I have always been a huge Chick-fil-A fan! From the time I was a kid growing up in Houston, I used to love to go to the mall because Chick-fil-A would pass out samples of their amazing, perfectly crispy chicken. It was deliciously different!
My folks and I would, of course, grab a sample on the way in to get the usual. The sample was a bit of an appetizer, if you will, for what was to come. I would always get the Chick-fil-A meal that came in a gable-style box with a crispy Original Chicken Sandwich and the ever-popular coleslaw, perfectly packed in a little Styrofoam cup. And if my mind serves me right, those famous waffle fries were newly introduced at the time. They’re just perfect for dipping!
Chick-fil-A is Family
Over the years, my love for “The Chick,” as my friend, Jennifer, calls it has not waned. Every time I would go visit my folks in Colorado from California over the years, it was the first stop on the way home from the airport.
Sometimes it was Mom picking me up, sometimes it was Dad, but most oftentimes, it was both of them. The first thing they would ask is “Are you hungry?” They wouldn’t wait for a response…and without a beat, they would say, “Chick-fil-A?!?” If they were picking me up in Denver, we’d stop in Castle Rock. When picking me up in Colorado Springs, it was the location at the Citadel Mall or Chapel Hills Mall, or more recently, the one on North Academy Boulevard.
At the time, there were very few Chick-fil-As in Southern California so the Chick-fil-A run straight from the airport was always eagerly anticipated. The closest Chick-fil-A from where I lived in California was at least an hour away…and that is when traffic cooperated.
Throughout my visit, we would, of course, frequent Chick-fil-A at least a couple more times. Having lost my Dad a few years back, I remember and truly relish those memories of sitting with Dad in Chick-fil-A. We used to love going there together…and those times were special and way to catch up with each other over a couple of Chicken Sandwiches, a shared large waffle fry and a couple of freshly-squeezed lemonades. I would get Diet lemonade…Dad would always get half Regular/half Diet.
Chick-fil-A is FriendsIn more recent years, as the restaurants started popping up closer to me, I was always excited to take my friends for their first taste of Chick-fil-A. One of my favorite “first visits” is when I introduced my church’s drama group to Chick-fil-A. Several years ago, we had a retreat up near Santa Barbara one year and I suggested we all grab lunch at Chick-fil-A in Oxnard, California. I would say that maybe 90% of the folks in my drama group had never had it before.
From that point on, at every retreat or gathering, there was at least a huuuuuge tray of Chick-fil-A nuggets. And you better believe that the Chick-fil-A lunch on the way to our retreats became an annual tradition.
Now, if you haven’t experienced Chick-fil-A before (and you lived next door to me), I would take you there in a heartbeat! However, since most of you don’t live next door, let me at least impart on you my philosophy. I recommend starting with the Classic…the Original Chicken Sandwich, some Waffle Fries and freshly-squeezed lemonade. Those three items are distinctively Chick-fil-A.
After that, the sky is the limit. My current fave is the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, extra crispy, no butter, extra pickles…some waffle fries and large Coke Zero! I’ll usually add a squeeze of ketchup to the sandwich and occasionally, a squeeze of the Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce. Mmm, mmm, mmm. So yummy…so good.
Chick-fil-A is Distinctly YouSpeaking of yummy-good, one of the things I like most about Chick-fil-A is the simplicity of the menu. Still, though, despite its simplicity, they have a medley of items and sauces that allow you to make your usual order distinctly your own. You can also whip up a pretty spectacular variety of Chick-fil-A-inspired dishes.
As Chick-fil-As have been spring up more and more in SoCal, along with frequenting them a little more often, being a chef, I have started experimenting with some, as I call them, “off the menu” creations.
Chick-fil-A is Orange Chicken. What? Chick-fil-A has Orange Chicken!?!
One of those CFA-inspired dishes is this Tiny Kitchen Big Taste Orange Chicken (or, if you’re a Chick-fil-A cow: ‘Orange Chikin’ or maybe it’s ‘Oranj Chikin.’ Forgive me, I’m not terribly proficient in “Cow-netics” yet. 🐄 😉)Using Orange Juice—which is available at Chick-fil-A—and a couple of Chick-fil-A sauces, the Polynesian Sauce and Sweet & Spicy Sriracha sauce, you can make a really delectable Orange Chicken that will rival any Orange Chicken you’ve had before. The only addition you really need is a packet of soy sauce that, if you’re like me, you probably have lying around in that drawer in the kitchen. Oh yeah, you know the drawer…the one with the chopsticks and three packets of spicy mustard from the last Chinese takeout you had.
If you want to get super-fancy and make a full-on Chick-fil-A Asian-inspired meal, you can heat up some rice, top it with your delicious Orange Chicken and sprinkle it with some toasted sesame seeds.
Chick-fil-A is for City Living and College Students Too!So you don’t have a full kitchen??? You live in a studio apartment or dorm room and all you have is a microwave and toaster oven? I feel ya! I’ve been there and you better believe I am going to share with you how to make this dish with just those two dorm room staples. Forget about the frying pan! Who needs it?!? (OK…maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but you get the point.).
First, reheat and crisp up your nuggets in the toaster oven. One toast cycle will usually do it…or, if you have a fancy one, set it to 375°F and let them sit in there until they’re happy and crispy…or, more accurately, until you’re happy and they’re crispy. Then remove.
Next, fill a coffee mug one-quarter to one-half full of orange juice, depending on how big your mug is. Nuke it in the microwave until it starts to boil. Let it go a touch longer until it starts to evaporate (or “reduce,” as they call it in the frou-frou food world). Take it out of the microwave carefully as it’s gonna be hot. Add the Polynesian Sauce, Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Sauce and your packet of Soy Sauce. Throw it back in the microwave for about 30 seconds more.
Toss your Chicken nuggets in a bowl and coat them with the sauce. Meanwhile, heat your rice in the microwave. When it’s done in 90 seconds, wok and roll! It’s ready to enjoy!
Share with Us!
I can’t wait for you to try this Chick-fil-A-inspired Orange Chikin for Dinner Tonight…and be sure to let me know what you think! If you want, you can even post a pic of your Orange Chikin on Instagram and tag me in it (@tinykitchenTV). I love seeing your Tiny Kitchen Big Taste creations!
Until then, enjoy!
Chick-fil-A Inspired Orange Chicken // Tiny Kitchen Big Taste
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
From your local Chick-fil-A Restaurant:
- Pick up a 12-count Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets, 2 Chick-fil-A Polynesian Sauces and 1 Chick-fil-A Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Sauce at your local Chick-fil-A Restaurant.
- Place Nuggets in a Frying Pan over medium heat to warm and re-crisp. (Note: you can also warm and re-crisp them on a Baking Sheet in the oven/toaster-oven). Once crispy and warm, remove from Pan and place on a clean plate.
- In the same Frying Pan over medium heat, add about 1/2 cup Orange Juice. Cook until it reduces by half and starts to thicken.
- Add the Polynesian Sauces, Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Sauce and a packet of Soy Sauce and continue to simmer until it reaches the desire consistency and is warmed through.
- Add the nuggets back in and coat with the sauce. Serve over Rice.