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Makeover a Fast Food Favorite: Sneaky Zucchini Chicken Nuggets

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There’s not a lot that grows freely in a Colorado garden.  We’ve got rough, rocky soil with layers of thick clay.  Not incredible conditions for a tiny, unassuming seed that is plopped into the ground mid-May and expected to grow itself tall and plentifully round by harvest season.  With that said, you would think we Coloradans are excluded from the heavy bumper crop of zucchini.  And yet, through the clay and the wind and the Colorado hail, zucchini grows a plenty.  This week, a gardening friend stopped by with three monster-sized zucc’s.  We made this incredible zucchini bread, two delightsome zucchini quiche, and still had a good four pounds left of the stuff.  Dinnertime arrived, and I wondered if tucking grated zucchini into our no-fail chicken nugget recipe would work.  Sure enough, it worked like a charm.  The addition of zucchini made the chicken nuggets perfectly moist, with just the slightest hint of green, and my kids giggled over the addition of zucchini to their favorite meal.  My son even said, “Mom!  These are totally good!  I can’t believe it!”

Zucchini Chicken Nuggets

The addition of mild-tasting zucchini to this kid classic is a welcome surprise. The zucchini lends a slight moistness, without altering the chicken flavor. Served with a spoonful of homemade ranch dressing, this is a quick, easy meal that is sure to please everyone at your family dinner table.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. zucchini, grated
1 lb. ground chicken
1 egg
1 tsp. onion salt
2 c. crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs

Instructions:
In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini, chicken, egg, and onion salt until well combined.  Form 1-2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture into small balls, then press flat (until about 1/2 inch thick), and coat in bread crumbs.  Transfer to a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Once all nuggets have been formed and breaded, spray a light layer of nonstick cooking spray over the nuggets.  Cook in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes, or just until nuggets have cooked thoroughly.  Serve with ranch dressing and garden-fresh tomatoes.

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