I wanted to do something special with the boys to celebrate the end of the school year. Traditionally we would stop for fast food after their last half day, but I really wanted to avoid that this time around.
Their hands-down favorite fast food is chicken nuggets and fries, and I knew that if I could paleo-ify them, we'd have a serious win on our hands.
I've seen some different recipes for chicken nuggets coated in almond flour, but I was dubious about the end result. But my friend Betty (of Betty Bread fame) said her kids love fish and chicken nuggets witht he almond flour, so we gave it a go!
I've had good success with making homemade french fries before, so I used the methods that worked well for us.
The potatoes- good starchy Idaho spuds- were cut into thick fries and soaked in cool water for about 20 minutes, then drained and rinsed.
The spuds were boiled in water that was seasoned with salt and spiked with vinegar. The vinegar does some kind of vinegar-y magic trick (read more about that here!) that keeps the fries holding their shape and leaves them soft and creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside once they are fried.
The fries were drained and patted dry while I heated the coconut oil for frying.
Normally we employ a double-fry method, but I didn't have the time for that tonight, so I figured I cold give the fries their first round in the coconut oil, then put them into the oven to finish crisping up.
I fried the potato pieces in the coconut oil until the surface of them began to look dry and textured and had a hint of color to them, and I removed them to a baking sheet.
After about 15 minutes at 425F, the fries were golden brown and crispy and all kinds of delicious.
For the nuggets:
I'd pounded out some boneless, skinless chicken breasts into an even thickness and sliced them into nugget-sh pieces.
After a quick toss in a beaten egg, I dredged them in almond flour seasoned with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika.
Out of curiosity, we fried some of the nuggets in the leftover coconut oil and baked some as a comparison for which method worked better.
My poor baking pans. They are so abused!
By the time the fries were done, the nuggets were cooked as well.
The end result was that the fried nuggets were favored over the baked ones. The almond flour seemd to adhere better and was crispier, but the baked ones would certainly do in a pinch.
A side by side: The baked ones are in the center and to the right, the fried ones are on the left.
Overall, the boys were thrilled with their meal, and Chris and I agreed that they were good enough to become a part of our regular 'special dinner' rotation.
Cavemom Chicken Nuggets n Fries
For the fries:
2 large russet potatoes, peeled (if desired) and cut into evenly-sized lengths
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Preheat oven to 425F
Keep cut potatoes in cold water until ready to use.
Drain and rinse potatoes, and place them in a large sauce pan with kosher salt and vinegar. Cover fully with water.
Bring to a boil over high heat; boil for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender but not falling apart.
Drain and set on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
Allow to dry for 5 minutes.
Heat coconut oil (3" liquid in the bottom of the pot) to 400F
Cook fries in small batches, stirring frequently, until the skin gains texture and begins to look dry and they take on a bit of color, 3-4 minutes.
Remove to a baking sheet (no need to drain).
When all fries are cooked, spread them into an even layer ont he baking sheet.
Bake at 425F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
For the nuggets:
4 medium sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness and cut into 2" chunks
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups almond flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Preheat oven to 425F (if baking) or heat 3" coconut oil int he bottom of a heavy-bottomed saucepan to 400F (if frying).
Combine almond flour, salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika in a medium-sized bowl.
Dip chicken pieces, a few at a time, in egg, then dredge in almond flour mixture.
Place on baking sheet a few inches apart and bake until golden brown and cooked through
Fry in coconut oil until golden brown an cooked through.