I don't know about you, but my children could eat chicken goujons or nuggets five nights a week, if I let them.

What is it about processed chicken that children love so much? The mildness of its flavour? The brown-ness? The salt?

Don't get me wrong, I love a nice piece of fried chicken. But when it comes to frozen foods, they generally fall flat for me both nutritionally and from a flavour perspective.

When I'm exhausted after a long day of work and the kids are absolutely starving, these are the foods we end up giving them.

On nights when I have a bit more time and energy, I will make them a more homemade version - like this delicious crisp-coated chicken.

This may not sound like a healthy alternative - I mean, we are coating the chicken with crushed up crisps! But in terms of nutritional value, we are using a lean, unprocessed protein (chicken breast) and are oven-baking instead of deep-fat frying.

There is residual oil on the crisps, but that is the only added fat. As the crisps are already seasoned, we don't have to season the chicken as generously.

And, of course, instead of serving it with oven chips, we can serve with mash, boiled new potatoes or even just a simple salad and a bit of dipping sauce (I use a spicy chilli pepper sambal here, but the kids love sweet chilli or plain ketchup).

You don't have to flatten out the chicken or anything overly complicated here, so it comes together really quickly and cooks in around 20 minutes.

You can experiment with the flavour of the crisps (I enjoy the salt and vinegar but any crisp will work) or the protein (this makes a delicious crisp-coated fish as well; it's the exact same method - just swap the chicken breast for cod, haddock or hake).

Quick and easy crisp-coated chicken

Serves four


4 medium sized chicken breasts or 12 chicken mini-fillets

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp onion powder (optional)

200g crushed crisps (I use salt and vinegar but you can use any potato-based crisp)

150g plain flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

green salad, to serve

dipping sauce of choice, to serve

boiled or roasted baby potatoes, to serve


1 Preheat your oven to 190°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.

2 Set up your breading station: place three pans on your work surface (or shallow bowls). In the first, place the flour. In the second, add the lightly beaten egg and in the third place the crushed crisps.

3 Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and onion powder (granules). Dip the chicken in the flour to coat (shake off any excess), then add it to the beaten egg, coating it generously. Finally, dip the chicken into the crushed crisps and press down on both sides to completely coat the breast in the crisps.

4 Place the coated chicken breast on the lined baking tray and continue the process with the remaining chicken breasts.

5 Place the baking tray in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until completely cooked through. The crisps should be golden brown in colour and the chicken should have a minimum internal temperature of 74° when probed with a meat thermometer.

6 Serve the chicken piping hot with a side salad, dipping sauces and potatoes.

Read more

Garden glut: what to do with all those courgettes

The best way to preserve a glut of homegrown beetroot