Friday, March 21, 2014

South Beach Diet Friendly Chicken Nuggets with Almond Meal (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

South Beach Diet  Friendly Chicken Nuggets with Almond Meal
Make your own South Beach Diet Friendly Chicken Nuggets and they're Low-Carb and Gluten-Free!

(For Phase One Fridays I feature Phase One Recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites, and these delicious South Beach Diet Friendly Chicken Nuggets are coated with almond meal for amazing flavor in a chicken nugget that's low-carb and Gluten-free.)

I'm not a mom who's trying to feed kids while sticking to the South Beach Diet, but if I was, I'm guessing I'd be even more excited about this way of making chicken nuggets so they're South Beach Diet friendly. The inspiration for the recipe came from my lovely friend Bonnie who adapted a recipe that used Bisquick into a South Beach approved version using almond meal or almond flour.  Bonnie's having great success on South Beach, trying out a new way of cooking and eating that she says she knows she will stick to for the rest of her life, and this chicken recipe is one of her great experiments. (Thanks Bonnie!)

I do think there are lots of other seasonings that might taste good in the coating for these nuggets besides the paprika and poultry seasoning I used in this recipe. If someone comes up with a good variation, we'd love to hear about it in the comments.

I used a pack with just two chicken breasts to test out the recipe, but it can easily be doubled or tripled. Start by cutting each chicken breast into 5 same-size pieces, trimming off any fat or tendons. (I save those scraps you see in the back for making homemade chicken stock.)

Then use a meat mallet or something else heavy to pound the thicker pieces of meat so they're all about the same thickness.

Mix together almond meal or flour, paprika, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, to make a meal to dip the nuggets in. Coat each nugget piece with this mixture, pressing it on so it sticks.

Brush a baking sheet liberally with olive oil and preheat the pan in a 400F/205C oven, then lay the coated nuggets on the baking sheet.

After about 8-10 minutes, turn the nugget pieces so they will brown on the second side.

Cook nuggets about 10-12 minutes more on the second side, until they're lightly browned and cooked through. Serve hot.


South Beach Diet Friendly Chicken Nuggets with Almond Meal
(Makes two servings, but can easily be doubled or tripled, recipe inspired by Bonnie's baked chicken with almond meal.)

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-2 T olive oil (enough to generously coat the baking sheet)
1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour
1 tsp. paprika (not smoked or hot)
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:
Turn on the oven to 400F/205C. Brush a baking sheet liberally with olive oil and put the pan in the oven to heat as the oven preheats.

Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts, then cut each breast into 5 nugget pieces (or more if you have a very large breast.) Use a meal mallet or something heavy to pound the thicker nugget pieces so they're all the same thickness.

Combine the almond meal, paprika, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper in a bowl, mixing together well. Dip each nugget piece into the almond meal mixture, pressing on with your fingers so it coats the chicken. Coat all the nuggets before you remove the baking sheet from the oven.

When all nuggets are coated, lay them on the hot baking sheet and cook 8-10 minutes, or until the side touching the pan is lightly browned. Remove pan from oven, turn nuggets, and bake 10-12 minutes more on the second side, until nuggets are lightly browned and cooked through. (Don't overcook.) Serve hot, with mustard or ranch dipping sauce if desired.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but don't have nuts for a snack on the same day you make this if you're doing phase one. Some good low-glycemic side dishes for this would be Stir-Fried Green Beans with Lemon, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts, Spicy Mexican Slaw, or even Val's Kid-Friendly Broiled Zucchini Rounds with Cheese if you're making it for kids.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Ideas with Baked Chicken:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Chicken Stuffed with Green Chiles and Cheese from Kalyn's Kitchen
Baked Chicken Nuggets from Macheesmo
Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu from Kalyn's Kitchen
Baked Chicken Drumsticks with Dijon Mustard and Ancho Chile Pepper Sauce from Cookin' Canuck
Parmesan Chicken from Kalyn's Kitchen
Alex's Favorite Baked Chicken Mediterranean from Gluten-Free Goddess
Easy Recipe for Baked Pesto Chicken from Kalyn's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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85 comments:

  1. These are my hubby's dream! I am going to make these tonight for dinner. He will love them.

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  2. I love love love almond meal as a breading - so flavorful!

