Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guilt Free Chicken Parm

Good evening everyone! Italian cuisine might possibly be the most popular style of cuisine across the United States. Whether it’s authentic cuisine or the Americanized versions, the combination of pasta, sauce and a little meat and cheese seems to appease even the pickiest of palette. The obvious downside to Italian cuisine is that it is far from healthy. Pasta, cheese and tomato sauce do not exactly keep the calories low.

The challenge then rests on finding ways to cut down on the calories while still delivering the authentic flavor of Italian cuisine. Tonight’s recipe, a healthier version of chicken parmesan, manages to drop the calories by cutting out the breading, reducing the copious amounts of cheese and cooking up a lighter sauce that keeps all the flavors intact. Let’s get cooking!

The Recipe: Light Chicken Parmesan
Original Recipe Found In: Food Network Magazine, March 2013 Issue

What You’ll Need:
(Serves 4)

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (8 to 10 Ounces each)
1 Small (6-8 inch) Baguette (Day old is okay if you’re looking to save on cost)
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
¼ Cup (Plus 2 Tablespoons) Fresh Chopped Basil
1 15 Ounce Can Tomato Puree
1 Small Garlic Clove (Grated)
¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
½ Cup Shredded Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese

Begin by slicing you chicken breasts in half, horizontally, to create four cutlets. Place each cutlet between two pieces of plastic wrap and use a meat tenderizer or heavy skillet to pound them to ¼ thickness. Season each cutlet with salt and pepper and set aside.

Using a serrated knife, slice your baguette into smaller cubes. Place these cubes in a small food processor and pulse them until they become coarse breadcrumbs. Be careful to avoid over processing the bread, too fine of a breadcrumb will simply be lost in the sauce and lose the ‘crunch’ that chicken parmesan is known for. Toss the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of fresh basil and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a large (12 inch) non stick skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until they become golden brown and crispy. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Once golden, transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken cutlets to the skillet and cook until golden brown and cooked through completely. The instructions say this takes 3 minutes, but, as recipes tend to do, they’re giving you the most optimistic time. I’d err on the cutlets taking 3 to 5 minutes per side, be sure to keep your instant read thermometer nearby so you can check the temperature (you’re looking for 165 degrees at the chicken’s thickest point) so you’ll know when the cutlets are done. Transfer the finished cutlets to a plate tented loosely with aluminum foil.

Preheat your broiler at this time, or set your oven temp to 400 degrees.

To prepare the sauce, add the tomato puree to the same skillet along with 1 cup of water, the garlic, red pepper flakes and 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Once thickened, stir in the remaining basil and season the sauce lightly with salt and pepper.

Next, return the cutlets to the skillet and turn them to coat in the sauce. Add in the remaining basil, parmesan and reserved breadcrumbs. Top the mixture with the mozzarella cheese and place the skillet under the broiler or into the oven for 1 to 2 minutes (broiler) or 5-7 minutes (oven) until the cheese melts and becomes lightly golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

The Results:

This dish manages to create all the flavors of classic chicken parmesan, a hearty tomato sauce, crunchy crust and cheesy finish, all without adding up the calories. By creating your own sauce from the healthier tomato puree and eliminating a large quantity of cheese, this tasty treat clocks in at about 320 calories per serving. (For reference, standard chicken parmesan weighs in at 830 calories per serving). Full flavored Italian cuisine without the impact of a large calorie count on diet? I’d call that a win-win situation.
That’s all we have for you this week. We’re back next week with two new healthy and tasty recipes. Until then,


No comments:

Post a Comment