Once in a while, I make a double batch of chicken nuggets and freeze them. I like to keep a freezer stash of meat-based food for Munchkin because I don’t cook meat every day. I used to be a heavy meat eater when younger, but as I got older, I simply don’t feel like eating meat so often. And because dairy causes ugly breakouts for me, I cook and eat plant-based meals occasionally. It’s not a conscious choice; Just based on what I crave.
I don’t know for sure if eating meat is good for you or bad for you. But I do know that a growing little body needs lots of protein and iron. Some people may be good at eating a variety of plant-based food to meet their nutritional needs but not Munchkin. So I try to have a stash in the fridge and offer her meat quite often. Sometimes she eats them. Sometimes she doesn’t.
Tips for chicken nuggets
Chicken nuggets were a huge hit the first time around at 15-month-old, and I kept making them since then. I also learned a few tricks along the way.
I soak the chicken in cow’s milk for 20 minutes. This soaking process makes the chicken much tender and gets rid of the unpleasant chicken smell. I tried soaking it for a longer period but haven’t noticed any difference. After about 20 minutes, I wash the chicken with cold water to get rid of the milk.
When Munchkin was younger, I cut the chicken into tiny pieces, but oh boy. Coating those tiny pieces of chicken with panko was painful. I would get so frustrated half-way through. So nowadays, I try to cut into bigger chunks.
I tried a couple of methods to get the fried effect without actually frying the chicken. I tried spraying cooking oil and broiling the chicken for the last few minutes. Then, I tried toasting panko in a pan before coating the chicken. The latter tasted closer to the fried version. I drizzled a bit of olive oil to panko while toasting them.
Now, coating the chicken with bread crumbs is the most tedious and difficult part. If the crumbs become wet, they won’t stick to the chicken, and a lot of them will go to waste. Spread the panko crumbs thin on a dish. Place a batter-dipped chicken on the crumbs and roll only once. That’s it. Rolling it over and over again won’t necessarily get more crumbs on the chicken. It’s best to use chopsticks to minimize contact.
I used to add thyme to the crumb, which adds a delicious layer. But nowadays, adding green bits to food like that is playing Russian roulette.
To defrost the chicken nuggets, simply pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Also, check out my meatball recipe.
Baked Chicken Nuggets
Baked chicken nuggets. Perfect for freezer stash. These nuggets are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
- 1 lb boneless chicken thigh
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cup panko bread crumb
- 3 tbsp olive oil
Chop the chicken into bite sizes and soak in milk. Let it sit in the fridge for 20 min.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Heat a large pan over high heat. Add panko and drizzle olive oil on top. Stir well and toast until slightly browned.
Wash the milk off of the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, whisk all-purpose flour and water. Add eggs and whisk to combine. In a shallow dish, spread toasted panko crumbs.
Dip the seasoned chicken into the egg-flour-water mixture. Take out one piece at a time and roll (only once) on the panko using chopsticks. Place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 17~20 minutes based on your oven.