Monday, March 5, 2012

Turn Left Over Chicken into Chicken Nuggets

Y'all, these chicken nuggets have been a huge hit with my kid!  And I love them because they can be made quickly from regular, boneless, skinless chicken breast... including leftover chicken from a previous meal! So, unlike many chicken nuggets out there, I know exactly what's in them. 

Why are these so popular with my meat-averse child? I think it's because of the smooth texture (the chicken is pureed in a food processor first) and the tang of flavor (from the butter/dijon/worcestershire coating.)  I am so grateful to Amy over at Healthy Meals for Healthy Kids for introducing me to the method of pureeing the chicken in the food processor - I never would've thought of this!  I took her original recipe and built on it to give the nuggets a bit more flavor.  Plus, her recipe calls for 1 boneless skinless chicken breast poached in boiling water for 10 minutes. While this is a healthy and easy way to prepare the chicken, I wanted to see if the recipe works with leftover chicken cooked various ways. And... it does!  I have made these several different times with chicken breast slow-cooked in my crock pot and even sautéed in some olive oil.  

So, as I mentioned, my 2 1/2 year old loves these (especially when I serve them with a 'dipping' sauce.) My husband and I like the way they taste, but I have to be honest: the pureed chicken texture does make them seem like "toddler" food. So, he and I have eaten them, but it's not our favorite way to have chicken! The good news: once the chicken is cooked, the nuggets only need about 10 minutes in the oven. One night recently, I made Mediterranean Chicken for the grown-ups, and turned the same chicken into nuggets for WP. It was a bit of extra work, but the nuggets have kept well in the fridge.

Chicken Nuggets from Leftover Chicken
makes about 6 nuggets; recipe easily multiplies

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked
1 egg
dash of salt (optional)
1Tablespoon butter
a splash of Worcestershire Sauce
a blob of Dijon mustard
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Spike seasoning (optional)

Add the cooked chicken, egg, and salt to the food processor and pulse until smooth. 

Shape the chicken mixture into tablespoon-sized balls or any desired shape (using a cookie cutter sprayed with cooking spray.) 

In one bowl, combine butter, Dijon and Worcestershire sauce. In another bowl combine breadcrumbs and seasoning (optional.) Dip each nugget into the butter mixture, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place nuggets on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. 

The Butter/Dijon/Worcestershire mix gives the nuggets a nice flavor
Nuggets before baking
If your family likes these, they will probably love Kim's Yummy Chicken Balls (I'm resisting the temptation to make a "Schwetty" joke here) and Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan.

Love, Lauren


  1. I have leftover grilled chicken breast from last night. I was wondering if I could just cut them into nugget size pieces, dip in egg wash, toss in breadcrumbs and cook in oven on wire rack for something resembling Chic-fil-a nuggets?

    How long would I cook them and on what temp?


  2. Riann, you could certainly try it. Dipping the chicken in the butter/Worcestershire/Dijon mix instead of just egg wash will give more flavor! I think you need just long enough to let everything 'set' and get a bit crispy. 10 or 15 minutes at 400 degrees should do it!