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  3. Yum! Lately I've been making Phase 2-friendly Buffalo Chicken strips. I marinate the chicken overnight in hot sauce & chicken broth and add chili pepper to ground up Fiber One cereal for the breading. Once cooked, I dip in some lowfat ranch dressing = DELISH :-)

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  4. Kalyn, you said not to use smoked or hot paprika -- is that if they're just for families with kids who might not like those flavors? Or is it something about the almond meal that doesn't get along with 'em? Curious, Maura in Charlotte, NC, who bought smoked paprika last week for the first time

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  5. Maura, I was merely indicating that I didn't use smoked or hot paprika when I tested the recipe, but if you like it (and especially if it's not for kids) I'd definitely try it with the smoked paprika.

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  6. Ha! I had the same question as Maura, since my mind moved instantly to the idea of smoked paprika.

    Bob's almond meal/flour here is sooo expensive, I've never been able to talk myself into plunking down that much cash.

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  7. Just in time for passover! sounds great for the kids...

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  8. These look excellent! I'm going to have to get me some almond meal. I like to experiment with spices in things like this too. I'll let you know what I come up wtih!

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  9. What a great idea from Lori. I wish I'd been smart enough to realize that this is a great option for Passover; thanks for pointing that out Lori!

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  10. I've been meaning to try almond meal, which is a completely new-to-me ingredient. While I'm not a big chicken nugget person (though it is my grandsons' favorite food group!), this is definitely a recipe I'm going to try.

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  11. what a great idea... thanks for passing on your friends site... heading there next

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  12. Thank you for this awesome recipe. Can't wait to make them! Breaded Chicken is such a weakness for me so I have a strong feeling this is going to become a new favorite!

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  13. These sound really good Kalyn! I haven't made anything remotely like this in a long time, and never with almond meal...what a great idea!

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  14. Thank you for posting this recipe. I never thought to try almond meal for the breading. We are gluten and dairy-free, so this recipe is a big plus for us! Thanks!

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  15. Thank you! I will try a variation of this for Passover, this coming week!

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  16. Even as someone who's not on the South beach diet and is not trying to feed kids, this sounds delicious! The perfect weeknight meal for just about anyone who likes good food.

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  17. Fantastic! And what a help for busy Moms - what kid doesn't love chicken nuggets? So awesome.

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  18. Wow - I never would have thought to use almond meal as a coating. Brilliant idea!

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  19. Carole with an "e" in NYCMarch 24, 2010 at 6:46 AM

    Kalyn
    Thanks for another thought provoking post. Almond meal??? Hum. Never saw it, never tried it. Love how you give me homework. Question: I was cleaning up my pantry closet yesterday and see I have a whole bag of sliced almonds. Can I grind them up and use or does the "real" thing (almond meal that is), contain other ingredients? Thanks.

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  20. I have read about other people making their own almond meal but I haven't tried it myself. I'm guessing the texture will be a bit less consistent, and I'd be careful not to over-process or you might end up with almond butter!

    BTW, almond meal is NOT the same as almond flour used for baking, which is much more fine than the almond meal I used here.

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    Replies
    1. I made these tonight and they were delicious! I did get concerned because the package I had bought said almond meal/flour. Is that okay?

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    2. I think some companies use the names interchangeably, but almond flour is much finer. I bet you bought Bob's Red Mill brand, which is really almond meal.

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  21. I was wondering if any other nut can be made into meal for coting and baking? My daughter is allergic to almonds. Thanks!!

