If you choose to continue reading this you can follow me on my long journey, turning a very simple recipe into a multi step process, just to have basically the same thing I would have had if I had done it the easy way in the first place.
Orange Chicken the Not So Easy Way
3 large chicken breasts cut in pieces
1 Izze soda
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ponzu sauce or soy sauce
2 cloves minced garl
1large onion, sliced
1 bell pepper sliced
3 smallish zucchini sliced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 inch slice ginger, minced
1 8 ounce carton mushrooms, sliced
1 more Izze soda
1/4 cup soy sauce (or ponzu sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons demera sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
I planned to add vegetables to Sonya Ann's recipe since I add vegetables to everything now. It would have been fine if I had just used her recipe and stopped with the additional veggies, but did I stop my "improvements" No! Instead of the orange soda I tried Izze, which is a clementine carbonated drink sweetened with pear juice. (At this point I was aiming for a paleo option and decided I didn't want the sugar a regular drink has in it).
After tasting the drink I decided it was not as intensely orange flavored as a Sunkist would be so I put 1 bottle of Izze, 1 teaspoon dried orange peel, 2 cloves garlic, into a zip loc bag and intended to add my coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Unfortunately I only had 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos so I decided to go ahead and use the soy sauce. It would not be paleo, but it wouldn't be too far off the mark, until I realized I had no soy sauce either and still needed 3/8th cup of something. I found a bottle of citrus ponzu sauce in the back of the fridge and decided since it is soy based to use it instead. So I added it to the soda and mixed everything well (by zipping the bag and squishing the bag with my fingers. I added 3 chicken breasts, which had been cut in largish chunks and stuck it in the fridge for the day. (I am guessing it marinated about 9 hours.
Now ask me if I even bothered to read her instructions about how to BAKE the chicken. Negative Ghost Rider! I just assumed it would be stir fried (wrong) so that is exactly what I did. I drained the marinade and stir fried the chicken in coconut oil. DO NOT DO THIS! Use olive oil instead. Every time I use coconut oil with a savory food I regret it since the coconut is a little too strong and overpowers the flavor of the food. I forget it each time. I removed the chicken from the pan, tasted a bite to see if I needed more orange flavor, noticed all the coconut flavor and rinsed the blooming pan to get rid of the coconut oil. Then I had to add additional oil to the pan(olive oil this time) and added the vegetables in the order they are listed so they would all be a nice crisp tender. Then I tossed the chicken back in the pan to combine everything and realized when I had drained the marinade before stir frying, I lost all of the sauce components literally down the drain. I had to take the chicken and veggies out of the pan and add an additional Izze and more soy sauce (or ponzu since I had no soy) and cook it until it was reduced by half. In my quest to make something paleo I used the juice sweetened orange drink and no amount of reducing it would thicken the sauce. Aha! That is what the sugar in the drink would have done in the baking process. I quickly added 1 1/2 tablespoons demera sugar (it was the first sugar out of the cabinet, any sugar would be fine) and cooked it for a few minutes. It still was not thick enough and I didn't want the sauce any sweeter, so I made a quick slurry of cornstarch and water, added it to the sauce and cooked it stirring until it thickened. Then I put the chicken and vegetables in the pan and stirred to coat everything well. By that time my ideas for paleo were totally out the window, so I served mine over the rice I had cooked for the others.
And the verdict was that it tasted very good, and TheHub said he would like to have it again. I told him fine, but next time I am going to make it Sonya Ann's way and save myself time and clean up. If you decide to try it I would suggest you do it her way too!