Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dippin' Dinner Date

Like many toddlers, Abby loves to dip her food. So when Neko came over last night, I created a dinner date devoted to dippable food. It was a big hit with these kids! Toddler smiles all around!

Chicken Parmesan Nuggets with Oven Root Fries and V-8 "Ketchup"

Chicken Parmesan Nuggets
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes

1 lb ground chicken
1 egg + 1 egg white
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
8 oz fresh mozzarella (1 3/4 oz bocconcini balls will work best)

Preheat the oven to 425F. Generously spray a wire rack with non-stick spray and set it over a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.

In a large bowl, mix the ground chicken, egg, egg white, Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup of the seasoned bread crumbs together until well mixed. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Gather up golf-ball-sized blobs of ground chicken mix with your hands; drop the blob into the bread crumbs and press it into nugget size (think the size and shape of a McNugget). Coat both sides of the nugget with bread crumbs; set the nugget on the wire rack and repeat with remaining meat.

Slice the mozzarella into 1/4-1/2 inch-thick rounds; top each nugget with a round of cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly and nuggets are cooked through. Serve with marinara sauce, ketchup, or the V-8 ketchup below!

Oven Root Fries
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes

1 sweet potato, scrubbed and peeled
1 baking potato, scrubbed and peeled
2 parsnips, scrubbed and peeled
1 cup baby carrots
4 Tbsp olive oil
coarse salt & pepper

Cut all the vegetables into equal-size "fries" (I aimed for the size and shape of a typical fast food fry). Set them in a bowl of very hot tap water. Preheat the oven to 450F. When the oven is heated, drain and rinse the vegetables. Pat them dry with a paper towel, and then toss them with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Line a rimmed sheet with foil. Spread the foil with 2 Tbsp of the olive oil and generously coat with coarse salt. Spread the vegetables on the foil in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes total, stirring and turning the vegetables about every 5 minutes, until vegetables are crisping on the outside.

V-8 "Ketchup"
Prep time: 10 minutes

8 oz V-8
1 Tbsp tomato pasta
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp onion powder

Whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Set aside to cool, placing some plastic wrap directly on top of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming.

Chocolate-Yogurt Dip
Prep time: 5 minutes

6 oz of plain or vanilla yogurt
2 Tbsp agave nectar (or sweetener of choice)
3 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Whisk all ingredients together. Plain yogurt will yield a dip with tang; if you want sweeter, use vanilla yogurt. Serve with fruit and/or Whole Wheat Angel Bites!

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