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How To Make A Lighter Healthier Chicken Parmesan
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.
- 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
|Serving size: 1 chicken breast-6 oz.|
|Calories from Fat||63|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 7 g||11%|
|Saturated fat 3 g||15%|
|Carbohydrates 3 g||1%|
|Fiber 1 g||4%|
|Protein 44 g||88%|
|Cholesterol 115 mg||38%|
|* 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.|
- Preheat broiler to high.
- 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)
- Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray or olive oil spray.
- 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.
- Transfer the chicken breasts to the foil-lined baking sheet. Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of meatless marinara sauce.
- 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)
- 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)
- Remove from oven and garnish with basil chiffonade.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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
- Steam the cauliflower until just cooked but not soggy--drain.
- Add butter or nonfat cream cheese if using to hot "potatoes" and let melt in--begin mashing.
- Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper.
- Add chicken broth or nonfat milk to the desired texture of your mashed potatoes--leave in chunks of cauliflower to resemble chunks of potato.
- 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!