A Finger Food Family Dinner: Chicken Nuggets

Family Dinner

 

I wrote about family dinner a few years back. Dinner with the girls in our early years was a bleak affair until I realized what I was doing wrong. Even though there were still the occasional glasses of spilled milk and not everything I made was appreciated, we were talking and enjoying each others company. My girls even grew up to love foods of all kind and learned to cook.

The biggest break through was when Claire grew tired of making all of her friends accommodate her food issues, and ironically, she’s now become quite the adventurous eater. She wouldn’t eat any meat other than chicken growing up and certainly no seafood, so imagine my surprise when her very first attempt at being daring was eating raw oysters—which she now adores!

raw-oysters-6759

 

Despite the fact that dinnertime was stressful, I made an effort to do it properly and make it an event. I thought nothing of this until Margot’s and Claire’s friends started coming over to join us for meals. They would remark on the cloth napkins, the place settings, the fact that we all sat down together rather than ferrying plates off to other corners of the house.

Table Setting

A typical family dinner setting. Now that the girls are adults, wine for all!

 

“What, no vegetables?” Margot asked one night when I’d forgotten to put them on the table. I went to get them and remarked that I was surprised that she actually wanted vegetables for a change.
“Oh I’m not going to eat them,” she replied. “I just thought it was weird that there weren’t any.”
Sigh.

autumn2.IMG_3477

 

In the end, both of my daughters grew up to love food and cooking. I like to believe that my influence had an effect, even if it took decades to emerge. My daughters grew up seeing me cook most nights. Forcing kids to help with cooking can undermine any love they might develop for it, so I included them by giving them small tasks like setting the table and helping with cleanup. I tried to give them a say in what we ate, as they’d be more excited about dinnertime if they knew they were getting their favorites, such as spaghetti or chicken nuggets with mustard.

I also encouraged them to spend time with me in the kitchen, even if there weren’t any tasks for them. I’d get them to keep me company while I cooked and they did their homework or just told me about their day. Giving them memories of the kitchen as a place of togetherness set the stage for them to do the same in their own lives. Eventually.

Fresh cut bouquet for centerpiece

Chicken nuggets were a favorite with my kids, which they dipped in mustard. Make these simple chicken nuggets and celebrate family dinner with some broccoli florets on the side and let them eat with their hands! If the chicken nuggets are not appealing to the older “kids” panfry a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts, too. Pound the breasts to make them even in size and cook for four minutes on each side.

Set up three small pans or three pie tins, a baking rack over a sheet of parchment paper and another sheet of parchment paper lined with paper towels.

Place the flour in one pan, the eggs in a second one and beat until frothy and finally the breadcrumbs and cheese (mixed together) in the last.

Family Dinner

 

Cut the tenders into four pieces each.

Family Dinner

 

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn and sprinkle the reverse side with salt and pepper.

Family Dinner

 

Heat the oil in a large skillet or electric frying pan to 350 degrees F. If you’re using a skillet, a handy tool to use is a surface thermometer, which reads the surface temperature of the oil. Keeping the oil properly heated means the frying food absorbs less oil. After frying two batches, 24 nuggets, I had this much oil left over out of one cup.

Family Dinner

 

Dredge each chicken piece in the flour first, then the egg wash and lastly in the breadcrumbs and cheese.

Family Dinner

 

Set each piece on the baking rack.

Family Dinner

 

Once the oil is hot, place the chicken nuggets into the pan with a good inch between piece. Fry for three minutes, turn and fry for three minutes more.

Family Dinner

 

Place the cooked nuggets on the paper towel to drain.

Family Dinner

 

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or BBQ sauce.

 

Family Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 24 chicken nuggets
 
Chicken nuggets were a favorite with my kids, which they dipped in mustard. Make these simple chicken nuggets and celebrate family dinner with some broccoli florets on the side and let them eat with their hands! If the chicken nuggets are not appealing to the older "kids" panfry a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Pound the breasts to make them even in size and cook for four minutes on each side. Freeze in serving-size batches.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (white or whole wheat)
  • ½ cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup oil
Method
  1. Set up three small pans or three pie tins, a baking rack over a sheet of parchment paper and another sheet of parchment paper lined with paper towels.
  2. Place the flour in one pan, the eggs in a second one and beat until frothy and finally the breadcrumbs and cheese in the last.
  3. Cut the tenders into four pieces each.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn and sprinkle the reverse side with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat the oil in a large skillet or electric frying pan to 350 degrees F. If you're using a skillet, a handy tool to use is a surface thermometer, which reads the surface temperature of the oil. Keeping the oil properly heated means the frying food absorbs less oil. After frying two batches, 24 nuggets, I had this much oil left over out of one cup.
  6. Dredge each chicken piece in the flour first, then the egg wash and lastly in the breadcrumbs and cheese. Set each piece on the baking rack.
  7. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken nuggets into the pan with a good inch between piece. Fry for three minutes, turn and fry for three minutes more.
  8. Place the cooked nuggets on the paper towel to drain.
  9. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or BBQ sauce.

 

 

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