Asian goodness for Chinese New Year

Most recipes are full of fresh veggies and fruit
FIT Staff
Feb 11, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014, the Year of the Horse, will be celebrated through Feb. 18.

Beyond chop sticks and fortune cookies, you can have your own celebration at home anytime during the season with one of these easy recipes.

Most are full of fresh vegetables orĀ fruitĀ and light in fat, so they are perfect if you're trying to be Lean in '14. Look for low-sodium soy sauce and stay away from other processed sauces, and you'll have a healthy, flavorful meal as well.

Pineapple Orange Chicken

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks, drained, juice reserved

2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup sugar snap peas

2/3 cup preservative free sweet and sour sauce

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

1 large orange, zested and juiced or 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chiles, optional

1/2 cup toasted chopped cashews

Sliced green onions, optional

Measure reserved pineapple juice and add enough water to make 1-3/4 cups liquid. Prepare rice according to package directions using juice-water mixture. Coat chicken pieces with flour.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and cook chicken until edges are golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add pineapple, bell pepper and snap peas. Cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.

Add sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce, orange juice, and red chiles, if desired, to pan. Stir and cook an additional 3 minutes or until sauce begins to boil. Stir in orange zest. Stir over rice topped with cashews and green onions, if desired. Serves 4.

(Recipe courtesy of Dole, Minute and Kikkoman brand products)

Asian Chicken Thighs

5 bone-in chicken thighs (about 1-3/4 pounds), skin removed

5 teaspoons olive oil

1/3 cup warm water

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon white vinegar

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

Hot cooked rice

Sliced green onions

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in oil for 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until no longer pink. In a small bowl, whisk the warm water, brown sugar, orange juice, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, pepper flakes and five-spice powder.

Pour over the chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until the chicken is tender, turning occasionally.

Combine the cornstarch and cold water until smooth; gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with rice. Garnish with green onions. Yield: 5 servings.

(Recipe courtesy of "Best Loved Recipes," Taste of Home)

Vegetable Fried Rice

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 carrots, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup halved sugar snap peas

3 cups cooked cold rice

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons dark sesame oil

Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and ginger in a small bowl.

Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the snap peas and 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, until the snap peas are crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.

Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the rice, scallions, and the remaining soy sauce mixture. Cook until the rice is heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Push the rice toward the sides of the skillet, leaving a well in the center. Add the eggs to the well and cook, scrambling gently, until they are set. Stir the scrambled eggs into the rice. Stir the vegetables into the rice and drizzle with the sesame oil. Serve hot. Serves 4 to 6.

(Recipe courtesy of "In the Kitchen with David -- comfort foods that take you home," David Venable, QVC)