I have a tendency to walk into the kitchen with an idea for a meal, look in my refrigerator and pantry and then just go with the flow. That’s exactly what happened with this Lightened Up Chicken Parmesan recipe. I originally thought I’d just grill the chicken, but then I saw that I had some bread which was nearing the end of its life, so I decided to try my hand at homemade Italian bread crumbs. I was also planning on serving this with a very small portion of pasta, only one cup for two servings, but my lovely (hungry) boyfriend quickly informed me that was definitely not enough pasta. So instead of a side salad we tripled the amount of pasta. Healthy.The best part about this meal is that you can prepare the chicken and sauce all in the same skillet, making for an easier clean-up. This is a very simple week night meal and is ready in 30-45 minutes!
Lightened Up Chicken Parmesan
Here’s what it took for two:
Homemade Whole Wheat Italian Breadcrumbs
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
3 Cups Whole Wheat Pasta (I used Rotini, because it was in the pantry, but feel free to use your favorite!)
1 tsp Olive Oil
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1/4 Cup Onion-Diced (I used red onion, because I had one on hand, I’m sure white or yellow would work here too!)
1/2 Red Pepper-Diced (about a half a cup)
2 Cloves of Garlic-Minced
1/4 Cup Red Wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon) Optional
1 1/2 14.5 oz Cans Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp (separated) Dried Thyme
1 1/2 tsp (separated) Dried Parsley
1 1/2 tsp (separated) Dried Basil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese
Shredded Part-skim Mozzarella Cheese
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare pasta according to package directions, and drain when al dente. Drizzle olive oil over finished pasta, so it won’t stick together.
Add 1 tsp of olive oil to a large skillet and bring to medium heat. While the olive oil is warming up, prepare the chicken breasts. Begin by spreading the breadcrumbs on a plate or saucer. Remove chicken breasts from packaging. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with approximately 1/2 tsp for both (just sprinkle, they do not need to be completely coated) dried thyme, basil, parsley, and a little salt and pepper. Transfer the chicken, one breast at a time to the breadcrumb plate, flipping a few times until the chicken is fully coated. (My chicken had enough liquid in the pouches to ensure that the herbs and breadcrumbs would stick. If you use a different type of chicken, feel free to coat the chicken with some cooking spray or egg wash before moving on to this step.) Spray both sides of breaded chicken with a little olive oil cooking spray and transfer to skillet. Cook chicken over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side, until outside is brown and crisp.
Remove chicken breasts to a plate and without draining the pan add the diced onion, diced red pepper, and two cloves of minced garlic. Add more olive oil if necessary. Allow to brown until onions are translucent and peppers are soft. Once peppers and onions are soft, add 1/4 cup red wine and allow to cook down. (If you do not drink alcohol, or prefer not to cook with it then skip this step, it is completely optional!) Once wine has reduced by half, add the can and a half of fire roasted tomatoes. Add a teaspoon each of the dried thyme, parsley, and basil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and stir. Cook sauce over medium-high heat, until it begins to bubble. Reduce heat to medium and add chicken breasts back to skillet. Sprinkle tops of chicken with shredded mozzarella cheese and cook until cheese is melted.
Add pasta to plates and then top with chicken breasts and sauce. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese, garlic bread, and a side salad, if you’re feeling healthy.