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Happy Valentine’s Day!  I should probably be sharing a recipe for some sort of chocolate dessert, or maybe telling about some great place to go eat a nice Valentine’s Day meal.  Instead, I am sharing a recipe that was a huge hit with me and Tim a few weeks ago.  I found this on Pinterest (I think), and the recipe is a bit putzy, but it is well worth it!  I like the extra time I have on Monday nights (non tax-season Mondays that is) so I can putz with stuff like this.  Don’t let this sway you from trying this.  If you like Panda Express (like Tim and I do), you will be pleased with this recipe.

I did not use the Thai sweet chili sauce listed in the ingredients.  Instead I bought the bottle of Panda Express Sweet Chili sauce.  It is in the International aisle at Woodman’s if you happen to shop there.

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The note by the person that wrote the recipe says to not cube the chicken.  Cut it into thinner squares (think like a matchbook) around 1 inch by 1 inch.  Also, she noted that she does not dip each piece in the egg.  Instead she just adds the flour to the corn starch, dumps the chicken pieces back in and shakes it again.  I also did this, and it worked just fine.  I am assuming that maybe the coating would have been a little crunchier had I done the eggs step, but we loved it as it was.  🙂  I also added a bit more sauce because I think I had more than a pound of chicken. 🙂

I served it with brown rice.

You can see her post at http://dinnerthendessert.com/panda-express-sweetfire-chicken-breast

There are other copy cat recipes there, but they will have to wait until life quiets down again sometime in May or June.  We love the Orange Chicken and Bejing Beef at Panda Express as well, so I would love to try those copy cat recipes!

Panda Express SweetFire Chicken Breast (Copycat Recipe)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into thin 1 inch squares
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1/4 white onion, sliced into 1 inch thick wedges
2 cups pineapple, cubed into 1 inch cubes (1 large can drained worked out perfectly)
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (or the Panda Express Sweet Chili Sauce)
3 Tablespoons green onions, chopped for garnish
sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions:
Heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat
In a large ziploc bag add the chicken and cornstarch, seal and shake until totally covered.
Dip each piece into the egg to cover, then dredge into the flour (I skipped this step with the egg and did as I mentioned above.)
Working in batches, cook for 2 minutes on the first side and one minute on the second side or until golden brown and crispy (took longer for me).
Remove from the pan.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in your skillet over medium heat.
Add bell pepper, garlic and pineapple.
Cook until the bell pepper and pineapple just start to wilt a little and is warm throughout (about 2-3 minutes).
Add the chicken back in and add in the sweet chili sauce.
Stir to combine everything and serve immediately.
If using the green onions and sesame seeds, sprinkle them on top as a garnish.

Enjoy!

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