Friday, January 27, 2012

Chicken Minis

Over the past 18 months Kelsey has had repeated problems with stomach pain.  At first we thought it was all intestinal.  It started with a partial bowel obstruction in the fall of 2010. We started giving her a lot of aloe vera juice which seemed to help.  Often, however, she would complain that her stomach hurt.  I went through all the possibilities I could think of - from food allergies to reflux to gall bladder problems to a kink her intestines.  And though we did find a minor food allergy (egg whites), and and she had another partial bowel obstruction in the spring of 2011, we haven't really isolated the problem.  So far, we have identified eggs and chocolate as giving her trouble - though only if she has a lot at once - and we finally got a referral to a GI doctor and have an appointment in March.

However, in desperation, I decided early this year I was cutting out all the junk food I could from her (and the family's) daily diet.  This is no mean feat, considering Kelsey's favorite foods are pizza, chicken nuggets, and corn dogs.  As a general rule, Kelsey will not eat any chicken if it's homemade.  However, I have finally found the exception: Chicken Minis.

These are basically nothing more than itty bitty, homemade, baked chicken nuggets.  But everyone loves them - almost as much as I like to make them.  Why?  Because I finally learned about "the secret".  The one that explains that you don't need to individually hand coat every single little piece of chicken when making homemade chicken nuggets.  (Plus, the ingredient list is awesome - including milled flax seed and plain yogurt.)  And Kelsey?  She'd eat them by the pound if I let her.

Note - this recipe doesn't have quantities.  I don't measure anything when I make it, and it's really hard to screw up.  So, if you are a die-hard-follow-the-recipe person this is a great time to live a little and give it a try anyway.

Chicken Minis

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Plain yogurt
Bread crumbs (plain, whole wheat, Italian - you choose!)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Garlic powder
Milled flax seed
Salt/pepper to taste

Cut your chicken up into bite-size pieces.  You can make them as large or small as you'd like - I usually aim for about 3/4-inch cubes.  The main thing is you want to have them all about the same size so all the pieces are done at the same time.  Then, put the chicken into a bowl (preferably one with a fitted lid) and stir in just enough plain yogurt to coat the pieces lightly (see picture).  I learned the hard way that if you dump in too much yogurt they don't bake up very crispy.  And who likes mushy nuggets?  No one in this house!

 In a small bowl, pour a bunch of bread crumbs, milled flax, and Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle a little garlic powder and salt/pepper.  Mix well.

Dump about half bread crumb mixture on top of the chicken, and fit the lid on the bowl.  
Shake it up. 
Dance around your kitchen. 
Embarrass your children.

Take the lid off and peek at it.  If the bread crumbs are evenly coating the chicken, you can either stop there, or add the rest of the crumbs for that extra crunchy nugget that we all love.

I usually stir in the rest of the bread crumbs with a spoon to try to break up any of the chicken clumps.

Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 until done - about 15 minutes or so.

 See how much is actually left in the bowl?  Amazing, isn't it?

When checking for done-ness, be sure to cut open your fattest nuggets.  As long as there is no pink or "translucence" in the middle of the nuggets you can safely eat them.  Dip them in your favorite sauce (which is ketchup for my kids) and enjoy every crunchy, nutritious bite!


Barbara said...

Looks great. Have you tried freezing these? I am entering finger food phase again!

Anita said...

We don't usually have enough left over to freeze, but based on the ingredients I assume they would turn out fine. You would just need to be careful in the reheating that they don't dry out since they aren't injected with extra grease to keep them moist :-)