Lunch Break For Kids
The Chef & Child Foundation (CCF) and the makers of Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® dressings & dips are partnering to host the Lunch Break For Kids fundraiser to showcase how simple, good food can make healthier bodies and stronger family connections, as well as support CCF’s national Childhood Nutrition Day in its mission to promote healthier eating to kids and their families through community-based initiatives.
It seems like only yesterday that my kids were little. Little feet and little hands, and all throughout the house it seems that everything we owned had a tiny counterpart. We had a big couch… the kids had a little one. I had a rocking chair, they had a little rocking chair. We had a big bed, the kids’ were small. Big car, little car. We had grown up dishes, the kids had cute little plates, cups and silverware that worked with small hands. The same thing was true with food. Big food and little people versions. As a home school mom, I was very blessed to be able to spend lunchtime with my kids nearly every day, and both of them liked helping me get things ready. One of their favorite lunches was a little kid version of my Ranch Chicken. For them… Ranch Chicken Nuggets with finger veggies.
Because it is such an easy recipe, is healthy, features Ranch seasonings and is fun for kids to help make, I thought this would be perfect to share with you, while highlighting Hidden Valley’s Lunch Break For Kids program. Helping kids learn that healthy food is good food doesn’t have to be hard. And it’s one of the things you can do as a parent that can have a lasting impact with your kids- both my teens love broccoli, request my veggie soup all the time, and have been known to order the steamed veggies when we go out to eat. I’m calling that success.
So. Here is the recipe for my kid friendly version of Ranch Chicken–Ranch Chicken Nuggets.
You will need a cookie sheet/baking pan, spatula, gallon sized zip baggie, measuring cups and spoons.
1 lb. chicken, cut into bite size pieces.
* Tip- if you are using frozen chicken, only let it thaw partway, so it’s easier to cut. On the other hand, if your chicken is thawed/fresh, just throw it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Slightly frozen is much easier to handle*
2/3 cup bread crumbs (regular plain or panko)
1/3 cup fine shredded cheese (I prefer Italian blend, but whatever suits your fancy will work)
1/4 cup egg substitute or 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. milk (I like skim- use whatever you like)
2 full tbsp. Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning (I used Fiesta Ranch for a kick, but Original is delicious)
Salt/pepper to taste
Assorted veggies, cut into finger-food-sized pieces
2-3 Romaine lettuce leaves
Hidden Valley Ranch Single Serve cups (or just pour your Hidden Valley Ranch into little cups for dipping)
*When cooking with the kids, I would pre-cut the chicken and put it in a bowl, and then let them measure the other ingredients into bowls. So, in the instructions, I’m assuming you have done that, too.*
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour bread crumbs, cheese, and Hidden Valley Ranch seasonings into gallon sized baggie. Shake to mix well. My kids liked dumping everything in the bag, then jumping up and down to “mix.”
Pour egg mixture over chicken pieces. Little ones think it’s fun to get their hands all slimy while making sure the chicken is evenly coated with egg mixture. Take a break to wash hands.
Place coated chicken in gallon baggie and let your kids shake, squeeze and mush until well coated with breadcrumb mixture.
Place on cookie sheet lightly sprayed with oil.
Place in 400 degree oven for 15- 20 minutes, until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink.
Arrange on plate. Add veggies on a lettuce leaf along with dip. Tell your kids what fantastic helpers and incredible cooks they are, and eat up!!
Click on the location tab here for a local Lunch Break for Kids fundraiser or a Childhood Nutrition Day volunteer location in your area to join, or start one of your own.
The Hidden Valley® Original Ranch®, dressings & dips has provided me with free product to help with my review, but anything I receive from Hidden Valley does not affect my thoughts on its company or their product.