Friday, September 7, 2007

“Chinese Takeout” Lemon Chicken

The fall issue of Kraft Food & Family is here, and on the first page of text after the contents — the FIRST page of text, mind you — we find this upsetting offering, “Chinese Takeout” Lemon Chicken.

I think the quote marks are supposed to signal that this is about as high-quality Chinese food as the $5 buffet with the scary eggrolls. What makes this chicken stir-fry lemony, you ask?

Wait, WHAT?

They’re not kidding. Run away! Run away!

Seriously, have they never heard of lemon zest? Or maybe they’re trying to faithfully mimic the gloopy consistency of the lower order of Chinese takeout places. There must be an upside…Probably it doesn’t have MSG?

I’m also rather fond of the more-money-than-sense-or-time “shortcut” offered.

The rest of the magazine can’t quite live up to this shocking start. (Jeez, folks, don’t throw the Jell-O dishes at us right at the start! Ease us into the horror!) But it tries. The new-product page spotlights “Oreo Cakesters,” Oreo filling in snack cakes instead of cookies. (Aren’t those basically just round Suzy Qs?) There’s a “So-Easy Stuffing-Egg Bake” using Stove Top Stuffing, eggs, and cheese; I think it’s supposed to be a dinner strata, neatly getting around the economical practice of using stale leftover bread by forcing you to spend money on boxed stuffing. And there’s “Salsa-Chicken Mac & Cheese,” which is pretty self-explanatory. But it’s all anticlimactic after the Jell-O.

“Chinese Takeout” Lemon Chicken
Prep: 10 min. | Total: 19 min.
1 Tbsp. oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 pkg. (6 oz.) snow peas (about 2 cups), trimmed
1 small red pepper, cut into strips
1 pkg. (4-serving size) Jell-O Brand Lemon Flavor Gelatin
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
½ cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced

HEAT oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook 4 min. or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add snow peas and peppers; cook and stir 2 min.

MIX dry gelatin mix and cornstarch in small bowl. Add broth, dressing and garlic; stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add to skillet. Reduce heat to medium; cook 3 min. or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently.

SERVE over hot cooked rice, if desired.

Makes 4 servings, 1 cup each.

CAL 300, FAT 8 g (sat. 1.5g), CHOL 65mg, SODIUM 350mg, CARB 26g, FIBER 2g, SUGARS 21g, PROTEIN 28g, VIT A 15%DV, CALCIUM 4%DV, IRON 10%DV

SHORTCUT: Substitute 2 pkg. (6 oz. each) Oscar Mayer Grilled Chicken Breast Strips for the cooked fresh chicken strips. Heat oil in skillet as directed. Add chicken breast strips, snow peas and peppers; cook 3 to 5 min. or until chicken is heated through and vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Continue as directed.

From Kraft Food & Family, Fall 2007.


Scott Bateman said...

I have a trick knee, so I can't eat Chinese food made with Jello and Italian dressing.

sally said...


Step away from the chicken! That Jello needs to stay far, far away from the chicken!

Reminds me (shudder) of the "Mandarin Chicken Noodle Bowl" at the food court here at the university. Near as I can tell, from the one time I ordered it, it's warm Tang poured over grilled chicken breasts and noodles, garnished with sesame seeds.

Amy Stephenson said...

EWW! Tang is one of the serious downsides of the U.S. space program.

Anonymous said...

i have had "lemon chicken" of this variety. aggghhhh! chicken nuggets with lemon pudding.

Anonymous said...

Actually had this and it was good. You should get off your high horses and give it a shot. It's a great low-cost and quick meal for families on the go.

Alberto said...
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