Happy Valentine's Day! Have you had your fill of conversation hearts and chocolates? Given my high tolerance for all things sugar, I try to start on the Valentine's candy as soon as they put it out in the stores so that I can get my fill. After two months of cinnamon candy hearts I am happy to announce that I am thoroughly sugared out now. Give me a couple weeks and I'll be ready for Easter candy.
In case you sick of sweets like I am, I decided to post a healthy, easy meal instead of a decadent dessert. This is one of the few things that my husband has requested to eat as leftovers. Twice in a row. Even given the option of having Pizza Rolls instead. Trust me, that's big. It includes some very non-traditional ingredients that somehow combine to make a great tasting sweet and sour sauce that is nice and thick. I love that I didn't have to go searching through the Asian food section of the grocery store for any weird ingredients for it, too. (Though by now with all the recipes I like to try I probably own everything in that section anyway.) The recipe as written only uses a pound of chicken breasts, but I double the sauce and triple the amount of chicken to make more. (You'll want a 9x13" dish if you do this, unless you want to cram everything in one and have it take 1 1/2 hours to cook. Not that I'm speaking from experience. . . )
Sweet-and-Sour Bake Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all visible fat removed, cut into 1/2-inch strips
8 1/2 ounce can pineapple chunks in their own juice
1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce
2 T light brown sugar
2 T rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2 T frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 T cornstarch
2 T water
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin strips (1 cup)
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Put in an 8 inch square nonstick baking pan and set aside.
3. Drain juice from pineapple into a small saucepan and set pineapple aside. Put pan over medium heat and whisk in cranberry sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, orange juice concentrate, soy sauce and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until cranberry sauce has melted.
4. Put cornstarch in a cup or small bowl. Add water, whisking to dissolve. Whisk into juice mixture.
5. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for 3 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
6. Add pineapple chunks and pour over chicken.
7. Bake, covered, for 35 minutes. Add bell pepper and baste chicken with sauce. Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
8. Serve over rice.
Recipe Source: The New American Heart Association Cookbook