Sesame oat crusted baked chicken nuggets


I've had a little bit of a posting drought the past almost-two weeks, and have been feeling guilty about it. Not that anyone's been on tenterhooks waiting for a post, or our meal routines have been affected in the slightest by failing to record. Only I consider myself a fairly faithful, though not frequent, poster, and it's about commitment. True, I've been really distracted. We're in the throes of year-end school and its countless assessments, plus there's a bonus push to get everything in the classroom, boxed up by the last day in preparation for a massive asbestos abatement. Then there are a couple of extended writing projects, and all the baby stuff we should be doing, planning, or at least thinking about in the background.

But the real issue beneath the  indolence was, I was all set to tell you about the incredible, lavish dinner Dave treated me to for my birthday the other week at the Flagstaff House. It wasn't exactly frugal, and I took in so many calories I was still full two days later. The service was so attentive it was at times embarrassing, and of course I had no recipe to share from it. Nevertheless, I took lots of pictures, because everything was beautiful, and how often does a girl get a happy birthday sugar sculpture to take home as a souvenir from dinner?

The problem was, two days after the fact I hadn't written up the details of our most likely never-to-be-repeated hedonistic excursion, and two days later was Boston. Needless to say, that was sobering. I kept thinking about friends who live there, or were running; about my Dad cheering us near the finish in 2011; about all the moms and dads, babies and small children rooting for their loved ones, made vulnerable targets as much as or more than the runners crossing that finish line. Has the world always been embattled by so much evil and hatred, or have we become increasingly angry, crazy, and possibly bored, to enact such atrocities?

Last week, pretty much any blog post I could personally come up with seemed plain frivolous and pointless. I couldn't imagine being eloquent enough to deserve to occupy even an infinitesimal amount of cyberspace, not even a nearly invisible, mundane little speck of it. Now, life has regained its sense of normalcy, despite the background of disaster that is the daily news, and I'm back to admitting I'm just weird and enjoy keeping records of things that we eat,  haven't gotten written down, and may want to repeat.

But I told myself if I was going to post, at least make it something comforting, maybe even nostalgic. So we're having chicken nuggets.

This reminds me of my grandma's breaded chicken, which to my mom's frustration was always "so much better" at Grandma's house. She used plenty of bread crumbs and served it over white, buttery rice. We're not using bread crumbs, and are pairing with salad. Baked sweet potato fries would be awesome, too...if I felt like making them. I started with this delicious "Picnic-fried chicken" recipe from Eating Well, and made some changes; mainly, I used chicken tenders, swapped out the whole wheat flour for oats and flax, and added in an egg.

I think these are delicious. Admittedly, even if they weren't quite, I'd probably some kind of happy in them. Almost anything that has even a vague kind of kinship with homey breaded chicken like my grandmother's seems wrapped in love. That's how she made us feel. I guess leaving a legacy doesn't have to be dramatic. Thank goodness for that.

Sesame oat crusted baked chicken nuggets

  • 2 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Approximately 1 pound skinless chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 2 tablespoons flaxmeal/ground flaxseeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • dash salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  1. Whisk buttermilk, mustard and garlic in a shallow dish until well blended. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or for up to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. In a food processor, grind oats with flaxmeal, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper to combine. Remove to a bowl or dish and mix in sesame seeds.
  4. Place egg in a low dish. Shaking off excess marinade, place one or two pieces of chicken at a time in the egg and then coat with the oat mixture. Place the chicken on the baking sheet, prepared with cooking spray. Liberally spray the chicken pieces with additional cooking spray.
  5. Bake the chicken until golden brown and cooked through,  about 30 minutes, turning once, gently.