From Dr. Jonny: Hey, here’s something to put on the list of things you never want to think about too carefully. How does sweet and sour chicken from the Chinese take-out get that bright red color? (Yep, that one’s right up there with “how do sausages gets made?” Nutritionally, our version of the old favorite is head and shoulders above the nasty red concoction we’re all used to, but without any loss of taste. We’ve dumped the artificial additives (including whatever God-awful red dye they used in the original), the MSG, and most of the sugar. What’s more we’ve bumped up the nutrition with lean chicken (hopefully free-range), vitamin C (from the peppers and pineapples), sulfur for your skin (from the onions), plus heart-healthy potassium and fiber from the snow peas.

Yields: 4 servings

  • 1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g) pineapple chunks in water or juice (not syrup), drained and liquid reserved
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, or to taste, (for more or less sour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 1-1/4 pounds (567 g) chicken tenders, halved
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup stringless snow peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice, tamari, tomato paste, honey, cider vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 1 minute on each side.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the peppers, onions, and snow peas, sauteing for 2 minutes.
  4. Pour in the sauce, mix, and cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes, or until the veggies have started to soften.
  5. Stir in the pineapple and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pineapple is hot and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Top with cilantro.

Yields: 4 servings

Per serving: 508 calories; 24.9 g fat (44% calories from fat); 23.8 g protein; 48 g carbohydrate; 4.7 dietary fiber; 58 mg cholesterol; 1,057 mg sodium

– from the book, “The 150 Healthiest Comfort Foods on Earth,” by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S., and Jeanette Bessinger, C.H.H.C.

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