Homemade Chicken Nuggets

For those of us with kids, school is now in full swing and the afternoons are busy with homework and extracurricular activities.  Having a dinner you can just pull out of the freezer that your kids won’t complain about is a lifesaver.  I haven’t met a kid that doesn’t like chicken nuggets.  Even my daughter, who turns her nose up at meat (unless it is bacon), will chow down on some nuggets.

Now I realize that you can buy huge bags of chicken nuggets at the grocery store, they even come in fun shapes.  But have you ever looked at the ingredient list?  Bleh!  And don’t get me started on those organic/natural ones in their tiny little boxes: 1/3 of the amount for 3 times the price.

As we discussed in our hamburger post last summer, it is important to chill the meat and metal parts of the grinder attachment before you begin to grind the meat.  This helps the meat keep its structure through the grinding process and not become smooshed and gummy.  This is especially true for poultry.  I like to chop up all the chicken, throw it in the freezer and then assemble the rest of my ingredients.

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Always chill the meat and metal components to the grinder attachment before grinding.

Once everything has chilled out a bit, running it through the meat grinder attachment is a snap.  I used the 8mm hole disc so the nuggets would have texture and not resemble meatballs.  If you don’t have this size, just use the largest mm size you have.

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After my first batch I found it necessary to add some chicken broth to the ground chicken.  Otherwise the nugget was a bit on the dry side, especially if I froze and reheated them.

I wanted to achieve a chicken nugget that both my daughter, my husband and I would eat and enjoy.  I made sure the recipe made a fairly large portion so we could not only have them for dinner the day I made them, but I could freeze the rest and pull a couple out whenever my daughter needed a quick meal or snack.

I played around with several different breading/coating combinations.  Fresh bread crumbs, panko, regular bread crumbs.  I preferred using regular bread crumbs and found that the Whole Foods 365 brand not only had a whole wheat version but their bread crumbs didn’t have any added preservatives; which was a huge bonus for me.  And no, I am not getting paid to advertise for Whole Foods.  I don’t shop there often cause, $$$, but I do rely on them for finding staple goods that won’t be full of chemicals and additives.

While I was hoping to just roll some freshly ground meat in a bread crumb mixture, I also realized after testing my first batch that I would need to do a flour/egg/bread crumb breading process if I wanted the coating to adhere to the chicken nuggets and not get soggy while baking.

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A breading process makes sure that the nuggets have a crispy coating once baked.

Now regular bread crumbs aren’t all that flavorful, so I punched up the flavor with a little garlic and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Cause garlic and cheese pretty much make everything better.  If you have the shredder/slicer attachment for the Ankarsrum, it makes quick work of grating cheese.

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Fresh parmesan enhances the flavor of the bread crumbs. Don’t use that powdered stuff in the green container!!

 

Once all your nuggets are breaded, just pop them in the oven until brown and crisp.

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Bake until the breading is beginning to brown and the cheese is melted.

 

All that is left after that is to serve with your favorite condiment and enjoy!  Ashley’s homemade ketchup compliments these nuggets nicely.

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Instructions for freezing and reheating the chicken nuggets are included in the recipe.  For instructions on how to assemble the meat grinder attachment, click here.

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Mixer color featured: Matte Black

 

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

 

3 pounds boneless chicken breast

3 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup whole wheat flour

5 eggs

1 1/4 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs

1 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan (not the powdered stuff)

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

 

Cut the chicken into 2 inch cubes and place in the freezer, along with the metal parts of the Ankarsrum meat grinder, while you prep the other ingredients.

Line two cookie or half sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Set aside until ready to use.

Set up a breading station with three shallow dishes (such as pie or cake pans).  In the first one place the whole wheat flour.  Whisk the eggs in the second one.  In the last one add the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and 2 teaspoons salt; whisk to evenly combine.

Assemble the Ankarsrum base with the meat grinder attachment and the largest grinding disc.  Place a large bowl underneath to catch the ground meat.  Using the plunger to feed the chicken through, grind the meat on the highest speed.

Add the chicken broth and remaining teaspoon and a half of salt to the freshly ground chicken and gently mix.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

With a large spoon or small disher, scoop up about 2 tablespoons of the ground chicken mixture and shape into a little patty.

Evenly coat with the flour, then egg, then bread crumb mixture.  Place on prepared pans about an inch apart.  Repeat until all the ground chicken is breaded.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the bread crumb coating is beginning to brown and the chicken is cooked through.

Serve immediately.

Alternately, place baked chicken nuggets on a wire rack to cool.  Once fully cooled, lay out on a pan and freeze.  Once frozen, place in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.  To reheat: Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Lay desired amount of chicken nuggets on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.

 

Yield: 37 chicken nuggets

 

Gluten Free Version:

-Replace the whole wheat flour with sorghum flour.

-Replace the bread crumbs with gluten-free breadcrumbs.

-Follow above recipe.

 

 

Back to School Bonus: Hot Cereal & Lekue Oatmeal Cooker Giveaway

This contest is now closed but please enjoy the post and recipes!

I hope you enjoyed our first post in our Back To School Series. Today we have a bonus post for you because September 2 is Grits for Breakfast Day!

My kids love hot cereal but sometimes these recipes can be time consuming because they require careful monitoring of the stove to make sure the pot doesn’t boil over or the food doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Constant stirring of grits or oatmeal can certainly delay the process of getting ready for school in the morning. So when I was introduced to the Lekue Oatmeal Cooker I was intrigued.

  1. Could I truly make oatmeal and grits in the microwave and still have them taste fresh and creamy like I was used to using stove top cooking?
  2. Would it really save me time in the morning?
  3. And even though it’s called and “oatmeal” cooker, could I use it for other things like grits, cream of wheat or porridge?

So I set off testing recipes and I’m pretty sure we had oatmeal or grits every morning in the office for at least a week! It was such a hit that each lady in our office ended up ordering their own and I ordered a second one as a birthday present for my brother who would eat grits morning, noon and night if he could!

Continue reading Back to School Bonus: Hot Cereal & Lekue Oatmeal Cooker Giveaway

Back To School Breakfast: Sausage, Egg & Hashbrown Frittata Cups

 

Several months ago I came across a recipe while on a diet. I loved the idea of individual egg frittatas but wasn’t crazy about the ingredients called for in the recipe so of course I had to tweak it just a bit. Now with school starting for most kids around the country, I wanted to share a super easy make ahead breakfast I believe your family will enjoy as much as mine has.

All three of my kids absolutely love breakfast food and would and could eat it all day every day. Also, with all three of them being involved in sports, this particular recipe has been a hit during weekend tournaments when they need a quick fix of protein. I believe this recipe is the perfect base and you could add your favorite additional items like spinach, feta, tomatoes, herbs….etc.

I also love that I’m able to use two of my favorite Ankarsrum attachments for this recipe. Hash browns couldn’t be easier when you use the Vegetable Cutter Attachment and grinding my own meat for sausage allows me to completely control the foods that I feed my family. No more chemicals or crazy amounts of sodium for my crew.

Continue reading Back To School Breakfast: Sausage, Egg & Hashbrown Frittata Cups