Chicken Nuggets

I see Back to School signs all over the place and as a matter of fact, here in Connecticut, where there can be a lot of snow days in the winter, teachers are already back at work. The kids start on August 28th, before Labor Day. Just in case. My kids are grown, so I no longer have any of the worries that come with going back to school. About the bus pickup or whether some child they don’t especially like is in their class or whether their new teacher is an ogre who gives too much homework. Those were stressful days, those days before school when the inertia of summer keeps us wanting to stay in place at the beach or in the pool or just lazing around. But we can’t of course. Life goes on. And I am now watching from the grandparent side of things. Hearing the very same things I heard in days gone by. One of the issues that still remains? What to bring for lunch. When it was my kids I heard “baloney stinks.” Grilled cheese is “disgusting” when it’s cold. Soup spills when I open the plastic container. These days everyones’ kids have similar likes and dislikes and there are new considerations such as rules about peanut butter and tree nuts. One food item I knew would always be a winner is chicken nuggets, which are good hot or cold. Plain or dipped in ketchup or hummus. Add a few carrot sticks, a piece of fruit and a small bag of snack and it’s done. It’s still true today. Most kids like chicken nuggets. So that was and still is a good back to school lunch choice. Plus they are easy to make and you can make a lot of them and freeze them for future lunches. Btw, there’s now a handy little device to help folks who go through the lunch planning thing: a new iOS App that was created and designed to help parents and kids plan lunch together for a week at a time (it also creates a shopping list for all the items you need). It was designed —ahem — by my daughter Gillian. But it’s not just me bragging. It’s received rave reviews in The New York Times and in-the-know tastemakers like Tina Roth Eisenberg (Swiss-Miss.com), nutritionists and pediatricians have also heaped it with praise. Take a look at Gillian’s website www.lalalunchbox.com to read more about it. There’s a huge list of foods available for kids to choose from, but you can also customize items depending on your child’s specific tastes and needs (like allergy issues).  Meantime, here’s a recipe for Chicken Nuggets. Btw, these make great hors d’oeuvre for grownups. Chicken Nuggets one pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts 1 large egg  1 cup panko 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder vegetable oil for frying Cut the chicken into about 18-20 (2-3 bite) pieces and put them in a large bowl. Add the egg and mix until the chicken pieces are uniformly coated. In a bowl, mix the panko, salt, paprika and garlic powder together. Dredge the chicken pieces in the panko, pressing to coat all surfaces. If you have time, set aside on a cake rack for 20-30 minutes to air dry. Heat 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a bread crumb sizzle, fry the nuggets a few at a time for about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Do not crowd the pan when frying the chicken. Makes 18-20 pieces. 

I see Back to School signs all over the place and as a matter of fact, here in Connecticut, where there can be a lot of snow days in the winter, teachers are already back at work. The kids start on August 28th, before Labor Day. Just in case.

My kids are grown, so I no longer have any of the worries that come with going back to school. About the bus pickup or whether some child they don’t especially like is in their class or whether their new teacher is an ogre who gives too much homework.

Those were stressful days, those days before school when the inertia of summer keeps us wanting to stay in place at the beach or in the pool or just lazing around.

But we can’t of course. Life goes on. And I am now watching from the grandparent side of things. Hearing the very same things I heard in days gone by.

One of the issues that still remains? What to bring for lunch.

When it was my kids I heard “baloney stinks.” Grilled cheese is “disgusting” when it’s cold. Soup spills when I open the plastic container.

These days everyones’ kids have similar likes and dislikes and there are new considerations such as rules about peanut butter and tree nuts.

One food item I knew would always be a winner is chicken nuggets, which are good hot or cold. Plain or dipped in ketchup or hummus. Add a few carrot sticks, a piece of fruit and a small bag of snack and it’s done.

It’s still true today. Most kids like chicken nuggets.

So that was and still is a good back to school lunch choice. Plus they are easy to make and you can make a lot of them and freeze them for future lunches.

Btw, there’s now a handy little device to help folks who go through the lunch planning thing: a new iOS App that was created and designed to help parents and kids plan lunch together for a week at a time (it also creates a shopping list for all the items you need). It was designed —ahem — by my daughter Gillian. But it’s not just me bragging. It’s received rave reviews in The New York Times and in-the-know tastemakers like Tina Roth Eisenberg (Swiss-Miss.com), nutritionists and pediatricians have also heaped it with praise.

Take a look at Gillian’s website www.lalalunchbox.com to read more about it. There’s a huge list of foods available for kids to choose from, but you can also customize items depending on your child’s specific tastes and needs (like allergy issues). 

Meantime, here’s a recipe for Chicken Nuggets. Btw, these make great hors d’oeuvre for grownups.

Chicken Nuggets

one pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts

1 large egg 

1 cup panko

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

vegetable oil for frying

Cut the chicken into about 18-20 (2-3 bite) pieces and put them in a large bowl. Add the egg and mix until the chicken pieces are uniformly coated. In a bowl, mix the panko, salt, paprika and garlic powder together. Dredge the chicken pieces in the panko, pressing to coat all surfaces. If you have time, set aside on a cake rack for 20-30 minutes to air dry. Heat 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a bread crumb sizzle, fry the nuggets a few at a time for about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Do not crowd the pan when frying the chicken. Makes 18-20 pieces.