Thursday, January 17, 2013

Skinny Chicken Parm

Chicken parmesan is always a comforting meal, especially in the dreary days of the winter. Unfortunately, most recipes for this American-Italian dish are not so healthy with heavy breading on pan fried chicken that is then drenched in cheese and found atop a bed of pasta. While delicious, it's just not a light weeknight meal. 

Since I love making dishes healthier, with some inspiration from one of my favorite food blogs, Skinny Taste, I came up with a lighter version of Chicken Parm that is perfect for weeknight cooking and won't break your healthy streak. I started by simmering a quick marinara on the stove, and coated my chicken breasts in a mixture of almond meal, salt and pepper and a tiny bit of grated parmesan. The chicken is then topped with a sprinkle of mozzarella, baked and served on a bed of tri-color quinoa with extra marinara. This skinny dish is absolutely delicious! For a more Paleo friendly version, I like to use spaghetti squash instead of quinoa.

Skinny Chicken Parm
recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (unsalted)
olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
a few shakes of dried oregano
handful fresh basil, chopped (if you have it on hand)
salt + pepper, to taste

4 chicken breasts (filleted, to make 8)
1 cup almond meal (found at Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt + pepper, to taste
olive oil, for brushing
shredded mozzarella

Start by making the marinara. In a small, heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium-high heat, add garlic and cover with olive oil. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until garlic is soft and fragrant. Turn heat to medium-low and add tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Stir and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Fillet chicken breasts, cutting each in half, yielding 8 pieces of chicken breast. In a shallow dish (a pie dish works great) combine almond meal, salt, pepper and parmesan. Brush chicken with olive oil and coat in almond meal mixture. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining pieces of chicken. 

Bake chicken in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn over and bake for another 5 minutes. 

Remove from oven, and top each chicken breast with sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella. Bake for 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve over quinoa or spaghetti squash.

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