Monday, March 16, 2015

DIY Fast-Food Chicken Nuggets

I had more than my fair share of chicken nuggets from a certain fast-food restaurant, opened by a couple Irish brothers in the 1960's, during my childhood years. They were my food of choice, almost always. Since becoming an adult {I really use that word loosely when referring to myself...} I've tried to stay away from them, for both myself and my kiddos health. We all know fast-food isn't good for us - so why keep going back? Don't do it! Make the food at home, it will be healthier and taste better. Just give these DIY Fast-Food Chicken Nuggets a try and see what you think! These are not Copycat Chicken McNuggets, the flavor is much different {fresher} but the texture is almost par on {but still better!}.

The texture of the chicken nuggets that we all know and love is due to the meat being processed. Processed meat can have added ingredients such as fat, salt and chemicals. To replicate the texture of the fast-food chicken nuggets I placed small chunks of chicken breasts into my food processor{with the blade attachment} along with an egg, spices and seasonings. That's it - no chemicals, no preservatives, no ingredients that you can't pronounce. Same texture, completely different product.

To make even-sized DIY Fast-Food Chicken Nuggets I use a Cookie Scoopto make uniform-sized balls and then press them flat into small patties with my fingertips. The breading is a simple flour mixture with a few spices and seasonings added for delicious flavor. These DIY Fast-Food Chicken Nuggets aren't exactly fast-food in regards to the amount of time it takes to prepare and cook them, but they are healthier and you know what's inside of them.

For this batch of DIY Fast-Food Chicken Nuggets we dipped them into a homemade Honey-Mustard Sauce, which was just ½ honey and ½ dijon mustard mixed together well.

DIY Fast-Food Chicken Nuggets
yields approximately 40 chicken nuggets
1 cup flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp baking powder

2lbs chicken breasts, cut into 1-2” chunks
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
½ tsp celery salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground black pepper

oil for frying

1. Whisk together flour, salt, ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and baking powder. Set aside.
2. Place chicken, egg, salt, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder and ground black pepper into food processor. Process until chicken mixture is a smooth mixture and no larger chunks are left.
3. Heat oil to 350 in deep fryer or large heavy skillet.
4. Using a cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop out balls of the chicken mixture and drop into flour mixture. I was able to fit about 4 scoops into my flour bowl at a time. Roll the bowl around so that each ball of chicken is coated in flour. Pick up 1 ball at a time, shake excess flour off and make a small patty using fingertips. Set patties on well floured surface. Repeat until chicken mixture is gone.
5. Using the same flour mixture, coat each chicken nugget in flour again. Shake off excess flour and place back on floured surface.
6. One at a time, carefully place in heated oil making sure to not overcrowd pan/fryer. Nuggets will take about 4-5 minutes to cook. Turn if needed, making sure that entire surface of nugget is exposed to oil. Let drain & cool on rack {I use a cookie rack}.
7. Enjoy right away with delicious dipping sauces or let cool completely and place in freezer storage bags for freezer storing. To re-heat either zap in the microwave or for best results cook in oven for about 10 minutes at 425.
adapted from Home Cooking in Montana


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