I have a confession to make: I love junk food. Not all junk food and not all the time, but for someone who loves making her own food, I also really love McDonalds (and their quarter pounder meal). And A&W onion rings and fries. And Wendy’s chicken fingers.
So, on the topic of chicken fingers, I decided I needed to make my own. And my own fries. I figure, if you make it at home with natural ingredients, then it’s healthy. So these are my healthy versions of fast food. Now, they aren’t as fast as standing in line at your favourite fast food place, but you do get to see what goes in your food and you can feel really good about what you’re eating.
You can definitely play around with the flavours, once you’ve tried to make the fingers and fries. This version is my favourite, but feel free to try others and tell me about them! I’m always looking for more delicious ways to eat “fast food” at home. This version of the nuggets uses ground peanuts (dry roasted ones are especially amazing) and corn flakes, and the fries are coated with chili powder and parmesan cheese. How can you resist that?
Healthy Chicken Nuggets and Spicy Oven Fries
This recipe will take about 45minutes to make if you want to do the fries and chicken all yourself. Just the nuggets on their own only takes about 25min, so plan accordingly. We do cheat and use freezer fries from time to time because they are a lot faster! I have written out the two recipes together so that you can have both tonight! This goes very well with a fruit smoothie.
This serves 3-4 people.
Preheat the oven to 475F
Chop into even wedges or 1/2 inch sticks:
3 Yukon gold potatoes (or whatever kind you have)
Put the potatoes in a bowl big enough to hold them and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray
In a small bowl, combine:
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chili powder
Sprinkle the parmesan mixture on top of the potatoes and toss to combine. If you prefer non-spicy fries, leave out the chili powder or just season the potatoes with salt and pepper.
Place the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they look golden and crisp.
Once the potatoes are ready to go, get started on your chicken. Cover a baking sheet with foil (if you want less of a mess) and coat it with olive or canola oil. Then start cutting up:
4 boneless chicken thighs*
Cut each into 3 or 4 pieces. If you use chicken breasts, you can either make strips or “nuggets” of chicken. Coat each chicken piece with flour. I find it is easiest to put some flour in a container, toss in a few pieces of chicken, put on the lid and shake them until they are coated.
Pulse in the food processor until mostly chopped:
1/3 – 1/2 cup peanuts
1 cup cornflakes
(it is easier to do them one at a time)
Combine in a bowl.
Work with one chicken piece at a time. Dip the floured chicken in the egg (until it’s covered) then roll it in the peanut/cornflake mixture until it’s coated. Put it on the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all the chicken is ready.
At this point, you can stir your potatoes and then put the chicken in the oven too. After 10 minutes, flip the chicken and stir the potatoes once more. After 10 more minutes, the chicken and fries should all be ready, but check to make sure your chicken is cooked through before you eat it! Smokehouse barbecue sauce is great with the chicken but any dipping sauce (or none) will work.
The chicken and fries may take more or less time than I have said here, so use your own judgement – if they are going black, you might want to stop baking them!
*boneless chicken is so much easier to cut. You can use either thighs or breasts.