Sunday, March 25, 2012

This weeks Healthy Eating Challenge; Good for You Homemade Chicken Nuggets


Healthy Eating Challenge #1: The ol' Swaparoo.

We're always looking for ways to eat healthier without loosing the flavor of so many unhealthy foods. For example the old go to: The Chicken Nugget.

The chicken nugget was first invented by a scientist at Cornwall University in the 1960's named Robert C. Baker. He had figured out how to process the WHOLE CHICKEN, including some very unsavory parts that you wouldn't normally consider eating, into the dunk-able delight that has become so beloved my children and adults alike.

When I stumbled upon this recipe by Junk Food Makeover Nutritionist, Tricia Williams I just had to try it out for myself.  Tricia decided to pulse organic chicken breasts in a food processor to simulate the texture of a whole chicken processing. Weird, yes, but kids and some adults are very texture sensitive, so if you have picky children this was a good call.

She then coated the chicken with quinoa flakes and flaxseed for an added nutritional benefit. If your not already aware quinoa is highly appreciated for its' nutritional value, as it's protein content is very high (18%) . Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest. Flaxseed contains high levels of dietary fiber as well as lignans (has plant estrogen and antioxidents), and abundance of micro-nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed may lower cholesterol levels.

So without further delay: Here's your challenge;

Good for You Chicken Nuggets
A recipe by Tricia Williams & Elisabeth Nelson
Yeilds: 26 nuggets

12 oz. Ground Chicken
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/4 c. Quinoa Flakes
1/3 c. Golden Flaxseed Meal
1/3 c. Oat Flour
1/3 c. Arrowroot
3 Lg. Eggs
1 Tbsp and 1 tsp. Safflower Oil

INGREDIENT INFO: Golden flaxseed meal and oat flour can be found online at or many natural food stores & a growing number of local supermarkets. Arrowroot, a thickening agent, is available in the spice section of many supermarkets and at natural foods stores as well as many Asian markets.

Preparation & Cooking Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Place chicken in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Using a 1-oz. melon baller, scoop out 26 portions of chicken, transferring them to prepared baking sheet as you go. Chill chicken on sheet for 20 minutes.

Combine quinoa flakes, flaxseed meal, and flour in a small bowl. Place arrowroot in another small bowl. Whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy. Gently press chicken portions to flatten slightly. Working with 1 portion at a time, roll chicken in arrowroot, dip in egg whites, and dredge in flaxseed mixture. Return chicken to baking sheet.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add chicken nuggets and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer nuggets back to baking sheet and cook in oven for 6 minutes. Serve immediately.

Here are two dipping sauce recipes you may like to try with your Good for You Chicken Nuggets.

Honey-Dijon Mustard
by Zaydu Carmona
Yeilds: 1 cup

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
6 Tbsp. raw honey
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. canola oil mayonnaise (preferably Spectrum brand)

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl to thoroughly combine. Serve immediately.
 MAKE AHEAD: Can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Barbecue Sauce
by LC Harrell
Yeilds: 1 cup

1 1/2 tsp. safflower oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses 
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion powder

INGREDIENT INFO: Ancho chile powder is available in the spice section of some supermarkets and at Latin markets. Smoked paprika is sold at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and

Preparation & Cooking
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced by a third. Let cool. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and serve immediately. DO MAKE AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

If you're up to the Healthy Eating Challenges I would love to hear from you. What are your twists on the recipes? Did your family go nuts over the new recipes or were they just okay? Please leave your comments, links to your versions, and photos in the comments below or on my facebook page to share with everyone! Thanks and hope you have fun participating in my new weekly Healthy Eating Challenges.