Have you ever noticed that any kid menu in the free world includes chicken fingers? It's no wonder they become a staple in a lot of children's diets. However, I can't stand getting them when we're out for dinner. Have they been frozen for 100 years? Did they fry them? Is that even chicken?
I, therefore, decided we had to start making our own. While it's not an act of culinary brilliance, we love this beyond easy recipe and pull it out at least once a week. Plus Scarlett LOVES to cook this dish. Yes, you heard me. My three year old makes the meal all by herself. I measure, cut and arrange everything in front of her, but she does the work. I love how it makes the usual dinner preparation gong show more enjoyable as she's engaged in the task I'm working on. It's in contrast to some of our other nights–she is constantly asking me to help her with the 90 random, little tasks her tired body ping-pong's her between. We also have awesome conversations. For instance, today she told me, "Mama, you know, paper comes from trees. For real!"
Yet nothing beats the look on her face during our dinner. At our house, we have a little tradition. At the end of every meal, Scarlett and her dad usually count to three and then yell, "Thank you Mommy for a great dinner!" She loves the whole yelling in unison thing and we like her acknowledging someone's hard work. The look on her proud-as-punch face when we yell, "Thank you Scarlett for a great dinner!" is priceless.
When we had the idea for this blog it seemed like a great way to make the meal time conundrum a bit more bearable for parent. And why not get our kids interested and active participants in nutrition? However, something else I didn't anticipate came from it–Scarlett feels helpful and confident in the kitchen. Maybe it's our chicken finger nights or the almond butter and jelly sandwiches she makes me for lunch, but you can see her self-esteem explode as she tells her friends, "Me a good cook". If making chicken fingers can do that for her confidence (maybe that self-esteem will translate into other areas of her life), then I'll eat these damn tenders every night for the rest of my life. I'll need a chocolate chip cookie too, of course.
Yes, It's Chicken Chicken Fingers
1 organic chicken breast
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
Preheat the oven at 400.
Lightly grease a non stick tray with olive oil
Cut the chicken breast into small strips.
Beat the egg in a bowl.
We like to make our own bread crumbs. I dry my favorite organic spelt bread by Rudi's Organics, but prepared ones are good too. Scarlett likes to make the bread crumbs–there's something about annihilating bread in a blender that makes her happy.
Place the breadcrumbs on a large plate and mix in the cheese, garlic and Mrs. Dash. You could really use any combination of herbs or adjust their quantities based on taste.
Take a strip of chicken and dip in egg. Then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place on your cooking sheet. Bake for 10–15 minutes, until golden brown. Turn once to brown both sides and be sure to cook through.
We love to eat our chicken fingers with homemade mac and cheese and steamed broccoli, but Scarlett really wanted brown rice on this night. She also had some fresh, cut red pepper and pear.