Recipe: General Tso's Chicken
Vegetable oil spray
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large egg whites
5 cups (5 ounces) Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal, finely crushed
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 2/3 cups water
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup apricot jam
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, top with wire rack, and spray rack with oil spray. Spread flour into shallow dish. Whisk egg whites until foamy in second shallow dish. Spread Corn Flakes crumbs into third shallow dish. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg whites, then coat with Corn Flakes, pressing gently to adhere; lay on prepared wire rack.
2. Spray chicken with oil spray. Bake until chicken registers 160 degrees and coating is brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, whisk water, soy sauce, apricot jam, hoisin, cornstarch, and vinegar together in bowl. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in soy sauce mixture, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.
4. When chicken is cooked, return sauce to simmer over medium-low heat. Add cooked chicken and toss to coat. Serve.
•Approximately what percent of the meal is processed vs. whole food?
all-purpose flour - processed
vegetable oil spray - processed
egg whites - whole
cornflakes - processed
chicken - whole
water - whole
soy sauce - processed
apricot jam - processed
cornstarch - processed
balsamic vinegar - processed
canola oil - processed
garlic - whole
ginger - whole
red pepper flakes - processed
broccoli - whole
Processed - 9/15 ingredients
Whole - 6/15 ingredients
About 60% of this meal is processed.
Approximate calories per serving: 490
" carbohydrates per serving: 62g
" fat per serving: 8g
" saturated fat per serving: 1.5g
" protein per serving: 44g
This meal is high in protein in comparison to it's commercially produced counterpart. This protein in the body will be broken down into amino acids and used in necessary chemical reactions within the body.
The majority of the fat in this meal is good fat, which will be processed by the body and turned into acids. These acids will travel through the blood stream and be collected by cells that need to replenish their energy.
This meal, compared to the meal available for $11.99 at your local chances food store, has fewer carbs than this homemade alternative. These carbs will be used for energy but if they're not used immediately they will be converted into glucose. That, in turn, will be stored in fat cells.
If one were to eat this everyday, I would imagine they would have some vitamin deficiencies because every vitamin and mineral needed in day to day life is not present in this meal.
I believe many of the ingredients were manufactured in the US, but there is still a considerable amount of traveling to food had to do to get from it's manufacturer to my local supermarket. Collectively, I'd estimate the total miles all the food had traveled would be about 5000 miles. With the cost of fuel today, the total money used to get it here is probably quite considerable. Not to mention the toll the fuel emissions most have had on the environment. Some of the cheapest ways to ship any cargo are also the most detrimental to the earth.
Purchasing all the ingredients for this meal coasted about $35, but to get the price per serving, it has to be divided by by 12. Which means that the cost per plate of food was approximately $3. This is significantly cheaper than going to a chinese restaurant where General Tso's chicken would cost about $12.
There were profits made at every step of the preparation of this meal. Money was made by the people selling ingredients, shipping ingredients, making the products, shipping the products, and then down to the consumer, who buys the final product. The people made the most money out of this process were the people who own portions of the monopolizing corporations. In my meal this would be companies like Perdue, General Mills, and Nabisco.
The chicken in my meal came from the Perdue Corporation. This means that it started at their farms, went to their processing plant, was shipped to my local super market, Super Fresh, and then I bought it. Since it's illegal to have chickens within city limits, I would never be able to personally raise a chicken to cook.
Broccoli was another major part of my meal. Most broccoli production happens in China. Assuming that is where mine originated, that means that my broccoli was produced on a farm in china, it is then harvested, and shipped to the US. Where is was once and again shipped to my local market. To grow, broccoli needs a cool weather climate, which would make it possible to grow during certain seasons in Philadelphia. It takes about 100 days to grow and 200 seeds costs about $4. This packet would produce more than one head of broccoli and considering the price of broccoli at the market, I would save a lot of money in the long run.
This unit has taught me a lot about food and how we, both as individuals and as a species, interact with it. I've learned that obesity and type 2 diabetes have only become epidemics in the past few decades. This is because of the widespread availability of processed food as opposed to whole food products. This is the probably the biggest issue with food in western society. Food that has been highly processed and contains many refines carbohydrates are the ones that are heavily advertised and are the cheapest and most available.
Personally, before this unit I believed I ate mostly healthy and even after learning from this unit, I've retained this stance. One thing I could definitely improve upon is the attention I pay to the actual ingredients in my food. It was mentioned that foods with more than 5 ingredient are to be avoided and I've definitely disregarded this rule on a daily basis. In the future, I hope to be more aware of it and improve my health. Making these changes would hopefully resolve some little issues I tend to have like lethargy and the urge to constantly shovel doritos into my mouth. If I take care to learn about what I'm eating before I actually do it, it will most likely impact my health in a positive way.