Air fryer chicken nuggets

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Posted: Friday, February 21, 2020 6:00 am

For the past year, I’ve been asked by several people to start including air fryer and Instant Pot recipes in my column, because those appliances are increasing in popularity. To be honest, I’ve been stalling – not because I’m not interested, but because I didn’t own either appliance.

But as luck would have it, I received an Instant Pot for Christmas in December and then borrowed my little brother’s air fryer. Without asking. Because it was in storage at our house and he still owes me for some of his Christmas shopping.

The hubby was the first to try the air fryer to make healthy, broiled chicken. It was both quick and tasty. But I was reserving judgment on the air fryer because the true test of the appliance is to make something that’s actually supposed to be fried.

The kiddo picked out this recipe, a restaurant remake of chicken nuggets. Because he’s 10.

So we decided to give it a try. Could I make healthier air-fried chicken nuggets that are just as tasty as the real thing? More importantly, could I make an entree my kid would willingly eat?

The answer to both questions was a resounding “yes.”

Oddly enough, the key to this culinary magic – aside from the air fryer itself – is pickle juice.

We go through an astounding number of pickles in our house. Both the hubby and kiddo love to snack on them and typically eat their way through a few jars a week. It seems we always have pickle juice sitting in the fridge because no one likes to replace the empty jar when they devour the last pickle.

But what do you do with pickle juice? Aside from drink it on a dare, like I used to do when I was a kid? You marinate your chicken.

It sounds weird, I know. But pickle juice is essentially brine, meaning it tenderizes the chicken quickly. And it goes very well with the flavor of the breading, which we spiced up a bit to accommodate our tastes.

Just remember to coat the air fryer well with cooking spray – and the chicken, as well, to help it get that golden glow as it “fries.”

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