I remember the first time Mawie, my grandmother, fixed homemade chicken nuggets, Parmesan noodles, and peas for me. Since then I've prepared this recipe dozens of times for my family and we all love it.
I actually simplified Mawie's original recipe by using store-bought seasoned bread crumbs instead of adding the thyme, basil, and salt to unseasoned crumbs, as called for in her original recipe. The most recent time I baked chicken nuggets I had panko bread crumbs on hand and used those along with a few good shakes of Italian seasoning and a touch of garlic powder.
Homemade chicken nuggets taste so much better than what you get at the drive-thru. In my opinion, baked really is better than deep fried! Most importantly, when you make them yourself you know exactly what's going into them. For me, that's very important as I try to avoid food with a high sodium content and flavor-enhancing ingredients.
Here's the recipe.
Homemade Chicken Nuggets
3 boneless chicken breast halves or a package of fresh chicken breast tenderloins (20 ounces)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or panko bread crumbs and added Italian seasoning, see above)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
Cut chicken into pieces about 1 1/2 inches square. Combine crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip nuggets in melted butter, then in crumbs. Place on foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (watch that the bottoms don't burn).
Most recently I used parchment paper to line the baking sheet and the chicken didn't stick at all as it tends to do with foil. The panko crumbs that I used didn't get as brown as the regular bread crumbs, but to remedy that you could turn the chicken halfway through baking. I just don't like to take the extra time. Just be sure not to overcook or burn the bottoms while you're waiting for the tops to brown.
I serve chicken nuggets with Parmesan noodles and peas, like my Mawie did. To make Parmesan noodles, just cook egg noodles as directed on the package, drain and return to the hot pan. Add a good-sized dollop of sour cream and a good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and stir it all in. If I don't have sour cream on hand, I just stir in some butter and the cheese. To borrow a phrase, ummm, ummm, good! Kid- and husband-approved, too!
Do you like chicken nuggets? Do you drive thru or make your own? Think you'll try this recipe? I'd love to read your comments!