Friday, April 2, 2010

Chicken nuggets

A couple of things happened in quick succession of each other which lead to the development of this recipe. The first was I forgot to buy a bag of chicken nuggets for the little Witch at the grocery store. The horror!!! We got home and of course the first thing she asks for is her precious nuggets. Kids and their nuggets, right?

The next day I watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, about changing eating habits, eliminating processed foods, etc from our diets. I sat there pretty smug like for as you know I'm a Witch who doesn't use processed foods. No cream of soups for me, no sir, I'm not one of those cooks. Why buy it in a box when I can make it from scratch?

The following day it was lunch time and the little Witch asked for nuggets. I had to remind her that we, indeed, were out of nuggets and she needed to have something else for lunch. That didn't go over well. She refused to eat anything I had made for her. This is the child that once used to pass over nuggets to get to the tomatoes. So I started to have a mini panic attack "Oh no - no nuggets, what will she eat? The only thing she'll eat is nuggets!! What will I feed my child?"

Then I stopped and thought about that last one. What will I feed my child with out processed chicken nuggets? How is it that I, the Kitchen Witch, had fallen into convinience & processed food traps for my child? It seemed innocent enough when she was very wee and wanted a chicken nugget. Thank goodness, I thought to myself, she wants to eat food, any food! You see, the little Witch doesn't have a large appetite so any time I find food she'll eat I'm thrilled. You other parents understand I'm sure. If she'll eat nuggets, then by gosh nuggets she'll get! I was smart & read my labels, no HFCS or PHO's were allowed. Somehow the other 23 unpronounceable 'ingredients' were overlooked - and I was ok with that.

No more!

Using a fair amount of witchcraft I came up with homemade nuggets that look like the Tyson ones. They're breaded, but with panko. A touch of paperkia adds color and gives a deep fried look. I used very basic seasonings to mimic the bland processed nuggets flavor. Its a preschoolers dream! I added a touch of butter to the panko crumbs which aids in both moisture as well as flavor. And these nuggets are lean white meat chicken and oven baked so they really are a healthy alternative - and your kids will eat them!

Chicken nuggets
makes about 32 nuggets
2 chicken breasts ground OR 1 lb ground chicken
1 egg
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 t poultry seasoning
1/2 t paperkia
1/2 t kosher salt, divided
2 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400.
Grind chicken or put the preground stuff into a bowl. Add 1/4 t kosher salt and the egg. Mix well. Pour mixture into a zip top bag.

Put the panko and seasonings into your food processor bowl and pulse until the panko is more like bread crumbs.

Add butter and pulse a few more times until mixture looks like wet sand. Pour 1/2 the crumbs out onto a sheet pan. Spread out as evenly as possible.

Cut the end off the zip top bag and pipe nugget sized dollops onto the panko crumbs. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining crumbs. Gently press down on top to form a nugget shape.

Using a small spatula flip the nuggets over to ensure even crumb coating the transfer to a 2nd sheet pan for baking. Bake for 13 minutes or until nuggets are done.

TO FREEZE: Allow nuggets to fully cool. Once they're cool you can put the entire sheet tray into the freezer, once they freeze transfer to a large zip top bag. If your freezer won't hold a sheet tray put the nuggets in a single layer in a zip top bag and freeze. Once they're solid they can be stacked ontop of each other to save room.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
8 Servings (6 nuggets per serving)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 127.2
Total Fat 4.5 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Cholesterol 68.6 mg
Sodium 213.2 mg
Potassium 159.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.3 g
Sugars 0.3 g
Protein 15.4 g


Jenn said...

The little witch and Chris sound a lot alike :) Chris loves his processed chicken nuggets! I actually love making chicken strips for dinner on occasion. I've always used regular chicken breasts...gonna have to try the ground chicken and your method of freezing...maybe I can ween Chris off the processed stuff too!! Wonderful idea Kitchen Witch!!

Tonya said...

Wonderful witchcraft, Andrea! These look way tastier than the kind at the grocery store. Thanks for the recipe!

Sarah said...

After my friends and I going back and forth all week since watching Jamie Oliver's show I was glad to run across this recipe!!! I will have to try it. I don't have a grinder though, so I think I will use the ground turkey I already have in the freezer.

Velva said...

What a wonderful way to make nuggets-love it. In my kids eyes chicken nuggets might as well be part of the basic food groups.:-)
I have no doubt yours are much better than any other fried rubbery nugget you could get from a box. Thanks for sharing.

StephenC said...

It does my heart good to see the Kitchen Aid grinder in action. Don't know how I'd live without mine. I don't buy pre-ground meats - I make my own.

I would think that cutting the chicken breast into 1 or 2 inch cubes and lightly pounding it would yield good nugget results. Then there's the brining. I always brine pork and chicken. It makes it more delicate, more tasty, and more moist.


Sook said...

Panko is such a great idea! I love it. The chicken nuggets look so good and delicious!

Design Wine and Dine said...

I love how you use the zip loc bag to squeeze out the chicken - I love the ZIP LOC bag corner cut too - use it all the time for adding sauces to my dishes. These are inspiring me to cook better for my kids...

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