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  22. This is a wonderful alternative for moms with gluten-free kids. Almond meal makes such a tasty crunchy crust.

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  23. I love the idea of using almond meal. My kids are going to love this!

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  24. Great recipe! I will have to try these when my niece comes over:)

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  25. These sound great! I'm not totally familiar with the South Beach Diet (though I loooooooove this blog), but another healthy, whole grain option is to use crushed up bite-size shredded wheat.

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  26. Annie, I'd have to check the ingredients, but I think Shredded Wheat would be good for South Beach, for phase 2 or 3. Great idea.

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  27. Thanks for posting this delicious looking recipe! Your pictures are always so beautiful. I especially appreciate that many of your recipes are gluten free too, since I am intolerant. Thanks again :)

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  28. Jenng, hope you will see this. I don't know why but your comment didn't come to my e-mail so I'm answering it out of order. I haven't seen other kind of nut meals for sale, but if you make your own in a food processor, I think you could use pecans or probably even peanuts for this. Just be careful not to process too long or it will turn into pecan butter or peanut butter.

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  29. Thanks for reminding me of this. I make SoBe dinners but my kids don't often eat them. In the past I did this with a little golden ground flax seed and it would taste like crispy corn meal breading. This is definitely going on the menu!!!

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  30. These nuggets look wonderful! I've often dipped chicken pieces in buttermilk before coating them with ground almonds. Is buttermilk SB friendly?

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  31. Christine, great idea. Low-fat buttermilk is great for South Beach.

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  32. I love almond meal. I make similar nuggets...but often use half almond meal, half dessicated coconut! Yummy

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  33. Oh! These look like such a fantastic idea! I'll bet my picky boys would even like them - I know I would. I hope all is well with you! I'm finally surfacing a little bit and trying to check in on friends. Hopefully Spring is on its way!

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  34. We have been making similar nuggets for a while now and the whole family loves them!

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  35. I am making these tonight. I have never bought almond meal, I have a coffee grinder I use only for nuts and spices. If you pulse the whole almonds, you can easily grind it down to a meal. I fish out the pieces that don't grind completely (usually there are three such nuggets) and those I save for a snack. Great recipe! Looking forward to dinner tonight!

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  36. Oh, and I meant to add that I can easily coat the chicken chunks by starting with a gallon plastic bag where I put the coating ingredients, then as I clean up and pound the chicken chunks, I toss them into the bag. It's like shake and bake! SO EASY!

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  37. Sharon, great ideas. Sounds like you have this down to a system.

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  38. I tried this recipe tonight and it smelled and tasted good. I did use half bread crumbs and half almond meal, though.
    I would just remind folks to not let it sit in the oven after it's done because it will continue cooking a bit more and may end up dry, like mine did. Next time I make these, I plan on taking them out soon so they don't dry out. But it felt great to make homemade chicken nuggets!
    Thanks Kalyn. I love your blog!

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  39. Jacki, I think half bread crumbs and half almond meal will certainly work if you're not eating it for phase one. You're right, don't overcook these though or they will be dry. The cooking time will depend partly on the thickness of the chicken too.

    Thanks for the nice thoughts about the blog.

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  40. Chicken Nuggets for Phase 1???? I LOVE IT!! I modified the recipe a little by soaking the chicken in a little buttermilk and hot sauce overnight. My breading consisted of the almond meal, 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan, dried parsley, garlic powder, paprika and just a kiss of cayenne. Instead of the olive oil I used the butter flavored non stick spray. For the record, I'm officially a superhero w/ my 4 yr old :D

    Quick question: How'd you get them so brown and how do I keep the coating from falling off the one side?

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  41. Anonymous, not sure why mine are more brown than yours (might be just partly how it looks in the photo due to the light, can't remember if it was darkish when I took those photos. The coating didn't fall off for me, maybe you're trying to make it thicker than I did?

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  42. Just made these absoulutley delicious! I will be making these for years to come. Thanks so much for all your wonderful recipes.

