Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baked Chicken Nuggets and Zucchini Sticks

Last night, I cooked a complete dinner by myself for the first time.  I have decided that I want to be able to prepare healthy meals for my family, especially since Ryan will eventually be moving on from baby food to solid food.  Home-cooked, fresh foods are so much better for you than packaged foods or eating out at restaurants all of the time.  I also have been reading about the benefits of a low saturated fat diet in reducing the risk of triple negative cancer recurrence.

Although I have never been the kind of person to eat a lot of red meats or fatty foods, I realize now that I also want to avoid anything processed (which contain carcinogens), sugars and white starches (which affect insulin levels), caffeine, and alcohol.  Instead, my goal will be to eat more plants and vegetables, including these superfoods (which are also great for your kids).  Other powerful cancer-fighting foods include watercress, raw carrots, fiber, fish, flaxseed, and walnuts.  I hope to encourage Ryan to eat as healthy as possible and to develop a taste for these kinds of foods while he is still young.  I have been searching for delicious, healthy recipes that aren’t too difficult to cook. 

I recently found, which features recipes and also includes the calories and Weight Watchers points for each one.  I decided to cook the “Baked Zucchini Sticks with Marinara Sauce” and the “Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets” along with mashed potatoes for dinner last night.  I chose these recipes because they seemed easy and kid-friendly, and hopefully one day Ryan will like them too.

Baked Zucchini Sticks (before)…

 (After) with marinara sauce on the side…

Baked Chicken Nuggets…

I thought that everything came out pretty well, for my first attempt at cooking.  The worst part was cutting the uncooked chicken.  I guess that everything gets easier the more often that you do it!

Do you have a favorite healthy recipe for a beginning cook?  I’d love for you to share!  =)


  1. Dana, these look GREAT! I love baking chicken nuggets in the oven instead of frying them. They are still so delicious without all the added fat! One of my favorite ways to bread them is to use a mixture of crushed Fiber One cereal and Panko bread crumbs. Panko is super light and fluffy so it reminds me more of the texture when it's fried. I'm all about playing tricks on myself. ;) Also, your zucchini fries look great! I haven't tried those before, but I need to!

    And thanks for the tip on skinnytaste. I haven't been to that website before, but I'm going to check it out now! :)

  2. The zucchini sticks look great! Another thing to try is baked sweet potato "fries." A go to for us is broiled tilapia or salmon cakes. Both are super easy and you can probably find recipes on

    Also, if you're trying to incorporate flaxseed into your diet, I add ground flaxseed to smoothies, oatmeal, and muffin recipes.
    Hope this helps.

  3. A trick to help with the cooking of raw meat. I too hate to touch raw chicken, or pork. Especially when I never know how quickly I need to get to one of the babies while making dinner. I keep a box of nitrile, or vinyl gloves (found in the pharmacy section of your grocery store) in the kitchen and use them whenever prepping raw meat. Good luck!! I hope that helps!

  4. Wow, that is one impressive meal for one of your first ones! I have never tried baked chicken nuggets (or chicken nuggets of any kind), but those look awesome! I am definitely going to have to try them! I don't like touching raw meat, either...but it does get better with practice! Just like your needle phobia, haha:) Never goes away completely, but you get more used to it:). Those zucchini sticks look great, too! I saw someone else mentioned baked sweet potato fries. Those are my absolute fav, and there is an easy recipe on my blog for them, too!:) Fries have a bad rap, but baked and in normal portions, sweet potato fries are great for you!:)

    Oh and I also use ground flax seed in my smoothies/oatmeal/etc, and chia seeds (which are a good source of Omega 3s, which is in fish), in yogurt parfaits, salads, oatmeal...everything!:)

  5. Thanks for all of your helpful tips!

    Rach- How creative to mix crushed Fiber One cereal with Panko! I'll have to try that next time I make something with breading.

    Alexis- I absolutely LOVE sweet potato fries! I do want to learn how to make them myself. I will have to try adding flaxseed to my smoothies. Does it change the taste drastically?

    Sarah- Good idea to use gloves... That would make it a lot easier and convenient!

    Erin- Thanks! I will definitely get the sweet potato fries recipe from your blog. You have so many great ones on there! And you were my whole inspiration to start cooking! =)

  6. Some easy and delicious recipes :)




    BREAKFAST: ("Best Pancakes on the Planet") (with Belgian Chocolate Fudge Sauce)

    If you want to get more adventurous, I have great recipes for chicken potpie, gnocchi, momofuku's pork belly, keilbasa apple sweet potato hash, etc.

    And here are my favorite websites for looking up new recipes to make: (search by key ingredient, view how many people would make a recipe again, view comments for what was great about each recipe or how to do substitutions or make it better, etc.) (This is a visual online cookbook- choose your recipes by picture!)


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