Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's Cooking: Chicken Bites

There are only a few meals the girls are likely to eat up completely, which limits our menu. Our go-to meals include white bean soup, pasta, and of course chicken nuggets. I recently found a recipe for Crunchy Whole-Grain Chicken Bites in The Pampered Chef * cookbook 29 Minutes to Dinner (which also has an accompanying recipe for slaw). I thought this would be a healthier alternative to the processed chicken nuggets I tend to cook for the girls.

Modifications/Substitutions: I made a few inadvertent modifications because, frankly, I didn't read the recipe carefully. Some of my intended modifications included using my hands to crush the chips and using cooking spray because I didn't have a Kitchen Spritzer. I also used baby carrots instead of whole carrots (which I would say was a mistake, because they were a bear to shred). The error that had the biggest impact was not reserving part of the dressing as a dip for the chicken, so the slaw had more dressing than the recipe intended (though I tried to make up for it by adding more celery and carrots).

Ease: The idea was for the recipe to take less than 29 minutes to prepare and cook. This took me much longer because (1) I had to backtrack because of a mistake and (2) I used baby carrots instead of regular carrots. Other than the time factor this meal was really easy to make. As the chicken was cooking I was able to make the slaw. I'll give this recipe 4.5 stars for ease.

Affordability: This was one of the more expensive meals I made, but it wasn't overly expensive. I'll break this one down (minus normal pantry items like mayo, paprika, and eggs):

Chicken (on sale) - $2.00
Half a bag of the multi-grain chips - $1.75
Dressing - $1.10
Sour Cream - $1.00
Celery - $2.00
Half a bag of baby carrots - $0.90

This meal was less than $10 (total $8.75) so I'll consider it to be an affordable one, especially since it made a nice dinner meal. I'll give it 3.5 stars since it is the most expensive meal I've made to date (and because I'm cheap).

Taste: Jonathan came in the kitchen as I was making dinner and saw the ranch dressing mix (he is not a fan). He asked me if it called for "a lot", so I was worried this meal would be a "miss". Jonathan was pleasantly surprised though - he loved it! I really liked it too. The chips made for a great crunch. I also really liked the slaw. I will award a 5 for taste.

Family Friendly: I will give the girls credit-they both tried the chicken bites. Abigail even ate a whole one, but then she decided to just eat the crunchy topping off of the second one. Abigail tried the slaw but didn't go for it. Sarah played with her slaw. I have a feeling that for now a lot of these recipes won't be exactly "family friendly" because of the stages the girls are in. I will have faith though-one of these days I'll find a 4 or 5 to share! For now I'll settle for 3 stars.

What's Cooking Rating:
4.0 stars (rounding to the nearest .25)

*Just thought I should mention that I have not been compensated in any way by The Pampered Chef or any other website I pull recipes from. I just share about my experiences with recipes I find here and there and make them available to you via a link to the source.

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