Tis the season for gatherings and festive celebrations! The holiday season is upon us and now that it’s nearing Christmas, I’m really starting to feel the spirit. One of my favourite things to do this time of year is get together with loved ones around the dining table and share in some meals together. There are some traditions that my family upholds (like our annual spicy seafood and beef hot pot, which is always a must), but I also like to change things up once in a while and bring a new dish to the table.
With our recent diet overhaul and lifestyle change, this got me thinking about how to approach social gatherings this year. Mark and I are the only low-carbers in our immediate family and friends circle, so it can get difficult to get together with people when there’s food involved. However, it is not impossible. In fact, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to meet our needs while also ensuring that we don’t become a burden on others. After all, this is our lifestyle choice and we have accepted the challenges that come with it.
We’re also of the mind that indulgence is not always about the volume of food consumed, but rather the quality and the atmosphere in which you enjoy said food. When I think back to previous years, I had a habit of stuffing myself to the brim (you know the feeling… unbutton the pants, stake claim to a comfy spot on the couch and stay there for the rest of the night). The food was great, sure, but it was spending time with the people I cared about that mattered the most. This year we’re opting for the “mindfully indulge” mentally, with the focus on building new memories with loved ones and truly enjoying our time together.
Holiday potlucks are a pretty popular type of gathering and I was thinking of what I would take as a dish that would be both crowd-pleasing and low-carb friendly. I was also trying to think of something that would be relatively healthy and not overly indulgent (there’s plenty of that anyway during the holidays in general). Chicken wings don’t seem to fit the bill initially, but when they’re seasoned with a nice herb blend and baked in the oven until crispy, they’ll do the trick.
Everybody loves chicken wings, right? They’re fun, versatile, and a staple at many social gatherings (think Wing Wednesdays). These babies don’t need a deep fryer to come out just as delicious (if not more, in my opinion) as the bars and restaurants do them. Besides, I’m afraid of deep frying in general (my delicate skin!), so the oven is one of my favourite cooking appliances. Give these wings a try and then head on over to ALOHA’s magazine page for some more healthy recipe inspiration for your holiday parties!
These wings are just simply seasoned with sea salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Any spice blend will work on these though, but I’ve been really loving Italian seasoning lately. I buy my chicken from the local organic/health food store and they come in packs of a dozen, already prepared. I’ve been consciously choosing organic, free range meats as much as possible, but it’s entirely a personal choice. I make a couple dozen at a time – I find that this is the optimal amount to cook in the oven together, so that the wings aren’t crowded on the baking sheets and I can rotate the baking sheets halfway through the cooking time. I’m also a fan of lining the sheets with foil before lining with parchment. Clean-up is a breeze afterwards; I often don’t even have to wash the sheets afterwards, which is great because doing the dishes is not my forte.
No need for a deep fryer to get these crispy. All they need is some time in the oven. They’re perfectly seasoned, crisp, and juicy, and work well as an appetizer or as a full meal (we often eat a couple dozen for dinner because they’re easy and delicious).
Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
- 2 dozen chicken wings, tips removed, drumettes and flats separated
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp course sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425F and place the racks on the top and bottom third of the oven. Prepare two large rimmed baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Place the seasoning, garlic powder, pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Mix well.
Divide wings between prepared baking sheets and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle a generous amount of the prepared seasoning on both sides of the wings. Bake the wings for 20 minutes; flip the wings and rotate the baking sheets. Bake for another 15 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve immediately.