While my little ones are still fruit & veggie eating machines I am just not able to fill them up on fruits & veggies alone any longer. I is time to start introducing proteins into Daniel’s diet so I looked into the best starter meat for baby. It seems that chicken nuggets are highly recommended as a first protein because they are easy for baby to eat since they are made from ground meat then shaped into nuggets. Well, I wasn’t about to waste my money on store bought nuggets, nor did I want to introduce many of the “non-real food” ingredients that they contain. So I decided to make them myself. I further controlled the ingredients by grinding my own meat (since I already owned the food mill this was not too hard.) and using bread crumbs from homemade bread. However, you can buy already ground chicken & store bought bread crumbs and still turn out a healthier product than store bought chicken nuggets are.
My kids have never seen store bought nuggets so I didn’t bother with shaping them this time, however, if they ever start asking me for shaped nuggets I have a plentiful supply of cookie cutters to make my own shapes from as well.
- 1 1/4 lb ground chicken (This was the result of grinding one chicken breast and four thighs)
- 1/4 cup ground old-fashioned oats
- 1/8 cup grated cheese (I used a mix of hard grated cheeses I had on hand)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I made my own from homemade herb bread which added a little more flavor)
- 1/8 cup Parmesan
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- In large bowl, combine chicken, oatmeal, grated cheese, paprika, garlic powder and pepper.
- Stir dry ingredients into ground chicken.
- In small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with paprika & Parmesan
- Use a spoon or a teaspoon cookie scoop form chicken mixture into a balls.
- Press into a cookie cutter for shaped nuggets or flatten with fingers for a basic nugget shape.
- Drop nuggets into bread crumb mixture and turn over, patting crumbs into surface to coat evenly.
*At this point you can freeze or…
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Arrange nuggets on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.
- Lightly spray nuggets themselves with cooking spray or olive oil for a crispier coating (optional).
- Bake 15-20 minutes, turning once, and checking – don’t overcook!
Doesn’t this look like a better lunch than….
Or even this?
And you should have seen the grins on my little ones faces when they took their first bite! Unfortunately, I was too busy passing them more food to catch it on camera.