Lightened-up Chicken Parmesan

Chicken parmesan is a classic Italian dish that sounds healthy right?! I mean, it has chicken, which is a lean meat, and uses marinara sauce instead of high-fat cream sauce. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case when out to eat at restaurants. Olive Garden’s chicken parmesan, for example, houses 1,050 calories and 52 grams of fat for one dinner serving! This is nearly half of one’s daily requirements in just one meal and doesn’t even include the unlimited breadsticks, salad and beverage of choice.

Why? Well, most restaurants heavily coat their chicken in bread crumbs and then deep fry it. This cooking method adds A TON of additional fat and calories to an otherwise healthy protein source. In addition, portion sizes when dining out are unnecessarily large.

Never fear, I’ve created a lightened-up version that is super easy to make. How? I lightly coat the chicken in homemade bread crumbs and bake it instead of frying. I think this homemade recipe tastes even better than the restaurant varieties I’ve tried. I tested it out on my dad who almost always orders chicken parm when we go out for Italian food. Even he agrees, and he’s a pretty tough critic when it comes to “healthy” versions of his favorite dishes. Try it out, you won’t be sorry!

Lightened-up Chicken Parmesan

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 thin chicken breasts                       1 egg, beaten
2 pieces bread*                                   ¾ C shredded mozzarella
½ T. Italian seasoning                      1 bag pasta
1 t. garlic powder                                1-24 oz. jar marinara sauce
1 T. Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.) Heat oven to 3750 F
2.) Cook pasta according to package, lightly grease a casserole dish for the chicken
3.) Toast bread slices and then put in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs are formed
4.) Get out two shallow bowls: in one put beaten egg, in the other put bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and parmesan cheese
5.) Dredge chicken in egg, then bread crumb mixture and place in baking dish
6.) Bake 20 minutes. Once chicken is cooked through, spoon half of the marinara sauce on and top with mozzarella cheese. Place chicken back in the oven until cheese has melted
7.) Drain pasta and add the other half of the marinara sauce
8.) Serve chicken beside or on top of the noodles and sauce and enjoy!

*Can substitute 1/2 C pre-made breadcrumbs for homemade

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