Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No more chicken nuggets. Part II.

I am happy to announce: my "no more chicken nugget threat" was not hollow. I have not purchased a bag of chicken nuggets since June. The last bag is actually still in the freezer with only a lone, or possibly a few, now freezer-burned nuggets. My children are still horribly picky eaters. I have not yet solved that problem. And, in truth, I do think I've only made my life harder (as my husband loves to point out). That being said, I have eradicated the store-bought chicken nugget from my life. This is a success in my mind, however small.

So here is my recipe (if you can call it that), compiled from various friends, websites and simple trial and error:

A couple of things I've learned: First, season every step of the way with salt and pepper; you want the chicken to be flavorful throughout. Second, cutlets are easier to fry the thinner they are. Pound the ever-living daylights out of the chicken (involving the kids works well at this stage).  You are looking for even thinness so cooking is easy and quick. And yes, I prefer chicken breast tenders, not the full breast, solely because of the size.

1. Sprinkle boneless skinless chicken breast tenders with salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, set out three large plates or pasta bowls. Fill the first with flour, the second with two beaten eggs and the third with a pile of panko. Season each with a little salt and pepper.

3. Using one hand (so the other remains clean or let the kids participate - it will be a huge mess but they have lots of fun), dip a piece of chicken in the flour and shake off any excess. Dip it in the egg wash and shake off excess. Finally, plop it into the pile of panko and thoroughly coat it. Place it on a plate or sheet tray. Repeat until all the chicken is breaded. Replenish the flour, eggs or panko as necessary.

3. You can stick the chicken in the fridge at this point if you’re working ahead, or you can start frying.

4. Place a couple of large frying pans filled with a generous amount of olive oil or oil of choice (you’re not exactly deep frying, but pretty close) over medium high heat. When hot, lay the cutlets in. When golden brown, flip and continue cooking. Depending on the thickness of the chicken, this should only take a few minutes. Just make sure the heat isn’t too high, or the panko will get overly browned.

5. When the panko is a nice golden, beautiful brown, remove to wire racks set on a sheet tray.

For now we are all content with this homemade goodness. The leftover cutlets are stowed away and used the next few days as an alternative on nights when Mommy and Daddy are eating sushi or salmon or the myriad of other foods my two refuse to eat.

On the night the chicken is cooked, however, the hubby and I also partake in my version of chicken milanese.  For this, I combine baby arugula and tomatoes and avocado in a large bowl. Dress with a lemon vinaigrette. Plate the cutlets, top with the salad, set out some lemon wedges, open the rosĂ©, and voilĂ ! A meal we can all enjoy! Oh, and don’t forget the ketchup.


Rebecca said...

Mmmm... chicken nuggets! I've whipped up some homemade nuggets before. Maybe your kids would like them too!!? Google a recipe that includes bisquick and parmesan cheese. They are great & you can make them ahead of time because you just bake them when ready to eat!

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

Thank you, Rebecca. I will look for that and try it! This has worked for us mostly because the panko provides the right texture for my daughter. She likes it really crispy!!

sandi said...

the recipe i use is similar but instead of panko use parmesan cheese for more flavor. i only use a tsp of olive oil and brown on each side and then pop in the oven for about 10 minutes (350) to finish cooking. great on salads for lunch the following day!

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