Baked Chicken Parmesan

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I love chicken parm, but have found it difficult to find a recipe that isn’t loaded with calories.  I love this version because it still has the crunchy outside layer and still uses pasta and tomato sauce.  I also recommended the panko bread crumbus versus the regular and def add the fresh basil at the end!

I also reduce the amount of pasta I eat and make extra vegetables.  I have found sauted spinach goes great with this recipe!

One aspect that is extremely important for this receipe is to buy chicken cutlets and ensure they are 1/2 (no more than an inch) thick.  It allows you to cook the chicken more quickly without burning the breadcrumbs.  Also, make sure to add the tomato sauce at the end so the chicken breasts do not come out soggy.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

Cooking spray
1 egg
1/2 cup  panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 4 teaspoons
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 chicken breasts cutlets
1/4 cup marinara sauce, either homemade or store-bought
Fresh basil, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and spray a glass or stone pan lightly with cooking spray.  (Don’t recommend aluminum pan).
  2. Set out 2 shallow bowls or plates. In 1 bowl, crack your egg and whisk well. In the second bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Dip 1 piece of chicken into the egg wash, then the panko breadcrumb mixture, and toss well to coat. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and spray with pam for easily cleanup. Repeat with the remaining chicken cutlets.
  4. Spray the breaded chicken lightly with cooking spray (or add a small pat of unsalted butter), and bake for 25 or 30 – 40 minutes, until coating is golden and the chicken breasts are just cooked through.
  5. Remove from the oven and spoon out a tablespoon of marinara sauce over the top of each piece, then sprinkle a teaspoon of Parmesan on top of each piece. Place back in the oven for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce is hot and cheese is bubbling.
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Recipe adapted from: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Healthy-Chicken-Parmesan-35470755

Chicken Marsala

Ingredients
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves and pounded thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)
3/4 cup Marsala
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped chives, for garnish
Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Directions
Pound the chicken breasts to 1 inch thick.  Combine the flour and Essence in a bowl and stir to combine thoroughly. Quickly dredge the chicken breast halves in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid. Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately

Adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/chicken-marsala-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Sirloin Fettuccine Alfredo

  • 1 12 ounce box  fettuccine
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound grass-fed sirloin steak (about 3/4 inch thick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    – Parsley (optional)
  • Directions:
    1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil over high heat. Cook pasta following package directions, 11 to 12 minutes. Add peas during last 1 minute of cook time. Drain and return to pasta pot.
    2. While pasta is cooking, begin sauce prep.  Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then slowly whisk in half-and-half. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the nutmeg. Bring just to boiling, stirring frequently, 8 minutes.
    3. While the sauce cooks, season sirloin with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook 3-5 minutes.
    4. Remove sauce from heat; whisk in Parmesan. Turn steak and cook another 3 minutes or until desired doneness. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to combine. Transfer to a bowl. Slice steak; fan over fettuccine and top with parsley as a garnish.
  • To reduce calories: test using 2% milk but the sauce will not be as creamy.  Also, limit the spoonfuls or pasta and sauce and substitute an extra helping of pasta with vegetables.  Recommend limiting pasta intake to 1 cup and sirloin to 4-6 oz.
  • Recipe adapted from:

