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Wednesday, March 25

Costco’s Orange Chicken, Short Grain Brown Rice & Leftover Asparagus

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Today’s post is a doozie.  Get ready.  So many good things to share from one simple dinner!

#1: Mandarain Orange Chicken in the Costco freezer section is back!
About a year ago, I wrote about how I love the Mandarain Orange Chicken from Costco’s freezer section…even more than Trader Joe’s (sorry, Joe!). Then I kept getting comments on the post asking if I knew the brand, people couldn’t find it and, horror of horrors, a Costco rep said they had removed it from inventory.  It was a sad time.

I went to Costco last week…look what I found tucked in the freezer?  Yippee!

The brand is Crazy Cuisine, in case they discontinue it again and people need to track it down.  It was as yummy as ever.

#2: Short Grain Brown Rice
Last week I asked for tips on how to make brown rice like PF Changs. Quick update: I found short grain brown rice in the bulk section at our grocery store.  It wasn’t exactly like PF Chang’s, but it was what I was looking for (I’m pretty sure PF Chang’s is, in fact, using short grain brown rice, just a different variety).  The short grain brown is stickier, making it perfect for Chinese food.  It is definitely good enough to be the healthy replacement for my all-time favorite Calrose rice.

#3: Simple Side Dish – Leftover Asparagus
When I went to Berkeley Bowl, I bought a few million pencil asparagus (I love skinny asparagus!).  Of course we couldn’t eat it all at one sitting. While I love freshly cooked asparagus, leftover cooked asparagus?  Not so much.  But I have discovered a good use for this soggy leftover!

I chopped the asparagus into smaller pieces, sauteed over medium heat with soy sauce, a dash of sesame oil, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, and a spoonful of sugar (you know, to help with the medicine).  It was DEEEE-LISH and the perfect side dish for Chinese food.  Very simple and easy.

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26 Comments »

  1. 1
    amy

    I just ran across your site after my massive download of feeds (I contribute to DC Metro), and I am in love with it.

    I love it, love it, love it and am heading to Costco today. Yum!

  2. 2
    emily

    hey jane – can you share your method for cooking the brown rice? thanks, em

  3. 3
    Jane Maynard

    of course…so I know the people with rice cookers are hard core…and I would love to have one…but alas, no room in our apartment for another appliance. but the stove works GREAT!

    this is how I cook all of my rice, no matter what kind…the length of cooking time changes depending on the rice. this short-grain brown rice had a 50-minute cooking time. Calrose white…only 20 minutes.

    USUALLY it’s 1 1/2 Cups of rice to 2 Cups of water (I usually do 2 1/4 C water, i.e. a little more than it calls for)…but check the bag. Dump both in the pan with salt (if you want it)…bring to a boil, stirring a few times during that process. Once it gets to a boil, I let it boil for about 30 seconds, then one last stir. Put the lid on, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and let it cook for as long as your package tells you. Take off the heat, let it sit in the pan for a few minutes.

    This should work like a charm. Nice rice every time…including stickiness if I use the calrose or short-grain brown.

    One of the keys…stirring it during the early phases. If you do that, it shouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

    Also, for brown rice, make sure you give yourself enough time to cook it!!! (we had to have white rice last night because I forgot to put the rice on early enough. such a bummer)

    Hope that helps!
    Jane :)

    (ps….alton brown baked his brown rice once, but honestly, the stove works great and is easy, so I’ve only done that once.)

  4. Love the chicken! I’ve discovered there’s a lot of semi-homemade cooking going on in the households of America, and I’m about to become one of them.

  5. I love it when they have what I want when I went the other day they had the chocolate covered pretzels I love that they took off the shelf a while back. This looks yummy I will have to make a Costco stop sooner now. Thanks

  6. 6
    Collette

    I always blanch the asparagas and then marinate the leftovers for the next day.

