Chicken “Nuggets” with Homemade Bread Crumbs

Necessity is the mother of invention… I was watching a girl friend’s children and it was near dinner time.  I’ve had unfortunate experiences trying to feed one of them (and that child was probably traumatized as well) so I thought, how can I compromise— good food I know they will actually eat without gagging?  Chicken nuggets!!  Well, I don’t often have prepared ones on hand (it’s just not our thing) but I did have some gorgeous fresh Bell & Evans chicken breasts and thought, this should be easy enough.  Well, sometimes we have bread crumbs in the pantry, but they were used.  Boy am I glad.  I made the most delicious bread crumbs to coat the chicken, that not only did my kids and her kids gobble it up… I had enough to feed both parents and their friend when they came to pick up.  And everyone loved it- kids included!

In a Cuisinart I took yesterday’s baguette, a few end pieces of whole grain sandwich bread, olive oil, salt, pepper, and Penzy’s “Mural of Flavor” spice mix.  Mural of Flavor is a combo of Western Mediterranean spices and herbs, which is perfect for chicken.  (I often coat drum sticks in it and roast them for an easy meal), it can  be purchased online http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/shophome.html if you don’t have a store near you.  We have one in Norwalk near Stew’s.  If you can’t do either— a blend of dried oregano, thyme, marjoram, garlic salt, dried onion, lemon pepper and chives would produce a similar product.

I pounded the chicken breasts so they were about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, soaked them in milk and coated them with the rough breadcrumbs.  I cooked them in the oven, turning once, at 350 F until done but still moist, only 10-15 minutes (it depends on the thickness, you can always take one and slice it, if it’s no longer pink and solid its done).  I cut them into nugget size and served them with buttered noodles, spinach and broccoli. You can cut them smaller before you coat them for a more traditional nugget.

Tips for spinach: Baby Spinach only takes a few minutes to prepare— one of the easiest fresh veggies to serve!  In sauté pan add 2 teaspoons water and organic baby spinach.  Heat covered on high until wilted. (Steaming is fine too!)  Drain any excess water.  Keep off heat until ready to eat, then add pat of butter, pinch of sea salt and a couple of twists of black pepper.  Reheat, stirring in the added ingredients until coated and serve.  You can also sauté garlic in a little olive oil and/or butter then add spinch(Garlic powder for those really quick meals).

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