Create Your Own “Restaurant” Fun

My kids like to eat out, but…

a) the food is usually, almost always, mostly bad for you.
b) my three year old eats a lot, my five year old eats as much as I do, my seven year old and ten year old eat as much as their Daddy, and…
c) have you seen how much their Daddy eats?
d) do you know how much it costs at a restaurant to feed a family of six who eat like five adults?

Therefore, I often try to make food fun at home, especially on Friday nights, for our family.

One of our favorite things to have is my Homemade Chicken Nuggets and French Fries.  The kids love it, request it and are joyful over it when they know I’m making it.

I watch for Smart Chicken boneless/skinless breasts to go on sale (that’s the only brand of chicken I feel mostly okay about buying) and I stock up.  I found it for $2.29/lb the other day which was great for Smart Chicken!

Potatoes are super cheap and we have about 40 pounds still in storage from our garden last summer (yea!).

So, here’s the recipe for my Homemade Chicken Nuggets and French Fries.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets
(My side note:  Kids may have a harder time getting used to these chicken nuggets because they are actually made of, well, chicken.  Give them a try though – my kids LOVE them and cheer when I’m making them!  Every adult I’ve fed them to LOVE them as well.)

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
½ cup whole wheat flour
Sea salt
½ cup oil (I use Palm Shortening)

Cut the chicken into small nugget sized pieces and place in a bowl.  Stir chicken around in the flour to coat.  Heat oil in skillet.  Cook chicken in hot oil for about seven minutes on each side.  Salt liberally while cooking.

French Fries

6-8 medium potatoes
1 cup oil – give or take (again, I use Palm Shortening)
Sea salt

Scrub potatoes well and cut into thin french fries, any length you like.  Heat 1/2 cup oil in skillet.  Place half the potatoes in the oil and cook for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, yet crispy, stirring then around occasionally.  Salt well.  Repeat process for remaining potatoes.  (I keep the first batch warm in a 200 degree oven while I cook the second batch.)

chickandfriesmealsm.JPG

So there you have it!  If I’m really feeling clever, I’ll do one of the following for the meal:

1)  Wrap a few nuggets and a few fries in parchment paper and place them in a lunch sack for each of my boys.  Sometimes, I’ll even throw in a little trinket if I have them around.  Then the kids feel like they are getting a kid’s meal at a restaurant!  They love it!

2) Give each of the boys some coins and have them sit at the table with a menu to order from.  They usually order the “special” (since that’s all Mama’s Kitchen is offering!) and have to pay for it with their coins.  It’s super fun and a good lesson in restaurant behavior and money.

If I’m not feeling clever (or if I have no energy left for much except eating), I just throw a plate of the nuggets and a plate of the fries on the table and we all just dig in.  Hey, that’s fun too.

Find a fun Personal Pizza Night recipe here.

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Comments

  1. says

    There is a cool website called topsecretrecipes.com- it has all kinds of restaurant “cloned” recipes. A lot of them are free, some you pay for. They even have candy bar and snack recipes. I really like the ones I’ve tried, like Arby’s sauce & Horsey Sauce and Taco Bell sauce & Taco Bell Surpreme Burritos. I am looking forward to trying Popeye’s Red Beans & Rice & Buttermilk Biscuit recipes- those are my favorite and the closest Popeye’s (or Taco Bell or Arbys) restaurant is an hour away…

    [Reply]

    Crystal Reply:

    Chicken nuggets turned out great i did make a few minor changes – i used bread crumbs instead because the flour like to stick to my frying pan despite oil and i used regular salt but they turned out great and my 4 1/2 yr old ate her entire plate which is FANTASTIC even our baby (13 months old) is enjoying them however our 7 1/2 yr old is way to picky and will not eat anything that is not pre-packaged THANKS TO GRANDMA!!!

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    Barbara Stone Reply:

    Try this.
    • 1 egg
    • 1 T mayo
    • Small Onion
    • 2 c. cooked chicken
    • 1/4 c cheddar cheese
    • 1 c bread crumbs to coat
    • salt to season

    pulse in a food processor just to chop up not to a paste.
    then shape like a nugget and roll in crumbs and then fry.

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  2. says

    Great post! I actually was planning to make your Chicken nuggets tonight – how funny is that?

    One question – what do I do if I don’t have sea salt? And if I were to get some before tonight, how much do I add to the flour? Or is the sea salt for salting while the chicken is cooking?

    Ok, that was more than one question!

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  3. Laura says

    You can probably find sea salt at the regular grocery store (I use Redmonds RealSalt), but I usually order it from my coop. If you can’t find it, just use regular salt.

    I salt the nuggets as I cook them.

    Hope yours turn out yummy!

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  4. says

    Yum! Well, I have to say I sympathize regarding restaurants. We go out maybe 2 or 3 times a year as a family because it costs so much. Even with the kids pitching in (the ‘kids’ are 17, 21, 23 and 25, btw–you can imagine what they eat), it still runs very high. So eating out is only for the most special occasions.
    I did something recently that was so much fun. I made breakfast for dinner. Bacon, eggs and pancakes. It was just like eating out at IHOP! The kids thought it was a great idea. I wish I’d done it years ago.

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  5. says

    Just tried these, Laura, and they were great! I added some onion and garlic powder to the flour to add flavor to the breading, and I liked how they turned out. Thanks for the recipe!