  7. TJ’s sells frozen, short-grain brown rice (not instant) that is precooked and just needs re-steaming in the microwave for three minutes. It tastes a lot like PF Chang’s and we LOVE it because it doesn’t take so long to achieve the slow-cooked texture after a long day at work. Unfortunately, everyone else has discovered it, too, and our store is more often than not sold out. All is well, though, because I figured out how to make my own! I use Alton Brown’s recipe to make a big batch in the oven. Then,I spread it out on a cookie sheet and freeze it for about a half hour (this is so it doesn’t freeze in a huge lump); package single dinner portions in Ziplocs and store them in the freezer. To reheat, just pop it into a CorningWare and microwave it for three to four minutes. It’s great when I don’t have time to do it the real way.

  8. 8
    Laurel

    Glad I found your blog – brand new to me. I’m going to look around a little.

  9. 9
    Maria

    Looks like a great meal. I love asparagus, glad it is finally in season!

  10. 10
    Sara

    Just started reading your blog and I love it! I love this post especially – I love finding out what other “real” people do for dinner. I am always looking for ideas for an easy quick dinner. Thanks.

  11. 11
    Debbie

    Another Costco favorite is the Carneros Highway Chardonnay, which goes so well with the chicken. One stop shopping…can’t beat that!

  12. Oh, Costco – the bitter sweet place where you can easily spend hundreds of dollars but really shouldn’t

  13. 13
    Aaron

    i have to disagree with you and say that TJ’s orange chicken in WAY better than Costco’s. To me Costco’s tastes too much like orange candy–the TJ’s version is not as strong.

  14. 14
    Jane Maynard

    it’s interesting…I actually like the Trader Joe’s sauce better, but nate likes the costco sauce better. TJ’s is zingier and, well, I just like it more. but I have to say…the chicken quality in the costco version is so much better. I think that’s the main reason I converted over. if money was no object…I’d buy both, use the costco chicken and the TJs sauce! :)

  15. 15
    ruby

    Does anyone having the instructions that go along with this brand of orange chicken? My mother-in-law threw out the box to make more freezer space, and now I have no idea what to do.

  16. 16
    Jane Maynard

    okay, this is seriously the one downfall to buying it at costco! the box is too big for the freezer…and then the directions disappear! I even cut them out and put them with my recipes…and I still lost them!

    so, this is what I did last time and it seemed to work…cooked the chicken in the oven around 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (until they were sizzling and hot)…and cooked the sauce in the microwave for about a minute.

    next time I buy it I will post the directions on here so we can all always find them! :)

  17. 17
    ruby

    That would be awesome! :)

  18. 18
    Jane Maynard

    I made it tonight…400 degrees at 20 minutes worked. I microwaved the sauce for about 2 minutes on high. I’ll still post the directions when I find them, but I paid attention to what I did tonight and it worked! :)

  19. 19
    Mamie

    I just read this post, and then I gasped and almost started crying, because you mentioned BERKELEY BOWL! As a former Berkeley-ite, the Bowl is probably the ONE thing I miss the MOST (obviously I don’t live there anymore, sniff!). Oh, oh, oh, how I miss the Bowl…

  20. 20
    Jane Maynard

    my friend lindsay who introduced me to the bowl feels the same way – she said no produce section or market will ever live up to it for her!

  21. 21
    Donna

    I love the orange chicken and bought 2 boxes for a potluck tomorrow but doesn’t look like microwaving is an option and no stove at work. Anyone know if it can microwave and or if you can keep it warm in a crockpot? Hope so!!!!!!

  22. 22
    Jane Maynard

    I have NO idea! the chicken does get crispy-is…so don’t know how great microwave will be…crockpot may be better. good luck!

  23. 23
    Beckie

    I also have thrown out the box and have no cooking instructions….help, anyone Thanks

  24. 24
    Jane Maynard

    I still haven’t found the directions and no one has shared them…but when I did the following it worked! :)

    400 degrees for about 20 minutes. I microwaved the sauce for about 2 minutes on high.

    good luck! :)

  25. 25
    MagicChicken

    I seem to remember something like 475 for 25 minutes?

    Yeah, official instructions would be nice. NO ONE on the internet seems to know!

    • Jane Maynard

      I think we all get home and go, this box is way too big for my freezer…take the bags out, toss the box then hit the internet to find everyone did the same thing! ;)

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