Look, I realize that the title alone of this story is going to roll some eyes because chicken nuggets are often dismissed as kid's food, not worthy of the time of day for serious home cooks. But we all have those nights when we need to get dinner done, despite really wanting to just order pizza. So we reach for the box of frozen nuggets and tear through the pantry in the hope of turning an otherwise boring box of chicken into a miracle meal. Here are 11 quick ideas for just such an occasion.
1. Chicken Nugget Parmesan
Cook up the nuggets according to their package directions and boil a pot of pasta. Spoon some tomato sauce over the cooked nuggets and sprinkle them with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese and then return the nuggets to the oven until the cheese is melted. Serve the nuggets over the pasta with additional sauce.
Upgrade that tomato sauce: 5 Tips for a Better Tasting Tomato Sauce
2. Chicken Nugget Sliders
Stack cooked nuggets onto sweet rolls or mini biscuits and top with a dill pickle. Serve with a quick slaw or roasted broccoli.
Get inspired: Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey
3. Chicken Nugget Pitas
Give cooked nuggets the falafel treatment and tuck them into warm pitas with yogurt sauce, feta, olives, and chopped tomatoes.
Our favorite yogurt sauce: Sriracha-Yogurt Sauce
4. Chicken Nugget Tacos
Think of this as a quick hack on fried chicken tacos. Pair with a fresh slaw of cabbage and carrots and toss each dressing.
Try this slaw: Tri-Color Slaw with Lime Dressing
5. Chicken Nuggets and Waffles
Frozen nuggets, meet frozen waffles. The whole delicious experiment should be drizzled with warm maple syrup and topped with hot sauce. Serve with a fruit salad, if you're feeling virtuous.
A colorful fruit salad: Rainbow Fruit Salad
6. Faux Fried Chicken Salad
Instead of just throwing cooked chicken nuggets onto a bed of greens, try to add in a few extra salad toppings. Sauté some frozen corn or add a hard-boiled egg for a fast chopped salad. Top with grated cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and thinly sliced red onion.
For those eggs: How To Boil Eggs Perfectly Every Time
7. Buffalo Chicken Nugget Wraps
Toss the nuggets with equal parts melted butter and hot sauce, then serve the results in a wrap or pita with a celery-apple salad and crumbled blue cheese.
A side to try: Brown Rice Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cherries
9. Chicken Nugget Caesar Salad
You could eat this in a wrap too. Mix up your favorite Caesar salad and top it with sliced nuggets. Definitely better than a drive-thru Caesar salad.
Make the dressing: How To Make the Best Caesar Dressing
10. Chicken and Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese
What is better than the creamy combination of broccoli, pasta, and cheddar cheese? Adding chopped chicken nuggets to the mix! This combination isn't pretty, but it is well-loved.
Fast & tasty: How To Make the Best Macaroni and Cheese on the Stove
11. Chicken Nugget Kabobs
Pair chicken nuggets with a couple of quick-cooking vegetables — zucchini and cherry tomatoes come to mind and kabob them onto skewers before roasting.
For dipping: Quick Ranch Dressing