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Let me ask you a question: What part of the chicken is a “nugget?” And where on the planet can you find a “natural” chicken nugget? I’ve never seen one, and I doubt you have either. (For an in-depth look at what really goes into typical fast-food comfort foods, check out Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner.)
The bottom line is that “healthy fast-food nuggets” is an oxymoron. They’re a terrific comfort food, but they’re usually deep-fried in reused vegetable oil and coated in a batter that contains sugar, white flour, and artificial flavors and colors. But-and this is a big “but”-they sure do taste great. And who wouldn’t love to have all that taste without the negatives?
Well, your wait is over. This recipe is lower in calories than conventional nuggets; it’s baked instead of fried; and it’s much higher in fiber, thanks to the flaxseeds (which also contain valuable cancer-fighting lignans as opposed to cancer-causing chemicals). Chef Jeannette did a ton of testing to get this recipe exactly right, even incorporating corn flakes to keep them extra crispy. Give them a try, and we’ll bet that you-and your family-will never want to go back to those mystery nuggets again. -Dr. Jonny
Notes from … Chef Jeannette, the Clean Food Coach
Using tenders for the nuggets is a great choice because they are convenient and low-calorie. Chicken tenders, taken from the breast meat around the ribs, are the leanest meat on the chicken and they cook up very quickly. But if you’d prefer to use whole breast, place the meat in the freezer for 10 minutes before slicing to firm up the flesh and make it easier to cut.
You can easily double or triple the recipe and batch these nuggets for convenience. To freeze them, place the prepared raw nuggets in one layer on cookie sheets, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and freeze overnight or until solid. Once frozen, you can store them in quart or gallon-sized zip-closure freezer bags (press the air out of the bag before sealing) and take out as many as you need for a meal. For best results, thaw them in the fridge overnight and cook according to recipe directions. They won’t be quite as crispy as fresh-cooked ones, but will still taste great.