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Sticky Chicken Drumsticks (Or How I Get My Kids to Come Home for Lunch)

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2012-01-17-Chicken.jpg

This is what you make when you want to bribe your boys to come home for lunch. Just kidding. Not really.

Ben and Jackson go to a school where a majority of the kids traipse home for the lunch hour. We live within a 10-minute walk of the playground, so it's an easy trip for them to make. The thing is, my kids have never really liked coming home for lunch and, between you and me, I think it's good for them to stay. At school they socialize with their friends, play outside for 30 minutes or so and return to class refreshed. The energy expenditure that comes from running around like a maniac Jedi, or playing a rousing game of soccer, is a very good thing. Or it was until we reached grade six. Which is when the kids can leave the supervision of the playground and play -- alone -- in the park.

The school has this idea that once the kids are 11 or 12, they can spend their lunch hour away from the place of higher learning. Meaning, if they choose to stay for lunch they can play in the nearby park, or wander off to the local convenience store to buy some candy hang out. I was pretty quick to nix the idea of the latter, but the park seemed like a good idea. Or it was, until 30 or so of them -- or as Ben tells me "everyone" -- decided it would be fun to play UFC-style tackle football sans equipment. That's right. Football. With tackling. And no protection. Or supervision. You can imagine how impressed the moms are.

The good news is I'm smarter than the boys think. And I know there is only one thing Ben loves more than sports and that's food. If I promise a hot meaty lunch, I know it will trump getting beat up by dirty little boys any day of the week. Guess what? I was right. The kids came home twice this week.

Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Garnish: chopped chives, sesame seeds

1. Combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, mustard, oil and ginger in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

2. Place the chicken drumsticks in a reclosable bag and pour in half the maple-soy mixture.

3. Remove the air from the bag and seal tightly. Allow the meat to marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

5. Transfer the drumsticks to the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste with the remaining marinade. Bake for another 20 minutes. Baste one last time when the drumsticks are finished cooking.

6. Place the chicken on a platter and garnish with chopped chives and sesame seeds.

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