Kids and chicken nuggets just go together, but if you’ve ever stopped to look at what is in those prepackaged bags of frozen nuggets, you may think twice about feeding them to your kids.
Here is a list of ingredients from a popular brand:
Chicken, Water, Breader (Wheat Flour, Salt, Dextrose, Spice, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Extractives of Paprika), Batter (Water, Yellow Corn Flour, Cornstarch, Dextrose, Salt, Spices, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Modified Food Starch, Garlic Powder, Guar Gum, Leavening [Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate]), Textured Soy Flour, Soy Flour, Contains 2% or Less of: Soy Protein Isolate, Salt, Flavoring, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Dextrose. Fried in Vegetable Oil with BHT
And, here is a link to an article that literally breaks it down for you — The Atlantic’s “Look Inside a Chicken Nugget”
I like to make breaded and baked chicken tenders for my kids, which are super easy. Just cut chicken breast into nugget-sized pieces, dip in egg, then breading and bake. However, my kids still crave that processed, breaded, crispy meat-like substance known as “the nugget”.
I’ve found the best solution for us is to process my own chicken at home. This way, I know what is in their nuggets, can add as little extra to them as possible, and still produce something that resembles what they are craving while feeling comfortable with what they are eating.
Enter, the food processor! If you don’t have one, I suppose you could buy pre-ground chicken, but you never really know exactly what is in that package of meat from the store. If you have a good source, then by all means, save yourself a step. Otherwise, your food processor is what makes or breaks these nuggets.
Add a little spice and some olive oil, form them into nuggets and bread them. I bake my kids’ nuggets in the oven, but you could easily fry them up and they would be extra tasty, albeit a little less healthy.
One good thing about this recipe is you could double it and freeze half a batch or more in order to pull a few out to bake at a later date, too.
Ingredients for about 24 homemade chicken nuggets:
1.5 lbs of good quality chicken breast
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp dried parsley or 1/2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
fresh ground black pepper
1-2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 -3/4 Cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Coconut oil spray or cooking spray
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray liberally.
Rinse your chicken breasts off and add them to the food processor along with the salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, parsley and olive oil. Pulse until it becomes somewhat smooth.
Put your seasoned breadcrumbs in a smaller bowl or plate and with wet or oiled hands, grab a small amount of the chicken mixture, form it into a nugget, and coat it in breadcrumbs. Place each nugget onto the baking tray and when you are done forming them, spray the tops of them with cooking spray.
Bake for 10 minutes then flip them over and bake another 10 minutes or until crispy. These taste great as a side to a nice salad. You can freeze them before baking them or partially bake them, let them cool, then freeze them for a later time to finish in the oven.
I hope you give these a try — they taste pretty darn close to those addictive processed things, but are so much better for your kids. Remember that ingredient list above — well, you’ve cut that list of ingredients down by at least two-thirds!