How To Make A Lighter Healthier Chicken Parmesan

Healthier chicken parmesan
Healthier chicken parmesan | Source

Recipe Redo for Parmesan Chicken


Just about everyone I know loves Chicken Parmesan or as it's also known by its Italian name--Chicken Parmigiana.

If you happen to be watching your calorie and fat intake, however, the true breaded version of this Italian favorite smothered in cheese is something you shouldn't eat all the time.

In an effort to continue to enjoy some of our favorite dishes yet use a healthier version of some old standards, I came across Joy Bauer's recipe for Grilled Chicken Parmesan.

I loved the simplicity of her recipe but I did think her use of cheese a little on the excessive side. It all becomes a matter of learning to live with less of some stuff with the up side being that you get to enjoy more of the "bad" stuff when it's cooked in a healthier way. So shaving off some of the cheese in her recipe made this already healthier recipe even better.

This dish is traditionally served with pasta noodles. If you're going to do pasta, try some of the wheat or brown rice noodles instead. They are by far more nutritious and once you get accustomed to the taste, they're really quite good. It also seems that you eat less of the noodles when they aren't made of white or more processed flours.

Also try my suggestion for Northern style pasta dishes with a twist--instead of pasta.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: Serves 4 people - 6 oz. chicken breast
4.7 stars from 3 ratings of Healthier Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, (if desired pounded for even thickness)
  • 1/2 cup meatless marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded low fat part skim milk mozzarella cheese, (or other lower fat Italian cheese)
  • 1/4 cup basil chiffonade, (see video below)
  • cooked pasta noodles, (optional)

Healthier Version Chicken Parmesan

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 chicken breast-6 oz.
Calories 277
Calories from Fat63
% Daily Value *
Fat 7 g11%
Saturated fat 3 g15%
Carbohydrates 3 g1%
Fiber 1 g4%
Protein 44 g88%
Cholesterol 115 mg38%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Prepare chicken. Wash, dry and pound to even thickness to assure adequate cook time for all portions. (see video below for easy way to even out a chicken breast)
  3. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray or olive oil spray.
  4. Spray large skillet with olive oil spray or cooking spray. Add chicken breasts and sear over medium heat on each side for 5-7 minutes. Chicken should no longer be pink in the middle.
  5. Transfer the chicken breasts to the foil-lined baking sheet. Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of meatless marinara sauce.
  6. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese. (Here I change the recipe to only 2 tablespoons of cheese which is half of what the recipe calls for)
  7. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for about a minute or so to melt the cheese. (Make sure before you add chicken to the broiler that it has temped out as done in the middle--160-170 degrees but it will cook further under the broiler and if covered, will continue to cook after removing it from the oven)
  8. Remove from oven and garnish with basil chiffonade.
  9. Serve with a green salad and a small slice of Italian bread. Also great with pasta noodles such as whole wheat angel hair pasta. Serve with a fruity white wine such as a Chardonnay. For a Northern Italian flare, serve over mashed potatoes--or try my "fake" mashed potatoes instead (recipe follows).

Tips

  • Cut back on the cheese by half and you've reduced the fat and calories.
  • Flattening out the chicken breasts helps them cook evenly and also gives you an accurate temperature reading for the entire portion of meat.
  • If you don't have marinara sauce on hand, you can substitute a can of petite diced tomatoes in their juice. Spoon atop the chicken breasts with a fork to avoid getting the chicken breasts overly drenched in tomato juice.

How to Flatten a Chicken Breast

Doing a basil chiffonade adds a delicate (and delicious) garnish to any Italian dish but especially flavorful with Chicken Parmesan.

How to Make a Basil Chiffonade

Northern Italian Cuisine

Fake Mashed Potatoes Recipe


Northern Italians oftentimes eat their pasta dishes atop mashed potatoes instead of pasta noodles.

However, if you want a neat way to replace potatoes and still have the "flavor" of mashed potatoes, here's a simple substitute--cauliflower mashed potatoes.

Many people are skeptical but I think they taste like the real deal--and once you get used to them, you'll hardly ever miss the real kind.

