I’m a mother of two young toddlers, and I babysit regularly for other little toddlers. Needless to say, we are always looking for kid-friendly foods that are a little healthier than the typical boxes, bags, and cans of foods that you can purchase at the supermarket.
Chicken nuggets seem to be an across-the-board hit with kids of all ages. Even the kids that don’t typically like much meat will dig into a nugget. The problem is, how many articles have you read lately about how disgusting the meat is that goes into those frozen store-bought nuggets! It seems like every other week there’s another interview with a chicken factory employee telling us about pink slime, or about how they have to dump the nugget mixture in a vat of bleach to kill off the bacteria. Most recently there was an article from an employee of Purdue Chicken discussing the ins and outs of his factory. (See article HERE) He goes on to give a pretty positive view of the factory, the conditions, and even the quality of the food they process – with the exception of one single food product. He says to avoid the chicken nuggets! They are basically just made out of “skin, a few bones, fat, and whatever meat is attached to the skin.” Gross!!!
So here’s my recipe. You can make your own chicken nuggets at home. You can do it easily. And you can guarantee that you’re not eating a nugget full of skin and bones! I took a ton of pictures and will break it down step-by-step. The recipe I give will be for one pound of ground chicken, but the pictures are actually from a very large batch that I made. I made 6.5lbs of ground chicken into nuggets, then separated it into several bags and tossed them into the freezer to be taken out and used as needed, just like you would do if you bought one of those freezer bags of nuggets from the store.
1 lb Ground Chicken
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs (We used unseasoned)
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
1 cup (approx) Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Egg, beaten
In a large bowl, pour in the bread crumbs, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix them together well.
Add in your beaten egg and then your ground chicken and mix to combine. Get right in there with your hands and really mix it together well, you don’t want any clumps of bread crumbs in the middle of your nugget or they will fall apart when you cook them.
Your next step is to start scooping out small portions of your nugget mix and forming them into the actual nuggets. We actually placed a sheet of plastic wrap over our table and formed up the nuggets and left them right on the the plastic wrap while we finished off the rest of the batch – this method really worked out well! Try to keep your nuggets pretty small so they cook up well.
You then need to dredge each nugget in flour. I like to pour a good amount of flour onto a plate and bring that plate right up next to where I’ve laid out my nuggets and dredge them in the flour right there and put them right back where onto the table to wait for the next step.
Ok, now that the nuggets have been floured, they need to take a quick dip in an egg bath and then get coated up in bread crumbs. Again, I like to beat my egg and bring it right up to my laid out nuggets and get a plate full of bread crumbs and keep it right there too. Simply pick up each nugget one at a time, dip in the egg wash, roll in the bread crumbs, and then you can put it back on the table or set them onto some plates to get ready to head over to the stove to be cooked.
At this point, we’re done making up the actual nugget itself and can move on to getting them cooked. In a large frying pan or a large skillet with a good sized lip on the sides, pour in some vegetable oil. You want the oil to be about half as deep as the nuggets you made, typically about one finger width’s depth. Allow the oil a few minutes to heat up and then place some nuggets in to get them cooking. You can cook in batches, you don’t need to crowd the pan to get it all done at once.
Pan fry your nuggets for about 4 minutes on medium to medium-high heat.
Flip them over and let them cook for about 4 minutes on the other side and then remove them from the pan. I like to place them on a paper towel lined plate for a minute to help catch any extra oil.
That’s it! Your nuggets are ready to eat! Dig in and call the kids into the kitchen!
You can make up a large batch of nuggets all at one time like I did in these pictures. We made 6.5lbs of ground chicken and actually got a nice even 65 nuggets out of it (No, we didn’t portion them out that way on purpose, it just happened to work out nicely like that!) After cooking all 65 nuggets and letting them cool down fully on cooling racks, I put them into a few freezer bags and tossed them into the freezer. Now when my kids want nuggets for lunch, all I have to do is reach into my freezer, pull a handfull out, and reheat them. They have homemade all-meat nuggets on the table within minutes and I don’t have to stress about making a mess in the kitchen to get them fed – – and I also don’t have to worry that I fed my kids a poor quality nugget from the supermarket either!