Nowadays chicken nuggets are a favorite among most American households with kids, earning their place as a staple. Kids love these bite size, breaded pieces of chicken, whether found on the table at home, in the school cafeteria or on the menus at family restaurants. But do you know what they are made of? In The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads “Chicken Little” (http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wlbt/PDF/ChickenLittle.pdf), a study published in The American Journal of Medicine, researchers found that chicken nuggets in fast food chains contained only approximately 40%-50% of chicken meat. That, by definition, is mystery meat. So what are you paying for if it isn’t protein? Scientists found that these chicken nuggets were comprised of about 56%-58% fat, 23%-25% carbohydrates and only 18%-19% protein. And we haven’t even mentioned the chemicals used to preserve this “meat.” In another article, this time a blog by Momables called “Lunchbox Wars: Healthy Chicken Nuggets” (http://www.momables.com/lunchbox-wars-4-chicken-nuggets/), the differences between store bought and homemade chicken nuggets are laid out for comparison so you can decide for yourself.
Our Inside Sales Manager, Ingrid Harger, recently created and shared with us this stellar homemade chicken nugget recipe. As you can see, her son, Sam, is excited about this dinner!
“My 20-month-old, Sam, was introduced to and fell in love with chicken nuggets when we recently went out to a restaurant. I guess it was inevitable; what kid doesn’t like those little breaded nuggets?! I think the deep-fried kind are ok for a treat every once in a while, but I really wanted to find something for Sam that wasn’t so processed and full of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. I couldn’t find anything I was satisfied with at the grocery store, so I decided to create my own! After a little online research, here is what I came up with. I have to say, these are a huge hit with my little guy. I even sneak some veggies in there for a little added nutrition. I bake up a big batch (double or even triple the below recipe) and then freeze them, so they’re easy to defrost and reheat – either in the oven or microwave – when the need for a quick meal strikes. This is a pretty basic recipe, so feel free to jazz it up with any special seasonings your family enjoys.”
1 package Isernio’s Ground Chicken (13.3 oz.)
1/2 cup veggies of your choice (optional; I use frozen mixed organic veggies, thawed out)
2 TB old-fashioned oats (if you’re not going to use the veggies, use ¼ cup of oats)
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp salt
Panko bread crumbs – about 2 cups
*(don’t have garlic powder and oregano in your pantry? No worries, try ½ tsp Italian seasoning)
Heat oven to 375° F. Using a food processor, chop up the veggies and oats together until very fine. Add veggie/oat mixture to ground chicken in a medium bowl. Add in seasoning and salt. Mix with your hands or large spoon until well blended.
Pour panko bread crumbs into a flat dish or pie plate. Take about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture, roll into a ball, and flatten into a nugget shape. (You could also press the chicken into a small cookie cutter to make shaped nuggets!). Roll the nugget in the panko crumbs until it’s well coated.
Place nuggets onto a cookie sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 165°F. Turn the nuggets over halfway through baking time. Enjoy!
Note: Isernio’s extra lean ground chicken can be found at QFC, Safeway Stores in WA and OR, and UG stores. For a list of retailers that carries Isernio’s Sausage and to locate a retailer near you, follow this link: http://www.isernio.com/About/WhereToBuy.
Special thanks to the Harger family and our spokeschild, Sam, for sharing with us another fantastic recipe.