This May has been an extremely busy time for our family. All four kids have end-of-the-year projects, I’m preparing for our oldest son’s graduation (totally stressed out on this one), and there are several extra-curricular school activities to attend. All these added events means less time to get creative in the kitchen and the kids are often heard saying, “We’re eating spaghetti AGAIN?!” Yes. Again. Sorry.
Since we’ve been having the same ole’ dinner recipes for several weeks, I knew I needed to give my kids a dinner that excited them. After all, dinner is the one time during the day when I can get all of them around the table. Dinnertime is when all electronics are turned off and good conversation is the only entertainment. Unfortunately, my lackluster dinners have them dragging their feet to the table at different times. Not good. It also meant my kids were scarfing up their food and running away from the table without talking.
It was time for a meal intervention. There were three things I needed the new meal to do –
1. Get my kids excited for dinner.
2. Get them unplugged and to the table on-time.
3. Get them to stay seated for longer than a millisecond and talk to each other.To get my family back on track for dinnertime, I updated one of my kids’ favorite meals, Japanese fried chicken or karaage. They usually eat it plain and straight out of the frying pan: no sauces or toppings. However, since I was looking for a change, I decided to update my fried chicken with a bold twist. I used a pre-made Thai sweet and spicy chili sauce, found in most Asian stores, to coat the fried chicken. Using a pre-made sauce keeps things simple, adds bold flavor, and doesn’t add any cooking time in the kitchen! A win-win!
Now that my chicken recipe was updated, I needed a side to compliment it. Normally we have rice with almost every meal, but that was too boring to serve with the new jazzed up chicken. I needed something just as bold! Ore-Ida® Bold & Crispy Spicy Sriracha Fries were the perfect side to compliment the new Japanese fried chicken with a bold twist.
To start this new bold dinner, I started with the basic chicken marinade. It’s only three ingredients: soy sauce, sake, and ginger. Then, I added in chicken that was cut into 1 1/2″ strips. To ensure the marinade flavors permeated the chicken, I used a fork to poke holes all over the strips. Next, I let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. After 30 minutes, the pieces of chicken were coated with cornstarch. After each piece was coated, the pieces were fried until golden brown.
Can you see my assistant helping me coat the chicken? She was so excited to try something new that she volunteered to help prepare dinner. Amazing what the excitement of a good meal can do. It actually got my teen daughter to…GASP!… leave her room and help me in the kitchen! I know that parents of teens know exactly what I’m talking about.
Once the chicken pieces were fried, I took sweet chili sauce and brushed it onto each piece. The sauce isn’t very hot, but if you have a super sensitive palate, mix equal parts of ranch dressing and sweet chili sauce to make a cooled down version and serve it on the side. My oldest daughter likes the ranch mix as a fry and chicken dip.
I originally only planned on picking up Ore-Ida® Bold & Crispy Spicy Sriracha Fries, but I ended up coming home with two other Ore-Ida® Bold & Crispy flavors – Garlic and Pepper Steakhouse Fries and Zesty Twirls. I guess that’s what happens when the kids come shopping with me and are dying for something new. Besides, I couldn’t deny them more fries when they all volunteered to bake both the Ore-Ida® Bold & Crispy Spicy Sriracha Fries and the Garlic and Pepper Steakhouse Fries for dinner. It’s pretty amazing to see how food can influence and motivate teens to be more helpful.
Want to know the best part of updating a family favorite dish and adding Ore-Ida® Bold & Crispy Fries to our dinner? The meal accomplished all three things I wanted it to do –
1. It got my kids excited for dinnertime. They even helped to cook the meal!
2. The kids unplugged and were at the dinner table on-time.
3. The kids sat at the dinner table long enough to talk to each other. We even tried to figure out a math problem that my son’s teacher posted for bonus points on a test! Now that’s good food if it keeps the kids at the table to talk about math problems! If you need suggestions for ways of getting your kids to talk,check out this #FindYourBold Pinterest board for ideas.
I’d love to hear how you #FindYourBOLD for dinnertime meals. Do you play games, ask random questions, try new meals? Let me know in the comments below!
Want to see what a bold meal can do for your dinner table? Grab a Ore-Ida® Bold & Crispy $1.00 off coupon and visit the #FindYourBOLD Dinner Table Topics Pinterest board to find more bold recipes and dinner conversation topics.
Japanese Fried Chicken
|Prep time||35 minutes|
|Cook time||35 minutes|
|Total time||1 hours, 10 minutes|
|Meal type||Lunch, Main Dish|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Serve Cold, Serve Hot|
- 3lb boneless chicken thighs or breast (cut into 1 1/2)
- 6 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (can substitute with regular soy sauce)
- 4 tablespoons sake (substitute with sherry)
- 2 tablespoons ginger (finely grated frozen ginger root. Reduce if using fresh ginger.)
- 1 1/4 cup cornstarch (chicken coating)
- 2 cups cooking oil (to fry chicken)