Helga’s Chicken Finger/Fish Stick Recipe

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Easy recipe

Kid Friendly Chicken Fingers

If you know me, you know that feeding my kids is one of the biggest challenges for me as a parent. My kids get along for the most part. They could use some lessons in table manners, sure.  But feeding them? Don’t get me started! It is expensive enough to buy organic meats, cheeses, milk, etc, but when they outright reject what I serve? I lose my sh*t.  My 6 year old boy takes one look at the dish in front of him, and instead of fighting me on it (“If I don’t see you at least eating some of what is on your plate, you can go straight to bed, mister! I will not listen to you cry & moan over this meal!”) he will say “OK, I’m going to bed. Good night.” And he will head upstairs, brush his teeth, and go to bed. I am not exaggerating. This has happened more than once. Of course, then he is up at 5 am, hungry.

I found a recipe the other day for a variation of a chicken Parmesan. I didn’t have a whole chicken, like the recipe called for, but a couple of organic breasts I needed to use. I cut the breasts up into chicken nugget & chicken finger size pieces and tweaked a few steps and – success!! My husband & I thought it was delish, and my daughter had three servings and couldn’t stop saying how much she loved it. As a matter of fact, the first thing she said to me the next morning when I went to wake her for school was, even as her eyes were still closed: “When are you gonna make those chicken fingers again?” And my son? He ate them without complaint. He said, “I don’t like them very much because I don’t like chicken. But these aren’t the most awful thing you’ve cooked.”  (thanks kid!) To me, he ate it, that equals success. My husband had the leftovers for lunch the next day in a wrap, loved it! Next time I make it I will get a picture for this post.

(I must note that I don’t buy pre-made chicken nuggets because the mainstream brands are crap, and the higher quality brands you can find at Whole Foods my kids won’t eat.)

Without further ado, the recipe. It’s pretty quick & easy. It isn’t low fat, but we don’t eat big servings of anything around here, so I don’t mind. I used organic where ever I could. I also left out the parsley because heaven forbid there be something GREEN on this chicken!

Helga’s Chicken Fingers

  • 1-3 organic chicken breasts, rinsed &  cut into nugget & finger-like pieces, but not TOO small.
  • 1/2 to 1 cup buttermilk or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (don’t use that powder-y Kraft Parmesan cheese, use the shredded real kind, makes all the difference!)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Put chicken nuggets into a bowl and cover with the buttermilk or milk. Doesn’t have to be a whole ton of liquid. Set aside while you mix together the rest.


1.     Measure salt and pepper, garlic powder, paprika, thyme, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and bread crumbs into a bowl.

2.     Next, take damp chicken pieces and roll in bowl of Parmesan bread crumb mixture, mix with hands until well coated.

3.  Oil one to two glass baking dishes lightly (13×9 or 11×7 depending on how much chicken you are making)  and arrange chicken in dish. Drizzle with  melted butter, and any more of the Parmesan bread crumb mix you have leftover.

  4. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 25 – 30 minutes.  Check on it around 25  minutes because everybody’s oven temps vary and I wouldn’t want you burning it! The chicken should look brown & turn out crispy. Cut through the thickest one to test.

*Updated January 25, 2013*

I have updated this recipe a bit, adding in the buttermilk (or milk) step. Adds to the flavor without taking away that kid-friendly flavor aspect. What I have found to be most helpful on those busy night after school is to just make up a double recipe of the coating and keep it in the fridge to use whenever! And it makes GREAT fish stick coating as well! Cut up pieces of cod (or whatever your family like) into fish stick size pieces, then follow the recipes the same as for the chicken. It is one of the few ways I can get fresh fish into my kids. I added a side of marinara sauce for dipping, which my daughter loved. Now, two years after this original post? Both my kids love it when I make this either way – especially my son! –  it’s a winner-winner-chicken-dinner all around. 🙂



  1. Wow, this sounds really awesome! I have a seriously picky 8 year old and chicken fingers and fish sticks are some of his staple foods. I’d love it if he would eat this! We’re going to try it this weekend. Thanks!

    ps. I’m really glad to hear your daughter is doing better. I followed her story on facebook last winter and I can’t imagine how hard that was to live with.

    1. I hope it works out! I would love to know if it does – I think I told your husband the same thing, take out some of the seasonings so that you have more of a crunchy based coating, plus some dipping sauce on the side that he may like. It has take me a long time to move my kids away from what I thought was an all right diet to a more intense, cooking most of the time, no fast or convenience foods unless under duress diet. A lot of it prompted by my daughter’s GI issues as well. I know it is hard! PLEASE tell me how it goes with this recipe!

      Thanks for your kind words for my daughter. Been a long road. But I have learned so much!

  2. I’m so going to try making these this weekend. My older son is an extremely picky eater and we are always trying to get less processed foods into him. Chicken nuggets (whole wheat at least), fish sticks and hotdogs are his primary protein sources 🙁

    1. Jon, I totally feel your pain. It has taken me a solid 2 years to go from relatively ok kid food to more traditional home healthy cooking with dishes like this one to fill in the blanks. And I am still struggling, though nowhere nearly as bad. This recipe really helped me fill a healthy protein void – there is only so many egg noodles I can give my kids. Pasta until it was coming out of their ears! If your kid is picky and likes blander food, go easy on the seasonings in this recipe. I had to start out with barely any season and mostly bread crumb for the crunch. Then make sure you have a traditional dipping sauce like ketchup or whatever to add to the familiarity. I also offered honey for dipping (nope) honey mustard (double nope) and BBQ sauce – that went over well. I use Annie’s Organic, which is pretty good for BBQ sauce. Let me know how it goes! Sometimes you have to try, try again many times before it ‘sticks’. 🙂

  3. Helga's Chicken Finger Recipe – http://bit.ly/gADu6l yummy, organic, no fillers or crap. Delish!

  4. Helga's Chicken Finger Recipe http://bit.ly/fdh65l yummy yummy. No fillers or crap, just a kid friendly recipe!

  5. Helga's Chicken Finger Recipe – Live Green Mom: I also left out the parsley because heaven forbid there be somet… http://bit.ly/ggC8nc

  6. Sounds really great. I laughed at your boy going up stairs to bed instead of eating, that’s happened here.

  7. These are quick and easy and surprisingly delish! http://fb.me/sI5PqIV8

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