Kid-friendly fast-food alternatives

Apr 22, 2008 at 5:02 p.m. ET

Fast-food is an easy substitute for cooking a homemade family meal - it is quick, requires little thought, and your children are nearly guaranteed to be happy. What kid doesn't love chicken nuggets? However, the majority of fast-food - even the chicken dishes - is unhealthfully loaded with fat, salt and calories. Instead of relying on fast-food to feed your family when you are pressed for time, surprise your family with healthy alternatives to fast-food chicken favorites. The following kid-friendly chicken recipes can be made quicker than it takes you to order at the drive-thru.

Kid-friendly Chicken Recipes

Backed Chicken Nuggets

Oven-Baked Chicken Nuggets

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients for chicken:
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese
3 egg whites, beaten
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Ingredients for dipping sauce:
1/2 cup honey mustard
1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and combine bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Put egg whites in a separate bowl.

2. Dip chicken pieces in egg whites, then in bread crumb mixture. Place in one layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. Nuggets are done when chicken is fully cooked.

3. Combine honey mustard with mayonnaise for dipping sauce. Place chicken on a warmed serving platter and serve with sauce.

Crispy Chicken Fingers with Curry Ketchup

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients for chicken:
1 1/2 cups cornflake cereal crumbs
Garlic salt to taste
2 eggs
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders

Ingredients for curry ketchup:
1 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
1 scallion, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and combine cornflake crumbs with garlic salt in a bowl. Beat eggs in a separate bowl.

2. Dip chicken in egg, then in cornflake mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until fully cooked. Flip once while baking.

3. For curry ketchup, whisk together all ingredients. Place chicken fingers on individual serving plates and serve with ketchup.

Grilled Chicken Mozzarella Sandwich

Makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons Marinara sauce
3 tablespoons part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 whole grain rolls

1. Grill (or broil) chicken 5 minutes per side, or until fully cooked. Transfer chicken to a large oven-proof skillet and turn on broiler.

2. Spoon marinara sauce on top of chicken and sprinkle with cheese. Place under broiler and cook until sauce is heated and cheese melts. Serve warm on a roll.

For more quick and healthy chicken dinners, check out these recipes:

Quick, healthy dinners with canned chicken

Chicken Vanilla Fricassee

Five quick and healthy dinners with rotisserie chicken