This is a recipe that I think my readers with children will like. I was going to write today and talk about my rabbits but since they haven’t given birth yet I shant. They still have a few more days before I should worry, but since I misplaced my rabbit book a month ago I haven’t actually got the bred-date for them and I’m not really sure. Oops.
So instead I am writing about home-made chicken nuggets. If you’d like the recipe feel free to scroll down, past the majority of this post, and retrieve it! It’s mostly just a bit about my thoughts on children (why I’ll never have them and why they’re suddenly relevant). The recipe is the important part! These nuggets are great on their own or with any sauce from ketchup to a fancy Dijon teriyaki.
I decided to make these because my sister, who lives across the street is some 3-4 months pregnant. Now this mystifies me since she has four posh, primped dogs, a house she tries to keep spotless constantly, many fragile, expensive, and small decorative objects and collectors toys and generally has a strictly ADULT feeling environment.
I just don’t get it when people have kids. “You will want a child too someday!” they all say to me. No, really not. Personally, if I wanted a parasite growing in my body and making me ill for nine months I could just as easily get some tapeworms… And if afterwards I wanted all of my expensive, delicate, collectors toys destroyed a hammer would be much more efficient. If I want all of my high fantasy novels and biology books decorated, I can sew myself tasteful slip covers and make acrylic paintings in them… Crayon-based “artistic” scribbles is SO dated. I already have dogs and chickens so no need to worry about a primal urge to clean up poop or nurture something. And if I ever want a sour milk-vomit smell permeating my house for half a year I can buy a gallon of milk and simply leave it out. All of these things seem much better, more tasteful, cheaper and easier to rid myself of if I don’t want them any more than a child.
Mind you, most sane people immediately seek medical attention to remove other creatures living in their stomachs, sucking the nutrients out of one’s body to feed and grow itself while simultaneously making you sicker and sicker…
But I digress. It’s her call to spawn a new parasite upon the earth not mine. With her child on the way I realized that this spawnling will be living across the street from me and I will have to interact with it. Now people that see me around kids usually see my “working” attitude where I am good with kids and smile and have the patience of… Well, something with a lot of patience. They don’t see that behind that serene smile is a tightly clenched jaw, grinding teeth and a slowly rising sense of murder. The rest of the non-working time I am around children I am full of judgment for their failing to be adults yet and I have nothing for them but bared teeth and glares.
“But you were a child, too once!” Everyone proclaims to me. Yes! I was and so I know exactly how awful they are and how their devious minds think. I was an awful child full of scheming plans and malicious revenge for those who stood in may way. The countless times I would deliberately get my siblings in trouble and punish my parents for failing to watch me every second of every day linger in my mind to this day like memories of another life… One filled with absolute power at my fingertips and a mad hungering for chaos and destruction. Luckily I managed to overcome that to become the person I am today. Children as a rule are not there yet, they are stuck in the power-hungry-chaos-destruction phase.
But this child is going to have to fall somewhere in between patience of the gods and unbridled and openly expressed dislike. While it’s not a job, and I receive no benefit for caring about it in any way, I have a certain level of obligation because we share both DNA and neighborhood. If my sister was 200 miles away like my other sisters with kids I’d not care and would be content to express open dislike, but since she’s right across the way I have to put up with it to a certain degree. Besides which, my sister is a bit of an urbanite nutjob and this kid is going to need some perspective beyond their mid-sized Honda, their frequent trips to Mc. Donalds, their hairless dogs that they play dressup on, and their trying-hard-to-be-posh home. My sister is the type of person who is scared of eating my farm-raised eggs (hers come yolk removed, and pasturized in a carton but mine are “creepy”), wont eat a vegetable with weather scarring on it because it “looks funny” or “might be bugs”, washes all her vegetables and much of her fruit with a set of “produce brushes”, and will run for the hills if asked to eat something one day after the expiration date, regardless of the actual state of the food.
So it’s had me thinking. And thinking about being a kid again has had me desperately eyeing dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets at the grocery in the freezer section. While I’ve grown beyond mad, power-hungry destruction, I don’t think any of us should ever grow beyond dinosaur chicken nuggets. So rather than reach for that highly processed pile of goo I decided to make my own chicken nuggets. No dinosaurs unfortunately… But I can always watch Jurassic Park while eating them!
URBANITE-ACCEPTABLE CHICKEN NUGGETS
For stupid picky children and even stupider, pickier sisters.
- 3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (three if they’re quite big, four if they’re small)
- 1 Cup bread crumbs
- 1tsp Fine Ground Sea Salt (or just salt)
- 1tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/6tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4tsp Paprika
- 1 Large (or larger) egg, whisked with 2-3tbsp of water.
- 3 Tbs olive oil
(Please note, some people are paranoid about cayenne. This is NOT spicy AT ALL, just gives it a bit of a kick.)
Preheat your oven to 350(F).
Pound your chicken breasts even and flat and cut them into 1-2in strips. Cut those strips into cubes or triangles. (I went for triangles-ish because sometimes I am still 5 years old.) I was very unspecific about sizing while making.
After that, measure out your bread crumbs and spices and toss them together thoroughly. You can do this “shake and bake” style by mixing them in a Ziploc but I just used a bowl.
Whisk the egg really well so it’s completely combined and mix in the water too.
Toss about 1/3rd of the chicken cubes/triangles/whatever into the egg mixture. Pick them out one at a time and let them drip off before rolling them in bread crumbs.
Oil your baking pan/sheet with 1Tbs of olive oil. Lay your newly minted chicken nuggets out in it leaving a bit of space between them, like cookies. The amount of oil you actually need and the amount of nuggets that you can fit on your sheet will vary with what kind of pan you use. I was using a standard sized 9″X13″ cake pan because, well, I was. But the rule of thumb is one Tbs oil for every chicken breast and my baking pan held about 1.3 chicken breasts worth of chicken.
Stick the freshly layed nuggets in your pre-heated over and let them cook for 7 minutes.
Once the seven minutes are up you can remove them from the oven and flip them with a spatula. The sides that were facing down will be golden and crispy. Now put them back in for another 8 minutes.
Remove them from the pan onto a paper towel to “drain”. While nowhere near the oil level of something deep fried there’s still some oil on them that can drain off.
Repeat until you run out of chicken and bon appetite! You can stick these in a Ziploc bag and freeze them once they’re cool and make huge batches for microwave lunches and the like!