Who doesn’t remember enjoying crispy, mealy chicken nuggets from the fast food drive-thru as a little kid?! They were my favorite when I was small, especially when paired with a side of steaming french fries. Even though I am older and no longer on the gluten-free diet, I very rarely order this type of fast food because I know that it is not healthy. Still, it’s perfectly fine to treat yourself with your childhood favorites now and then. But, how can you do this when you are living gluten-free?
Not only is fast food fattening, low-quality and unhealthy overall, it also presents a big problem for those of us who are allergic to gluten. Most of the main popular fast food dishes are filled with wheat and gluten. Also, gluten cross-contamination happens regularly in fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King. Is there a way to enjoy this type of food, like chicken nuggets, without ordering it from a fast food location and, consequently, getting glutened?
Obviously, the main difficulty with chicken nuggets and chicken fingers is the bread-crumb topping that coats the meat. This crust is almost always made with wheat bread crumbs, especially when they are manufactured for stores or restaurants. The other factor that you have to watch for in just about every type of food is the risk of gluten cross-contamination. But, this is secondary compared to the gluten bread crumb problem.
One way to solve this dilemma is to buy gluten-free chicken nuggets at your nearest natural food store. Here are some of the brands I have found: Tyson Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets, Tyson Gluten-Free Crispy Chicken Strips, Applegate Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets and Bell & Evans Gluten-Free Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets. I highly recommend the Applegate chicken nuggets as they are tasty, casein-free and dairy-free as well as gluten-free. However, you should definitely try each of these brands, at some point.
The other option is to make your own gluten-free chicken nuggets. They are extra delicious when they are homemade. I found lots of recipes for gluten-free chicken breasts and chicken nuggets online. I inserted the one with the highest rating in this article below.
Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets
Prep Time: 15 minutes. Cooking Time: 10 minutes. Yields: 6 servings.
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
½ cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour mix (use your favorite mix)
½ teaspoon of salt
⅛ teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon of gluten-free Italian herb seasoning blend or gluten-free garlic powder
1 large egg and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, whisked together
1 cup of crushed gluten-free Rice Chex cereal OR gluten-free panko flakes OR gluten-free crackers
½ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup of olive oil for pan frying
¼ cup of canola oil for pan frying
Place chicken breast between 2 sheets of waxed paper and pound with a smooth meat mallet until about breasts are 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with each breast.
Use a sharp knife to cut pounded breasts in 2-inch strips. Then cut each strip into 2×2-inch nuggets.
Have ready 3 8-inch shallow baking dishes. In the first dish, combine gluten-free all purpose flour, salt, pepper and seasonings.
In second dish, combine egg and olive oil. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
In third dish, combine crushed gluten-free rice chex cereal and grated Parmesan cheese.
Coat each chicken strip in flour mixture, then dip in egg olive oil mixture and last, evenly coat with rice chex crumb Parmesan cheese mixture.
Place the nuggets on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before frying.
In a large heavy skillet, heat olive oil and canola oil mixture over medium high heat.
Add coated chicken nuggets and cook until golden, about 4 minutes, then turn each piece and cook second side.
Recipe obtained from: http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/entrees/r/gfchickentender.htm
You will no longer miss the fatty, greasy chicken nuggets from the local fast food restaurants. Now, you can enjoy your own handmade chicken breasts or buy a batch of certified gluten-free pre made chicken nuggets at the grocery store. Either way, you can now relish the foods that you used to love as a kid.