Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets are one of those easy meals that are so nice to have in the freezer, ready for a simple fries night or a quick lunch. Life with kids makes simple easy meals a necessity. For those with little ones with allergies you know how difficult it is to find safe meals like this.

I was desperate for easy finger food to add to fries night which we often have twice a month, and everything I made V didn’t like. Breaded chicken tenders were a huge no from her. I tried several chicken nugget styles and recipes. Baked just wasn’t working either, no one liked them. And then I found this recipe. I have made it from straight ground chicken, but you can start with the chicken breasts as well.

Chicken Nuggets

  • Servings: 42 nuggets
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An easy alternative to the chicken nuggets you find in the store, but you actually know exactly what is in them.

Ingredients
18 oz boneless skinless chicken breast/ground chicken (1)
1 1/2 tsp salt (2)
3/4 tsp parsley flakes (3)
3/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp onion powder, heaping
1/4 tsp pepper, heaping
3 large eggs, beaten/flax eggs (allow to set for 5 min) (4)
1 1/2 C flour/gluten free flour (I use white rice flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt (2)
2 C deep frying oil (canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil etc.) (5)

Directions

  1. Whisk eggs together in a small bowl. Make flax eggs, if using. Allow to set for 5 min. I found the flax egg mixture was slightly too thick, add more water if needed.
  2. Combine flour and salt and put in a shallow bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy-duty skillet or saucepan on medium-high heat. Set a candy thermometer in place. Keep an eye on the temperature to avoid burning your oil.
  4. While oil is heating, cut chicken breast into cubes and whir in a food processor until a fine paste, or use ground chicken. Combine chicken with salt, parsley, oregano, onion powder and pepper in a medium size bowl.
  5. Make 42 balls with the chicken mixture, about 1 Tbsp per.
  6. Roll ball in flour, then coat in egg, then recoat in flour. Use your fingers to press ball down to flatten into a nugget.
  7. Once oil is 350-365 degrees place as many nuggets into the oil as possible, frying until golden brown. Depending on depth of oil, you may need to turn halfway through. Takes approximately 7 min to fry. Use a digital meat thermometer if desired to confirm chicken is cooked fully (165 degrees).
  8. Remove and place on a towel lined plate or pan. Enjoy!
  9. Keeps in sealed container in the fridge for several days. Freezes well for easy leftovers. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

Notes:
(1) Chicken: Corn Allergy – The carcass may be sprayed with citric acid or some other anti-bacterial. The poultry may be packaged on a Styrofoam tray containing a citric acid-saturated soaker pad underneath the poultry, and then wrapped with shrinkwrap or plastic wrap. A whole chicken or turkey is usually wrapped in plastic. The inside of the packaging may contain cornstarch, to keep the poultry from sticking to the packaging. More on corn free meat processing. In addition they are typically fed corn as part of their diet.
(2) Salt: Corn Allergy – Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive and require brand specific salt.
(3) Spices: Corn Allergy – Dried spices can be treated with a corny preservative. Penzey’s and Frontier single ingredient spices are well tolerated.
(4) Egg/Egg replacer: Corn allergy – Eggs are washed with a commercial cleaner that is full of corn products. The egg shells are porous and absorb the cleaner, so many with corn allergies have issues with eggs. Less common is to have issues with eggs due to what the chickens are eating. I have found that many of the egg replacers out there use corn starch, so beware which one you buy. Bob’s Red Mill works as a great replacer, however it has a lot of cross contamination and isn’t recommended at all with corn allergies. You could also use a flax egg as an alternative.
(5) Vegetable oil: Corn Allergy – Don’t use “vegetable oil” as it can be corn or soy oil. Canola oil is one of the worst oils for cross contamination with corn. Olive oil isn’t always 100% olive oil either, so if you are sensitive, be careful. If bottled in plastic, the bottles can be corn-derived. The oils can be rendered corny during refining. Need to determine what is used during the extraction process (alcohol or other medium?), and if any defoaming agents are used. Citric acid can be used as a degummer as well in safflower, sunflower, canola (rapeseed), soy, and flax oil.

Granola Bars

I am excited to share one of our favorite snacks in our house. Granola bars. Simple, easy and so versatile. It is so easy to change this recipe to suite dietary restrictions and preferences. I have yet to make these nut free, but I am sure you could just do more rolled oats in place of the nuts and it would turn out perfect. As long as you balance the dry with the liquid, these will turn out fantastic!

For this recipe, there is a base recipe, and then there are your optional add-ins. I have decided to separate and make it two separate recipes, so make sure you don’t just print or look at the Mix-Ins portion!

