Tag Archives: snack

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!

 

Sizzling Spuds

30 Aug

Potatoes. It’s a love hate relationship sometimes. Either you love potatoes but want to eat low carb or you don’t like them and they are on every menu. Potatoes can be made a zillion ways and have SO many personalities. They can be dressed as a spectacular side dish (garlicky and mashed), as a magnificent main dish (brisket and cheese loaded baked potato), or as a super little snackie (name your fav chip). Easy or complicated, it doesn’t matter. When the craving strikes bring on the spuds!

I am still not what you would call a huge fan, so I don’t eat potatoes often, but sometimes that nagging craving just won’t pass. Exactly my predicament recently. And I gave into my craving. Creamy potatoes were on my mind, but that wasn’t all. Crispy creamy to be more to the point. Wait…what? Can you have it all? You betcha!

First the right potatoes are needed. For baked, Idahos are the best-good and starchy. And for mashed, I use Yukon Golds. But fingerling potatoes are creamy and can crisp up under the right circumstances. What is better than creamy inside and crisp outside all at once? Soooo yummy! If I am cooking up some spuds, that is the way I want them. And achieving it is easy.

The key is using a cast iron skillet-the perfect utensil to get a nice pleasing char on the potatoes. I started by getting a mixing bowl out and halving the potatoes.

Next these spuds needed seasoning. So I used some fresh chopped basil (my summer garden is still overflowing with basil so I couldn’t help myself!), 2 cloves of fresh garlic roughly chopped, a bit of lemon zest (delicious and bright for summery spuds) and a drizzle of butter and olive oil. I dusted this gorgeous mixture with salt and pepper too.

Into a bowl they go for a bit of seasoning-including chopped garlic and lemon zest!

I gave it a good stir, but something was missing. After a peek in the fridge, I made my decision.

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I couldn’t resist just a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese to add another savory layer. Another good stir and these were ready for cooking. Got my trusty cast iron skillet out. It is the perfect pan for this job.

I heated the pan up over medium heat, and tossed the spuds in. I patted them into an even layer to let them crisp up a bit. Now patience comes into play.

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The cast iron skillet is just what these taters needed!

They sizzled on the stove top without being stirred for a couple of minutes. This made sure the skin was crisping up. After a stir to move them around, they went into a 400 degree oven to finish up.

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These were delicious! they paired perfectly with a hot spicy pork sandwich!

After about 10 minutes in that hot oven these guys were perfection! I took them out of the oven, let them sit for a minute to cool down, then loaded onto my plate next to a sandwich. This definitely hit all the marks and satisfied my tater craving! I wonder how I will cook them next time! What is your favorite way to cook your spuds?

 

 

 

Mix it Up!

13 Apr

I love to mix it up.  Everything.  But especially my food.  And I always do it, like it or not.  I take a recipe, and add to it.  Change it up.  Add my touch.  I can’t help it.  I especially like to mix it up when making a little snack mix.  A snack mix is great to make because it is always adjustable, you can use what is in the pantry, and a few handfuls can really curb a craving!

What is in a snack mix?  Well, for me, nuts are a standard.  I like peanuts, cashews, almonds…they are all good.  And, of course, nuts are a great source of plant protein.  A healthy addition to any diet.  But they do have a high fat content and should be enjoyed in moderation.  They are also packed with  flavor,  so about 1/4 cup per serving is a good amount to use.

Tossing in some small pretzels is also great in a snack mix.  It adds a little salt, which in moderation, is also necessary in the diet.  Like the nuts, pretzels can satisfy a crunch craving.  But something chewy is good too.  Some dried fruit can add a little chewy sweetness, which juxtaposed with the saltiness of nuts and pretzels adds just the right touch.

A word about dried fruit.  When fruit is dried, the water is removed.  This is what makes dried fruit a little more “shelf stable” than fresh fruit.  Bacteria grows with the help of moisture, so taking the water out allows that food to be a little more portable.  This makes it perfect for a snack mix.  But beware-drying the fruit concentrates the sugar.  In addition to dried fruit having more sugar than its fresh counterpart, it also has approximately twice the calories.  So use dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries, but like the nuts, add in moderation.

What else gets tossed into the mix?  Perhaps a savory small cracker, like a little cheese cracker.  Or a little salt free sesame cracker.  A little added flavor like a small snack cracker always goes into my snack mix.  Now our mix is super crunchy.  Perhaps a handful of carob chips is the perfect finish to our mix.  Carob chips are a nice creamy addition tot he crunchy mix.   What are carob chips you say?  Let me fill you in!

Carob is an evergreen plant.  Carob chips may look like chocolate chips, but the taste is different.  And they are naturally caffeine free and don’t need to be sweetened.  Next time you see them at the grocery store, give them a try.  They are healthier than chocolate chips and a wonderful addition to any snack mix.  So take a little of this, a little of that, and make a sweet crunchy portable healthy snack mix!  How do you make a snack mix?  Let me know!