Camp Cooking Recipe: Panko Parmesan Chicken Bites
Chicken nuggets. Chicken tenders. Chicken bites. Call them what you will but these tasty morsels of breaded or battered boneless chicken are one of my favorite things to eat.
I love them because they’re bit-sized bits of deliciousness that can work as a snack or a meal, depending on the number of nuggets. I love them because I can choose from an endless array of dipping sauces that will satisfy just about any food mood I’m in.
From the sweet tang of honey mustard and BBQ to the spicy kick of buffalo and the sweet savory goodness of ketchup or the cool herbal richness of ranch, the variety of nugget-enhancing flavors are plentiful.
But let’s face it; the chunks of chicken from most fast-food joints or the freezer section of your local grocery store are not known for their health benefits. And the amount of actual chicken meat in them has been debated for years.
But if you love enjoying the occasional nugget or tender like I do and you’re also worried about calories, sodium, and cholesterol (or what the “chicken” is actually made of), all is not lost!
With a little bit of effort, you can make your own chicken nuggets, bites, tenders, or whatever you want to call them.
Now, I’m not calling this recipe “healthy” because they are pan-fried in cooking oil (although you could opt to bake them or use an air fryer). But when you make the nuggets yourself, you know exactly what’s in them.
You can also make modifications to suit your own appetites and needs when you’re the chef.
Worried about sodium? Reduce, eliminate, or make a substitution for the salt. Concerned about cholesterol? Swap out the vegetable oil for avocado oil. Like a little (or a lot) of spice in your life? Add some cayenne.
The possibilities are endless for the creative cook. So go ahead, have your nuggets and eat them too!
- 1/2 cup avocado or canola oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 cup Panko crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley (fresh is best but dried will work)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- In a large bowl, toss chicken with 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder to season, then set aside.
- In medium bowl, combine Panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, all the paprika, and all the minced parsley, and set aside.
- In another medium bowl, add the eggs and beat lightly.
- Place the flour in another medium bowl.
- Working in batches, toss several pieces of chicken in flour to coat, then dip into the eggs to coat, and lastly toss in the Panko mixture, pressing gently to coat.
- As you are working, place the coated chicken pieces on a plate, giving the coating a few minutes to settle.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add about half the chicken pieces to the skillet and cook until golden and crispy, and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked chicken to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the excess oil while cooking the remaining chicken.
- When the chicken is all cooked, serve immediately, garnishing with additional Parmesan and minced parsley, if desired.
Click the image below for a PDF of the recipe that you can download.
In our video, "We Found an Abandoned Airport: Arizona to Colorado Adventure," I make this recipe and you can watch, starting at 24:45.