It is my Christmas wish that when my children aren't squirting spray cheese directly into their mouths or smuggling baby root beers into their lunch boxes, that they will be ingesting food of a healthier persuasion. I accept that cookies, candy, dips, and cylinders of meat wrapped in dough that pops from a tube are going to be a part of our lives for the next few weeks, but I also know that it is my job to counter all of these holiday goodies with nutritious meals and snacks. I'm offering anti-oxidant rich smoothies at breakfast, iron-filled pumpkin muffins for snack, and healthy chicken nuggets for dinner.
Not being a huge chicken nugget fan myself, I must confess I do enjoy these little morsels. They are crispy, flavorful, and as popular with my husband and I as they are with my children. They are easy to prepare, can be made ahead, and, with the help of a little aluminum foil, simple to clean up. I recently served them with my stash of leftover Chick Filet sauces and that made them even more desirable.
My recipe for Healthy Chicken Nuggets is adapted from a set of directions for oven fried chicken that my mother cut from one of her antiques newsletters and passed on to me many years ago. In addition to the list of ingredients and steps for cooking, the recipe adds, "Whatever you do, don't tell your hubby, your sweetie, or the kids it has yogurt on it!!!" Also, don't necessarily refer to this main dish as Healthy Chicken Nuggets. My youngest son calls them "Mommy Chicken Nuggets". Although I would like to strike the word nugget out of my vocabulary altogether unless it is referring to gold, when I call them nuggets minus the word healthy more little people are likely to eat them.
I offer this recipe as a tasty respite from all of the holiday fare. Enjoy the cakes, devour the cookies, relish in the cheese balls, and then sit down to a quick and nutritious meal featuring Healthy Chicken Nuggets.
Healthy Chicken Nuggets
4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
6 boneless chicken breasts or thighs
1 pint nonfat plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
optional: Lawry's Seasoning Salt or Old Bay Seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cover a shallow baking pan or baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into the bottom of the pan, spread to coat.
- Cut chicken into nugget shapes (or strips if you prefer).
- Mix bread crumbs with salt and pepper (or your favorite seasoning such as Old Bay or Lowry's).
- Dip the chicken pieces into the yogurt to completely coat.
- Roll the yogurt covered chicken pieces in the bread crumb mixture.
- Place coated chicken pieces in baking dish.
- Drizzle chicken pieces with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Bake, uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until the center of the largest chicken piece is no longer pink.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 5 minutes more or until chicken is brown and crispy.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauces and a big salad or veggie tray.\