Here’s the thing about having a child, you have to become highly skilled at the subtle art of kitchen alchemy.
In other words, you have to manipulate your children into eating good food that is good for them. This is not at all a bad thing, it keeps me on my cooking toes and forces me to be more playful and inventive and step outside my metaphorical little box and experiment. Now, it is possible that you have children who will willingly eat anything. If so you are very lucky, and I think you must have incurred some REALLY good karma. But even my child; who has grown up eating healthy food always with an occasional treat; is completely transformed at the sight of such atrocious “food” items such as blue cotton candy, ring pops, and cheez doodles. Her little eyes gleam maniacally and she becomes so fixated on that flourescent food that I swear she would sell her soul to get at it.
One of the most brilliant ideas I ever had was to start making chicken fingers with Izzie. Not only do I seem like a totally cool Mommy, but I am controlling what goes into them, organic meat, maybe some hidden veggies, not fried but baked….and you know what else? They are so cheap to make and you can use really whatever you have lying around. The recipe has so many different possible flavor profiles and combination that your children will never, ever be bored with them.
The basic recipe is as follows;
1 lb chicken breasts (skinless and boneless). I buy the pre-cut chicken tenders, it makes things much easier.
1 cup flour (you can use whatever you want here, whole wheat, white, gluten-free…just make sure it’s a light flour or your fingers will be gloppy and that is gross).
Seasoning (this can be anything; salt, all-purpose seasoning, oregano, curry powder, chili powder, granulated garlic, or herbs de provence work wonderfully).
2 eggs whisked with 1 Tbsp water or 1/2 cup egg whites
1.5 cups “topping” (this can be breadcrumbs, crushed cereal, rolled oats, oat bran, uncooked polenta, or crushed potato chips or crackers).
Preheat your oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with tinfoil, grease tinfoil with 1 Tbsp olive oil (or sesame oil etc…just make sure it is an oil that will tolerate high heat).
Find three wide and shallow bowls. Into the first bowl put the flour and seasonings, into the second bowl go the eggs or egg whites, then the third bowl has the toppings. Proceed by coating each finger thoroughly with flour, then dip in egg wash, then toppings, then place on the sheet. Spray the tops with olive oil in a misto.
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then flip and reduce the heat to 375, bake for 5-10 minutes longer depending on their thickness.
I let Izzie do the whole process from start to finish, just remember to coach your kids on the importance of not placing fingers gooped with chicken juice, raw egg and breadcrumbs INTO THEIR MOUTH. They will do it, trust me, even though it’s totally disgusting.
Tonight’s combo was excellent, just a hint of sweetness and lots of crunch! Served with ketchup and honey but I think honey mustard would have been best.
So the moral of this post is; let them eat chicken fingers, they don’t have to be unhealthy!!