Cheesecake Factory Copycat: A Healthy Sweet and Spicy Chicken

May the 4th be with you…

What? I ain’t got no Star Wars fans out there?

Truth be told, I’m not really a Star Wars fan.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that I hate the series or anything like that (what I AM a huge fan of is how Princess Leia rocked those two top buns on her head…I could have never pulled that off).

I guess what I’m saying is I’m not a Star Wars fan but, rather, I’m a bandwagon Star Wars Fan.  So today, on May 4th, I am sprinkling all of that “may the 4th be with you” jargon all over the place!

This made me realize I jump on the bandwagon for so many things.

First example: not a fan of baseball (sorry to all of you Blue Jays junkies…it’s just too slow for me..give me NFL all day, every day).  But when our beloved Jays are in the playoffs, oooooohhhhh I can maneuver a Blue Jays jersey into my wardrobe like nobody’s business!

Second example: I never really thought about taking restaurant meals and re-creating them.   However, years ago, when I started seeing copycat recipes of those popular restaurant meals posted on social media, I was all over that.

Case in point…

Cheesecake Factory just opened their very first restaurant here in Toronto.  I’ve been a few times when I’ve traveled to the US, but, to be honest, I’m not patient enough to do the “line up” thing.

One of my favs is their sweet and spicy chicken…yummy but not at all healthy.

It made me think of a dish I’ve been making for years…similar but with so many healthy additions!

Like ….sweet red peppers!!!

And sweet red onions…and natural honey and REAL Canadian maple syrup! With a kick of chipotle and no frying to be seen in a mile, this dish is all kinds of awesome!

Okay, so maybe it’s not a true “copycat” recipe but it is delish and I want you to try it and tell me how little you missed the fried part…

I swear you won’t miss it one bit!!

And, if you want to use up your rotisserie chicken, sub that in for the chicken in the recipe. I added some bean sprouts to this one and served it with noodles!

See how versatile!?

Cheesecake Factory Copycat: A Healthy Sweet and Spicy Chicken
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Serves: 4-6
 
Although this recipe is pretty different than the Cheesecake factory's version, mine is waaay healthier because I've added the sweetness of red peppers and I've eliminated the frying (which is absolutely not needed here!). Plus, you get the added smokiness of chipotle!! Woohoo!!
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pounds chicken meat (breast or thigh), cut into 2" pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 small can water chestnuts, sliced
  • 1 tbsp canned chipotle in adobo sauce (finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ⅓ c maple syrup
  • ½ mango, diced (optional)
  • ¼ c parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 c cashews
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil; season chicken with salt and pepper well.
  2. Brown chicken on all sides; add soy sauce and move chicken to one side of the skillet.
  3. To the empty side, add sliced onion, garlic and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes; then add water chestnuts.
  4. Add the chicken back into the vegetable mixture, adding the cumin and chipotle; toss to coat.
  5. Take the mixture off the heat and add honey and maple syrup, turning to coat mixture well; mix in the mango if using.
  6. Top with parsley and cashews; serve hot with rice or noodles.
 

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