Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dinner During Dora: Miraculous Chicken

A few weeks ago, a miracle occurred at my house.

I made a chicken dish and everyone in the house ate it.

I know, I know, this is hard to believe, particularly since some time last year Pumpkin stopped eating store bought chicken nuggets because "they are too spicy."

To be honest, I'd sort of given up on finding a meat product Pumpkin would eat at home. (She will eat chicken stars from Carl's Jr., but those are reserved for special occasions. Really. My kids are convinced that a meal from Carl's Jr. is a big deal.)

But then I heard about pretzel-breaded chicken, and I asked Pumpkin if she'd like to try that. To my surprise, she said yes, so I hit the internet and found this recipe.

I've modified it a little- increasing the pretzel-to-chicken ratio and leaving out the pepper, because those "black specks" are "spicy," you know.

I decided to share my recipe with you in case you need a miracle in your house, too. This is a bit long for a dinner during Dora, but as my kids get older, they can tolerate a slightly later dinner time, and I will accept the extra effort and time due to the miraculous result. I think this takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and then 20 minutes to cook, during which time you can make some veggies to serve with it if you want to push your luck.

Here is my recipe for Miraculous Chicken:


2 cups salted pretzels (we generally have the twists on hand, so I use those. I fill my measuring cup, squash them down with the heel of my hand, add more, squash again, and repeat until the cup is full, without big gaps between pretzel bits)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp. water or milk
1/2 to 3/4 lb chicken breast, cut into nuggets (basically, I buy one package with two boneless skinless chicken breasts and use one)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the pretzels and cheese in a food processor and process until coarsely ground and well blended. (I suspect you could do this in a blender or just in a bowl if you took a rolling pin to the pretzel bits first.)

Here's what the result looks like:

Future yummy coating
Put the flour in a separate bowl, and beat the eggs with 1 tsp of water or milk in a 3rd bowl.

Spray a rack with cooking spray and put it on top of a cookie sheet. Then arrange an assembly line, like this:

Do you like my messy counter tops?
Roll the chicken pieces in the flour, then dip them in the eggs, then roll them in the pretzel mix. I do this two at a time, using one hand to roll in the chicken bits in the flour and drop them in the eggs and the other hand to take them out of the eggs and roll them in the pretzel mix. I still make a big mess.

Here's what they look like when they're ready to go in the oven.

Bake until lightly browned, which takes 20-25 minutes.

After baking, they look like this:

Chicken bits encased in yummy pretzel coating
Perhaps because there is such a high ratio of yummy pretzel coating to chicken, we find that one chicken breast feeds all four of us. Each kid eats a couple nuggets, and my husband and I eat 4-5 each.

Source: A recipe from, found by Googling "pretzel chicken" and discarding recipes that had any spices in them.

Who eats it: Everyone!!!!

If you're relatively new here and are wondering why we needed a miracle to get chicken into Pumpkin, this old post is a place to start. If you're about to leave me a comment telling me how I SHOULD "fix" Pumpkin, please read that post and the other ones linked to it first. Pumpkin is not your garden variety kid with respect to food. Petunia is more like most kids in this respect, and we follow the "standard advice" with her and she already eats more adventurously than her sister (except the only plant matter she reliably consumes is in the form of Apple Berry go-go squeezes). Pumpkin has more going on, we're not 100% sure what. But the "standard advice" produces terrible results with her. Also, I was a picky eater as a kid and am still on the picky side now, and am just not interested in lectures on the topic. Not that any of you would deliver such a thing, because you are all wonderful people. Hmm, that sounds a bit off-putting. What I'm saying is: this is a touchy topic for me and one that I have researched A LOT and worried about a lot. Please tread lightly if you want to discuss the broader issue of picky eating.

However, I'm always up for new recipe ideas, so feel free to leave those in the comments! Thanks for understanding.


  1. Anonymous4:23 PM

    That looks super nummy. I cannot wait until DC2 stops being allergic to wheat. (We do get gluten-free pretzels sometimes, but they're pretty expensive.)

    1. It is super nummy. We'd be eating it every week except it has been too hot to turn on the oven. It will be back in heave rotation soon!

      I wonder if you could substitute rice crackers for the pretzels? I don't even have to eat gluten free and I think Rice Thins are delicious!

    2. Anonymous6:02 PM

      I haven't seen rice thins-- I don't think our supermarket carries them. My guess is that the rice crackers we do have access to would get soggy (ditto the lentil crackers). But some day!

  2. Ooh this sounds good. One thing my kids WILL reliably eat is chicken, so I'm always looking for new ideas. But I am going on a special (i.e. terrible) diet (includes gluten free) next week. I will try out rice thins and see how it works. I do suspect they will get soggy but who knows!

  3. New recipe! Thanks for sharing - I love trying easy new recipes since I'm the one who gets bored with whatever one pot wonder I've made last (and PiC REALLY wishes I wouldn't because he loved it).

  4. Maybe my children WOULD eat chicken if I coated it in pretzels! Bug will almost never eat meat except for Grandpa's Smoked Corned Beef Sandwich. Yeah.... some kids are just like that. Maybe one day he'll decide he likes it or maybe he'll be a vegetarian except for Grandpa's food. I was a strict vegetarian for 12 years so I figure I can hardly blame the kid.

  5. I'm tempted to try this recipe except... I don't like pretzels. Except the big soft ones. I suspect you have to like pretzels to like it? Though maybe not... ::tries to imagine that flavor and texture surrounding chicken::

    For a note on pickiness that's NOT critical, apparently my dad used to think my mom was doing something wrong because we're such picky eaters... and then they adopted. My adopted brother eats everything. And started that way. So.

  6. Never heard about this recipe before. I think I need to try this. Thanks for the idea.

  7. Thanks a lot! Worked out great :)Very very tasty!! Boyfriend said it’s the best chicken recipr he’s had in a while!


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