Need dinner in a hurry? Chinese 5-Spice Skillet Dinner to the rescue! Lean protein, loads of colorful vegetables, and on the table in about 30 minutes!
For the marinade:
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders, tenderloin, or thinly sliced chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice blend
- Zest from 1 orange
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
For the vegetables:
- 1 pound fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
- 1 large orange bell pepper
- 1/2 large onion
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 3 or 4 cracks of freshly ground pepper
- Orange zest for garnish (optional)
1 Grind the spices: In a spice grinder, combine the fennel seeds, whole peppercorns, and 1 bay leaf. Run the grinder until the spices are finely ground.
2 Label the bag: If you are planning to freeze your meal for later, use a Sharpie to write the title of the recipe on a gallon-sized zip top bag so you can easily find it on SimplyRecipes.com when you want to cook it. Alternatively, write the cooking instructions on the bag, and date it.
3 Combine the ingredients: Roll down the opening of the bag a little, just so you don’t accidentally get raw chicken juices on the outside or the zip top. Add the chicken, spices, orange juice, and sesame oil.
Remove as much air as possible, and seal the bag. Smoosh the chicken around so it’s coated in the marinade.
4 Lay the chicken flat in the freezer and freeze for up to 6 months.
Alternatively, you could skip the freezer and let it marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours, or up to two days, and then cook it according to the directions below.
5 Thaw the chicken before cooking: When ready to cook, take the chicken out of the freezer in the morning before you go to work, and it will be ready to cook by the end of the day.
6 To prepare the vegetables: Trim the beans, slice the pepper into 1-inch strips, and dice the onion.
7 Cook the chicken and vegetables: Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and any marinade left in the bag. If any chicken is folded up, unfold it so it lays flat in the pan.
After 2 minutes, flip the chicken, and add the green beans, sliced pepper, onion, and 3 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes.
Lift the lid and check the chicken by slicing open a piece. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. Remove the chicken from the pan to a plate (leaving the vegetables in the pan) and tent with foil to keep warm.
8 Finish cooking the vegetables: Add soy sauce and a few cracks of freshly ground pepper to the vegetables. Gently stir the vegetables.
Cover and cook until the peppers are tender, and the beans are bright green but firm tender, about 5 more minutes.
9 Serve: Nestle the chicken back into the pan and garnish with additional orange zest if you have it. Bring the skillet to the table and serve.