Big Fat Chicken Nuggets & Parsnip Fries


Mom joined Jewel and me for our Monday night cooking. Mom had made a breaded chicken breast recipe recently that she thought the girls would like. I found this recipe which was similar but called for mayonnaise instead of bread crumbs. Mom was not convinced that this was all that healthy of a substitution but she want along with it. The girls really liked the honey mustard sauce last time I made it, so I made it again to go with the chicken breasts. Mom asked if Dora would eat a chicken breast, and I told her I thought she would if we called them big fat chicken nuggets. After the recent success of the parsley root fries, I decided to try parsnip fries.


Melt in Your Mouth Chicken Breasts
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 C homemade mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 375. Shred the cheese. Jewel found this to be hard work!

Mix together the cheese, seasoning salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Randomness courtesy of Jewel. If you don’t have any homemade mayonnaise go ahead and make that. Stir one cup of mayonnaise into the dry ingredients.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. We lined it with parchment paper for easy clean-up.

Top chicken breasts with sauce.

Bake for 45 minutes. We topped them with fresh parsley to make them look fancy.

Roasted Parsnips
1 1/2 pounds of parsnips (or so) peeled and cut into 2 1/2 inch batons
4 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup of stock – turkey stock, chicken stock or vegetable broth, preferably homemade
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
4 teaspoons drained, bottled horseradish
1/2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 Tbsp minced chives (we didn’t have any so we just left them out)
1/2 small garlic clove, minced.

Cut parsnips into exactly 2-1/2″ sticks, ensuring that all sticks are precisely the same width. That’s how I teased Jewel when I saw her perfect handiwork. Actually it is nice if they are all about the same size so they all get done at the same time. This is a good job to delegate to an older child or a spouse who is an engineer-type.

Pour olive oil in a roasting pan, add salt and pepper.

Place the parsnips in the pan and toss with oil. Add the broth and cover pan with aluminum foil, put in hot oven. The recipe says to cook at 400 but we kept the oven at 375 until the chicken was done.

Cooking can be hard work! Take a break and get off your feet for a few minutes.

Check the parsnips at 20 minutes. Stir them and return to the oven. We may have taken the foil off at this point. Check parsnips frequently so that they don’t get mushy.

I think we baked them for about 30 min.

Honey Mustard Sauce
3-4 Tbsp of honey
1.5 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
pepper to taste
1/4 C oil (I used a combination of olive, walnut and toasted sesame oil)

Put honey, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in blender or food processor.

When well combined, keep the blade running and slowly drizzle oil in. Blend for 10 seconds after oil is fully combined. Taste test and adjust flavor as needed.

When Dora got home from Lacrosse practice she asked what we were having for dinner. I told her, “big fat chicken nuggets,” and she responded, “like Sammy?”

Everyone was very pleased with this meal. Oh, we also roasted Brussels sprouts for our green vegetable. The chicken breasts were very moist and flavorful. The leftovers were great additions to salads. I was concerned that the sesame oil flavor might be too strong for my family, but they all raved about the honey mustard sauce. I think that the sesame was a nice balance to the sweetness of the honey. The parsnips were flavorful, but the texture was softer than I would have preferred. Next time I will omit the broth and roast them uncovered. One option if you want to make the chicken breasts on a weeknight is you could prepare the sauce ahead of time. If you have plenty of fridge space you could even top them with the sauce and store in a casserole dish with a lid. Then you could just pop them in the oven when you get home and make some vegetables while the chicken is baking.