Chicken nuggets. Every kid loves chicken nuggets, right? But does every parent like to serve processed, frozen and fried chicken nuggets? Where is the nugget on a chicken anyway? I’ve cut up a lot of chicken in my day, and have never come across a nugget!
In all seriousness, most commercially processed nuggets are bits of leftover chicken meat, skin and other goodies chopped up, combined with chemicals then formed into nuggets. Mmmm mmmm good! Jamie Oliver showed a group of school children how chicken nuggets are made in his show Jamie Oliver Food Revolution, and it actually made me nauseous to watch it.
I decided to make my own chicken nuggets, avoiding all the preservatives and chemicals we have no business eating. Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts made for a juicy nugget, and cutting a thigh is a lot easier than cutting a large chicken breast.
Marinating the chicken in a honey mustard based marinade adds a depth of flavor to the nuggets you would not otherwise have. Think of it as baking your dipping sauce into the nugget, instead of dipping your nugget into the sauce.
Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Nuggets
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup honey mustard
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
3 TB butter, melted
Cut the chicken thighs into bite size pieces. Each thigh will yield 4-6 pieces, depending on the size of the thigh. Place the chicken pieces into a medium bowl.
In a small bowl mix the honey mustard, olive oil and Old Bay Seasoning. Pour the marinade over the chicken and mix well to coat. You can let this marinate or continue with the preparations. I recommend letting them marinate so the flavor can permeate the chicken, but the nuggets will still taste great without a longer marination.
When you are ready to bake the nuggets, heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish, such as a pie pan. Mix the melted butter with the breadcrumbs.
Breading Tip – Use one hand to place the wet chicken into the breadcrumbs and the other hand to coat the chicken and place it onto the pan. That will stop both hands from becoming “breaded.”
Coat the chicken nuggets a few at a time in the breadcrumbs. The honey mustard marinade will act as the glue to hold the breadcrumbs on, but be sure to press them into the nuggets for a good coating. Place the breaded nuggets onto a baking sheet sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray or brushed with oil.
Bake the nuggets for 20 minutes, then turn them over. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the chicken is done.
Serve them to your family without any guilt…although you can serve them with additional honey mustard as a dipping sauce.