February 11, 2008

Kid-Friendly Baked Chicken

This is something that I concocted after my third child was born. Our meals were suffering as "the witching hour" corresponded with dinner prep time. One night I had a package of chicken thighs on hand and no time to prepare it. In a moment of desperation, I threw the chicken thighs into a baking dish, poured olive oil and soy sauce over the top, threw it all in the oven and said a little prayer. What resulted was a big hit with the kids (and adults!), and is now a staple in our home.


One package bone-in, skin-on organic chicken thighs
One package bone-in, skin-on organic chicken legs
(figure one thigh and one leg per child)
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce

Place chicken on 9 x 12 glass baking dish. Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup soy sauce in a bowl. Increase amounts of liquid for larger quantities, keeping in mind that the chicken will make its own juice that will mix with the sauce. Pour sauce over the chicken and bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes, or until the meat next to the bone is cooked. Enjoy with brown rice, steamed broccoli with butter and a simple salad or raw vegetables. The sauce is delicious poured over the chicken, rice and broccoli, so be sure to make plenty this recipe can also be made with boneless, skinless chicken. The bones and the skin add more nutrition and flavor.

Children Need Whole Foods

Feeding our children doesn’t have to be something that requires a lot of thought or education. It is a simple task, one that we partake in several times a day. Yet it can be daunting to even the most shrewd, creative and nutrition-conscious of parents. How have we, as a culture, as parents, fallen into this abyss of not knowing how to achieve the most primal task of nourishing ourselves and our offspring? Why does just thinking about planning and preparing a meal elicit groans and rebellion from adult and child alike?

Choices: there are too many of them. We have lost our instincts about how to nourish ourselves due the the mass marketing of food and the plethora of ingredients often present in packaged foods. Who would have ever thought, in the early days of mass marketed food, that increased food choices would close doors to so many basic healthy foods by overwhelming our senses and shutting down our basic instincts?

The answer to the question of healthy eating is simple: whole foods. Not crackers, chips, cereals, waffles, pasta and bread; but vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, beans, dairy products and whole grains. Does that mean that we should never eat foods that aren’t whole? No. I truly believe that the stress induced by the attempt to eat completely counter to the modern world can create problems more serious than lack of nutrition. The above mentioned foods have their place in our diets if we desire them, albeit a small place. Moderation is the key point here, keeping in mind that the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is anything but moderate.

A simple whole-food formula to keep in mind for meal preparation is this:
fruits and vegetables
whole grains

These are the foods that contain the raw material to fuel the biochechemical processes in our bodies. Make sure that your child has some of each with each meal. Keep the emphasis on the protein and fruits and vegetables because if you are like most folks, the crackers, chips and cookies have their ways of sneaking into our mouths throughout the day as they tend to be our "default" foods. Watch this blog for examples of the above foods, plus specific meal ideas. In the meantime, enjoy the recipe for Kid-Friendly Baked Chicken!