Kung Pau Chicken

I've blogged before about my boys obsession with Asian food, but this recipe just drives them wild. If you think the singing and dancing at the mention of Cashew Chicken was a little wacky, you'd love to see them go nuts when I mention Kung Pau!

And the best part? It keeps me from going nuts, because it takes all of 10 minutes to make. You know why. Say it with me: PACKET!!!! 

Here is your very best friend in the whole wide world, the packet: 

You can find this in the Asian aisle of most stores. We've found it at Winn Dixie, the commissary, and also at Big Lots! (I have to admit that I love Big Lots - there are so many great finds, especially if you like scrapbooking and finding really interesting cooking ingredients - it's also where I found my olive oil with red peppers that I like to use to spice things up! And to combine the two topics, I found a scrapbook specifically for cooking that has a magnetic front to hold your recipes while you are cooking - for 2 bucks!!!) Okay, off my Big Lots rant. (Wait, did I mention that if you sign up for their email you get 20% off whole purchases every now and then, thats when we go.) (I promise I don't work for or get paid by Big Lots to mention all of this!) 

Okay. Next, gather the ingredients you need to throw this beautiful meal together:
The packet, cut up chicken (around 1lb), a carrot, water chestnuts, and chives. The recipe calls for sliced green onions, but I always use the freeze dried Chives because I like them, try it out you'll be pleasantly surprised. 

And do you know what I forgot? PEANUTS! You must have peanuts, preferably lightly salted: 
The recipe calls for 1/3 a cup (but if you throw in more no one will track you down). 

Next, you just throw some olive oil in a pan, get it nice and hot, and throw in the chicken to cook it up for around 3-4 minutes:
WAIT! Did you put your rice on? Oops, I didn't. That means that my chicken will be done, long long before my rice! Make sure you get that rice on, you want to eat this with rice. And egg rolls, get those in the oven too while you are thinking about it!

So since you are more organized than me and your rice started cooking 10 minutes before you put the chicken on, you will proceed to the next step without worry. Go ahead and get your veggies ready to stir in. You need to peel and slice up one carrot, thin long strips, open and drain out the water chestnuts, measure out your peanuts, and if you are cutting up the green onions do that now too:
Once they are all ready and the chicken looks done for the most part, dump them in:
As for my dried chives, I just sprinkle them on, heavily. I really like them. This cooks around 2-3 minutes to soften up the veggies, and then you are going to invite your beautiful friend to join in the mix:
Pour in the packet mix and stir it up to coat, turn to simmer and let it cook just another 2 minutes or so and it's done. Unfortunately, I had to wait on my rice, and didn't turn my heat down low enough and burned it just a little tiny bit, but I didn't tell anyone, and I don't think they noticed, here it is all together in the pan (post-burn):
Here it is ready to go with rice and egg rolls, as usual this is my insatiable stepson's plate:
Do you see how wonderfuly easy cooking can be with a packet? Let me know if you make this, or if you need help finding the packet!

Love and Luck to you,

The Packet Queen 

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