Every new year's brings about new resolutions; the goals and aspirations I've set for myself, with or without deadlines, some aimed at the betterment of myself and others for the mere accomplishment of a purpose. Every year I have some new goals and projects in mind, (whether I keep to them... that's an entirely different story), but every year I do have one perpetually returning resolution, and I'm sure it's the one the majority of you set for yourselves, as well: To lose some weight and get in shape. I always succeed in this mission, reaching my goal weight around mid summer, working hard to maintain, then losing all will power and strength come holiday season. Thus, restarting the perennial resolution, yet again.
This year however, things feel a little bit more urgent. I have a deadline. I need to get back in shape by May. This looming deadline is the result of a bachelorette weekend scheduled for Memorial Day. In Vegas. In a bikini. I cringe at the mere mention of the word. So to help me overcome my fear, and attain my goal in record timing, I've decided that I'm going to have to sacrifice all the sinful things I've been dying to make and share with all of you. Instead, all of my weekly dinner selections are being pulled from my Cooking Light archives. I feel like low-calorie, low-fat foods have a bad rap for being dull and flavorless. However, I think eating healthy doesn't necessarily mean having to eat boring food. I've found that many of Cooking Light's recipes can taste just as indulgent as their higher calorie counterparts, less all the guilt. Take for instance the Oven-Fried Chicken Parmesan that I selected to make for dinner a few nights ago. The crispy panko coating made a perfect substitute for the traditional breaded and fried exterior most commonly seen on chicken parm. Top it with a good quality store-bought marinara (I prefer Rao's, but when I don't feel like shelling out $10 for one measly jar, I go with Bertolli Garlic & Olive Oil), and some tasty skim-milk mozzarella, serve it along side some polenta and a crisp romaine salad and you've got yourself a gourmet Italian meal for under 500 calories!
Oven-Fried Chicken Parmesan
Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light, September 2009
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup jarred marinara sauce
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish; place egg whites in a bowl. Place panko in a shallow dish. Dredge 1 breast half in flour mixture. Dip in egg whites; dredge in panko. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken, flour mixture, egg whites, and panko.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes. Coat chicken with cooking spray; place pan in oven. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes. Turn chicken over; top each breast half with 2 tablespoons sauce, 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, and 3 tablespoons mozzarella. Bake 6 minutes or until chicken is done.