Easy Stir Fry Mandarin Chicken


I was inspired by the food allergy and gluten free panel at the International Food Bloggers Conference.  Heaven knows I have eaten more than my fair share of wheat, rice, and potatoes; sometimes all three in the same meal! While kiwi is the only food that has caused a serious reaction in me, it occurred to me that it wouldn’t be bad idea to try to create a meal that did not require wheat, rice or potatoes.

This meal plates well, tastes great, and is so easy to make, it’s scary. Make this meal for someone special or the family and you will impress.   



1 lb. chicken tender filets

2 Leeks julienne cut                                      

½  Butternut Squash julienne cut

½ Red Bell Pepper julienne cut

Spring lettuce such as arugula, radicchio, and romaine

Clementines (I used “Cuties” brand)

Orange sauce (many supermarkets have this in Asian food section)

¼ tsp dried red peppers

2- 3 Tbsp Canola Oil


On each plate make a nest of spring lettuce in the middle of the plate.

In a Wok or deep fry pan, heat 1 Tbsp of Canola oil to medium high, add the butternut squash, gently stir, after a minute add the leeks, and red bell pepper and sauté for a couple minutes until the vegetables take on some cooked color, stirring occasionally.  Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon, place on paper towel, and then cover.

In same Wok or fry pan, add 1 or 2 Tbsp. more Canola oil, bring heat to high and when oil is very hot add the chicken tenders, and cook on high heat for 3 minutes, occasionally stirring. Add dried red peppers, stir, add Orange sauce, stir, and finally add clementines and cook for another minute or two.  

Place chicken tenders around the lettuce nest on each plate.  Next, top each lettuce nest with julienne cut vegetables, and finally, garnish with cooked mandarins.

And there you go, a great meal without bread, potatoes, or rice.  

AND STUFF       

[I will be mentioning certain services and publications, and want you to know that I have not received any compensation for highlighting them in this post.] 

You no doubt can tell I am not a trained writer in the sense of a degree in creative writing.  Yet, as a recovering attorney, I can assure you I have done some very “creative writing” over the years. You will be pleased to know that there will be no law war stories in today’s post. Rather, I thought the background might be helpful to explain how I got to the point where I have written a screenplay and registered it with the Writers Guild of America, West. 

For years I had been toying with an idea for a movie. But I was too busy chasing the golden ring in the legal profession to act on the idea. My practice has evolved to a more, shall we say, manageable load, and as a result I found myself with time to write my screenplay. 

Just one problem, my training over the years had been focused on watching, not writing, films.  I had no idea how to write or format the screenplay in a manner which would be both interesting and acceptable to the industry. I suppose I could have gone back to school to attend endless classes to achieve enlightenment. But I had an idea and I wanted to get moving.  

I turned to the source book series that taught me how to ref a soccer game, start a blog, and now write a screenplay.  Yes indeed, research heaven – The Dummies series of how-to books. I hunkered down on the deck and read, “Screenwriting For Dummies”.  I had correctly assumed that the author would be speaking directly to me, a dummy.  The book provided a tremendous introduction to crafting the story and creating compelling characters and dialogue in proper format. Now I had an idea and some writing instruction, but I still needed an efficient way to format my screenplay. 

After exhausting my go-to research book, I began an Internet search for a screenwriting program.  In no time at all I found great programs. But, having never written a screenplay, and not knowing if this project would end up being yet another  forgotten project in the garage, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend the money for a program. I continued searching and came across a program in the beta stage that could be tested for free.  I happily downloaded Screenwriting Pro and in no time found myself writing in what I can only assume is proper formatting. 

It was one thing to have a great idea in my head, but as it turns out, quite another thing to get the idea onto paper in a form that is interesting to someone else. After I had completed the first act of my screenplay, I told She Who Must Be Obeyed what I had been up to over the past few weeks.  She was … skeptical.  I asked her to read what I had put down on paper so far, and tell me point blank if I was wasting my, and now her, time.  She read it and said “keep writing”.  So I did.

Attorneys do research. It can be fun.  I cannot tell you how much fun I had doing the research for my screenplay. I researched the storyline topics on the Internet. I interviewed Darrold, an old friend who is an avid hunter, and who was kind enough to provide tremendous insight for my realistic action in a key portion of the secreenplay.   As a result of the research, I knew more about the topic of the screenplay than anyone else not actually involved in the business of the story. I “virtually” created and lived the lives of my characters as I wrote.  And, to my absolute surprise, when the story was completed, rewritten,  rewritten to a clean draft, and set aside, I was sad.  I actually missed my characters and their adventure (Perhaps I need to get out more).  

I have since spoken with another friend, Monica, and she has agreed to apply her skilled editing eyes on the final version, should that day ever come.    

So both She Who Must Be Obeyed and I like my screenplay.  What would someone in the industry think?  I started surfing the Internet again.  I ended up looking at the topic of screenwriting on Twitter, and found ScreenplayCoverage.com (full disclosure by becoming their twitter friend I think I got $10 off their service).  I have hired ScreenplayCoverage.com to do a coverage on my screenplay, which will provide me with an idea as to how the industry might evaluate it. 

I do not yet know the result of the coverage on my screenplay.  And even if I did, I don’t think I would pass it on to you one way or the other.  The point of this post is the journey, not the personal result.  I can tell you the journey was fun, and I will do it again regardless of the result.  

If you find yourself with a little extra time these days, and a dream, follow it – the journey is great.

Good Eating and Table Talk,



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