With summer quickly winding down and thoughts of a new school year looming ahead, I’m getting a jump start on the kid’s school lunches this year. Over the last several years I’ve been pretty diligent at making sure my children get a fun, balanced lunch because I know how important it is for their learning and overall health. With chicken nuggets being a favorite among all three children, I decided to start making my own homemade chicken nuggets.
I’ve been making these homemade chicken nuggets throughout the summer and I’ve even convinced the children to help. It’s a great way to get them involved in cooking and open the dialogue about healthy foods and why they’re important to our bodies.
There is a bit of work that goes in to making these homemade chicken nuggets, but at the end of the day, I love knowing each and every ingredient I’ve used to make them.
Homemade Chicken Nuggets
- 1.25 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in small pieces
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1¼ cups panko
- ¼ cup finely grated fresh parmesan cheese
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
- small cup of cold water to keep your hands wet
- parchment paper
- food processor
- Misto for olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a small, shallow bowl, stir together panko and parmesan cheese; set aside.
- Using a food processor, add chicken, garlic powder, salt, ground mustard, and black pepper to the food processor bowl and pulse until chicken is finely chopped.
- Create an assembly line of small bowl of water, ground chicken mixture, panko mixture and prepared baking sheet. With wet hands, roll about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture into a ball. Place it in the panko mixture and gently press down to form a chicken nugget. Coat each side of the nugget with the panko mixture. (If you wanted, you could freeze the nuggets once they are breaded. Place the baking sheet into the freezer for one hour, then transfer the chicken nuggets to an airtight container or bag.)
- Transfer nuggets to the lined baking sheet and spray lightly with olive oil using a Misto. Bake for 14 minutes, flipping the nuggets halfway through. Turn the oven to broil, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Allow nuggets to rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve with ketchup or dipping sauce of choice.
When my budget allows, I splurge for the natural and organic products. There is something so satisfying in knowing that what I’m feeding my family hasn’t been drenched in pesticides. I’m finding more and more ways to ensure that my family is eating real food as much as possible with brands such as Silk, Horizon Organic, and Yulu.
Ensuring that my children get a lunch that is delightful to their taste buds is a top priority. But I also want to make sure that their little bodies can use the food as fuel to power them through their busy days at school. I’ve seen some of the lunches their classmates bring to school, and while they are quite tasty, they hold no nutritional value and are full of sugar. I try to find creative ways for the real food I pack to entice their little taste buds and make them feel like they’re not missing out on something.
You can always double or even triple the recipe to make in bulk to freeze and use at a later date. I make enough on the weekends for my children to take to school, and sometimes enough for us to have as dinner for a quick and easy meal during the busy week.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to purchase real food for my family at our local grocer. My local Kroger store offers a huge aisle full of natural and organic products. The whole right side of this photo are all products in the Natural Foods Department. At the end of this aisle, there is the refrigerated case that also features natural foods, like the Simple Truth Natural Chicken I use for our homemade chicken nuggets. While shopping in the store it makes it easy to find most of the natural and organic foods in one section, although there are others dispersed throughout the store in their relevant departments.
Growing up I never thought I’d be the mom that packed lunches. But I’ve found so much enjoyment and satisfaction out of being able to provide my children with food that is good for their little bodies. It’s hard to teach good eating habits when their friends are chowing down on chips and soda at lunch, but I keep reminding my children that the food we eat fuels our body. If we aren’t giving our body the proper nutrition it needs, eventually it can have bad side effects. So far, it’s worked. That and my motto, “all things in moderation.”