Friday, January 22, 2010

If Your Kid Loves Chicken Nuggets...

...Try these homemade chicken nuggets!  I did, and it was a great success!  They're still chicken nuggets... ish... but they're way better for a kid than the processed kinds.  And the best part is, I just made whole chicken breasts for Daddy and me and the nuggets for Jack and we all got to eat the same thing as a family!

(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).

Take a baking sheet and (optional:) line it with foil for easier clean-up, then place a cooling rack on top of the sheet.  It lets air circulate around the food and any drippings fall away from the nuggets and keep the bottoms fairly crispy.

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!

MckLinky Blog Hop


*Jess* said...

I may have to try this!

Kate said...

You make it look so easy. Don't you guys have Shake-n-bake in the US? That's what we use here. It's probably horrible for your innards though.

Do you have to be such an Uber Mom while I am a Shake-n-Bake Mom?

Tanya said...

Great job, Mama! Not sure when you actually found the time for this though...esp. with your hectic week. Have you tried panko crumbs yet? We also have done some chicken tenders with oatmeal (after it's been run through the food processor). Looks fab and you should give yourself a pat on the back that at least he ate half of the corn (Jaron wouldn't touch it at Jack's age) and he gets lycopene from the ketchup (ounce for ounce the same as tomato sauce). Great job, Super Mama!

Amy O'Connor said...

I just use flour and seasoning salt to coat my chicken nuggets. My kids would much rather have Mom's homemade nuggets over McDonald's anyday! I can't wait to hear about the wheat germ. I'm trying to cook healthier for all of us!

Alli said...

Great recipe-I too took my 2 yr old to a food therapist for sensory issues at the rec. of the childrens hospital food clinic (they said I was doing everything I could and he doesnt have any issues!)but they didnt give me the advice of the 4 foods-I like that and will try that! Thanks!

Lynn said...

Those look delicious! I might have to try them ... except I'm lazy and don't mind giving my kids processed food every once in a while.

Arizona Mamma said...

I do a very similar rendition. I have never used wheat germ though. Will have to look into that. I also add a touch of the canned parmesan to my cornflake/crumb mix.

Arizona Mamma said...

I've got a couple of awards for you. Come get them when you can ;)

Brianne said...

I make homemade chicken nuggets for my kids too. I also make homemade ketchup so I don't mind the kids eating it. Its tomatoes!

Great tips though!

The (Un)Experienced Mom said...

That looked so good! We used to make chicken like that and call them "Chickn Mc______ (fill in your last name)."

I am going to try this one though b.c looks like the breading stuck better than mine does.

Wish I had a recipe to add, but this is not my forte. I make him a meal he likes or usually a version of what we're eating.


Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Melis, that's awesome that you did the week of TV-free toddler time! No, you don't have to tell me everything you did, but if you would like to be the featured blogger for Monday, then blog about one thing, email me the link, and you're on!

Shandal said...

This is a wonderful post. Those nuggets look tasty and something that my 3yr old actually might like. I'm definitely going to try this out. Thanks so much for sharing!


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