Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Real Chicken Nuggets!

OK, y'all. It's time to share this secret. Chicken Nuggets aren't real food. I know it's shocking, but it's true.

Back in seventh grade, in my home economics class (yes, they still had those back in the 80s), I learned to make real chicken nuggets. This was - brace yourself - before McDonald's had them! And the ones I learned to make had Real Chicken Meat!

Would you like to know how ridiculously simple they are to make?

I've long since lost the recipe for exact measurements of ingredients, so I usually just "wing it" and you can, too.

*Boneless, skinless, uncooked chicken meat. We tend to like the thigh meat, as it has so much flavor, but the breasts would be fine.  
*Bread Crumbs. You can use them from a can, but why? They put so much in there that isn't even bread! If you make your own bread or even have a favorite brand of bread, that will work great. Toast it up until it's quite dry then put it in the food processor or blender! Viola - bread crumbs.
*Spices. You can add whatever strikes your fancy. You can go relatively plain with a bit of sea salt and parsley. You can add a teaspoon or two of mixed italian seasonings and parmesan cheese. You can add curry and turmeric. It really is up to you what you want your nuggets to taste like.
*Egg or Butter. You need a coating agent!

Now, it depends on how much chicken you are making on how much of each of the others you will need. 
Let's say you have two large breasts. Er, that you have two large chicken breasts... 
--Cut them into about one inch cubes 
--dip them into about a stick of melted butter or into a couple of lightly agitated eggs. 
--remove from butter/egg
--roll in about 1-2 cups of bread crumbs mixed with spices

Put in a single layer on a cookie sheet and cook at 400 F for about 15 minutes. That is it! 

You will very likely NOT need any kind of dipping sauce, as the nuggets will actually have flavor! If you think you need it, try this fabulous, homemade ranch dressing.

I have often thought about making a bunch of these ahead of time and freezing them. Unfortunately, they never last long enough. If you manage to do it, write and tell me about it!

Cooking is not about following specific recipes all the time. It is often about "winging it" and finding out what works for you and your family. Trying new things, new flavors, new methods, new ideas. You can do it! Trust me, if I can do it, you can too!


  1. This reminds me of my all time favorite food author Michael Pollan and his Food Rules: Rule No 39 "Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself". If you have to make it yourself you won't eat chicken nuggets 4 times a week.
    Your recipe sounds delicious. I wonder if I can make this with Turkey since we have wild turkey here which are a pest. I know but "here" is New Zealand.

  2. I love it! It's funny. The directions are clear. Great job! We've made homemade nuggets in the past and they were tasty. Plus making them yourself gives you a real sense of satisfaction. We've never frozen any so I can't comment on that. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Peter,
    First of all... my son is jealous. He would love to spend time in NZ. :)
    Secondly, I am sure it would work with Turkey. It's a mild enough flavor and should be able to take on the flavors you decide to add. Try it some time and let me know how it goes! I have a couple of turkey thighs in the freezer right now...
    And lastly, I Love that Rule! The nuggets are easy enough to make, though they are time consuming. We don't have them very often for that reason. They are a treat in this house, since I don't buy them premade from the store.

  4. Christine,
    I definitely agree. Making them yourself does give a sense of satisfaction! My son loves the whole "slimy egg" part :)