(Side note: Family dinners are very important to me, and I feel like it's important for Jack to eat what everyone else is eating because I do NOT want to instill in him the idea that he can have a sandwich and I'm going to make "x" for dinner and then the girls can have whatever they want and so on... I am not a short-order cook.)
So, here are my chicken nuggets!
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (in our case, I only cut one into pieces for Jack and left the other two whole, but if you want to make nuggets for everyone, feel free)
2 cups Corn Flake crumbs (buy a box near the bread crumbs in the store, or make your own!)
1 cup wheat germ*
2 eggs, beaten
3-5 Tbsp seasoned salt, depending on taste
(*I will do a short post about wheat germ soon!)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 and prepare your set-up. I used a technique called "dry baking" to keep the bottoms of the nuggets from getting soggy (which might be a deal-breaker for Mr. I-don't-like-mixed-textures).
Next, combine the Corn Flake crumbs, wheat germ and seasoned salt in a shallow dish.
Beat the eggs in a bowl and cut your chicken breast(s) into nugget-sized pieces. Create an assembly line of chicken, then egg, then crumbs, then baking sheet.
Dredge the chicken through the eggs and then coat with crumbs on all sides.
I set the timer for 20 minutes and checked back. At that point, all the nuggets were done. So if you're just doing nuggets, the time is 20 minutes. However, it took longer for the adult portions to cook so I left them in another 20, which gave me time to prepare the sides of frozen, steamed corn and rice pilaf and gave the nuggets ample time to cool off before I served everyone (because TextureBoy hates being served food that's hot).
It was a delicious meal! I'd love to break the Ketchup habit, but it'll never happen. Oh well. He ended up eating half the pile of nuggets (The other half went into his lunch for school the next day where they were not met with quite the enthusiasm I'd hoped, to be honest... However, I did taste them after he'd rejected them as leftovers and I assure you they tasted great so he was obviously just being a toddler.) and a few bites of corn and about half the pilaf!
When I took him to an occupational therapist to have him evaluated for Sensory Processing Disorder (which he does not have) the therapist did give me some suggestions about how to increase a picky-eater's diet. He said that introducing a food over and over and over again helps, as does offering meals in sections; ideally 4 (though we do 3 usually, I'll probably start doing 4) - one section should be food you know your child will eat, one section should be something he'd be willing to try, another section should be something he'll touch and the 4th should be something he'll look at. So in this case I knew he'd eat the chicken, I knew he'd probably try the rice and I was hoping he'd give the corn a shot. I omitted the final section because I didn't really have any idea what to put there. As it was, he ate some of everything!
So that's this week's first toddler food recipe - healthful, fun, and easy! It sneaks in extra nutrition in the form of wheat-germ, its more wholesome than freezer or fast-food nuggets, and it's totally toddler-approved! Please feel free to link up here on MckLinky if you put up a blog post of your own about a tot-friendly food you've tried and loved or leave a comment here with your tips, suggestions and ideas!