As we work our way toward a life without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives there are certain foods that no longer make it into the grocery cart. These days I prefer to make most of our favorite foods from scratch rather than from a box. I love the feeling of being in complete control of the ingredients and what we eat. Many of the emails I get are from people who have taken the All Natural Challenge and are looking for ways to recreate their family favorite meals with healthy ingredients. I love those emails, so keep them coming.
Chicken fingers are a staple of childhood food. They are almost universally accepted, even when everything else is thrown on the floor or left on the plate. I know my own kids would eat chicken fingers every night if I’d let them. And with this recipe, sometimes I do just that. These fingers are full of wholesome, nutritious ingredients, many of which I can’t get them to eat on their own. But when I combine them together and use them to coat a piece of chicken, they gobble them down in an instant. I use a combination of bread crumbs, ground flax meal, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds to pack a lot of goodness like Thiamine, B6, Niacin, Vitamin E, and Iron into every bite. I love the flavor of these chicken fingers too – it’s a fun comfort food that brings a smile to everyone’s face at dinner. And really, what could be better than that?
Healthy Chicken Fingers
2 large eggs
3 slices whole wheat bread, or gluten free bread
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds preferably, but roasted with no salt works fine too.
1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, untoasted or toasted
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a metal cooling rack (like you use for cooling baked goods) onto a baking sheet. Set aside. (I like to use the cooling rack so that the chicken fingers don’t become mushy on the bottom, but it’s completely optional.)
Add eggs to a shallow baking dish or bowl. Beat well with a fork. Set aside.
Place bread, flax seed meal, sunflower seeds, paprika, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 1 minute, or until small crumbs form. Place crumbs into a shallow baking dish or large plate. Set aside.
Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towels. Slice chicken into strips, about 1″ thick.
Set up your breading station: Starting from left to right place the chicken strips, then the beaten eggs. Next to that place the breadcrumbs, then last should be your baking sheet.
Working with 3-4 chicken strips at a time, place the chicken in the egg. Let the egg drip off back into the bowl, then place the chicken strips on top of the bread crumb mixture. Light roll the strips to coat on all sides. Place the chicken strips on the rack on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the strips are done. You can use your hands to pat the bread crumbs onto the chicken strips if necessary.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is done. Let cool slightly then serve.