Chicken drumsticks are a comfort food to me. It reminds me of my childhood because I ate them all the time. My mom usually seasoned and baked a bunch for the week, and it would be warm for dinner and cold for lunch. I was probably one of the few kids that would be sent to elementary school with a big ol’ drumstick in her lunch box. But then again I always had something different to bring with me to lunch.
I totally could relate in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” when Tula would talk about not having a white bread sandwich like the other kids, and getting weird looks at some of the things that were packed for lunch. My hippie mom didn’t believe in processed foods, and instead believed that unless it was leftovers from a restaurant, whatever she cooked at home was perfectly fine for lunch. She also made a lot of traditional Jewish foods, so I would go to school with brisket, matzoh ball soup (in a thermos to keep warm), kugel, and gefilte fish. Don’t get me wrong, I loved all of those foods, but like Tula, kids made fun of me at lunchtime and I would cringe in fear when I opened my care bears lunchbox to see what I was having.
When Lunchables were first introduced in the 1980s, you were cool at my school if you had one because they were still so new and rare back then. I remember begging my mom to buy some for me, and she refused because the meat and cheese were so processed. But bless her soul, she tried to recreate them with her homemade roasted turkey breast, little slices of white American cheese, and Ritz crackers (one of the few “processed” foods she allowed in the house). It just wasn’t the same.
It wasn’t until college when I tried Lunchables, Chef Boyardee Spaghetti O’s, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Ramen Noodles and Lucky Charms for the first time, just because I could. I realized I wasn’t missing much in the taste category, that’s for sure! However, since they were so cheap and the dorm food was so horrible, my roommate and I ate a lot of those items (and other crap!) for dinners. No wonder I gained 20 lbs my freshman year!
Needless to say, I still love chicken drumsticks, and since I have a bunch in my freezer, I wanted to use them up and try a different flavoring for this week. I had a couple of oranges, a jar of minced ginger, and a new bottle of balsamic vinegar and voila, I had an idea for a sauce! And now I’m excited to share my recipe because the photo I posted of it on Instagram during Food Prep Sunday received the most comments of the photos I posted that day. Enjoy!
Orange Ginger Balsamic Sauce
- zest and juice of 1 large navel orange
- 1 TB minced ginger
- 3 TB coconut aminos
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 green onions, sliced
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
- 10-12 drumsticks (approx 2 pounds) – I keep the skins on because it helps the chicken get crispy, but it would be totally fine if you took them off if that’s your preference.
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray a large baking dish with coconut or olive oil spray.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
- When the skillet is heated, add the extra virgin olive oil and swirl to evenly cover the pan. Lay the drumsticks inside the pan, and cook each side for 2-3 minutes until they are golden brown. Depending on the size of your skillet you may need to do this in batches.
- When done browning, place drumsticks in the baking dish in one layer. Put the skillet back on the stove, and add the sauce. Stir with a wooden spoon to help break up any brown bits from cooking the chicken. Bring to a low bubble and remove from the heat.
- Pour the heated sauce evenly over the chicken, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked.