When it comes to dinner for the family, kids who might be picky about chicken do not often have to be coerced to eat drumsticks. The reasons for this are many between drum sticks being portrayed more often than other pieces of chicken in cartoons to the ease of eating them.

Regardless of why children are more apt to eat drumsticks than chicken breasts, wings, or thighs, parents must decide how to prepare them. For a healthy choice, baking is always good. Baking drumsticks requires minor preparation, simple ingredients, and a few good sides.

First, decide which kind of pan is going to be used. Dark metal pans and clear Pyrex glass pans are both good; it just comes down to a matter of preference and availability. For those who use metal pans, preheat the oven to 375°. Those who are going to use glass pans may want to set the oven to 400° because the dark metal conducts a little hotter than glass. Those who prefer glass pans, but want to set their ovens to the rotisserie setting of 375° may have to let the chicken cook a little longer.

When the oven is ready seasonings should already be on the chicken. For those using dry seasonings add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. This will prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan. For those using a marinade or salad dressing (Italian can go nicely) this will not be necessary. Place the pan in the oven with aluminum foil over the top to trap the moisture, allowing for a succulent and juicy entree.

As it bakes the chicken should be turned over several times, preferably every 20 minutes. This will allow for consistent baking and the marinade to spread evenly.

The chicken should be prepared in 80 minutes. When to prepare sides will depend on what sides are going to be served. For example, if one was going to make mashed potatoes from scratch, then a pot of water should be placed on the stove 40-60 minutes before the chicken is cooked depending on how many are being served. If sides are simpler like macaroni and cheese, then 20 minutes may be enough time.

At 80 minutes, the chicken should be checked to ensure it has been cooked through. This can be done by sticking a fork in several pieces and ensuring the juices run out clear. If they are not clear, then let them bake for another 10-20 minutes. The advantage of baking them in a moist environment is that there is an extended level of flexibility in cooking time whereas if they were made dry, then the time would have to be more precise to avoid overcooking and burning.

On a last note, baked chicken goes great with fruit. While most families should consider an array of healthy vegetables, such as green beans, sweet peas, carrots, and broccoli, fresh fruit should not be eliminated as a choice. The best choices in fruit are often the juiciest. Cherries, honeydew, and watermelon will prove to be superior choices to apples and pears. In terms of starchy sides, potatoes, rice, or pasta go well.

Baked drumsticks is a surefire meal to satisfy appetites all around. Incorporating a healthy starch, fruit, and/or vegetable will make it a grand success between balancing the meal and gracing everyone’s palate with sophistication and flavor.

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