    [Reply]

  6. says

    if you grind up the chicken in a processor and then shape them into nuggets they turn out like mcdonalds nuggets. i dont have any kids but my 28 year old bf sure likes them :)

    [Reply]

  7. RG says

    Just went to the top secret recipes site, and my computer wouldn’t allow it to open because it is suspect for malware being put onto your computer without your consent. Just to let you all know.

    [Reply]

  8. downhomemama says

    Okay I can’t believe no one has responded in the year of 2011 so please let me be the first. We (the kids and I) just had these for dinner. OH MY!!! The chicken nuggets along with sweet potato fries and coconut yogurt. MMMMMMM!!!!!! YUMMY!!!!!!

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  9. Jessica says

    I’ve been making chicken nuggets for my kids for several years, but I prefer to bake them. Cuts the fat and the time–since you can fit SO many on one baking sheet. Also prevents hot oil mess. I too use breadcrumbs instead of flour. I find it helps to make them more crispy with oven baking.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Hi I was curious what temp and for how long. I prefer to cook in the oven also. :) Also if we double the batch and freeze some can we just toss frozen ones in the microwave for 5 minutes like the nasty Banquet ones?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’d probably reward them in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes from frozen state, or a few minutes longer if necessary. :)

    [Reply]

  10. says

    I made these today from leftover baked chicken. After I made dinner with the leftovers (chicken fried rice) I put all the rest of the meat in the food processor and whirled away. Pressed that into patties and the rest is history.

    Now I have stock bubbling and nuggets in my freezer ready to go for tomorrow’s lunch. Depending on how they taste this may become my go-to way to use the dark meat and “less pretty” meat that I have a harder time getting the kids to accept. I bet you could even mix liver in there….

    Turkey nuggets after thanksgiving anyone?! :)

    [Reply]

  11. Jennifer says

    Can you use whole wheat flour instead of white? Or maybe half and half?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Sure, either of those options would work!

    [Reply]

  12. says

    I would like to know (from Jessica or anyone else who knows) at what temperature to bake the strips, and for about how long. I would like to avoid using oil for cooking if possible. Thank you!
    Peggy

    [Reply]

  13. Amanda says

    Have you got freezing and reheating instructions? Thank you.

    Amanda
    mrs.bubs@live.com

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    Also, should the oil be heated to medium heat, or??? Thank you again!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’d probably reheat them in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes from frozen state, or a few minutes longer if necessary. Yes, medium heat sounds right – I usually do them in an electric skillet at 350.

    [Reply]

  14. Tiffany says

    I like to coat the chicken in mustard and then put it in the flour–and recently discovered jalapeno mustard which makes quick and easy spicy nuggets!

    [Reply]

  15. Faith says

    I was wondering if you could use the palm kernel oil in a deep fryer instead of a pan? And if so, can you reuse it and keep it in the fryer or should you throw it out after each use? I’m asking because my father in law told us we could keep oil in it and keep reusing it, but we’ve never used the palm kernel oil before and are thinking about buying some! :)

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Yes. You can keep it in the fryer and reuse it a few times before throwing it out!

    [Reply]

  16. Jennifer says

    I was surprised to see that you use white flour. Would whole wheat flour work also?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Oh wow, it’s been a while since I wrote this post!! I use whole wheat for everything now, so I edited the post to let you know that whole wheat is what I’d recommend in this recipe. So glad you pointed that out!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Oh wow, it’s been a while since I wrote this post!! I use whole wheat for everything now, so I edited the post to let you know that whole wheat is what I’d recommend in this recipe. So glad you pointed that out!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Thanks for the speedy reply! I love your website and will try them soon!

    [Reply]

  17. Annie says

    Really excited to try these! I have a LOT of chicken in my freezer that I accidentally over-bought. My kids would love them! And, I bought your chicken e-book too! Thanks for all of this work!

    [Reply]

  18. Valerie says

    I know this is an old post, but I’m sure people still look at it so I thought I would comment. :) For a picky eater who is used to the less than healthy version of chicken nuggets, this is what I do: I put my (uncooked) chicken through the food processor first. Then I form them into little nugget shapes and proceed with the directions from there. Shh, don’t tell, but I prefer them this way too. :)

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  19. Lauren says

    So if I were going to do chicken tenders, should I follow this recipe or the chicken fried steak strips recipe?? How would I adjust cooking time? I want to make chicken strips to go on a salad.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Either one would work!

    [Reply]

  20. Bernadette says

    You gave heating instructions from frozen, but should I cook them before freezing or freeze them raw?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I freeze them raw.

    [Reply]

  21. Teri says

    We made these tonight for dinner, including the fries. My 7 year old cut the fries with our handy fry cutter. The results were awesome! We think the fries tasted like Wendy’s but better and we loved the chicken nuggets in the whole wheat flour! Thanks for many great ideas!

    [Reply]

  22. CeCe says

    I’m wondering about your comment :”Potatoes are super cheap and we have about 40 pounds still in storage from our garden last summer.” How do you store potatoes for that long? I buy potatoes from the grocery store so don’t get mine from a garden, but they NEVER last longer than a week before they are starting to sprout or turn yucky.

    Also, please offer more tips on how to freeze the nuggest ahead. Do you use parchment paper? I assume you must also freeze them flat. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Laura did a post on how to store potatoes. Here it is: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/digging-up-and-storing-potatoes-for-the-winter

    Freezing nuggets flat on parchment paper would be the quickest way to do it!

    [Reply]

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