What the mix should look like when pressing into pan
Cooled at least 2 hours in the fridge (this was overnight)
What they look like sliced and ready to eat

Base Granola Bar Recipe

  • Servings: 16 bars
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Ingredients

2 1/2 C old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 C nuts, roughly chopped (1)
1/4 C honey (2)
1/4 C unsalted butter (or alternative, we use miyokos) (3)
1/3 C brown sugar/coconut palm sugar (4)
1 tsp vanilla extract (5)
1/4 tsp salt (6)
3/4 C total extra mix-ins (see Mix Ins – Granola Bar Recipe below)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9 inch square baking dish with parchment paper, make big enough to completely fold over the top of the tray
  2. Place the oats & nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 min until lightly toasted, place in large bowl.
  3. While oats are toasting, add the honey, butter & brown sugar to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved, stir occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat & stir in vanilla and salt.
  5. Pour over the oat mixture, stir to combine. Add mix-ins, except chocolate & mix well to ensure well coated.
  6. If adding chocolate, wait about 15 minutes for the mixture to cool slightly, then combine.
  7. Place in prepared baking sheet. Using a rubber/silicone spatula press the mixture into the pan, spreading around evenly. Fold parchment over & press with your whole body weight to ensure it is well compressed throughout.
  8. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove from pan by lifting parchment, place on cutting board and cut to desired shapes with sharp knife. Allowing to warm for several minutes before slicing can ensure cleaner lines. Enjoy
  9. Store in sealed package. If sticking together, separate with plastic or parchment. Refrigerate or freeze extras and remove as needed every couple of days.

Notes

(1) Nuts: Corn Allergy – depending on how they are pasteurized, pest control, processed/washed & cross contamination in facilities as well as in the store are all things to consider if quite sensitive.
(2) Honey: Corn Allergy – Purity of the honey itself is important to ensure. Some beekeepers use corn syrup as a supplemental food in the winter months, getting cross contaminated with sourced honey. Sprays for illness, proximity to corn fields & whether the honeycombs are made of corn wax instead of beeswax all need to be considered.
(3) Butter: Dairy & Corn Allergy – Depending on allergies use whatever butter you need. There are several options: MELTEarth BalanceMiyoko’s, coconut oil, goat butter). Beware of salt in butter if corn allergic (look for sea salt/unsalted). Many of vegan butter have corn derivatives.
(4) Brown Sugar: Corn Allergy – depending on sensitivity, you may need to make your own with safe molasses and sugar. Alternatives include coconut palm sugar.
(5) Vanilla: Corn Allergy – Vanilla is made with alcohol, often corn, you may need to make your own
(6) Salt: Corn Allergy – Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive and require specific safe brands

Mix-Ins - Granola Bar Recipe

  • Servings: 16 bars
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Directions
Select the desired type of granola bar from the “Mix-Ins” recipe and add to Base Granola Bar Recipe as desired. The nut option is the 1/2 C described in the base recipe. These are only suggestions that we use, change to your hearts content.

Mix-Ins
Strawberry: Master + almond + 1/2 C dried strawberries + 1/4 C shredded coconut + 1/2 tsp cinnamon (add with vanilla) + 2 Tbsp chia seeds [optional]

Blueberry: Master + almond + 1/2 C dried blueberries + 1/4 C shredded coconut

Dark Chocolate: Master + pecans + 1/2 C dried cherries + 1/4 C mini chocolate chips

Tropical: Master + cashew + 1/2 C chopped dried fruit (pineapple, mango, orange, peach) + 1/4 C shredded coconut

White Chocolate Cranberry: Master + almond + 1/4 C dried cranberries + 1/4 C sunflower seeds + 1/4 C white chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Chocolate: Master + 1/4 C peanut butter (add with vanilla) + 1/2 C M&Ms + 1/4 C mini chocolate chips

Sunflower Almond: Master + almond + 1/2 C sunflower + 1/4 C shredded coconut + 1/2 tsp cinnamon (add with vanilla)

Sunflower Chocolate Almond: Master + almond + 1/4 C sunflower + 1/4 C shredded coconut + 1/4 C chocolate chips

How I package to go into the freezer. Just pull out a few at a time to put in a bag or container on the counter, allow to warm to room temperature and enjoy!

I hope that your families can enjoy these as much as we do!

Gluten Free Vegan Animal Crackers

I have been meaning to share this recipe for a while as my family loves them. I try to make them at least once a month, but I have started making bigger batches and freezing them (not quite as good, but pretty close).

These are relatively simple, but time consuming as you do have to cut out each animal cracker individually. I find that the dough is a tad bit sticky, so it takes a bit of work to get your extra flour for rolling and prevent sticking to your cookie cutters.

I use little cutouts that I got off of amazon that are actually meant for fruit, veggies and cookies. Super little and super cute. You can use whatever shapes you want, I love making them in shapes my daughter recognizes like bunny ears or fish etc, but circles work just as good. I like them small as they are great for little fingers (a little bit bigger than my thumbnail is my go to).

I have used several different flour mixes and I have found the one on the link the best: Gluten Free Baking Mix.

