These maple ginger chicken thighs are the perfect go-to chicken dinner. An easy maple ginger marinade turns into a sticky sweet and gingery sauce that coats crispy chicken thighs and apples.
12 days ago I paid someone (well, not just any random person, a legit company) $500+ to tell me how to eat for 3 months. Are you laughing yet? Yes, I’m a food blogger, a freelance recipe developer and photographer and I just paid someone to tell me how.to.eat.
Thing is, I know how to eat healthy, I’ve done paleo challenges, I’ve done calorie counting, I’ve even dabbled into the world of macros. I probably know enough about food and health to be half way (or more) through a nutrition degree but refuse to pay any more money in schooling at this point in my life.
Yet even with all that, here I am for the past few months, training pretty hard but not able to get my body where I want it to be (ideally a few pounds lighter to make bodyweight movements easier and leaner) because those damn chocolate bars hiding in the corner of my pantry and all the things you see on Instagram tempt me on a daily basis.
So, my solution was to spend enough money to make it sting and use that as accountability.
A pretty in depth questionnaire about my goals and current status later, I started a plan with a coach based around macro-nutrient percentages and meal timing and hopefully things will start to take shape.
I can say this so far though, of all the dietary challenges, fads, experiments I’ve done, this is by far the easiest because nothing is off the table. While some people take macro diet approaches as an opportunity to slam donuts, sugary cereal and other processed foods, I’m not. My pantry and fridge has remained the same, I’m still eating healthy, whole foods.
What has changed, is the lack of “recipes” I’m eating because spending 30 minutes on My Fitness Pal trying to figure out the macro nutrient breakdown in a recipe with 10+ ingredients is not something I have time for in my day.
That’s the hard part for me. Instead, I’m cooking veggies in bulk and proteins separately (for easy measurement later) and then compiling on my plate per meal. I don’t mind it, but as someone who loves being in the kitchen, who on a crisp fall day sometimes yearns to just start chopping onions, garlic and other random things to throw in a big pot and become soup or stew or chili, it can be a bit difficult.
I see all these people on Instagram (#rpstrength) spending their Sundays meal prepping and no less than 20 tupperware containers lined up on the counter filled with the exact same meal for the entire week and I want to cry. The thought of that depresses me. I can’t eat the same thing for 6 meals (because that’s how many meals I’m eating a day now) in 1 day, let alone 7. I need variety! I actually like to cook!
Which brings me to these maple ginger chicken thighs. You were thinking there was never going to be a segue, weren’t you?
About a month ago, I received a copy of Katie’s cookbook, Maple. Katie is the kind of person that makes you want to be a better person. She’s fun, bubbly, super sweet and we may have bonded over both having a love for lifting heavy shit on the many occasions we’ve hung out. As a Vermonter who makes her own maple syrup in her backyard with her family, Katie is more than fit to write this book with 100 sweet and savory recipes celebrating maple syrup. Maple came out last week and one of the first recipes that caught my eye was this one for maple ginger chicken thighs.
Firstly, everyone has (or needs to have) that one chicken recipe you come back to time and time again. That one when you can’t think of anything else to make for dinner, becomes dinner. Katie’s head-note on this recipe promised me this would be that recipe and she wasn’t wrong. Besides the draw of the apple cider, apples, shallots and thyme which are just perfect for this time of year, you know what else was great about this recipe in my eyes? Calculating the macros was a piece of cake! Finally, a recipe I can make without losing my mind trying to figure out how much fat/carbs/protein there are in each serving.
The marinade/cooking liquid is so good you’ll want to drink the juices from the bottom of the baking dish. The chicken gets nice and crispy on top while remaining juicy and tender on the inside and the apples, oh the apples. They might be my favorite part of this whole dish as they bake down and absorb all the amazing maple, ginger flavor from the marinade.
This recipe alone is worth buying the book for but I can guarantee you, you’ll fall in love with all the recipes, the gorgeous photography and the eye-opening educational look into the art of sugaring. One of my favorite little touches in the book is the notation on each recipe for paleo, vegan and gluten-free where fitting and I think you’ll be shocked at how many delicious sounding recipes there are for each!
Grab the book on Amazon, it’d make a great holiday gift!