Hello, Rae Gun Ramblings readers, and thank you, Marissa, for having me over to visit! I’m Marigold from Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! I’m excited to do a guest post here, and have decided to share one of my very favorite recipes of all time. First, a bit of back story for this recipe: A little while ago I became obsessed with the idea of having a Secret Recipe. One that I would never, ever, ever give out, but that people would always ask for. Around the same that time idea was bouncing around in my head, I was trying to come up with recipes to replace the processed foods my two little boys preferred over anything homemade or remotely healthy. What I came up with was an amazing chicken nugget. “Meh,” you think. “A chicken nugget? Seriously? You came all the way over here from your blog to this blog to brag about a chicken nugget?”
Well, well, well, Naysayer! One taste of my chicken nuggets, and see just how quickly you’ll come crawling to me for the recipe. Begging at my feet and tugging at my skirt. “GIVE ME THE RECIPE!” you’ll find yourself screaming, crazed tears running down your swollen cheeks.
So, here’s the deal: I don’t want you to have to embarrass yourself like that. I’m just going to give you my Top Secret recipe! Give it to you without any crying or pleading involved! Remember, though, that this is a SECRET recipe, so when you make it and your friends begin weeping at your feet in their nugget-induced mania, you are going to have to be strong withhold it from them. No.matter.what.
Mrs. Haske’s ☆TOP SECRET☆ Chicken and Vegetable (and a bunch of other stuff) Nuggets
(makes about 30 mind-blowing nuggets)
1 lb. ground chicken
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup old fashioned oats (not quick cooking
1 medium zucchini, shredded (approx 3/4 cup shredded)
1 large carrot, shredded (approx. 1/2 cup shredded)
1/2 medium onion, finely diced (approx. 3/4 cup finely diced)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano (or other herb of choice-basil or italian season blend are also yummy)
oil for cooking
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup ground flax meal
You have two options for cooking the nuggets, oven-fry or deep-fry. Oven-fried nuggets use less oil and therefore have less fat, but are a bit softer in texture. Versus deep-fried nuggets that are crispier, but fattier.
1. If oven-frying: Preheat oven to 375°F have ready two shallow, rimmed baking sheets with enough vegetable oil to generously coat the bottoms.
If deep-frying, Just before you begin forming the nuggets in Step 4, heat 1/4 inch of oil over a medium-high heat. Have ready paper towels for draining.
3. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for nuggets: ground chicken, cheese, oats, zucchini, carrot, onion, garlic, egg, salt, pepper and oregano. Mix well with a wooden spoon or by hand.
4. (If deep-frying, now is the time to heat your oil).For each nugget, use approximately 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture to form a small patty about 1/2 an inch thick. The mixture will be sticky, so it is easier to get about a tablespoon in a rough ball and then move it to the breadcrumb and flax meal mixture. Roll the nugget in the coating mixture and then gently pat it into shape. Shake off excess coating and set aside. Continue until all nuggets are formed.
5. If oven frying: Place all of the nuggets onto prepared baking sheets. Cook for 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Rotate sheets and flip nuggets. Cook for 8-10 more minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and blot off excess oil and drain on paper towels, if necessary.
If deep-frying: Without crowding the pan, fry nuggets in 1/4 inch of oil for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
A few notes:
Serving suggestions: These nuggets are delicious for both picky little kids and grown-ups. Kids like to dip them in bbq sauce or ketchup. For grown-ups, serve in a pita pocket with lettuce and tomatoes. This recipe can also be used to make larger chicken burger patties. Delicious with ranch dressing, or for a tasty white sauce, whisk together a couple tablespoons of sour cream, a squeeze of lemon juice, crushed garlic, chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper to taste.
Substitutions: This is a very versatile recipe, and I have had a lot of success changing up the ingredients and substituting different vegetables and cheeses. Using mozzarella in place of the cheddar creates a milder flavor and is yummy when made into meatballs and tossed in with pasta and marinara sauce. I’ve even made a vegetarian version replacing the ground chicken with mashed chick peas for a sort of modified veggie falafel.
To freeze: When completely cool, place nuggets on a single layer on baking sheets, lightly cover, and freeze. Once frozen, toss into a freezer safe container. If you freeze them touching each other, they tend to stick together.
To reheat: Preheat oven to 375°F. Put frozen nuggets in a single layer and bake until warmed through, about 10-15 minutes. Or, you can microwave for a minute to defrost and then crisp in a toaster oven.