Winner, winner, healthier versions of your favorite chicken dinners!

Click here to watch our August 28 segment on WJBF News Channel 6!

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September is National Chicken Month, and I can’t imagine another protein more worthy of an entire month than this oldie but goodie. (Sorry, vegetarians – but you know I love quinoa, too!)

Chicken is one of my favorite lean proteins not only for how it tastes but mainly for how versatile it is. It can be prepared and paired with almost anything.

Here are three recipes for healthier versions of three of your favorite chicken dinners. These are all cheap, quick and easy, as all of my recipes are, so there’s no need to chicken out of making these!

Baked Chicken ParmesanIMG_9576

Who doesn’t love Italian food? One of the things I like best is that Italian leftovers still taste great if not better, which is what makes this a terrific main dish to cook in bulk for dinners throughout the week. Serve over spaghetti squash or whole grain pasta and with some asparagus, broccoli, green beans or mixed veggies, and you have yourself a not only well-balanced but also tasty and satisfying meal!

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • Sauce:IMG_9584
    • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 white onion, diced
    • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 6 oz. tomato paste
    • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, no salt added
  • Chicken:
    • Cooking spray
    • 6 thin-sliced chicken breasts or cutlets
    • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
    • 5 Tbsp. egg whites
    • 1 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
    • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Topping:
    • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • Basil, shredded, to taste

Instructions:

  • Sauce:
  1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Reduce to medium heat, add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes while stirring.
  2. Add tomato paste and combine. Stir frequently to keep from burning. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer on low while you make the chicken.
  • Chicken:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with foil, coat with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Pour the egg whites in another shallow bowl. Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in yet another shallow bowl. Dredge each breast in the flour, egg whites and breadcrumb/Parmesan cheese mixture in that order. Place on baking sheet.
  3. Place in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Turn chicken over, bake another 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, cover each breast with sauce, divide mozzarella cheese among breasts and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
  5. Top with basil.

Crustless Chicken Pot PieIMG_9587

I haven’t eaten chicken pot pie since I was a kid and ate frozen meals. (Woo, I survived!) While you won’t find me chillin’ with Marie Callender, I’m all about taking something that people eat out of taste and convenience and bringing those same two benefits to a healthier recipe.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, boneless, skinless cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Black ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium potato, cooked, peeled, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 12 oz. frozen mixed vegetables of your choice, cooked (I recommend carrots, peas, corn and green beans.)
  • 3 Tbsp. flour, whole-wheat
  • 2 cups chicken broth, less sodium
  • Thyme, fresh chopped, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, season with pepper and cook thoroughly, until pieces are golden-brown. Separate with wooden spoon or spatula as chicken gets close to being done. Transfer to a plate. Rinse or wipe skillet.
  2. In the same skillet that you used to cook the chicken, add the remaining oil, and cook the celery and onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent and celery is softened.
  3. Add mixed vegetables and potato to pan with celery/onion mixture, and combine.
  4. Gradually stir in 1 Tbsp. flour, and cook for a minute. Gradually whisk in 1 cup broth, and cook another minute. Repeat once more, and finish with a final Tbsp. flour. Bring mixture to a quick boil.
  5. Add cooked chicken, and combine until warm.
  6. Remove from heat, and season with pepper and thyme.

Not-Fried Chicken and WafflesIMG_9591

We’re saving the best for last. This is one of my favorite foods of all time. It is literally something fried on top of something carby drizzled with sugar. With that being said, as you can imagine, I’m geeking out over the prospect of making this healthier.

Here we go!

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • Chicken:
    • Cooking spray
    • 6 thin-sliced chicken breasts or cutlets
    • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
    • 5 Tbsp. egg whites
    • 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • Waffles:
    • 4 cups old-fashioned or quick oats
    • 2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium baking powder
    • 2 tsp. stevia
    • 12 Tbsp. egg whites or 4 eggs
    • 16 oz. almond or fat-free milk
    • ¼ cup applesauce
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
    • Cooking spray
  • Topping:
    • Honey, to taste

Instructions:

  • Chicken:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with foil, coat with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Pour the egg whites in another shallow bowl. Place breadcrumbs in yet another shallow bowl. Dredge each breast in the flour, egg whites and breadcrumbs in that order. Place on baking sheet.
  3. Place in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over, bake another 10 minutes.
  • Waffles:
  1. Grind oats in a food processor or blender.
  2. Mix the dry waffle ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the remaining waffle ingredients in a medium bowl, and add the mixture to the dry mixture to create waffle batter.
  4. Turn on the waffle iron, set it on medium and spray with cooking spray.
  5. Let the batter sit for about 10 minutes to thicken, spoon about ½ cup batter onto pan and allow to cook until golden.

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charm

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