Friday, February 15, 2013

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

I should have titled this "A recipe for the only food my children are guaranteed to eat".

A while back, we were at Costco and Robby saw a gigantic back of Mickey Mouse shaped chicken nuggets.  I made the mistake of going over to look at them, thinking he would be excited to see them up close.  Well, we left with that gigantic bag of processed, nasty "chicken".  You know chicken nuggets aren't good when your non-picky-will-eat-anything-you-put-in-front-of-him-just-get-it-in-my-mouth-as-fast-as-you-can-almost-one-year-old won't even eat them!  That's when I started thinking of making my own nuggets.  Surely it can't be that hard, right?  I found several recipes.  Some of them were pretty complex and some were crazy simple.  I combined some parts of a few different recipes and came up with my own little version.  I wanted something that had the simplicity of freezer food but the nutrition of real chicken.  This is what I came up with:

-4 chicken breasts cut in nugget size pieces
-olive oil (I just make sure to use enough so the chicken has a light coating)
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 cup panko bread crumbs
-1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (you could make your own with some plain bread crumbs, parsley, and other Italian seasonings)
-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Put the chicken in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and give a good stir to make sure they are coated completely and season with salt and pepper.  In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Then add the chicken pieces to the bread crumb mixture, stir and make sure they are coated completely.  At this point, you can either bake them or freeze them.  If you choose to bake them immediately, cook them at 350 for 15 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.  To freeze them, line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and spread the nuggets out on the pans, making sure none of them are overlapping.

Put them in your freezer for several hours.  Then I put them in a big ziplock bag with instructions for cooking.

To cook the frozen nuggets, bake at 400 for 25 minutes.  Remember, you are cooking frozen, uncooked chicken so you want to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly (no pink!!) before you feed them to your littles.  You might have to adjust your cooking time depending on the size of your nuggets.

I love these because they don't take long to prep at all.  I can get them done in less than 10 minutes and then the freezer does the rest of the work.  This many nuggets will feed my boys for about a month and they eat them every other day or so.


Natalie said...

Oh! How come I have never thought of freezing them?!! I've made some like this before...SO yummy. especially with homemade mac and cheese (another quest of mine to find a good version). I'm going to have to try freezing them! does the olive oil help them get crispy? I've always just used egg.

Tim and Randi Weigle said...

You can spray them lightly with cooking spray (I have watered down olive oil in a spray bottle that I use) when you put them in the oven and that will help them get real crispy. They are really good! And you can add any other seasonings you want to change them up some.

Emily T said...

This looks awesome! And how cool that you freeze them!