Sunday, October 26, 2014

Skinny Baked Chicken Parmigana

This skinny baked chicken parmigiana is pretty much the quickest, best tasting meal you'll ever make. I am not even joking here. Not one bit. My mom has raved about this recipe for as long as I can remember and although I always had it in the back of my mind, I never got around to making it. Maybe I thought it would be too much work (although I am not sure why I thought this because I will spend hours int he kitchen perfecting a huge cake). Maybe I thought it wouldn't turn out. Let's be honest, anytime my mom makes something super amazing, I go home to make the same thing and it never tastes as good. It's good, but it's not "mom" good. you know what I mean? I think it's the extra love she puts into it or something. Ya, that must be it.

Now let me tell you, my first assumption that this meal would be too much work was 100% incorrect. This recipe is quick and easy and can be thrown together in under 30 minutes. Really! You'll only need a few ingredients to get started - chicken breasts, seasoned bread crumbs, a bit of parmi cheese and a little bit of butter or olive oil. To start, you simply cut your chicken breasts in half lengthwise so that each breast is now two separate pieces. Be careful when cutting them so you don't cut yourself (remember my incident with a sharp kitchen knife?). If your store carries thin cut chicken breasts, you can always use those too, but they may just be a bit more expensive. You can use either though. Just be careful when slicing them, okay? Once you've cut the breasts in half, you'll want to coat each one in the olive oil or butter. You don't just much here, just a bit to get the crumb and cheese mixture to stick. This really makes this dish skinny instead of frying, as in the original dish. We all know that frying - high calorie. Unfortunately so. Additionally, instead of frying, this chicken is baked at high heat to get brown and super delicious. Plus, since the chicken is cut thin, it cooks fast too. Double win!

After a quick flip of the chicken and a bit extra time in the oven, you'll top it with sauce and cheese. If you have homemade sauce, great. If not, here is my mom's tip - use Classico pizza sauce. I just learned the latter and it makes it that much better. Not sure why, it just does. After you've topped the chicken, throw it all back in the oven again just enough to melt the cheese and warm up the sauce. Don't let it go too long or you'll over cook the chicken and burn the cheese. Nobody likes burnt cheese. Once everything is ooey gooey, it's ready to go. You can enjoy this chicken on it's own or you can serve it over a bit of pasta. That is my favorite way to enjoy it. One serving (sans noodles) comes in at just about 250 calories, under 10 grams of fat and 31 grams of protein. Can you believe all of that and it tastes just as good (if not better) than the original fried version? I am willing to bet that your family and friends will love this one. Plus, it's so fancy looking that they will think it took you hours to make. Little will they know that it's super easy to throw together and good for you! Now what are you waiting for? Get in your kitchen and make this tonight! You won't regret it. 

Now how good does that look?

Skinny Baked Chicken Parmigana (SkinnyTaste and My Mom)

Makes about 8 servings

4 (about 8 oz each) chicken breast, sliced in half to make 8
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter, melted (or olive oil)
3/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1 cup marinara (homemade or store bought)
cooking spray

    Preheat oven to 450°. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with spray.

    Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Melt the butter in another bowl. Lightly brush the butter onto the chicken, then dip into breadcrumb mixture.  Place on baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken. Lightly spray a little more oil on top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over, bake another 5 minutes.   Remove from oven, spoon 1 tbsp sauce over each piece of chicken and top each with 1 1/2 tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted and enjoy!

    Baked is the new fried!

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