Stickin’ with Chicken

by kimgerber on 07/04/2010

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First, let me begin by thanking you all for the incredible support!  Since our launch less than a week ago we have had over 1600 hits on Out of the Box Food!  What a fabulous testament to the subject matter.  It has been made clear to me how important it is to simply begin the conversation.  Talking about the dangers of processed food is bound to lead us to question ingredients and ultimately pull us out of the processed food rut.

This week I took a reader suggestion and went in search of “better” boxed alternatives for chicken nuggets.  I hit Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s which would inevitably carry better boxed versions, should they exist.  One  hour, two full pages of ingredients and a cramped hand later, I confirmed that in the case of chicken nuggets it is far more economical and healthy to prepare your own; though the Applegate Farms chicken nugget did have fewer ingredients than the others.  See for yourself:

The Comparisons:

Applegate Farms Chicken Nuggets

Trader Joe’s Chicken Drummettes

Trader Joe’s Breaded Chicken Tenderloin Breasts

(All ingredients followed by an * can be referenced at by clicking on the ingredient)




  • chicken
  • water

Contains less than 2% of the following:

  • cornstarch
  • salt
  • natural flavor (oregano)

Breaded with:

  • wheat flour
  • sugar
  • yeast
  • soybean oil
  • salt


Trader Joe’s Chicken Drummettes

Breaded Drummette Shaped White Chicken Patty


  • boneless skinless chicken breast with rib meat
  • water
  • whole wheat flour
  • corn starch

Contains 2% or less of:

Breading set in vegetable oil


Breaded Chicken Tenderloin Breasts available at Trader Joe’s


  • chicken breast tenderloins
  • chicken broth
  • modified corn starch

Battered with:

  • water
  • enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
  • salt
  • leavening (monocalcium phosphate*, sodium bicarbonate*)
  • buttermilk powder (sweet cream [milk], whey cream)
  • spice

Breaded with:

Pre-dusted with:

  • enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
  • modified corn starch
  • salt
  • leavening (monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate)
  • spice
  • buttermilk powder (sweet cream, whey [milk] cream)

Breading set in vegetable oil


Though we’re excited to move forward into other foods, we will provide one more chicken recipe to encourage us to stay clear of the boxed versions.  Our Out of the Box Chicken Tender recipe is quicker than the Out of the Box Chicken Nuggets yet equally kid friendly.  We’re down to 6 minutes of prep time, 25 minutes cook time and a huge savings in both our wallet and our children’s health.  Let’s continue to work towards getting kids who are only interested in chicken nuggets closer to simply liking chicken.  One step at a time.


Out of the Box FoodSM Chicken Tenders

SERVES: Makes approximately 12 chicken tenders

TIME: Prep 6 min
Cook 25 min

SUPPLIES:  broiler pan (or cookie sheet and rack)


  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenders (approximately 12 tenders)
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 eggs
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Step 1: (6 minutes)

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Coat broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil
  • Mix flour, paprika, salt, garlic powder and onion powder onto plate.  In separate bowl/plate, beat eggs.
  • Dip each chicken tender in flour mixture, then egg, then flour mixture again.
  • Place chicken tender on broiler pan.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the tenders. (tender does not need to be completely coated)

Step 3 (25 min)

  • Bake tenders for 15 minutes.  Turn tenders over, drizzle other side with olive oil, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until browned.

Total Time: 31 minutes

To Freeze:

  • Let tenders come to room temperature, then place in plastic freezer bag and freeze.
  • Tenders can remain in freezer for up to 3 months.

To Reheat:

  • Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake tenders for 15 minutes.

Healthy chicken nuggets?  Check.  Healthy chicken tenders?  Check!  Next post:  “Leggo o’ the Eggo – Easy Morning Pancakes and Waffles” Stay tuned…

If you like what you see, please forward Out of the Box Food to friends and help encourage more parents to break the processed food habit!  You can also go to: to vote Out of the Box Food as your favorite mom food blog.

© 2010 – 2011, kimgerber. All rights reserved.

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