This is the ultimate childhood indulgence dinner, made healthy with a few easy switches. First of all, I use real chunks of meat from free-range chicken without any hormones or antibiotics, as opposed to mechanically separated chicken parts ground up and combined with stabilizers and preservatives such as tertiary butylhydroquinone and polydimethylsiloxane. If you cannot pronounce it, you should not be eating it. And instead of a breading made up of bleached wheat flour, modified food starch, and wheat gluten (This is actually what is on the McDonald’s ingredient list.), I use free-range farm-fresh eggs and coconut flour – no wheat, no gluten. And instead of frying these little nuggets of goodness in canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, or hydrogenated soybean oil (again, the McDonald’s ingredient list), I fry them up in lard, fresh from my local farm. No hydrogenated anything, no Frankenfoods, no trans fats, and it tastes a lot better, too.
1-1 ½ lbs chicken, skinned and de-boned, cut into nugget-sized pieces
1 c. coconut flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp paprika
1/2 c. almond or coconut milk
Oil for frying (I used lard. Tallow could also work. Coconut would be a tasty, albeit expensive, alternative.)
In a medium bowl, combine flour and spices. In another, combine the egg and milk (well-beaten). Dip the chicken pieces into the flour mix, then the egg mix, then back into the flour mix. Heat up a huge scoop of lard in a skillet. When it is hot, fry your nuggets in batches, about three or four minutes per side.
I served these nuggets with two dipping sauces: my lacto-fermented ketchup, and honey mustard mayo. This is a very simple dish sauce to prepare – simply combine equal parts of honey, dijon mustard, and lacto-fermented mayo.
I served this meal before beginning the paleo challenge; for those of you who are currently participating, you would have to find alternative dipping sauces, as both of these concoctions contain honey, which is, at least for 30 days, off-limits. Straight dijon mustard would be a good option, as would some paleo ranch dressing.
As a side dish I prepared roasted carrot ‘fries,’ a healthy take on the typical fast food fare, and absolutely delicious with any of the aforementioned dipping sauces. To prepare, preheat your oven to 425, slice your carrots into fry-like shapes. (Quartering seems to work well for me.) Keep the fries as uniform in size as possible so that they cook evenly. Lightly toss them in olive oil, sprinkle with your preferred seasoning blend (I opted for salt and paprika), spread out in a single layer on a baking pan, and roast for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Voila – fun and dippable veggie fries! This is a simple and easy way to make an indulgent fast-food into a well-rounded healthy meal for the family.