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  43. Saritakay, so glad you liked the recipe!

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  44. I'm not sure about the heating the oil in the oven during preheating part... I tried this and the oil got close to flashpoint... whipped it out just in time.

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  45. Some ovens probably take longer to preheat than others. I only heated the pan about 5-10 minutes. You can also skip that step, it just helps with the browning.

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  46. How about adding some Indian spices to the Almond flour. I just started cooking Indian cuisine and am using lots of new spices. Garam Masala is one of my favoirtes. Also, dried cilantro leaves, cumin, carraway seeds or cardamon would be good. I'd try one spice at a time, just to see what it tastes like.

    As a vegetarian, Indian cuisine had really perked up my diet. Pat Smith

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  47. Pat, I'm guessing Indian spices would be good in this coating.

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  48. Sorry if this posts twice. My computer weirded out and I don't know if it went through the first time.
    I used Cajun seasoning, seasoned salt, and some fresh groun pepper and it came out great. I also used an egg mixture to help the mixture stick. I think one egg for all the chicken pieces wouldn't make it non-South Beach friendly. Egg Beaters would probably work as well as buttermilk if you don't need to keep kosher. I also made my own almond meal with splintered almonds ground up in the food processor.
    This would also be a good recipe for people who have to follow gluten-free diets.
    (Psst, Nana, what were you doing looking at this recipe? Just curious!)

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  49. pikkewyntjie, Thanks for sharing what worked for you. Eggs are fine for South Beach, and I think Cajun seasoning sounds great in this.

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  50. I have a bag of roasted almond pieces from a California supplier. I put some in my blender on the "pulse" setting and ground them up smaller than sesame seeds, made the nugget recipe and could NOT believe how good they were! This solution for almond meal was quite economical.

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  51. Glad you liked the chicken nuggets, and thanks for sharing how you made your own almond meal. (I had heard you could do it, but haven't tried it myself.)

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  52. These are a home run! OMG they are SOOO great. My husband really really loved it too! YAY!

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  53. My nuggets were more soggy than crispy. I loved the flavoring but couldn't get the coating to "crisp" before the chicken dried out. Any ideas?

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  54. Amy, did you preheat the pan? If you did that and they still were soggy I would wonder if your oven temperature was off. I'd try increasing it a little. I don't think these will ever get as crisp as fried nuggets, but they should be slightly crisp

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  55. These were just delicious! I made them last night, since my little granddaughters were spending the night with us. They kept asking for more!

    I found them to be tender and juicy with a browned crust. They weren't soggy by any means, but the don't get crispy like breading might. Still, they were fabulous, and super easy.

    I happen to have good, sharp knives, so instead of pounding the thick pieces, I just split them horizontally (butterflied) before cutting them into pieces. Worked great!

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  56. Kim, great idea to cut them into smaller pieces instead of pounding. Glad they were a hit.

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  57. Making these nuggets didn't take that much longer than it would take to throw some frozen nuggets into the pan and they are so much better for you Bc they are real chicken! Not those chicken lips processed nuggets. We made these tonight and ate them up! I also made your green goddess dressing and threw half a chipotle pepper in for a smokey flavored creamy dip. I highly recommend the dressing as a dip with or without the pepper! Thanks Kayln!

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  58. Glad you liked the nuggets. Now I'm wondering if you dipped them in the Spicy Green Goddess dressing? That sounds good!

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  59. Delicious! I cooked them in a pan with a little oil also, and tried it both ways, bith were great! Thank you. The breaded stayed on! Yippee!

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  60. Glad you liked it, and good to know it can be cooked in a pan too!

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  61. I love love LOVE this recipe. I use it when I'm on SBD and also when I'm not. It's delish, especially with a side of frank's hot sauce to dip the nuggets in. MMM...

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  62. Christina, glad you liked it.

