Eating baked chicken breasts makes me feel like I’m on a diet. Eating baked chicken legs makes me feel like I’m indulging in southern hospitality.
Growing up, I spent my summers in Doniphan, Missouri with my grandparents. Petting cows in the back yard, hunting for arrowheads in the creek, chasing lightening bugs, and enjoying June apples fresh from the tree…Truly, it was a time of simple pleasures.
Like many southern households, it seemed our lives revolved around food. My grandpa would tend to his garden from dawn to dusk and his skin grew to be the color of leather as he worked in the sun. We grew almost all of our own produce right there in the yard; strawberries, corn, blackberries, grapes, radishes, okra, cabbage, squash, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes and more. I’d help to carry blackberries up to the house and break green beans for canning. All summer, my grandma and I would can our fresh vegetables (and make homemade apple sauce….I was the designated taste tester) to prepare for winter. Growing, preserving, cooking, and eating our own food was a labor of love.
While breakfast and lunch were typically casual affairs, Memaw’s dinners were something to look forward to. My grandmother was raised in southern Missouri on a small farm with 12 brothers & sisters. She grew up with a gracious disposition, a love of entertaining, and an incredible knack for cooking. In fact, she was positively famous in our family for her magic in the kitchen.
Before Memaw passed, she was helping me to record her talent for food. Her meals were the essence of my favorite memories. In a small notebook, she wrote by hand dozens of her favorite recipes. I love reading through them now. Among instructions for how to masterfully create potato soup or fry the most glorious chicken, she scribbled jokes about our family and small reminders of her life. I only wish the notebook was full.
My lifestyle has changed dramatically since I was a child. And while I am still passionate about delicious food, I focus on nourishing my body through my diet. As a result, I am working to adapt Memaw’s recipes into my current lifestyle. Delicious, soulful dishes that are as good for me as they are to my tastebuds. A family favorite is Memaw’s Chicken and Dumplings. She would serve the dumplings with baked chicken legs, sliced radishes & tomatoes, and iced tea. The baked chicken always felt incredibly decadent and flavorful. Below is my adaption; incredibly simple to make and only a few ingredients needed. Enjoy!
Memaw’s Baked Chicken Legs
Paleo, nightshade free
- Local, organic chicken legs with skin (can be of any quantity)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
- Coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Melt coconut oil on stove top
- Toss chicken legs in coconut oil to cover
- Generously sprinkle each leg with spices (think of how Doritos are covered in flavor powder)
- Arrange chicken wings on a baking sheet covered in foil
- Bake for 1 hour