. After heated for 1 minute, add riced cauliflower and olive oil and toast for one minute.
7. Add seasonings, green onion and water. Stir and top for 3-5 minutes.
8. Toss chicken in sauce and turn off riced cauliflower.
9. Plate “rice” in the center of the plate, chicken around it and cucumber on top. Sprinkle on sesame seeds.