Ingredients:

  • Large head of cauliflower, washed, cut up and steamed until just crisp tender, not soggy
  • Few tablespoons of chicken broth or nonfat milk
  • Nonfat cream cheese 1-3 tablespoons (optional)
  • Butter or margarine (optional)
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Steam the cauliflower until just cooked but not soggy--drain.
  2. Add butter or nonfat cream cheese if using to hot "potatoes" and let melt in--begin mashing.
  3. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper.
  4. Add chicken broth or nonfat milk to the desired texture of your mashed potatoes--leave in chunks of cauliflower to resemble chunks of potato.
  5. You can also do this in a food processor but be careful not to over-pulse or the cauliflower potatoes will turn out to be more of a pureed style!


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Comments 20 comments

akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for stopping in Om and hope you do try it - I kind of thought no way at first but I love them now almost better than the real deal since I know I'm not going to be feeling guilty because I ate them~~


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

Very nice. I like this "comfort food made healthy" recipe. The fake mashed potato idea is also very intriguing! I had never thought of using cauliflower as a potato substitute. Got to try it!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Sharilee - thanks so much for stopping in - and indeed, this is one of my favorites...that's what got me to learn the chiffonade my son was trying to teach me!~~~


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada

Audrey, this is a fantastic recipe! You introduced me to something new -- the basil chiffonade. That looks delicious and something I would like to try. I love the idea of mashed cauliflowers. I have seen them but never tried them as a substitute for mashed potatoes. You given me the reminder to try it. Thanks for this. Voted up and sharing!


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 4 years ago from United States

Terrific and interesting recipe! I'm on a long quest for healthier versions of favorites too. I will try this. I used to make green bean potatoes which tasted good but looked funny. The cauliflower should great! Voted up, beautiful and pinned!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Virginia - I'm with you - it's a mere 97 here today - so far....yuck - and you can grill it or pan do it with cooking spray~ Just be sure and temp the middle.

Green potatoes eh? Kinda neat - maybe at Christmas or for St. Patrick's Day!!!


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 4 years ago from United States

Yummy! I am also on a quest to cut calories from recipes and you've done a great job here. One thing I've noticed is that different marinara sauces have very different calorie counts--so you can sometimes save calories there. I also am trying to use fat-free cheese or half fat free and half low fat. Since it is 105 here in Texas today, I'm also not using my oven, but I think you can probably pan fry for a similar effect. I used to make potatoes from green beans --which tasted great but looked weird! I'll try the cauliflower!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

BJ - No worries~~~ I just have to try and keep on the health nut track as much as possible.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Love this simple easy chicken parmesan recipe, Audrey, but I draw the line at the cauliflower. I'll just use pasta instead if you don't mind.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thank you, Kristy~


kissayer profile image

kissayer 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

This looks delicious, Audrey! Great hub :) Voted up


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks lambservant and I agree...or "drool here." I see so many I'd love to gobble up~


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

I voted up and interesting. Too bad they don't have a button for "sounds delicious."


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Genna - we love it~


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I am always on the lookout for healthier recipes made with the foods hubby and I love. This sounds scrumptious, and I look forward to trying it. Thank you.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Hi Rhonda - thanks for stopping by - you can also grill this on the BBQ if that helps with the heat~ Definitely a quick and easy Italian gone slimmer...I love the cauliflower "potatoes" - no more guilt~


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago

This sounds like a great recipe. I love cauliflower better than potatoes, so I always like the idea of adding chicken broth to it. The basil chiffonade sounds like a nice garnish and an easy way to plate the food. Thanks for the great recipes. When the weather gets a little cooler, I will use my oven again, and this recipe will be on the top of the list. Rated up.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Writer20 and Donnah75 - thanks for stopping in and the cauliflower really does work...you just have to get past it "mentally"~~~


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Very good recipe, that I printed up.

Voted up useful and interesting, Joyce.


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 4 years ago from Upstate New York

Looks good. I never tried mashed cauliflower, but it sounds good. Voted up.

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