I had the pleasure of meeting Laura from MOMables while on the California Dairy Tour. We recently decided to get together to do a back to school series. MOMables has all sorts of homemade, fresh ideas for your kids lunchbox – great ideas just like the one she is sharing today.
Chicken nuggets are a favorite of most kids. I know mine would eat nuggets every day, if I’d let them! They are found on the menu in most restaurants and even in school cafeteria hot lunches. At the store you can find them taking up entire freezer sections, with different shapes and varieties for kid appeal. They also come in the refrigerated boxed lunches. The ingredients alone will scare any semi-health conscious person. Yet, parents buy them because kids eat them.
The prepackaged, store bought chicken nugget lunch is quite a disappointment. The first thing we noticed was how little food it contained: Four processed nuggets, ketchup for dipping, and two sandwich cookies.
Where’s the nutrition? My child surely won’t be full on a meal like this. Most importantly, the mix of chemicals that make up what they call a nugget can hardly be called food. Because of this, we are happy to share with you our version of homemade nuggets. They are silly-easy to make and you can freeze them and have them ready for when you need them! Talk about convenience.
The MOMables lunch version contains four fresh homemade chicken nuggets (recipe below), dipping sauce, and two sandwich cookies. In addition, ours has the fruit & vegetable servings missing from the boxed lunch; crunchy carrot sticks and juicy grapes.
The only reason to pay for the boxed lunch is for a colorful box; but since you can get some pretty cool lunch boxes now-a-days, it’s a mute point.
MOMables menu plans provide you with healthy, fresh meals you can make in 10 minutes or less, but unlike store bought lunches, they allow flexibility in portioning and choice of sides so you can customize each lunch to suit your family’s tastes and appetites. We even tell you what to make and prep ahead so you can save time and money on wasted food.
In large bowl, combine chicken, oatmeal, half the grated parmesan (1/8 cup), half the Zatarain's seasoning (or paprika) (1/2 tsp), garlic powder and pepper. Knead dry ingredients into ground chicken.
Moisten hands to prevent sticking and form 1 tbsp of chicken mixture into a ball. Press into a cookie cutter for shaped nuggets or flatten with fingers for a basic nugget shape.
In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with remaining Zatarain's seasoning and grated parmesan.
Press nuggets into bread crumb mixture and turn over, patting crumbs into surface to coat evenly.
--At this point you can freeze-- or
To bake: Preheat oven to 375° F. Arrange nuggets on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Lightly spray nuggets themselves with cooking spray or olive oil for a crispier coating (optional).
Bake 15-20 minutes, turning once, and checking - don't overcook! These baked nuggets will not really brown (unless you pan fry in oil) - if browning is desired, place under broiler for a couple of minutes at the end of cooking.
These nuggets don’t have to be baked right away; you can freeze the breaded nuggets on a cookie sheet, then transfer them to an airtight bag or container and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to bake as few or as many as you like for up to 3 months. Add about 3-5 minutes to your usual cooking time if baking from frozen.
— Laura Fuentes shows parents how to make fresh school lunches over at MOMables™. A wife, mother of 3 and a lunch enthusiast who insists on healthy, wholesome food for her family. On her personal blog, Super Glue Mom, she writes about managing motherhood on a deadline. She’s also a food contributor and recipe developer to numerous sites, and helps busy parents overcome the difficulties of cooking real food in a hurry.