I pretty much gave up fried foods a few years back (with out really realizing it) and I can honestly say that I do not and have never owned a frier. I've just never needed one in all of my cooking-life.
Of course, I've not always found tasty and easy baking alternatives to fried treats. Faux frying can be a tricky thing. I have definitely come across my share of faux-fried mishaps and flub-ups. This is not one of those recipes. Oh, no. This is great stuff here.
I have this girlfriend, Cara, from second grade... third grade(?) that I've recently re-connected with. She was one of, if not surely, my very best friend until we both ended up moving to different states. And we didn't have the amazing internet back then to stay in contact, bummer! Somehow though, we've both managed to end up in Texas together, yeehaw!
We've laughed, more than once I think, over how similar we still are all these years later. And what's more funny is that she too is a blogger! When I started The Skinny Fork up, she was the first to request a 'recipe redo' on her Copy Cow Chic-Fil-A Nuggets. This is for you, Cara!
I always remember Cara's mom being so fun and clever. One of my very best memories with Cara was when her mom did this to us. (Cara is on the left and I'm on the right!)
How, you ask? I'll never tell. Maybe something we might see in the future on Sweet Hersey Living, as a how-to? Nudge, Cara, nudge, wink.
This recipe is a lightened up and baked version from the one on Cara's blog. I served mine with steamed broccoli, a squeeze of fresh lemon and of course hit it with some Frank's because "I put that !@#$ on everything!". But, they are so amazing just on their own. Seriously. I was eating them off the baking sheet before being plated. Guilty!
Baked Faux-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets
Servings: 4 • Size: 1/4 Nuggets • Calories: 208.4 • Fat: 5.6 g • Carb: 9.1 g • Fiber: 0.6 g • Protein: 30.7 g • Sugar: 0.8 g • Sodium: 476.6 mg
2 Large Chicken Breasts (1 Lb.)
1/2 C. Reduced Sodium Pickle Juice
Salt & Pepper To Taste
2 Tsp. Olive Oil
6 Tbsp. Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. Panko
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Tsp. Paprika
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp. Dried Basil
Place your chicken into a sealed ziplock bag or shallow tupperware container and marinate in the pickle juice for a few hours or even overnight, covered. The chicken will turn yellow, don't worry! After marinating, cut the chicken up into bite size pieces.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Put olive oil in one bowl and put bread crumbs, panko, parmesan, and seasonings into a second bowl; set both aside.
Season your chicken with a bit of salt and pepper. Toss into the bowl of olive oil and mix to coat each piece evenly with the oil.
Put a few pieces of chicken at a time into the breadcrumb mixture and toss or pat to coat. Place on a baking sheet and lightly spray the tops of the nuggets with non-stick cooking spray. (This helps them brown up nicely.) Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through, turning halfway during the cook time.