Let’s get back into the swing of foodie Friday’s! After all, the weekend is a time for making sure you’re prepared for the week ahead, and there’s no better way to do so than by hitting up happy hour and neglecting all of your adult responsibilities… err, I mean meal prep!
So, I went to the butcher this week and I was going to go all Plain Jane and grab some chicken breasts. My mind changed in the last moment before I spoke up, and I told the lovely meat-monger behind the counter that I’d like some chicken wings. Anxiety set in, as I thought my imagination would be stifled by the time it came to cook them. I wondered if I even liked wings for a moment (of course I like wings!)
Pastured chicken is hard to come by cheap, but wings make a super budget-friendly choice for those wanting to source their chicken responsibly. If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, I would recommend DJ’s Butcher Block in Bloomfield. They have an amazing staff and selection of local meat.
Anyways, I was struck by a goldmine of recipe inspiration because I found out that Wednesday was National Fried Chicken day because… duh. I also learned that July 29th is National Chicken Wing Day, so you have TWO great holidays to celebrate this month, and I’ve got the recipes to make it happen.
So, in short, I wanted FRIED chicken. I live about three blocks from a KFC, but my sane mind tells me, “No, Alex. That is not healthy. You can do better.” While the wafting smells of glorious buckets of bird sometimes tempt me on my walks to the farmer’s market, my motivation to DIY it only grows stronger. So, that’s what I did.
I perused some recipes, but recipes overwhelm me. There are ALL THESE INGREDIENTS, and I probably don’t have them. So, I did what I do – I made some up myself.
I had around 3 lbs. of chicken wings, so if you’re attempting these recipes, just divvy up your supply into thirds and go for it.
While I did want fried chicken, I also wanted Asian chicken and buffalo-ranch chicken. Really, I wanted ALL the chicken. I did what I could. This took me about five minutes of thinking, ten minutes of doing, and a total meltdown in the process. A meltdown, you say? Well, here’s what happened. Story time!
I was getting my chicken wings all ready, humming along and sweating my butt off (hello, no central AC!) and I popped the first batch into the oven. About ten minutes in, I notice a smell and my vision was blurring. It looked like I was standing over the Golden Gate Bridge as the fog rolled in. I realized I was in my kitchen, not San Francisco enjoying the views, so I opened the oven to a fire-y void of FIRE.
As I’ve never received any formal firefighter training, I was taken aback. I remembered there was an extinguisher in the closet, but the gauge read ‘empty’ (thanks, landlord!) and I was screaming bloody murder. My throat still hurts from shrieking curses into the world, hoping someone would come to my rescue. Either my neighbors think this is normal or they weren’t home, because I fought this fire alone. ALL ALONE.
I (maybe naively so) attempted to take out the chicken wings so I didn’t give them that extra coating of the weird white stuff in fire extinguishers. I’m assuming it isn’t palatable, and even if it were, I also assume it’s poisonous. If I was going to die, I was going down engulfed in flames, not because I ate something with an obvious “DO NOT EAT” warning on it. My attempt to remove the tray from the oven only made the fire’s blaze more aggressive, so I played it safe. By screaming. A lot.
To my GREAT relief, the fire went out on its own. I might be over exaggerating the size of this thing. It was small even at its most furious, but it was still a threat to my LIFE, so I wasn’t exactly playing it cool. It reminded me of the scene in Clueless with Cher when she burnt the loaf of bread. “Oh honey, you baked!” Well, I tried.
The good news? It worked. These chicken wings were the bomb, and there were zero casualties. My dog and I lived to tell the tale.
Here is the recipe for Blazin’ Good Chicken Wings… 3 Ways.
For all recipes: You need six chicken wings and the other ingredients specified. Then, they’ll go in the oven for an hour on a greased pan and you’re golden. These are all gluten and grain-free, paleo-friendly, and much better for you than KFC.
Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wings
– 6 chicken wings
– Tessemae’s Spicy Southwest Ranch
In a bowl, pour some of the ranch dressing and coat the chicken wings thoroughly, focusing on the meat. Lay flat on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour at 375 F.
Crispy “Fried” Chicken Wings
– 6 chicken wings
– ¼ cup cassava flour
– ¼ cup coconut flour
– BBQ seasoning (or your seasoning of choice)
Mix up dry ingredients in a bowl until evenly distributed. I use a blend of BBQ seasoning from Costco that contains no added sugar (yay!). Then, dip the chicken wings, thoroughly coating the entire thing. If your dry mix begins to clump, add more flour and seasoning. With 6 wings, this shouldn’t be an issue. Lay flat on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour at 375 F. The crumb turned out absolutely perfect on these! You could also reserve a little ranch to dip these in.
Ginger-garlic-soy Chicken Wings
– 6 chicken wings
– 2 tbsp. coconut aminos (liquid aminos or Tamari is fine!)
– 2 tsp. ginger powder (or 1 inch knob of finely diced fresh ginger)
– 1 tsp. garlic powder (or 1-2 cloves of finely diced fresh garlic)
Mix dry and wet ingredients together. Thoroughly coat 6 chicken wings in the liquid. You could add some coconut sugar as well to give it a sweet kick. The liquid won’t stick too well to the chicken wings, so using a brush is helpful. Bake for 1 hour at 375 F. Dip in additional soy sauce substitute if you wish!
Pro tip: Don’t set your oven on fire! Use a ridged pan in place of a flat baking sheet and make sure your oven is clean without any food residue on the bottom. The coconut oil dripped off of a flat baking sheet onto the bottom of my not-so-clean oven which presented a huge hazard, and I learned my lesson the hard way. The good news? THE CHICKEN WINGS WERE DELICIOUS! I cannot wait to have you try them for yourself!