Saturday, January 25, 2014

Low Carb Chicken Nuggets

Me and nuggets o' chicken go way back. Served with gobs of ranch they were one of my favorite dinners as a kid. My mom would buy the good ones from Schwans.  As I got older my sister Kinsey and I loved hitting up the McDonalds drive thru late at night for some tasty boot shaped chicken and The Boy and I frequented Wendy's after school when we were dating.  Basically, I love them.  But trips to the drive thru are very rare these days as I've started focusing on my health the last 2-3 years or so.  I had a serious hankering the other day and knew I needed to make some ASAP that fit my healthier eating habits.  I actually can't believe I had not made my own low carb version before now....crazy!

Here's my thought process.  I remember my sister telling me she had made some for her kids with an almond meal breading and they loved them.  Then again I'm also in love with a parmesan cheese breading like I use for my Low Carb Mozzarella Sticks and my Eggplant Parm I figured combining the two couldn't be bad...right?

So here's what I did.  First I cut up four huge chicken breasts into chunks. When I say they were huge I mean they were HUGE.  Like this is totally not natural huge.  Like how much hormones did they pump into this single chicken huge.  Like no wonder little girls are getting boobs at the age of 6 from all the hormones we eat huge.....

Note to self: Make more money so I can afford to buy chicken that isn't pumped full of crap

Then I mixed up equal parts almond meal and grated parmesan cheese.  1 cup of each was enough for these 4 breasts.  Season with seasonings of your choice.  I used Garlic Herb Mrs. Dash, salt, and pepper.  I dipped my finger in the goodness to see if it was seasoned enough.  That's the beauty of can do that to parmesan cheese and ground almonds.  You wouldn't be able to dip your finger in plain flour and taste if it's ready or not now would ya?  Consider that another low carb win...

Looks like I got all caught up in the process and forgot to take pictures but it's pretty simple.  Whisk a few eggs in a bowl, dip your chicken in it, and roll it in your breading.  Place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet

Place the whole pan of these in the freezer.  Just like I did with my eggplant parm and mozzarella sticks the freezing helps the crust adhere better to the food.  It will also keep the cheese from melting too quickly when you go to fry it later.

I stuck them in the freezer with every intention of making them for dinner that night.  Then I took a nap and woke up too lazy to do I simply bagged them up and put them back in the freezer.  

I realized that this is awesome though!  One day you could bread up a whole bunch and freeze them in bags to pull out whenever you want.   I didn't end up pulling them out to use until over a week later but it all worked out beautifully

Just lightly pan fry them to get a golden color. It actually took very little oil for anybody who is concerned with it being fried. Make sure your oil is nice and hot or the breading will start to fall off before it can get brown and crispy. 

Then place them on your cookie sheet and bake at 350 until they reach 165 degrees. (I actually placed mine on a cooling rack and then placed the entire rack over the baking sheet. This way they get crispy all around and not soggy on the bottom) The bake time all depends on how big you cut them or how long you fried them....but mine took about 15 minutes.

They were so stinkin good! Totally satisfied my craving.  

Oh and for the record....those aren't french fries.  They're rutabaga fries.  It really completed the nostalgic childhood meal feel

*Note: I tried baking a few just to see how they would turn out.  I sprayed them with a little cooking spray and baked them at 350.  By the time they got to a point of crispiness that I liked they were sort of dry on the inside.  Frying is the way to go for me because I like my nuggets more crisp...but if you don't mind a less crunchy nugget than baking might work for you

Low Carb Chicken Nuggets

4 chicken breasts cut into chunks
2 eggs whisked in a small bowl
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup almond meal
Seasonings of choice
Oil to pan fry

Combine the cheese, almond meal, and seasonings in a bowl.  Dip the chicken chunks in egg, roll in the cheese/almond mixture, and place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet.  Once they are all breaded place the whole pan in the freezer to let the breading adhere better.  Once frozen, pan fry the chicken in hot oil until golden brown.  Place on a baking sheet (or on a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet to get crispy all over) and bake at 350 until they reach 165

1 comment:

  1. OMG I love you. I have, once again, gone back to low carb eating. I've pinned 2 of your recipes. Can't wait to see the rest of them! <3