mary chicken nuggets

For some reason, I really like Chicken McNuggets. They’re crunchy and crisp and all strangely the same shape and size. It’s not natural. It’s fried. It’s bad for me. But I like them anyway. I know they’re not good for me but every once in a while I really crave them, dipped in honey. I try to quell this crazy desire by making my own version of chicken nuggets. My chicken nuggets are all different shapes and sizes and much more flavorful then their McDonald’s counterparts – and they’re baked in the oven. I know exactly all of the ingredients that go into them – who knows what they do to the chicken to make them uniform in size and appearance! Gah!

I made these awesome little treats for dinner the other night and Jake and son really enjoyed them. Jake has come a long way from his days of eating out all of the time. He says I’ve spoiled him with my homemade cooking and I for one am not sorry one bit.

If I had the time and inclination, I might have soaked my chopped of pieces of chicken breast in buttermilk for a few hours (or overnight). But, I didn’t, so I opted to just season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and let them sit in some regular milk for about 20 minutes while I mixed up my coating.

For my coating, I used part flour and part panko bread crumbs (the Japanese variety). I used a number of spices here: onion powder, garlic powder, sweet paprika, italian seasonings, salt, and pepper. I shook up my mixture really well and then using a slotted spoon, I scooped the chicken out of the milk bath and into the bag to get coated. I placed the pieces on a baking sheet that had been sprayed with Pam and continued until my pan was full and all of the chicken was coated.

My oven was pre-heated to about 400 degrees. I stuck the nuggets in and after about 10 minutes I took them out and flipped them over and cooked them for another 10-12 minutes. This is chicken breast, aka white meat, aka I-like-to-dry-out-if-you-overcook-me meat. If it was chicken thigh meat then there would be no worries, but chicken breast is mighty finicky.

Ta-da! Golden and delicious. Though, some parts of my nuggets look kind of floury. I would try maybe spraying some Pam directly onto the chicken to see if that could get eliminated, but it doesn’t bother me too much. These nuggets are full of flavor, you can pronounce all of the ingredients in them, and every single one is a different shape and size. It’s kind of homey and relaxing. Sorry, McDonald’s, even though I do like your nuggets, these homemade ones are a different story all together. Full of yum!

Recipe below, my measurements are approximate since I measure with my eyes.

Mary Chicken Nuggets

2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon Italian herb seasonings

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray sheet pan with Pam. Cut chicken into cubes and season with salt & pepper. Soak in milk for about 20 minutes.

In a plastic baggie, combine the rest of the ingredients (plus additional salt & pepper). Coat chicken in the panko crumb mixture until chicken pieces are well coated. Place on baking sheet and cook for about 10 minutes. Take chicken out and flip the chicken over, cooking for another 10-15 minutes (until golden brown and cooked all the way through).

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