Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Simple & Quick Baked Chicken Nuggets

Say goodbye to the chicken nuggets that you've come to know at your local fast food joint!  Yes, I know that it is super fast and convenient to speed through the drive thru once and awhile.  But, if you take the time to make chicken nuggets at home, you can rest assured that you are controlling the ingredients, you are spending less money and the best part - they taste so much better.  You can even plan a little in advance to save some time by having your chicken cut up into chunks earlier in the day or the night before.  I even get mine all "breaded" and prepped a few hours prior to dinner, so that the only work I have to do is pop these into the oven.
My kids and Steve go nuts for these.  While they do have a little less breading than traditional nuggets, they don't seem to miss it at all!  And, while I serve these to my children with ketchup (their preferred dipping condiment of choice), I think these rock dipped in honey.  And, I like to serve these up with some homemade baked fries on the side - another wallet-friendly alternative to fast food.

The prep time is only about 10 - 15 minutes, so it's a pretty simple dinner option for a busy weeknight.

Yields about 4 dozen nuggets.


3 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, trimmed up and cut into similar-sized chunks
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Non-stick cooking spray


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a large, rimmed sheet pan.  Lightly coat the parchment with some non-stick spray.  Set aside.

Combine together the regular breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning. (I do this in a sandwich-size plastic baggie.)

Place the chunks of chicken in a medium mixing bowl.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Stir or toss to coat evenly.  Drizzle on the olive oil and stir to coat.  Sprinkle on a third of the breadcrumb mixture and stir to distribute.  Sprinkle on another third of the breadcrumb mixture, then stir to distribute.  Finish with the remaining breadcrumbs.  Stir or toss to ensure that each piece of chicken is evenly coated.

Place the chicken pieces in an even layer on the parchment-lined sheet pan.  Gently mist the tops with additional cooking spray. 

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, then flip over chicken nuggets.  Continue baking an additional 4 - 5 minutes or until nuggets are browned and crisp.

NOTE:  If you don't have breadcrumbs on hand, you can crush up some croutons or crackers.  Also, all regular breadcrumbs can be used instead of using a combination of regular ones and panko ones.  The panko just adds an extra "crunch" factor to the nuggets.

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