Monday, January 30, 2012

Veggie battered chicken nuggets!

Everyone has them- tons of cook books lined up on the book shelf, never used and taking up too much space. Taking a cue from other blogs I've read in the past, I've decided to cook through my cookbooks and find an arsenal of recipes that I can fall back on those what on earth should I cook nights. I will be trying out new recipes twice a week and sharing the best of them!

This new commitment has also been spurred on by a few badly tested recipes I found on Google or Pinterest lately- the worst comment so far has been from my husband, "Thanks for cooking dinner, but ummm this pasta sort of tastes like potato salad." I figure recipes found in cookbooks will have been tested better and therefore better overall.

So, to start things out, tonight I tried a recipe from a cookbook my mom gave me for my birthday last year, "Deceptively Delicious," by Jessica Seinfeld. The premise is that you are supposed to slip veggies in puree form into foods for extra nutrition and so picky children will eat what you put in front of them. While I'm not sure I agree with this- how are kids supposed to learn to like veggies if you hide them- some of the recipes look pretty good. Although I may hold the line on brownies that have carrot in them. In any case, we had some chicken tenders in the fridge and an enormous bag of spinach in the fridge, so we made her version of chicken nuggets.

These chicken nuggets pack quite the healthy punch given the bad rap they get sometimes- only pan fried, with a whole cup of pureed spinach and a half cup of flaxseed meal. Surprisingly, I actually HAD flaxseed in the house from when I made nursing cookies ( for my sister-in-law when our adorable nephew was born a few months ago, but if you don't, I think most nice grocery stores sell it (we got ours from Central Market, my favorite place everrr). I think these could also work for vegetarians if you did it with cubes of tofu.

The process was pretty simple: puree tons of spinach til you get a cup worth (didn't even bother cooking the spinach), mix that with an egg, and then dip small pieces of the chicken into the egg/spinach mixture and then the dry coating. All came together in less than half an hour, and we ate it with sauteed zucchini and red pepper on the side for extra virtuous veggie healthiness. My only beef (or chicken, such as it is) with this recipe is that they looked absolutely nothing like the picture:

Jessica's nuggets look totally perfect and totally normal. If I had been serving these to my kid, instead of hubbie who doesn't mind eating veggies anyway, they would have been like, "Ewww, Mom! Why is my chicken green?!" Here is what my nuggets looked like pre and post-cooking.

However, don't judge these little bites by their distinctly green outsides. Me, hubbie and two visitors all agreed that they were quite yummy. Here is the recipe:

Servings: Serves 4
  • 1 cup whole-wheat or white or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup broccoli or spinach or sweet potato or beet puree
  • 1 large egg , lightly beaten
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders , rinsed, dried and cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmesan, paprika, garlic and onion powder on the paper or foil and mix well with your fingers.

In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture.

Sprinkle the chicken chunks with the salt. Dip the chunks into the egg mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut through a piece to check that it's cooked through.) Serve warm.
Found a copy of the recipe online at:

1 comment:

  1. I love that you posted a pic of the non-Hollywood real version!