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A Kid’s Delight – Chicken Fingers & Tater Tots, Homemade

27 Mar

Tonight’s recipes are a kid’s delight (well, my kid’s anyway). Sean likes to get chicken fingers when we got out, and adding tater tots to the meal is just icing on the cake for him. Chicken fingers themselves are pretty easy to make. Some recipes call for frying them, but I have decided to go with one that bakes the chicken to make it a little healthier. It’;s a very simple recipe with not many ingredients.

Chicken Fingers

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt

2 cups breadcrumbs

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch-wide strips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set a rack on a baking sheet and mist with cooking spray. Whisk the eggs, mustard and 1 teaspoon of salt in a shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a second shallow bowl. Dip the chicken strips in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Place the chicken on the rack and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

A few notes about the chicken fingers. Placing them on a rack over the baking sheet is key, since it lets air circulate around the whole piece of chicken, allowing it to crisp up all over. You can buy chicken tenders pre-cut  already, but they seem to be more expensive than just buying boneless chicken and cutting it yourself. Lastly, you could use any breadcrumbs you choose for this recipe; I am using homemade breadcrumbs, but if I went for store-bought, I would use panko to give you a little extra crunch.

Now on to the tater tots. As I have said, I’ve never made these before. I looked at a bunch of recipes and each one seemed to have both good and bad results, so I wasn’t really sure which one to go for until I found this one from Cook’s Country. It seems simple, basic and looks like it will taste good, so let’s go for it!

Tater Tots

1 cup water

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

4 cups peanut oil or vegetable oil

 In a small bowl, whisk the water and salt together until the salt dissolves. Transfer the salt water and potatoes to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until coarsely ground, 10 to 12 pulses, stirring occasionally.

Drain the potato mixture in a fine-mesh strainer, pressing the potatoes with a spoon until dry (the liquid should measure about 1½ cups); discard liquid. Transfer the potatoes to a microwave safe bowl and microwave, uncovered, until dry and sticky, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

Stir the flour, black pepper and cayenne pepper into the potatoes. Spread the potato mixture into a thin layer over a large sheet of aluminum foil and let it cool for 10 minutes. Push the potatoes to the center of the foil and place the foil and potatoes in an 8-inch square baking pan. Push the foil into the corners and up the sides of  the pan, smoothing it flush to the pan. Press the potato mixture tightly and evenly into the pan. Freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat until 375 degrees. Using the foil overhang, lift potatoes from pan and cut into 1¼ by 1-inch pieces (6 cuts in 1 direction and 8 in other). Fry half of the potato tots, until golden brown and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally once they begin to brown. Drain the prepared baking sheet, season to taste and place in oven. Bring the oil back to 375 degrees and repeat with the remaining potato tots. Serve warm.

You could take the easy way out and just make a frozen bag of tater tots, but showing off to your kids that you can make them at home is pretty cool on its own :). I am just making some simple steamed broccoli as a vegetable, since it is Sean’s favorite vegetable and this is his meal.

That’s it for tonight. Follow the recipes and you’ll be the hero of the day for the kids. Tomorrow I’ll be making Meatloaf for dinner, which is one of my all time favorites. I have made it before, but it’s a family favorite and turns up on here once in a while. I may vary the recipe a little tomorrow, so check back and see how what’s up. Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Potatoes, Poultry, Vegetables

 

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