Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

If your kids are anything like mine, they love, love, love chicken nuggets. It's a staple in the average American family's diet these days. I bought frozen nuggets when my kids were little so I'd have a quick and easy lunch on hand. But I started noticing how little chicken and how much filler was used. The list of ingredients was long. The sodium content was extremely high in these things. And even though Tyson claims their chicken nuggets were minimally processed, you could tell by the shapes that they were chopped, mixed and pressed extensively. Maybe my definition of minimally processed and Tyson's definition differ. A lot.

So if you really want some minimally processed chicken nuggets, make them yourself. Plan ahead and give yourself some time. Buy the chicken on sale and make several batches at once. These freeze very well, so double or triple the recipe and freeze some for later.

Here's what you need for one batch:

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup ranch dressing
2 TBSP milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teas seasoning salt

That's it. Five ingredients. Start by cutting up your chicken into nuggets.

In a large bowl, whisk together the ranch dressing and milk. Dump your chicken nuggets into the bowl and stir to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes so the dressing can soak in. I don't know what is up with this blurry picture, but you get the idea.

Place the bread crumbs and seasoning salt in a resealable Ziploc bag and shake around to mix. Put about half the nuggets into the bag and shake. Get your kids involved. Remember those old commercials with Loretta Lynn and her grandkids - "It's Shake and Bake, and I helped!" Repeat until all nuggets are coated.

Line baking sheets with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Place the nuggets on the sheets and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. If you want, turn the nuggets over halfway through baking time. If your nuggets are bigger than bite-sized, it might take a little longer to bake through.

If you plan to freeze the nuggets, allow them to cool completely. Place in the freezer on baking sheets. When frozen, remove from the baking sheets and put in a freezer bag or container. To reheat, bake at 400 for 5-10 minutes or until sizzling.

If you want your chicken nuggets to be lower in fat, use reduced fat milk and ranch dressing. Your kids will never know the difference. They will, however, notice how much meat they're eating instead of fillers. And you'll be happy, knowing that your nuggets only have five ingredients and are truly "minimally processed."

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday over at Blessed with Grace. Pop over there for some more yummy recipes.


  1. I've never tried chicken nuggets from scratch, but these look pretty easy!

  2. Great idea and recipe. My daughter would love to "shake". Happy New Year and thanks for linking to TMTT.