Healthy homemade takeaway chicken

With the holidays fast approaching, I am so excited to be joining a number of great bloggers from the Sustainable Living Blogger Community in a kind of virtual party of healthy fast food options for kids! (See the links to all the fab posts below!) I feel so passionate about kids developing healthy eating habits, and a big part of that is combating the onslaught of heavily advertised fast food. And there, glowing under the warmth of the 'Golden Arches', are packets of one of the most enticing items up for grabs for kiddos: chicken nuggets...*sigh of despair*

It's possible our family may be in the minority, but the only 'chicken nuggets' in our home are the homemade kind. Why? Perhaps because they are roughly about a million times healthier and tastier... or the fact that they are super fun and easy enough for our 2 1/2 year old mini chef to help prepare, with loads of learning opportunities! Here's how the cooking went down one afternoon pre-dinner...

Although there are easier and less messy processes (eg. see Jamie Oliver's Dream School video snippet below), the learning set up I chose to go with here allows for a more sensory experience and more repetition. It was all a bit of an experiment, as it was the first time B had helped with crumbing and cooking chicken.

We used (positioned next to each other in this order around our teeny stove top and bench):
  • Chicken tenderloins (free range, hormone free)
  • 3 x bowls lined up (one with flour and some generous shakes of dried Italian herb mix; one with beaten eggs; and one with breadcrumbs and some fresh lemon zest);
  • 1 x plate for raw/crumbed chicken;
  • 1 x medium hot pan and a little sunflower (or vegetable) oil; and
  • Another plate for the cooked chicken
  • B was ushered into the bathroom for some pre-cooking hand washing;
  • He then helped himself to a chair, pushing it into prime position at the stove top - providing the perfect opportunity to refresh our safety rules around the stove (not touching the dials or hotplates, and only holding the pan handle)
  • Apron on, we talked about the steps involved, I demonstrated a little, and directed a little more... pretty quickly, I might add, as I couldn't stop the momentum of my mini chef's enthusiastic and flamboyant moves! 
Chicken - flour - *spray* - egg - *splash* - breadcrumbs - *pat pat pat* - flour - "uh oh! here we go again.." - egg - breadcrumbs - "ok, so that lucky chick got a double coating... pop it down ready to cook in the pan and take another piece of chicken! go!!!"... He was on a roll and there was no stopping him!

The egg was intermittently whisked, and the chicken was rolled and tossed about each bowl with fascination - and I should mention too, that he seemed equally amazed by his coated hands - what a sensory overload! 

Options: salt/pepper can be added to taste, and the chicken pieces cut up smaller to better imitate the shape of 'nuggets'. For extra speed and less mess you may like to limit your mini chef to just one or two 'stations' /parts in the process to take responsibility for. 

Thanks to the extra special care, generous coatings and compressing the chicken pieces between the little chefs hands prior to cooking, the crumbed outer stayed on really well, withstanding the slightly rough turns of the spatula by young B. 

Before long the chicken pieces were golden and crisp on each side and were ready for testing! (That is, after we'd blown on the chosen piece and waited patiently for it to cool enough to be safe to eat).

I'm telling you, I hardly got a look in during the whole process. I was rarely allowed to touch the spatula, needing to initiate a turn taking game to check for myself how they were going!

The look of pure pride and joy on his face when he'd finished cooking and saw the chicken piled up high on the plate was GOLD! He was so excited telling Daddy what he'd made for dinner, and Daddy was suitably impressed - that chicken was YUMMY! And the wide smiles continued to beam all 'round the dining table, right through dinner (& lunch the following day)... and that, my friends, you simply cannot buy in any packet from any fast food chain anywhere in the whole wide world!

And now for a couple of videos...

Jamie Oliver's Dream School super quick and easy chicken nuggets:

Jamie Oliver shows school kids how chicken nuggets are made: (Please note: there is a language warning - at around 0:20 seconds, so you may wish to cue the starting point if you were thinking of showing your kids!)

Thanks for visiting Kids Play Space. I really hope you enjoyed this little post! And please feel free to leave a comment - I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas on limiting kids' fast food intake!

But wait... There's more!!

Be sure to also check out these other posts from some of my wonderful Sustainable Living Blogger Community buddies discussing fast food for our kiddos and families, and healthier alternatives: 

Leanna from All Done Monkey brings you her winning Healthy Homemade French Fries.

Jo from Down to Earth Mother says there is a time and place for McDonald's, but it's not childhood. See her tips on the best fast food for kids, plus an attempt at a Homemade Happy Meal.

Bekka over at Just for Daisy  shares a healthy option for Smoothie and Ice Creams.

And for a DIY Soft Serve Ice cream, head on over to Julie at Ladybug's Spots!

Finally, if it's a healthy snack your are after, Kara at ALLterNATIVE learning has some Healthy Holiday Snacks - Dehydrated Fruit!

Until soon,
Happy cooking!

Anna :-) 
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  1. These look delicious, and I bet they were a lot of fun to make! Thanks so much for organizing this project!

    1. Thanks Leanna! They were definitely fun to watch my son have fun making them!! haha! This project was so much fun - thank you for joining in! Anna :-)

  2. Brilliant! We love making homemade crumbed chicken too! MUCH better than the McDonalds stuff!! I love how you involve B so much - my Miss 3 loves baking and we always bake together, we're just starting to involve her more with dinner prep too! :) Thanks for this yummy recipe to try!

    1. Thanks Bekka, Thanks for stopping by! So great to hear about all the lovely homemade baking fun with little ones!! Have fun with the dinner prepping:-) Anna


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