Gluten Free Vegan Animal Crackers

  • Servings: 200 small crackers, 90 standard animal crackers
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Ingredients
1 1/3 C Gluten Free Baking Mix flour
1/8 tsp baking soda (1)
1/4 tsp salt (2)
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 C vegan butter, room temp. (I use miyokos butter) (3)
3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce, room temp.
1/3 C cane sugar
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 2 Tbsp warm water (thickened for 5 minutes) (I use golden flaxseed meal so it isn’t visible in my baking)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (4)
3/8 tsp apple cider vinegar (ACV) or lemon juice (1)

Directions
1. In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg), set aside.
2. In a large bowl vigorously whip the butter with the back of your fork until fluffy (2 minutes). Add the applesauce and sugar. Fluff until well mixed (another minute). Add the flax “egg”, vanilla and apple cider vinegar/lemon juice and whisk until blended in.
3. Add the dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients as you stir to make a nice cookie dough
4. Divide into 3 balls and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour (I wrap each ball individually in saran wrap to prevent drying out).
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
6. Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll out one ball of dough until 1/4″ thick. Using mini animal cookie cutters cut out your cookies.
7. Carefully transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, just until the edges begin to lightly brown.
8. Allow to cool on a wire rack, enjoy. Will store in an airtight container for up to 1 week on the counter. Freeze in airtight container for longer lasting crackers, take out prior to enjoying.

Notes
(1) Baking soda & apple cider vinegar: This is a substitute for 1/2 tsp baking powder.
Corn & Grape Allergy – Baking powder is not corn free. Find corn-free if need be. Cream of tartar is made from grapes, if you have a grape allergy; you just need 1/4 of powder for baking soda and remainder in apple cider vinegar
(2) Salt: Corn Allergy – Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive.
(3) Butter: Dairy & Corn Allergy – Depending on allergies use whatever butter you need. There are several options: MELTEarth BalanceMiyoko’s, coconut oil, goat butter). Beware of salt in butter if corn allergic (look for sea salt/unsalted). Many of vegan butter have corn derivatives.
(4) Vanilla: Corn Allergy – Vanilla is made with alcohol, often corn, you may need to make your own

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

If you are anything like me, you have bags of frozen fruit in the freezer, just waiting to be put into something delicious. I love to stock up on fruit in the summer from local farmers. Raspberries, blueberries, sliced apples, peaches (whole and sliced), plums, currants and much more.

So what do I do with all those bags of fruit? Last week I posted about Apple Crumble and I use those sliced apples in it regularly. My Banana chocolate chip muffins are moist and delicious, usually using frozen bananas.

We just started trialing blueberries with our daughter this week and I figured, what better way to trial than to make some muffins. This recipe is super simple, quick and absolutely delicious. They even taste great after frozen! They are so good I forgot to take a picture before I froze them lol.

Blueberry Muffins

  • Servings: 8 large, big topped muffins / 10 standard muffins / 20-22 mini muffins
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Ingredients
1 1/2 C flour or flour substitute (I use my Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
3/4 C cane sugar plus 1 T for muffin tops
1/4 tsp sea salt (1)
2 tsp baking powder (or 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar) (2)
1/3 oil (olive, grapeseed, avocado etc.) (3)
1 egg or egg replacer (1 T flax seed meal and 2 T warm water) (4)
1/3 – 1/2 C milk or milk alternative
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (5)
6 – 8 oz fresh or frozen blueberries (about 1 C)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare muffin tins; I grease my pans, but you can also use paper cups. (6)
2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
3. Add oil to a measuring cup that holds at least 1 cup. Add the egg, then fill the jug to the 1 C line with milk. Add vanilla. Whisk to combine.
4. Add milk mixture to the bowl with dry ingredients, using a fork to combine. Don’t over mix. The batter is quite thick. Fold in the blueberries
5. Scoop the batter into your pans. I use my large trigger release ice cream scoop. Sprinkle a little sugar on top of each muffin (optional).
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes and tops golden or until toothpick comes out with crumbs, not wet batter. (Mini muffins bake for 9-11 minutes). Transfer to cooling rack. Place in airtight container and store at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes
(1) Salt: Corn Allergy – Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive.
(2) Baking Powder: Corn & Grape Allergy – Baking powder is not corn free. Find corn-free if need be. Cream of tartar is made from grapes, if you have a grape allergy; you just need 1/4 of powder for baking soda and remainder in apple cider vinegar
(3) Oil: Corn Allergy – Don’t use “vegetable oil” as it can be corn or soy oil. Canola oil is one of the worst oils for cross contamination with corn. I usually use grapeseed oil. Olive oil isn’t always 100% olive oil either, so if you are sensitive, be careful.
(4) Egg Replacer: Corn allergy – I have found that many of the egg replacers out there use corn starch, so beware which one you buy. Bob’s Red Mill works as a great replacer, however it has a lot of cross contamination and isn’t recommended at all with corn allergies. You could also use a flax egg as an alternative.
(5) Vanilla: Corn Allergy – Vanilla is made with alcohol, often corn, you may need to make your own
(6) Grease: Corn & Soy Allergy – PAM is full of contaminated corn oils and soy oil. I use safe oil & grease with my hands. You can buy oil mister bottles and fill with your own safe oil as well.

photo creds: inspiredtaste.net