Menu Makeover: Take On Take Out

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Instead of Take Out why not bring it on in!  Most of us love to go out for (or literally ‘take-out’) Chinese food. Up until recently, I was under the assumption that Chinese cuisine was complicated and required crazy unique ingredients and specialty equipment.  Although I would love to have one, my kitchen cabinets don’t have the space to fit a wok- or at least the one that is the size those cooks use at the restaurants :)  I would want one of those..and if you know me- that wouldn’t be a statement to surprise you. ANY-way, you may be surprised about how simple it is to make your favorite chinese dish at home!  Even suitable for a weeknight dinner.  And better yet, lower in sodium, fat, and overall calories.  Typically the protein source in Chinese dishes are breaded and ‘fried’.  First easy fix on calories- choose a lean or loin cut of meat and pan fry, without the breading.   Add those fresh ingredients and limit to sodium source by using lower sodium soy sauce and adding pungent Chinese flavors, like garlic and ginger. 

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Try out this super easy recipe for Sweet and Sour Pork.  This dish will save you about half of the fat and 30% of the total calories you would get if you went out to eat at one popular Chinese food chain. Pair with whole wheat brown rice or pasta for a well balanced take-out meal from your own kitchen. 

Sweet and Sour Pork

1 red bell pepper
16oz lean pork tenderloin, cut into 1-in cubes
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp bottled ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 lower sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Mirin (Chinese Rice Wine)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 cup (100%) orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup dry roasted cashews, unsalted (optional)

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Preheat broiler.  Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a plastic tubberware or paper bag; close tightly. Let stand 20 minutes. Peel and chop; set aside.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper and pork to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until pork is done. Remove pork mixture from pan; set aside.  Add onion, and bell pepper to pan, and sauté 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add pineapple chunks to pan; cook 30 seconds. Combine the orange juice, soy sauce, Mirin, cornstarch, and sugar in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.  Return pork mixture to pan. Stir in juice mixture; bring to boil. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with cashews, if desired.

Nutrition Information
Serves 4; 1 cup each (with cashews)
Calories: 309
Fat: 13.8 g
Carbohydrate: 25.6 g
Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 27 g


  1. Dinetonite says:

    Your site is fast becoming one of my favourites – thanks so much for these great recipes.

  2. Oooo, I make a similar dish with chicken – hubby loves it! Will have to make your version with pork for him soon :)

  3. robinplotkin says:

    Amber–great post! When would you like to guest blog for robinsbite??

  4. Fakharuddin40 says:

    Thanks for giving us the right directions to prepare a delicious recipe. I like your blog post very much. Keep sharing, its an honor.

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