A Sure Thing

Do your kids like chicken nuggets? Is the Earth round? Is the sky blue?

I’m always experimenting with ways to make a tastier chicken nugget. There’s some stiff competition out there fighting for my kid’s attention. Some days I have to become my own PR spokesperson, market researcher, and advertising executive to get them to eat an unfamiliar food. But when I cook chicken nuggets it’s usually a successful campaign. It’s one of the few foods beside hot dogs, shrimp and bacon that requires no cajoling, no convincing, and no pleading.

Another thing my kids love is dipping sauces, ketchup of course, being the number one favorite, with honey mustard a close second. That’s how this recipe came about. Instead of serving nuggets with a dipping sauce I decided to try and turn one inside out and put the dipping sauce on the nugget itself. They came out amazing – but make them for your kids and let them be the judge!

Honey Mustard Nuggets (Recipe by Elaine Studdert)

Ingredients

3 Tbsp honey

3 Tbsp honey mustard (you can use Dijon for a less sweet nugget)

2 cups panko breadcrumbs, plain

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 ½ pounds chicken tenders, cut into 2” strips

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a baking rack.

In a small bowl, combine the honey and mustard. In a shallow dish, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the salt and pepper. Then add the olive oil and mix well.

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Dip or brush the chicken in the honey mustard. Place the chicken in the panko breadcrumbs and press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken. Use one hand to dip (wet hand) and use the other hand for the breadcrumbs (dry hand). Place the breaded chicken on the baking rack.

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Bake in oven until crispy, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “Do these have honey on them? I LOVE them”

Liam (age 5): “The chicken is perfect”

Dylan (age 5): “Not better than tater tots!”

Mission accomplished. But now I need to tackle tater tots!

 

 

Five-Second Rule

Last night at dinner one of my kids dropped some food on the floor and promptly picked it up and ate it. He was obviously applying the five-second rule: If you drop food on the floor, you have five seconds to pick it up and eat it before it gets the cooties.

I would say he picked it up in about 2 seconds, not long enough for me to even to stop him. Although I am happy to report he gave it a quick wipe on his shirt just to make sure it was really “clean”. My kids are not in the habit of eating off the floor. Usually whatever food accumulates during dinner tends to stay where it lands until I clean it, so this was an exception to the rule.

You must be wondering what delicious morsel of food prompted such an action. None other than chicken nuggets. What is it about chicken nuggets? My kids absolutely LOVE them. The funniest thing is they’ll say they love MacDonald’s chicken nuggets and they’ve never even eaten at MacDonald’s.

I did some research into McNuggets and discovered they contain 38 ingredients! 44% of them account for actual chicken or chicken products. The other 56% are corn based and some include chemicals you might find under your kitchen sink (you know, the type you lock up so your kids DON’T ingest them.) One more reason to avoid eating at MacDonalds! The whole chicken nugget thing is a mystery to me. And it’s not only my kids, I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like them.

Obviously, I don’t advocate eating off the floor, but I will admit I was secretly happy that my kid liked his dinner so much he was willing to go the extra mile to eat it. Ironically, the “chicken” nuggets I had made weren’t even chicken, they were turkey. It was April Fool’s Day after all…

Fool’s Nuggets

Ingredients

1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp black pepper

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 Tbsp ketchup

1 lb. ground turkey or chicken

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

In a shallow dish mix the breadcrumbs, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper.

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Remove 1/2 cup of the breadcrumb mixture and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and ketchup to the breadcrumbs, mix until combined. Then add the turkey or chicken and mix until well combined. The best way to do this is using your hands, messy but it is the best way to get the job done!

Form 1” meatballs and roll them in the breadcrumbs, pressing gently down to form a nugget shape.

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Coat both sides of the “nugget” and place on the baking sheet.

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Bake for approximately 25 minutes until crispy. Turn them once halfway through cooking. Serve with favorite dipping sauce!

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “These are the healthy ones, right?”

Liam (five days from 5): “Are they better than the ones at McDonald’s?”

Dylan (five days from 5): “Not as good as McDonalds’s Liam but I love these…”

Not as good as McNuggets but still a meal worthy of eating off the floor!

 

 

Stormy Dinners

Lights, power… back in the kitchen! Aaahhhh- so nice to have heat again – and an oven, and a refrigerator and TV for the kids!

Our first night with power we ordered takeout since there was nothing in the fridge except some questionable cheese and other assorted items that needed to be discarded. We really need to stock up but the supermarket is still on generator so we are cooking this week with whatever we can get. Hopefully the empty shelves will be replenished soon and I can get back to cooking for my little monsters.

We are extremely grateful to all of our friends who hosted us for delicious dinners while our power was out. I am proud to say all three boys were fairly gracious and did well at most of those meals…. Most, not all, but it was a stressful week!

One of our friends asked if her meal would “make the blog” so this one is for you, Rebecca! The boys loved her version – let’s see how mine does….

Real Chicken “Chicken Nuggets” with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

(when I made this there was no chicken available yet at supermarket. I substituted thin sliced pork loin, which work well but be careful not to overcook)

2 eggs

2 tbsp ketchup

2 cup seasoned Panko breadcrumbs

1 cup flour

2 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper

 
Dipping Sauce:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (easy clean-up)

Whisk together eggs, ketchup and 2 tbsp of water.

Make an assembly line of three shallow dishes: one with flour, one with egg mixture, last with seasoned breadcrumbs.

Cut chicken into 1” strips and season with salt and pepper. Dip first into the flour, shaking off excess. Then dip into the egg, shaking off excess. Finally, dip into the breadcrumbs.

Set the breaded chicken on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake approximately 8 minutes on each side depending on thickness of chicken.

While chicken is baking make dipping sauce: Mix together mayo, honey and mustard in small bowl.

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew: I love the chicken and I love love this dipping sauce!

Dylan: This sauce is too mustirry! Is there bones in this??

Liam: I will only eat the chicken – the sauce hurts my eyes.

Note: Although I did mention after they ate that the nuggets were pork not chicken, no one seemed to care, they had already moved on to dessert….