Archive for May, 2012

May 30, 2012

Healthier Chicken Parmesan

This morning Kirk told me he was craving chicken, so we pull one of our 2-packs of frozen chicken breasts out of the freezer and put it into the fridge for thawing (so much faster if you put it in a bowl of water!!).  We decided on Chicken Parmesan after work, but both of us wanted a slightly healthier version.  After some quick googling, here is what we came up with!

Original recipes:


  • 2 chicken breasts, thawed or fresh
  • 2.5 Tbsp dry non-fat buttermilk & 2/3 cup water (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano, rounded
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil, rounded
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4 slices of skim mozzarella
  • 4 tsp of shredded parmesan
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (~1/2 jar)
  • 1/2 pack of whole wheat pasta


  1. Pound chicken breasts out on a cutting board to 1/4-1/2″ thickness.  To do this, place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and get out some aggression with your meat hammer 🙂  Don’t be shy!!  Trim any extra fat off with kitchen shears. Place in a shallow baking dish.
  2. Using a fork or whisk, mix 2.5 Tbsp of the dry buttermilk with 2/3 cup water.  Pour over the chicken and make sure it is well covered.  You can do this the night before or 30 minutes before cooking (I did the later bc I didn’t have the recipe picked out ahead of time).
  3. Fill a large pot with water and bring water to boil over high heat.  Add a tsp or two of salt to help get the water going (and to add flavor).  Cover with lid until boiling.
  4. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  5. In another shallow bowl or baking dish, mix the panko crumbs, basil, oregano and garlic powder.  Set aside. I used a 9×9 dish.
  6. In another shallow bowl or baking dish, whisk an egg with a fork and pour a little of the buttermilk mixture from the chicken dish into the egg (~ Tbsp or 2).  Don’t worry, we’re going to be dipping the raw egg in this mixture, so we’re not contaminating anything.
  7. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with pam.
  8. Set your prepping bowls & sheet in a row:  soaking chicken, egg wash, crumbs, baking sheet.
  9. Pull the chicken out, shake off a little, dip in egg wash (both sides), dip in crumbs and then put on sheet.  Spray with a little pam (very little, just makes it a tad crispy) and pop in the oven.  Set timer for 15 minutes.
  10. Add the pasta to the boiling water.  Cook however long you want!  I cooked my for quite a while and then just turned off the heat and let it sit in the hot water until I was ready to drain.
  11. Slice the mozzarella.  Not thick but not razor thin… totally up to you.  Thicker = more calories.  Get enough on there so it tastes delicious though 🙂
  12. Shred the parmesan.  Set aside.
  13. When the timer goes off, pull out the chicken and check it.  I used a thermometer and stuck it in the side to make sure it was 170 degrees.  You could also cut it or poke it to make sure the juices are running clear.
  14. Laddle a few spoonfuls of sauce on top of the chicken and then top with mozzarella and parmesan.  Turn the broiler on high and pop back in the oven with the door slightly ajar.
  15. Drain pasta and the dole out between two bowls (or more).  Heat 1 cup of marinara sauce int he microwave and then mix with the pasta in the bowls.  Pull out the chicken and place on top…. voila!  Optional:  slice the chicken into strips before putting on the individual dish.  Makes it much more manageable.

Enjoy!  Happy cooking!

PS – Kirk ate all of what I gave him, but I only ate half of mine.  Totally depends on how much your guests eat, but this recipe is made for 2-3 people.  If you are serving with salad or other side items, you could totally stretch it to at least 4 people.