Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baked Chicken Parm

As requested, here is the recipe! This chicken parmesan is delicious, and so much healthier than the standard because it is baked. Unlike other baked recipes, the entire piece of chicken gets crispy and delicious, because you layer a wire rack on top of your  baking sheet and lightly spray the breaded chicken with cooking spray (no soggy bottom where the chicken meets the pan, and the benefit of a little oil without being fried).

It is not so delicious leftover, since the breading gets a little soggy when reheated, so I highly recommend having 6 people for dinner if you make this, or reserve the extra cutlets and have it again later in the week. Though, soft breading didn't stop me from eating it leftover.


1 1/2 cups panko Japanese-style bread crumbs (I used whole wheat panko from Sunflower Market, and needed more than the recipe called for to cover my cutlets.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ounce Parmesan, grated (about 1/2 cup)plus extra for serving
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and black pepper
3 large egg whites (I only used two, since that is all I had, and had exactly enough)
1 tablespoon water
Vegetable oil spray
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets (see how here)
Your favorite tomato sauce (I used 2 small cans of plain, and added dried basil, oregano, salt, and pepper), warmed
3 ounces low-fat mozzarella, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil (I didn't have this, and it was still good.)


Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish (pie pans work extremely well) and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.

Lin a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top (I used a cookie cooling rack), and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Cooking the chicken on a rack will create that crisp you would get from a deep fried crust without the frying part, which cuts the fat.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. (NOTE: the patting dry is vital! The flour will then stick without getting gummy.) Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites. Use tongs when dipping the cutlets in the egg mixture, taking care to coat them thoroughly and allowing the excess to drip back into the dish to ensure a very thing coating. Using tongs will keep the egg from coating your fingers. Finally, coat with the bread crumbs, pressing the crumbs firmly into the cutlet with your fingers to form an even, cohesive coat. Place the breaded cutlets in a single layer on the wire rack/pan combo previously prepared.

Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce onto the center of each cutlet and top the sauce with 2 tablespoons of mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan separately.

I served this with steamed broccoli, and A had some whole wheat pasta on the side. It sounds like a lot of work, but is delicious and fun to make! The night we had this, we were thinking about going out to dinner, but did this instead. Perfect for a stay at home date night. I also highly recommend the book this recipe is from. It has great step-by-step instructions of how to do things, like make cutlets, and explanations of how they made the recipes healthier while keeping and sometimes improving the flavor. Check it out.

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