This is another recipe from Annabel Karmel’s new book, ‘Quick and Easy Recipes for Toddlers’, which I recently reviewed. These are a much quicker and easier version of the Chicken Nuggets which feature in her ‘Top 100 Finger Foods’ book, using store-bought red pesto sauce and smashed up cornflakes.
What children don’t like chicken nuggets? Well I’m sure there must be some, but put a plate of nuggets with some tomato sauce for dipping in front of most fussy eaters and you’re most likely going to have a stress-free meal. Now if only we could get some veg in there too…
To be honest, I wasn’t sure about the use of ready-made red pesto, which is a pesto made from sun-dried tomatoes rather than the traditional green basil pesto (it can also be made from roasted red peppers/capsicum). But I’ve made these nuggets a few times now and this recipe’s speed is definitely a winner! It’s also easy enough for your little ones to help you make them, especially bashing up the cornflakes, as well as fairly mess-free.
If you have a bit more time or if you’d prefer not to feed your little one ready-made sauce, red pesto is quite easy to whip up, basically throwing the ingredients into a blender and whizzing them to a paste. Marthe at The Baking Bluefinger has a very easy recipe. The pesto will keep in the fridge for about a week, but it also freezes very well (freeze it in ice cube trays so you only need to defrost a small portion when you need it).
The original recipe adds seasoning to the chicken pieces before covering them in the pesto, but for me there’s well and truly enough seasoning in the pesto itself without adding more even if you’re serving these to older family members. I’ve also added the preparation time as unfortunately this is lacking for all of the recipes in Annabel Karmel’s new book.
The nuggets are best eaten immediately as the coating loses some of its crunchiness as they cool down. However, they’re still yummy cold and leftovers can be popped into the next day’s lunch box.
I’m still thinking about how to get some vegetables into a chicken nugget. I’m eyeing up some pea puree left over from a scallop and chorizo starter I made hubby and wondering if it would work instead of pesto. Hmmm… I’ll get back to you!
QUICK CHICKEN NUGGETS
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Makes about 25 nuggets
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp red pesto
15g Parmesan, finely grated
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan and line an oven tray with baking paper.
Slice the chicken breasts into small cubes (you should get 10-12 pieces from each breast). Put the chicken into a bowl and mix in the pesto to coat the chicken.
Put the cornflakes into a plastic food bag and bash them with a rolling pin to make fine crumbs. Add the cheese and half of the chicken to the bag. Shake the bag to coat the nuggets, then transfer them to a plate. Add the remaining chicken to the bag of crumbs and repeat.
Lay the nuggets on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10 minutes.