Chicken Veggie Nuggets
If you think about the list of quintessential kid foods, I bet chicken nuggets will be at the top of your list. Also on the list of moms not feeling the best at giving their kids, chicken nuggets... It is hard as a mom, you want your kids to eat healthy food but you also want them to eat, period. I have been thinking on these little nuggets and I saw that there are gluten-free nuggets at stores and now they have veggie nuggets which can be a crap-shoot if your kid will eat a green nugget. So I was thinking of combining the two and also making them completely grain, gluten, and dairy free to make a Whole30 compliant nugget. The more I study about kids, their gut health, and the effect all the Standard American Diets our kids have, the more I realize we need to make better food for our little people. There is such a huge connection between food, their health, and behavior. I want to make more recipes with Whole30 and Paleo dietary guidelines because there aren't a ton of recipes specially geared towards kids. So be on the lookout!
I also froze these little buggers as a test and they reheated perfectly, just like those bags we grab! This is a time consuming recipe but it made a good number, next time I am going to double or triple it to have stashed in the freezer for lunches and dinners. I tested these on my kids, my friend's kids, my friend's at the gym, my husband who is very skeptical of "healthified" foods and they were a hit! The key was getting the right texture and choosing veggies that wouldn't alter the color. Green bits of kale are easily explained to be ranch flavored which most kids are totally down with. They are also low carb so you can bake up some fries and not feel like it isn't balanced. I made mine into stars and circles to make them more appealing to the most discerning of palates, just dug out some cookie cutters. Get the kiddos involved and they will like them even more!
Chicken Veggie Nuggets
- 2 Tablespoon oil (avocado, coconut, or olive), divided
- 1/2 cup bell pepper, finely diced (about half a pepper)
- 1/2 cup carrot, finely diced (about 1 medium carrot)
- 1/2 cup zucchini, finely diced (about half of a medium zucchini)
- 1 cup frozen cauliflower rice
- 1 cup kale, (loosely packed) then finely chopped
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 1/2 cup almond flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Get all the chopping done. Then heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet on medium heat, add the peppers, carrot, zucchini, and frozen cauliflower. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and saute until everything is softened, stirring occasionally, about 7ish minutes. Place in a bowl to cool.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same skillet and add the kale, saute for a few minute until reduced. Add to a separate plate to cool, do not mix with the other veggies.
- Once they are cooled, add the bowl of veggies (not the kale) to a food processor with the ground chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Pulse until all combined and smooth. Carefully stir in the cooked kale now.
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment and spread the chicken mixture into a thick even layer, about 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick. Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- While that is chilling, combine the almond flour, pepper, and remaining salt in a pie dish. In another dish, combine the eggs and a couple tablespoons of water, whisk to combine. Prep a baking sheet by spraying it with oil (coconut or avocado are great). Preheat the oven to 375.
- Take the chicken mixture out of the freezer and cut into desired shapes with a knife or cookie cutter. Dip each piece into the egg, coating both sides, then dredge into the flour mix, making sure it is evenly covered. Place on the prepared baking sheet and continue until all the mix is done. If you have scraps when using a cookie cutter, you can ball it up and spread it out again, freeze, and cut more just like cookie dough.
- Spray the tops of the nuggets and bake for 15 minutes, turning over halfway. Serve with your favorite condiments
To freeze, let them cool completely after baking then lay them in an even layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for about 30 minutes or more then transfer to a freezer bag. To reheat, preheat the oven to 350 and bake for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Chopping the veggies takes a good amount of time because we are getting them so small. You want to do this so they break down and are not able to be picked out by kids.
Throw in the cooled veggies, add the chicken, garlic and onion, salt and pepper. Process it until almost everything is broken down. Then use the bowl you cooled the veggies in to add the kale into the mixture.
This is very sticky, that is a huge reason for the freezing process. Coat your hands with a little oil to prevent the mix to globbing on your digits.
Spread it evenly on parchment or wax paper, or a silicone mat. You want it to be the standard thickness of a nugget. Pop this into the freezer and prep the coating stuff and maybe do clean up!
Now that it is pretty frozen, you can cut them out and bread them the traditional way, egg wash then flour dredge. Just with better ingredients! Get them all on the sheet and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, turning over halfway or at the 10 minute mark like I did due to distractions, because.... kids.