Anybody who knows me knows I am the worst when it comes to cooking. I would just as soon get takeout every night than plan for, prepare, and cook for my family during my hectic week.
That is, until I was offered a copy of the What a Good Eater! cookbook, co-written by a fellow blogger, friend, and all around awesome mama. What a Good Eater! is a cookbook of baby and toddler recipes with healthy herbs and spices to add flavor and broaden your baby’s palate. It’s a guide for parents to confidently feed their babies and toddlers wholesome, healthy, age-appropriate foods which help promote a diverse palate right from the get-go. It’s a great gift for the holidays as well as baby showers!
After browsing through the book, I knew without a doubt that the first recipe I would try was the Dance Party Chicken Nuggets. Because if there’s one thing my kids (and, confession, I) like to eat, it’s chicken nuggets.
Usually, I buy frozen nuggets or — GASP! — fast food for my kids, but I thought I’d give this healthier version a go, and JACKPOT! They were so easy to make, not to mention my kids devoured every last bit. And I might have had a few, too. Maybe. (Translation: I definitely had a few, and they were yumtastic.)
My favorite part of the recipe (besides eating the finished product) was the dance party part. We actually put on some music while they helped me prepare the food and busted some smooth moves right there in the kitchen. (Side note: My 2-year-old might have a career as a backup dancer ahead of him. That kid’s got game.) Oh, and the fact that my kids cleaned their plates without a single complaint was also a huge bonus. Seriously, they are the worst when it comes to eating without firing off some sort of insult, so their enjoyment of the meal was pure bliss.
And the cookbook itself? I definitely recommend. This meal was fun to make and heavenly to eat, and I have already begun meal planning for the next couple of weeks using recipes I found in it. This is huge for me, particularly because my picture appears in the dictionary right next to “non-chef.” If I can do it, anybody can do it and do it well. Literally anybody.
Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t also give a big shout-out to Vidalia Chop Wizard and Infinity Jars, which my girl Ali (co-author of the book) also sent to me as a gift. The Vidalia Chop Wizard is a tool that literally chops your prep time in half, and Infinity Jars offers the largest selection of the world’s finest airtight ultraviolet glass jars and bottles and apothecary containers, designed to preserve the freshness of your herbs, spices, and natural products. I am in love with them already, too.
Check out the recipe below, and put What a Good Eater! (available on Amazon here) on both your own holiday wishlist and your gift list for others. You are going to LOVE IT.
AGE: 10 months plus
YIELD: approximately 60-80 nuggets
FOOD STORAGE: refrigerator friendly, freezer friendly
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
COOK TIME: 15 minutes
•1½ cups Italian-style bread crumbs
•3 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped (can substitute 1½ teaspoons dried oregano)
•2 teaspoons garlic powder
•½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
•½ cup finely grated cheese, such as Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
•3 eggs, preferably organic
•½ cup milk, such as unsweetened almond milk or dairy milk
•4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 1½ pounds total weight), preferably organic, pounded to ½-inch thick and cut into “nugget-sized” pieces about 1 inch by 1 inch
•2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Place the bread crumbs, oregano, garlic powder, pepper, and cheese into a large resealable plastic bag. Seal, and shake until everything is blended. (This is where the “dance party” comes in, so be sure to have your baby help you as you shake it up! Just make sure the bag is sealed tightly!)
3. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a large mixing bowl. Place all of the chicken nuggets into the bowl and stir with a spoon to ensure each piece gets coated with the egg mixture. Open the bag with the bread crumbs, and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the egg-coated nuggets from the bowl into the bag, allowing any excess egg mixture to drain first. Once all the chicken has been transferred, seal the bag, and—you guessed it—have another dance party! Shake it up thoroughly until each nugget is coated with bread crumbs. (There’s nothing like dancing in the kitchen with your little one!)
4. Line a baking sheet with foil. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil onto the foil and use a brush to spread an even coating. Add the nuggets to the baking sheet in a single layer (it’s OK if the nuggets are close together, or you may use an additional baking sheet if you prefer), drizzle the other 1 tablespoon of oil loosely over the nuggets, and bake for 10–12 minutes, or until the bottom sides are golden brown. Flip each nugget, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
5. Once cool, serve these babies up with your little one’s favorite sauce, such as ketchup, honey mustard, or barbeque sauce! This makes a big batch, so you can freeze whatever is left for a night you’re in a hurry.
This post contains an affiliate link. I was offered a free copy of the cookbook, a Vidalia Chop Wizard, and an Infinity Jar in exchange for my review, but all content is my genuine opinion of the products.