Tag Archives: scratch cooking

Easy Oven Fried Chicken Nuggets

13 Sep

“I am craving chicken nuggets” said me never. Well, almost never. But recently all that was on my mind was crispy chicken. I needed to give in to this craving fast so I decided to make easy oven fried nuggets. Those only need to cook for about 10 minutes.

Time to get started! I needed chicken, a flour dip, an egg wash, and a crumb mixture. I try to keep a pretty well stocked pantry and fridge, so this was a snap to pull together. When I need breading I usually make my own. I just love a little of this and a little of that. I let my mood drive the flavors.

So I mixed up some buttery cracker crumbs with some panko (you can’t beat the light crispiness!) bread crumbs. I added some shredded parmesan cheese for a salty flavor pop. A little pepper, or in this case a lot of pepper, and my breading  was ready.

I made a quick egg wash. For that you simply take an egg, whip it up a bit, add a few tablespoons of water and it is ready. The flour will adhere to the chicken, and the egg wash helps the next layer, the breading, stick. This method all but guarantees a  juicy on the inside crunchy on the outside chicken tender.

Got my assembly line ready for my chicken nuggets!

Before starting my assembly line, I set my oven to 350 degrees to preheat. Then I got out a baking sheet and lined it with parchment paper. Personal preference here, you can also use foil-or nothing at all. Lining the baking sheet helps make clean up easier, so that is an extra step I don’t mind doing!

I then cut the chicken breasts into “finger” size, about 1 1/2 -2 ounces each. Next, I took the chicken pieces, dredged them in flour, gave them a quick dip in the egg wash, then rolled them around to coat in the cheesy buttery crumbs. As you can see, you need not be fussy about having exact size chicken pieces or a totally uniform breading. This recipe does not require perfection to turn out delish!

It is as easy as 1-2-3!

I lined these bits of chicken goodness up on my baking sheet and gave them a light spritz of olive oil. The oven was preheated, so in they went.

Oven ready homemade chicken nuggets!

I could hardly wait for these to be ready. I set my timer for 10 minutes and got my dipping sauces ready. For variety, I decided on a veggie herb laden buttermilk dip, some creamy bleu cheese dressing, and a sweet hot chili sauce. I have never been a ranch dressing fan. I know, weird, right? But if that is your thing, go for it!

Get sauces that you love, pour into little bowls, and get ready for a home YUM!

Out of the oven I could hardly wait for these to cool enough to eat. I piled them on a plate, grabbed my sauces and dug in.

Meaty crispy flavorful nuggets! And so fast! You will never go to the drive thru for nuggets again!

These nuggets were so flavorful with the perfect balance of crispy texture, firm chicken, and savory buttery goodness. Craving satisfied. Bonus-I had leftovers!

That’s the trick-make enough so you can enjoy them for another meal. Layer them on top of a salad, dice them up for a tortilla rollup on the go, or mix them into some mac and cheese! So many options! And there isn’t a bad one in the bunch.

Bon appetite!

 

Valentine Cake

18 Feb

Food is center stage in my home many days. Well, family is really front and center, but the kitchen is truly the heart of our family home, and we hang out there often. When I say that food is important to my family, I don’t mean constantly eating junk food. Taking the time to prepare healthy food with family is enormously rewarding. It is a family value and time well spent together in a warm comfortable and accepting environment.

We have great meals and nutritious food, but we have loads of fun too. I enjoy cooking, but am not much of a baker. I can sure improvise though. And have a blast. My kids do too! I love to cook, but the teeny tiny side of me that bakes rears its ugly head every now and again. Not really one for cookies, I turn to making cakes with the children. We put a spin on it though. We will make fun cakes for most any occasion!

Make a round cake and a square cake.

Make a round cake and a square cake.

When I make cakes, I use a high quality cake mix. Those work just fine for non bakers like myself. But I always make the

Cut the round cake in half.  Place half on 2 sides of the square cake.

Cut the round cake in half. Place half on 2 sides of the square cake.

  frosting from scratch. I learned how to make out of this world frosting from my mom. She    very wisely advised me to “always make a little too much frosting by accident”. Was she ever right! I was never voted Prom Queen, but when I make frosting I am Prom Queen for a moment..the most popular girl in the kitchen! What do I mean by popular? Let me tell you!

When I bust out my frosting, a line forms in the kitchen. Kids. Denis. His mom. More kids.  Everyone lines up to grab a spoonful of frosting before it makes its way to the cake. Everyone but my youngest son that is. The baby of the family (I am one too!) is a scrappy bunch. We learn survival of the fittest at a very young age! Anywhooo, my son doesn’t grab a spoon and stand in line. Nope, not him. The moment he notices a naked cake cooling on the counter and a stick of butter softening nearby (a main ingredient in my frosting), he loudly calls the beater from the mixer. Now that is the holy grail when making frosting, let me tell you! He is a

Then frost your cake with love!

Then frost your cake with love!

smart kid. No line, no waiting, and a solid guarantee of a good dose of moms incredible buttercream frosting. Yup, that’s my boy!

But I digress! Back to the cakes. I do not have lots of room in my kitchen for a bunch of specialty cake pans. So I improvise. I make 2 round cakes, or a round cake and a square one, and cut it to fit the occasion. I have also made a rectangle cake for my sons, and with colored frosting made everything from a football field cake with action figures to a construction site cake with matchbox bulldozers. So much fun, and the creativity flows. Food should be fun, so go have a blast!

So why blog about making a valentine cake right after Valentines Day?  No, I have not been hitting the cooking wine today.  It is    because I don’t celebrate Valentines Day.  Well, at least not on February 14th that is.  I celebrate it all year.  I detest the idea that there is “one day of love” a year.  Nope,  I am not having any part of that.  I live more of a robust life.   I tell people I love them every single day.  Genuinely.  Confidently.

Yep.  I say I love you every day to the people in my life, not just on February 14th.  The calendar does not define any “day of love” for me because it is every day.  So make valentine day cake.  Any day you want.  And tell the people in your life you love them 365 days  a year.  It is great for the spirit, the soul, and a full happy heart.