    http://www.recipe.com/sirloin-over-fettuccine-alfredo/

CHICKEN WITH TOMATO BASIL CREAM SAUCE

 chicken cream sauce
 Instead of going out to eat and loading up on calories, skip the bread basket and make this quick creamy chicken dish at home!  To control your calorie intake, limit the sauce spoonfuls and pasta intake.
INGREDIENTS
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomato basil pesto
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ cup diced red onions (or shallots)
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon capers (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley or basil
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Using a mallet, pound down the chicken breasts/thighs into 1 inch thickness. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken.
  2. In a 2 cup measuring cup or a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, pesto, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine until the pesto is more or less dissolved.
  3. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and allow to brown on both sides of 4-6 minutes per side. Remove from heat and place in oven for 20 minutes
  5. Reduce the flame to medium, add the onions to the skillet and allow the onions to cook for 1 minute before adding in the chicken broth mixture. Using a whisk, scrape the bottom of the pan so all the brown bits are loosened. Let sauce reduce for about 8-10 minutes or until until about ⅓ of the sauce remains.
  6. When the sauce has thickened, remove from the flame, add the butter and whisk until it melts completely. With the skillet off the flame, add the heavy cream, whisk to combine.
  7. Place the skillet back of over the flame for just 30 seconds. DO NOT allow the sauce to boil. Remove from heat, add the chicken back into the pan and drizzle the sauce over the chicken. Add the capers.
  8. Place the skillet in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Top with chopped parsley or basil and serve warm.

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Recipe from: http://littlespicejar.com/one-skillet-chicken-with-tomato-basil-cream-sauce/

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

Brown sugar is my new favorite ingredient for a chicken rub.  This is one of my new favorite recipes!
Ingredients 
  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smokey paprika
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add grapeseed oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and sear both sides until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes per side; set aside.
  • Add additional oil to skillet if needed and add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in brown sugar, honey, oregano, thyme and basil until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.  Use a spatula and coat each chicken breast with a small amount of the mixture.
  • Sprinkle the paprika on top of each chicken piece.
  • Line the bottom of a casserole dish with foil and added 1/2 cup of chicken broth or stock.
  • Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve chicken immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
The brown sugar melted a bit from the top and made a sauce with chicken breast and the chicken skin tasted like candy!
Inspired from the below:

Chile Garlic BBQ Salmon

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Let me start this post off by saying I am not by any means a fan of fish.  Until recently, I avoided any type of fish like the plague.  However, in an effort to incorporate healthier options into my diet, I started to learn more about specific fish, starting with salmon.  It took me a few recipes to find one that I really liked, but this by far is my favorite.  I also have started buying the Icelandic salmon at Whole Foods which has a more mild taste compared with the Atlantic Salmon.  They also more recently dropped the price to $12.99 pound.

First aspect I had to learn is how do I even buy/ask for salmon?  When I go to the counter, I have learned its better to have them cut the specific portion you want versus taking the pre-cut options.  The fish always seems more fresh when going this route.  Thus, I use the following steps:

  1. Ask for (2) 4oz pieces of fish, with the skin removed.
  2. I also specify when they weigh the fish, it will be 5oz with the skin
  3. Then I ask for the fish to be similar in size and thickness to ensure they cook the same.  4oz is about 1/3 pound for comparison.  4oz is also the recommended serving size from my nutritionist.
  4. Often the person working the counter will ask if there is a specific piece I want, I just request the non “pre-cut” options.  The lighter color versus deep read seems to be my preference as well.
  5. I also only buy fish when I am going to use it that day to ensure it is as fresh as possible.

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**Pre-cut options you see on far right, which tend to be the atlantic salmon options at Whole Foods and generally 6oz – 8oz.  All of the above Icelandic salmon look fresh and not too red in color for my preference.

Ingredients:
(2) 4oz pieces salmon, skin removed
Aluminum foil, to make clean up easier
1 large garlic cloves, minced (or used dried garlic)                                                       1 Tbsp ginger root, chopped (you can omit this)
3 Tbsp soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce (use up to 1/4 cup, which is 4 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp Chile sauce (I love the below brand!)
http://organicvillefoods.com/products/condiments/organic-chili-sauce/
1 lime, juiced (Start with 1/2 lime and add based on taste)
1 lime, zested (same lime as above, just zest the skin first)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 green onions, chopped (these are optional, but I really loved them!)

**I also sprinkle up to 1 tsp paprika on the salmon as part of the rub

Optional: Red peppers to place on top
**I generally serve this with either sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli or substitute potatoes for Couscous or rice.  I have also served with spinach cooked with chorizo and onions.  (I will add a link for this recipe too!)