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  63. made this and they were yummy! my publix grocery didn't carry almond meal, but they did carry flax seed meal, so I used that instead. definitely the feel of chicken nuggets but way healthier! (I was told that whole foods carries almond meal, but I'll finish the flax meal first before I buy new stuff.)

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  64. Amanda, fun to hear that it will work with flax seed meal!

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  65. I made this tonight for dinner for my husband and myself!! Soooooo good! Thanks for the recipe! I've been using your site a lot because I'm eating a bit of a low carb diet right now! Everything is great!

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  66. I went to Walmart and could only find the Bob's Almond meal/flour. So that will still work? I see the comment above that it is still almond meal, but it seems pretty fine. Thanks.

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  67. Yes, I think any type of almond meal should work.

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  68. using this "bread"ing tonight on my drumsticks! thanks for the idea!

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  69. This has been a big hit in our family - adults AND kids. Last night I added a little Rocky Mountain seasoning (thanks to your Penzeys spice recommendations I added it to an order)...a tasty option. My question though: while preheating the pan in the oven, I always end up smoking up the house. What am I doing wrong? Do I need more olive oil? Should I try a different oil? I've tried lowering the oven temp but it hasn't helped.

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  70. Glad it has been a hit. You could try a higher smoke-point oil (like grapeseed) or just don't heat the pan quite so long.

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  71. I've made this recipe many times. Today I tried it with half almond meal and half course flax seed and found the flax seed helped to bring some crunch. For those posting regarding crunch level, try throwing in some flax!

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  72. Kaylen, I recently found your recipes on Pinterest, and I'm loving them! I made these nuggets tonight, and my 3-year-old loved helping and eating them! We put the coating in a plastic bag and shook them. ;) My question is, can these be frozen and reheated? I got a little excited and made too many for us to eat in one night...

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  73. Jayme, I haven't frozen them, but I'm guessing it would work. The biggest problem would be reheating them without getting them too dried out. Be sure to thaw thoroughly before you reheat. Love to hear how it works.

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  74. I've made these many times and love them - with the slight addition of marinating the chicken briefly (1/2 hour is enough) in a mixture of mayonnaise, non-fat greek yogurt and Siracha or Louisiana Hot Sauce before breading. The marinade not only adds to the flavor but makes the nuggets SUPER tender.

    I also add parmesan cheese to the breading mixture.

    Thanks for all your fantastic recipes!! - Michelle

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  75. I love these Kalyn! I need to try these- love that they use almond meal instead of flour!

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  76. Michelle, love hearing your adaptations, sounds good!

    Kelley, hope you enjoy.

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  77. I made these but substituted garbanzo bean flour for the almond meal. Fabulous!!! Been gluten free, dairy free bad following the Paleo clean eating regimen since May 2013,I've lost 90 bs. I love almond meal, but I usually will save my healthy fats for almond butter or my nut butters with celery and other veggies. Love your recips! Keep it up!

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  78. Cynthia, thanks so much for sharing that, love hearing that will work. And way to go on the weight loss. I am in awe!

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  79. Kalyn, I've used this recipe twice. The first time I used it on pork chops and they were outstanding! Last night I used it on chicken tenders and they were delicious, too, but I think I like the breading more on pork. The fact that the pork was cooked at a higher temperature and yielded crustier breading could have been a factor, too. I made the recipe with smoked paprika last night and we thought that was great, too. :-) Thanks for such a simple, terrific recipe!

    Shirley

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  80. Shirley, glad you enjoyed it. I'm thinking I need to try a version with pork!

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  81. I was hesitant about using almond meal as I never used it before. This recipe just blew my mind and being on Phase 1 I was looking for new ideas. My boyfriend even said this recipe puts fast food to shame and wants this to be made more often! I love them too and I think will be a good football meal as well. Thank you for sharing your ideas! I am sending my family members to your site.

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  82. Thanks Bryana, so glad you enjoyed it!

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