Chicken Nuggets are ba-a-a-ack!

An old friend has come back into my life. I thought I was done with this friend. This friend is kind of a pain and even though they've come through in many a pinch, the cons just started to outweigh the pros in our relationship.

I’m talking about chicken nuggets.

Not the precooked kind that come in fun shapes and are ready in 30 seconds. Not the ones that you get delivered right to your car with some sides and a toy. No, these are the ones that are premium, air chilled, all natural, gluten free. And raw. So these chicken nuggets take 25 minutes to make.

Twenty five minutes might not seem very long. It’s one episode of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” or maybe two chapters of that wordy memoir you’re slogging through for book club, if you set Audible to 1.5. But somehow, in a convenience food it just feels . . . . .extra.

We started getting these particular Chicken Nuggets years ago. A mom I know who is perfect in every way (her kids are all teens and she still has a perfect family photo in every holiday card, usually delivered before December begins). She recommended them when the kids were very little, more as a kid-and-adult friendly easy, guiltless dinner item than what I wound up using it for.

What I used them for was lunch. And that 25 minute cook time meant that I had to get up early enough to cook them and then put them into lunches. I had to set aside my strong feeling that getting up before 7 was just rude. But, the kids got a hot (really, warm) lunch, freshly made by mom each morning. And it was ALL NATURAL!!!!!

After awhile, the chicken nuggets and I began to rely on one another. I would rescue them from freezer burn by the case, and they would keep through the week so I didn’t have to think about What’s For Lunch.

There were problems, sure. Squeezing enough nuggets onto the toaster oven pan, supplying ketchup that didn’t spill and the eternal question of how to keep them both hot and crispy until lunch.

Then there was the earlier schedule high school occasioned. Somehow, both middle school and high school start within 10 minutes of each other but we have to leave here fully 20 minutes early to get to the high school on time. Faced with getting up even earlier, I decided to try making the chicken nuggets in the evenings, while cleaning up after dinner, and then reheating them in the microwave in the morning. This was successful in only one way: slowly everyone decided they no longer wanted chicken nuggets. One last box lingered in the fridge for months. I thought I was done.

Until someone who has been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch since the dawn of time finally got tired to PB&J (I finally had to admit that it wasn’t right for me to resend the same PB&J to school three times in a row in hopes that somehow this time it would be eaten.)

This lunch eater was at a loss for what to eat, but when I opened the freezer, there they were, my old friends. Time to fire up the toaster oven.

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Beth McConnellComment