Since this is a light meal, feel free to serve with a desert of fruit or add an extra vegetable.

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to either 425 or turn broiler on your oven.

2. Place the salmon on aluminum foil in a shallow (oven proof) baking sheet.

3. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, chile sauce, ginger (optional) and garlic.  Mix in lime juice, lime zest, and brown sugar.  Brush over both sides of salmon.  If needed, add more chile sauce to marinade.  To ensure a nice sear on the salmon, I do not cover with aluminum foil.  Only cover if you use a grill. Before putting into the oven, cut up the red peppers into strips and add on top of the salmon.

4. Bake either 425 for 20 minutes or broil for 10-13 minutes.  Salmon is done when it begins to flake on the sides.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes, serve and pour any extra juices from the foil on top of the fish.  Serve with rice and vegetables.

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Danny taste tested and approved! :)

If I don’t have all the ingredients on hand, I make sure I at least have chile sauce, paprika, worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper for a quick, 15 minute meal.

 

 

Golden Chicken & Autumn Vegetables

One of my favorite, simple, recipes I make about once a month for a quick and easy weeknight dinner!  I have added additional notes below regarding cooking chicken in the skillet to ensure you get a golden brown sear.  I also cook the chicken, covered for longer than the original recipe when using thicker chicken breasts.

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp grape seed oil
1/2 medium sweet or yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced (or used dried garlic)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2-3 cups of chicken broth or stock
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 fresh rosemary stem (optional)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 large sweet potato. cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups fresh, whole green beans
4-5 carrots, peeled

Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly brown.  While the onion is cooking, pound chicken with a mallet to ensure all chicken breasts are of even thickness.  If one chicken is slightly thicker, start cooking this one 2-3 minutes before the others.  Quick Tip:  I often cut off the tender and cook separately to help evenly cook the meat.  Add salt & pepper to taste and sprinkle dried garlic on each side of the breasts.  Make sure the skillet is hot before adding to the pan.

Tip: If you have limited space in your dutch oven, you can cut the breasts in half before you begin searing.

Important Note: The chicken should only be flipped once, there are two ways I can tell when chicken breasts are ready to be flipped:  First, the chicken will begin to cook through and you will see the white, cooked color begin to appear around the edges of the chicken on the uncooked side.  Second, the chicken breasts will stick to the pan while the meat sears, creating the golden brown color.  Once I begin to see the white along the edges I will “nudge” the meat to see if it still sticking to the pan.  Once the meat moves easily in the pan, I prefer to use a spoon (thongs can tear the chicken) or a spatula to flip the meat.  As a rule of thumb I generally cook each side 5-7 minutes depending on thickness.

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Tip for Softer Vegetables:  While I am searing the chicken, I bring water to a boil and pre-cook first the carrots and then also the green beans.  The sweet potatoes I prefer to not overcook as they will begin to fall apart.  This can shorten your overall cooking time and help ensure the chicken isn’t overcooked.

Remove chicken and set aside.  If vegetables were pre-cooked, drain water, do not rinse. Increase the heat to high for the dutch oven and stir in broth (I start with 2 cups, but add more if needed), garlic, rosemary, thyme, potatoes, carrots and green beans.  When using fresh rosemary and thyme, remove from the stems and mince/chop.  Heat until the liquid begins to boil and cook 5-7 minutes.   Tip: To fit the breasts back in the pan with the vegetables, I cut them in half.  This will have the juices run out so if possible cut in half when you begin searing for best results.  Last step: Add the chicken breasts back to the dutch oven, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender.

Serve immediately and add any additional seasonings.  I have added additional Italian seasoning at the end if I used the rosemary and thyme sparingly.   Enjoy!

Recipe inspired from Swanson Chicken Broth: http://swanson.campbellskitchen.com/recipe/golden-chicken-autumn-vegetables/