Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chicken Nuggets for Baby

chicken "nuggets," carrot puree, corn starch, cornmeal
A few days ago a June Mommy friend of mine posted .. searching for a recipe for chicken nuggets for baby!  There were a few specifications for the recipe - no egg, no oil, no wheat! If possible ..

After a few google searches I found nothing .. and I left my mind a-reeling .. because how on EARTH can you have breaded anything w/o a binder like egg, or a little greasy-goodness like olive oil?

Well .. an epiphany hit me .. and this is what I came up with:

Chicken Nuggets for a Baby ~

Ingredients -
1 chicken breast (because you'll want some for yourself, too)
1 portion (we used an ice cube of frozen homemade) baby food puree (carrot was our choice)
1-2 t. water

1-2T cornstarch


Method -

Cut your chicken into the desired shape for your child's chicken nuggets .. from what I've learned in feeding Thomas .. this shape is totally up to you .. considering T has no teeth, it makes the most sense for us to make these strips any shape, and then break them down for him into pincer-grasp-sized pieces as he is eating.

If you have remaining chicken (that won't be eaten in the next 2-3 days) .. go ahead and make yourself some strips. Remember, the thinner your strips, the faster they'll cook!  We made our strips about 1/4" thick .. and our "Nuggets" were strips cut into thumb-length pieces.

Here is the breading process -

cornstarch / carrot puree / cornmeal coating
Chicken > cornstarch (spread it around a bit w/your fingers .. this will help the carrot stick to the chicken) > baby food puree, thinned with water if necessary > cornmeal

Following the breading process, go ahead and plunk the chicken bits onto a cookie sheet that is lightly greased with olive oil.  Olive oil has great health benefits, so I wouldn't hesitate before using it to oil a cookie sheet being used for baby food.  Would I slather baby's food in it to cook? No .. but as a sheet-lubricant .. it is perfect!

Bake -

We set our oven to 375* F .. flip your little nuggets after 7-10 minutes .. and then set your timer for another 7-10 minutes.  Check them out - do they look great? Then they are done.  Want them a little browner?  Then you'll have to bake them longer .. but they will just dry out .. so go ahead and remove them from the oven and let them cool.

The cornmeal will give the chicken a great crunch .. and the texture is fabulous.  Ryan came into the kitchen to take pictures for me and requested that I make ours in the same manor. So I did. And they were great ..!  The only change for ours?  I dusted them lightly with Penzey's Sunny Spain - a little lemon-garlic-pepper flavour.

Thomas' initial review?  He liked them!  Would have captured a photo, but we were all finally eating dinner together <3 Enjoying the moment.

I hope you all enjoy the recipe .. I know our pediatrician recommended staying away from wheat and egg until 1 year .. and considering T has no teeth .. he has a wild desire to feed himself and has begun to refuse a spoon unless he's the one holding it .. so it feels great to be offering him meats, as well as new textures (the corn meal offers a great texture variance to steamed meat pieces).

The final product!
... never mind that we've loved giving T toast lately ;-) hehe

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