Boy, this daycare thing is really getting in the way of my blogging. Between all the playing with cars and the taking of 2-hour naps, I can’t get a word in. Sigh… It’s not like I haven’t been eating. Take, for example, what Mama sends with me to daycare. She found out some of the typical foods they feed us for lunch and decided to make her own versions for me to eat. One thing is cheesy macaroni, which I eat much better at Miss Rose’s house than I do at home. (Don’t tell Mama.)
Then there’s the fish sticks and chicken nuggets. Mama says she wrestled with this one because she feels “chicken” nuggets are the go-to choice of not just parents, but of restaurants everywhere. Have a kid? Give him a nugget. (She’s judging restaurants here, not parents.) She doesn’t want me to get used to this sort of “cuisine,” and she worries about what’s actually in said nuggets. Her compromise: control everything.
Unfortunately, we haven’t had a lot of time to cook together lately, so Mama made these while I slept. I can only share her recipe, but note that I did not witness the making-of moments. I can, however, attest to their yumminess.
Chicken Nuggets/Fish Sticks
1 cup (more or less) flour (whatever you have on hand)
1 egg, lightly beaten (add a splash of milk, if you like)
1 cup (more or less) breadcrumbs (make your own with the heels of loaves and a food processor, or use the canned stuff)
1–3 chicken breasts or 1–2 firm white fish fillets (haddock, flounder, cod), cut into appropriate-size pieces
Coconut oil for frying
Sea salt and pepper for seasoning
First things first: Season everything! Set the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in separate shallow containers, and add salt & pepper to each one. Salt and pepper your chicken or fish, too. Melt about a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Toss a few pieces of chicken (or fish) into the flour and toss them to coat. Then dip them into the egg, coating entirely. Then toss them into the breadcrumbs, making sure they’re completely covered. Set onto a clean plate while the oil heats and you do a couple more; this also gives the coating some time to adhere. (If you do all this with one hand, it keeps your other hand clean to add more flour or breadcrumbs, if needed, or to scratch your nose.) When the oil is hot, add the pieces, one by one, until the bottom of the pan is covered, but the pieces aren’t touching. (You need to give them space.) Coconut oil burns quickly, so as the pan starts to dry, don’t be stingy about adding more. (It’s good for babies!) When the pieces are dark golden on one side, turn them over, silly, and cook the other. Remove them to a paper towel–lined plate while you cook the rest. Give one to a non-vegetarian in the house to be sure they’re cooked through. If you make lots, you can freeze some for later. Just reheat and serve.
Notes: I know Mama would say, if you’re doing chicken and fish at the same time, to cook two entirely separate batches. Don’t use any of the chickeny flour/egg/breadcrumbs for the fish. She would also point out that all of these ingredients are organic/free-range/wild caught, but I think you know that by now.