Easy Real Food Chinese Chicken & Veggies

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An easy, real food alternative to Chinese takeout! Only 9-ingredients and 30 minutes.

An easy, real food alternative to Chinese takeout! Only 9-ingredients and 30 minutes. Plus a cookbook review for 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget. From CheapskateCook.com #dairyfree #realfood #dinner #glutenfree

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Truth: We love breaded fried Chinese takeout, but we almost never buy it. For obvious reasons.

And unfortunately, many copycat recipes load the sauce (the most delicious part) with sugar and cornstarch.

However, last week I got my hands on Lisa Leake’s brand new cookbook, 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget.

While I had mixed feelings about the cookbook (read my very honest review here), Lisa’s recipes are reliably delicious and simple.

She gave me permission to share one with you here. If you miss Chinese takeout as much as we do, you will love it.

The Sauce Only Uses 6 Ingredients:

  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Crushed chili flakes
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Water

This Chinese Chicken & Veggies Recipe is:

  • Dairy-free
  • Egg-free
  • Gluten-free (if you use gluten-free flour and gluten-free soy sauce)
  • Delicious
  • Healthy
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy
  • Real-food
  • Veggie-packed

And there are 9 ingredients in the whole recipe! So here it is. This is how I cooked it. Lisa’s is a little different, but I was trying to save a few extra pennies.

We also share cheap (like, actually cheap), real food menu plans every month for FREE with our email subscribers. Get the next one here.

Real food Chinese chicken plated
Real food Chinese chicken sauce ingredients

All 6 sauce ingredients!

Real food Chinese chicken marinade in Pyrex bowl with lid

I’ve mentioned this before, but the Pyrex bowls with lids are my favorite – excellent price and perfect for mixing, serving, and storing all in one bowl!

Same goes for the Pampered Chef Mini Prep Bowls. Not as good a price, but I got them as a gift years ago, and we use them daily for measuring (they have cup and milliliter measurements on the side), storing, mixing, and serving.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your kitchen efficient, pretty, and clutter-free, I highly recommend both of these. More simple kitchen recommendation here.

Real food Chinese chicken ingredients
Marinade and cook the chicken with these 5 ingredients.

Chinese Chicken close-up

This is just 1 out of 100 frugally-minded recipes in 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget. I tagged like 50 of them with sticky notes to try in the future, including Loaded Biscuits, Simple Zucchini Soup, and Fast Food Chicken Nuggets. While I had mixed feelings about the book overall, this recipe was an instant winner in our house.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #cheapskatecook and @cheapskatecook on Instagram.

Easy Real Food Chinese Chicken
Author: Steph Jenkins
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs or breasts, boneless, skinless
  • 1 cup flour (whole wheat, white, spelt, or gluten-free)
  • 4 tbsp oil (coconut, avocado, grapeseed)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
Veggies & Rice
  • 2 tbsp oil, vegetable broth, or water (coconut, avocado, grapeseed)
  • 3-5 tbsp water
  • 6 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 4 cups rice, prepared (white or brown)
Make the Chicken:
  1. Cut the chicken in 2-inch cubes.

  2. Make the marinade by combining the soy sauce and water in a small bowl with a lid. Place the chicken in the bowl and let it marinate for 15 minutes or covered in the fridge for several hours. 

  3. Pour flour into a large container with a tight-fitting lid. Remove chicken from marinade into the flour. Seal with the lid, hold the lid on tightly and shake the container for several seconds to thoroughly coat the chicken. 

  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken for 6-8 minutes, until cooked thoroughly. During that time, use tongs to flip them several times to ensure even cooking.

  5. When finished, place chicken on a plate.

Make the Sauce:
  1. Pour all ingredients into the same pan in which you cooked the chicken. Whisk thoroughly, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom.

  2. Bring to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently. When sauce thickens, pour half of it into a bowl with the chicken and toss to coat. Pour the other half into a separate bowl to serve with dinner.

Steam-Saute the Veggies:
  1. Heat the oil or broth in a large pan over medium heat. 

  2. Toss in the veggies, and stir. Cook and stir occasionally for 5-10 minutes, until soft, adding a few tablespoons of water if necessary.

To Serve:
  1. Pile plates with rice and veggies. Top with chicken and drizzle generously with sauce.

  2. If desired, top with roasted sesame seeds or sunflower seeds.

What You Can Do Now:

What are some recipes you’ve tried in order to save money and still enjoy that take-out food taste?

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