Chicken nuggets: the staple food of childhood. Yet, most of the time we’re dealing with processed, unknown meat, and not much flavor. No more! These addictive little nuggets are full of flavor, crispy, all natural, and seriously easy to make. Kids and grown-ups alike will gobble them up. Pair them with pasta and green beans and dinner is served. Better yet, double the recipe and serve them as appetizers for your next party; think Super Bowl. Chicken nuggets, dipping sauce, and beer and you have the perfect party. Enjoy!
1 package chicken tenders, approximately 1.5 pounds
¾ cup milk
1 ½ cup whole wheat all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 ½ tablespoons Trader Joes 21 seasoning salute
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup canola oil
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Cut the chicken tenders into 1 inch pieces and place in a bowl. Toss with 1/8 tsp. sea salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper.
- In a large, shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together until they are blended. Add a dash of salt, dash of pepper, and dash of cayenne pepper and mix together. Set aside.You just want to give a little seasoning to the egg wash for added flavor.
- In another large, shallow bowl, combine the flour, thyme, 21 seasoning salute, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Mix well and set aside.
- In a large frying pan, add the oil and heat over medium high heat. The oil should come up about ¼ inch in the pan. We are pan frying, rather than deep frying these, so not much oil is needed. Now, time to set up the assembly line. Grab a plate on which to place the dredged chicken. Once you get your hands dirty, you don’t want to have to touch anything else. Here’s how I work the assembly line: raw chicken in bowl, then egg wash, then flour mixture, and finally the empty plate.
- Grab four or five pieces of chicken and drop them into the egg wash. Shake off the excess egg and drop the pieces into the flour mixture. Thoroughly coat the chicken pieces with the flour and place on the plate. Don’t be alarmed: this will get messy!
- When the oil is ready, carefully place the chicken pieces in the oil. Cook on one side for about 5 minutes or until it gets brown and crisp, then turn each piece over. Tip for testing the oil: take the handle of a wooden spoon and place it in the oil. The oil is ready when you see it bubbling around the base of the spoon. Do not over crowd the pan. The chicken needs space to get crispy. If the chicken is too close together, then it will steam itself rather than get crispy.
- Saute chicken until it is golden brown, crispy, and cooked through, about 8 minutes per batch. As each batch finishes, place on paper towel to drain off the excess oil. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces, BBQ or ketchup work great. For a complete, kid-friendly meal, serve with spaghetti and marinara sauce and lemony green beans. Enjoy!