Polynesian Pineapple Chicken

The Role of Food is Important to Family and Health
I'll get to the food in a minute, but first I wanted to share some thoughts. I've learned over the past couple of months the importance that the role of food has in family and health. No, this isn't a lecture to eat healthy, just a little something, I feel, is important that I learned.

Things were going smoothly with our non-diet up until about 2 weeks ago when we decided to say screw it and start junking it up. With higher grocery prices, we've resorted to a more traditional and boring menu, which has not satisfied our desires for exciting flavors and new tastes. With our cravings and food interests unmet, we've temporary lapsed into a junk food binge, which I'm happy to say is over.

It's good to say that we're back on track, back on the wagon of healthy eating, but while no irreversible damage was done there were certainly some harsh consequences and we're still in damage control mode.

  • on-the-go or fast-food type meals leads to less family dinners, which has led to
  • more eating in front of the television as well
  • small amount of weight gained back, which isn't too bad. What's worse is:
  • no weight loss. Think of it as an opportunity cost where we could have been losing weight this whole time. But now,
  • our bodies have to reverse course and recondition themselves into a weight loss mode. Other consequences include
  • generally feeling like crap because we're full of sugar and fat instead of good stuff
  • IBS symptoms showing their butt again
So there we have it, now on with the food!
Polynesian Pineapple Chicken
What I found most remarkable about the preparation of this dish was the speed and ease of the pre-cook preparation. Usually with a stir fry you can spend much more time in front of a cutting board than in front of the stove or wok. I didn't really keep track, but I'd say the total prep and cook time was about 20 minutes, taking my sweet time.

 First thing to make is the dressing/sauce, which will knock out about half of the ingredient list. The dressing is made from ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, and cornstarch all whisked together.

Start by heating some oil in a large skillet over medium-high to high heat. I was going for a nice brown on this chicken, but it wasn't happening and I didn't want to dry out the chicken. When the chicken is cooked to your satisfaction, remove it to a separate plate.

Add a little more oil to the pan and chuck in your carrots and garlic. I'm certainly no expert with a knife, so here's the closest thing I can get to a julienne.

After the carrots have gotten nice and tender, add the peas. The recipe calls for snow peas, but I was lucky to find these sugar snap peas at the store. They were frozen, and I thawed them by soaking them in a room-temp water.

Add water chestnuts and pineapple.

Add almonds. Add your chicken back in, then add the dressing. Make sure everything is combined nicely while letting the whole thing cook through.

You can serve it over rice if you want or just eat it plain - I found the rice added a nice little texture to the dish. The chicken came out very moist and tender, and the water chestnuts packed a satisfying crunch. I think it would have been better to use a wok for this instead of a large skillet because the pineapple and peas came out a little mushy. I understand the peas were previously frozen, but I think the size and heat of the wok would have put a nice sear on them to caramelize and crispy them up.

The flavor was very mild, as in not too acidic or sharp like often citrus stir fry dishes can be. The dressing and pineapple adds a tang, but it's nothing too over-powering. I find that if these kinds of stir fry dishes do end up too acidic or sour then eating them with rice helps to balance some of that out.

Polynesian Pineapple Chicken Recipe

This recipe comes from Stir It Up: Super Skillet Cookbook, which is a WeightWatchers book that had so many good recipes in it when I was flipping through it that I had to steal borrow it from my mom.

For the dressing:
1/3 C ketchup
3 T reduced sodium soy sauce
3 T sugar
2 T rice vinegar (note: not rice wine vinegar)
1 T cornstarch

Combine all ingredients. Be sure to mix it up again before adding it to the pan to make sure the cornstarch hasn't clumped up.

For the stir fry:
3 T oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes (I just used 2 breasts and cut them into small strips)
2 carrots, thinly sliced (I'll try to learn julienne for next time)
1 T fresh ginger, minced and peeled
1/2 lb fresh snow peas, trimmed
1/4 C sliced almonds
1 8 oz. can pineapple chunks in juice, drained

Heat 2 T of the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken - remove chicken to a plate after chicken has been cooked through.

Heat 1 T oil and add carrots and ginger. Cook, stirring, until carrots soften, about 2 min. Stir in snow peas, almonds, water chestnuts, pineapple and chicken. Cook until snow peas are crisp-tender, about 3-4 min. Add dressing, bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly until thickened, about 1 min.

Back on the healthy eating wagon - and this kind of dish is perfect for summer! Hope you all enjoyed and I hope to see you all back.


  1. I really enjoy Polynesian flavors. Looks tempting!

  2. Ooh, looks delicious!

    Thanks for add on Food Buzz! I love meeting other foodies who blog and love food just as much as me

  3. oh wow, this looks straight from a restaurant! delicious!