Thanksgiving Dinner Turkey Drumstick Leg On Paper Plate free creative commonsphoto © 2009 D. Sharon Pruitt | more info (via: Wylio)

Just to be clear: That drumstick in the photo is not one that I cooked.

It’s January (did you know?), so we’re back on the budget wagon. This means stern lectures and cash envelopes and a trip to a grocery store I don’t usually shop at because it had a great deal on chicken.

Unfortunately, that chicken (to be more precise, ONE bag of that chicken) wasn’t exactly what I intended to buy. What I THOUGHT I was buying: frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breasts. What I DID buy: frozen chicken drumsticks.

Drumsticks! Who BUYS drumsticks? And for crying out loud, what am I supposed to DO with them?

Of course I didn’t realize I’d bought a bag of the wrong chicken until it was thawed out and opened. If I’d realized it before then, I would have simply posted on Facebook and found a local friend who – for reasons I cannot possibly fathom – likes drumsticks.

Now, I’m going on and on about how awful drumsticks are, but I certainly wasn’t raised that way. I remember well a time when my brother and I would fight over the fried drumsticks at a chicken dinner, and OH, what a treat those slimy, stringy pieces of chicken were.

But for the life of me I cannot remember why.

See, for many years now, I’ve been a chicken snob. Not “snob,” as in I’ve got to have the highest quality chicken or anything. Just as in refusing to eat it on the bone and cutting off any trace of fat or gristle.

I know. I KNOW. I never would have made it in the pioneer days. Or any days other than today when you can buy a bag of frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breasts for $4.00. But seriously. Just typing the word gristle up there kind of creeped me out.

But we’re adhering to our grocery budget this month! And I’m not going to be wasteful! No leftover left behind!

Or something.

So, I did what any modern mom would do, and I got online to figure out what on earth to do with these stupid drumsticks. And the world of Twitter and Skype did not let me down.

After getting several great recommendations (Much better than the one a while back that suggested I read “a recipe book,” because she finds that is helpful. For real?), I found a recipe that seemed perfect. It was simple, it used (mostly) only ingredients I already had on hand, and it was a Pioneer Woman creation.

You can’t go wrong with Pioneer Woman, right?

Oh, but you can. Or, more accurately, I CAN.

Without going into the most gory details (do you KNOW how much skin is on a drumstick? or how HARD it is to pull it off?), let me just cut to the chase. The dinner was a DISASTER.

The recipe called for dipping each drumstick in a yogurt mixture, coating in panko breadcrumbs and then baking until crispy. I didn’t have yogurt but was convinced sour cream and/or mayo would work. And, really, are panko breadcrumbs really THAT much different than the plain, fine ones I have? (Yes. Yes, they are.) And even though I knew I should use my biggest baking dish, it was dirty, so surely my smaller one would work just fine.

Um, no. And no. And NO.

My sour cream/mayo/garlic/parsley mixture was, in hindsight, too thick and glopped on way too much. The regular breadcrumbs were too grainy and made for poor (or, really, non-existent) crispy-ness. And cramming those nasty drumsticks into a too-small pan and then expecting them to crisp up – or even COOK ALL THE WAY THROUGH IN AN HOUR? Apparently that was just too much to ask.

I didn’t take a picture. If you were wondering, which my friend Kelly (who encouraged me to share this delightful tale with you) was this morning. No way. Looking at the chicken – even after it was [FINALLY] cooked through – was enough to make me gag.

Mark ate one piece of the chicken, and then we threw it into the trash. It was the saddest grocery day of the year. I think I heard a little whimper from my cash envelope…or maybe that was me.

I don’t even have a lesson learned or upbeat summary for you. Just the lingering sadness of a dinner gone wrong, SO wrong. Who knew I could feel like I’ve let down the Pioneer Woman and Dave Ramsey in one night?

Tried any new recipes lately?

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