In keeping up with my health goals for this month, I’ve been trying to incorporate more vegetables into our meals, mostly with success. Sneaking in a few extra veggies here and there does nothing but help the cause, so I figured it was about time to pull out Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. The book had been sitting on my bookshelf for months, waiting patiently to be opened. Its time finally came. The chosen recipe? Chicken nuggets with spinach. The results?
Somehow, I don’t think my “chicken nuggets” turned out quite like Mrs. Seinfeld intended. I’m not sure quite what happened. They were tasty, but they were nothing like what I’d call a chicken nugget. They were more like breaded chicken with spinach hunks clinging to the sides. That sounds unappetizing, I realize. But honestly? Not that bad. Especially when you try to forget that they’re “chicken nuggets” and eat them with a fork. Then, they’re really very good.
I think I failed at the spinach puree step. I used my food processor to puree the spinach, but it wasn’t exactly a liquid by the time I was finished. Looking back on the directions, I now realize that I should have removed the stems of the spinach. Anyway, what I ended up with was more like very tiny pieces of spinach. If I would have just given it a few more pulses, maybe this would’ve been a better situation. The tiny pieces of spinach didn’t want to cling to the sides of the chicken, so I had to glop as much on as I could, quickly put it in the breadcrumbs before any dripped off, and speed it over to the frying pan, hoping nothing dropped on the floor on the way there. A slight disaster, but with tasty results after all the trouble.
Oh, and a tip… Do NOT feed these to children and claim they’re chicken nuggets. I don’t think the kids would buy it. Call them something else and you’d be fine, but don’t slander the name nugget like that.
Chicken Nuggets with Spinach
From Deceptively Delicious, as seen on Oprah
- 1 cup whole-wheat or white breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup spinach puree (see below)
- 1 large egg , lightly beaten
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders , rinsed, dried and cut into small chunks
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmesan, paprika, garlic and onion powder on the paper or foil and mix well with your fingers.
- In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture.
- Sprinkle the chicken chunks with the salt. Dip the chunks into the egg mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.
- Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut through a piece to check that it’s cooked through.) Serve warm.
How to puree spinach:
No prep at all
for baby spinach. For mature spinach, fold leaves in half lengthwise with the stem outside, then strip the stem off the leaf.COOK
Steam for 30 to 40 seconds, or cook in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of water for about 90 seconds, or just until wilted.
In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.