Chicken Parmesan… on the Light Side

My cooking style changes with the seasons and Fall has officially arrived!  I love to see the weather a little brisker and watching the leaves change to gold, crimson and orange on the trees and shrubs.  Our RV trip to the ‘Porkies’ in Michigan in the Fall a couple of years ago was a fabulous RV trip.  We enjoyed the travel time and exploring various sites between California and Michigan but meeting up with fellow RV travelers added to our excitement while experiencing the fall leaves in Michigan is definitely a memory that will also stay with us forever.
The Fall weather changes the type of food I tend to prepare.  When it’s Fall I think comfort food!  I decided to prepare the following dish as it fit the criteria I was looking to bake and enjoy for dinner…  This recipe is warm gooey and a delicious main meal dish that actually cuts back on calories by slightly altering the typical ingredients, for some lighter alternatives.
This version of chicken parmesan is just over 300 calories for a 5 oz. serving.  No guilt just yummy food.  You can prepare this dish in an RV convection oven, toaster oven or even transform your outdoor campsite grill into an oven by elevating a cast iron skillet on a couple of bricks placed in the center of your grill rack.
The prep time for this dish is about 10 minutes.  The cook time approximately 30 minutes total.
If you have x-tra time on your hands and want to tenderize the chicken prior to prepping and baking, I’ve listed some tips in the next paragraph that you can follow.
Rinse the chicken breasts, pat them dry then place in a gallon ziplock bag.  Add a cup of buttermilk or plain or fruited yogurt that will compliment the chicken parmesan; some ideas for flavored yogurt to use include vanilla, lemon or key lime.  If you want to use the traditional buttermilk marinade to tenderize the chicken but only have milk on hand – just add 1 – 2 teaspoons of vinegar to a cup of milk, let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes until the milk curdles just a bit.  The buttermilk gives a milder taste, yogurt leaves a slight astringent type taste.  The yogurt may fit well in tenderizing chicken you plan to transform into a luscious curry dish.
Once you have selected the marinade, pour the buttermilk or yogurt over the chicken in the ziplock, burp and seal the    bag and place it in the fridge 1 – 12 hours, then prep and bake the chicken recipe.  After marinating time is up, remove the chicken from the ziplock bag, pat it dry, set aside.
On a cutting board, cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise, remove the chicken from the cutting board, set aside.
Place a long piece of saran wrap on the cutting board.  Place chicken pieces in a single layer over the saran wrap then cover the chicken with another long piece of saran wrap.
Using a meat tenderizer hammer or the base of a heavy skillet, pound the chicken into an even thickness.
Set up a breading station using 2 medium bowls that are large enough to dip and coat the chicken pieces.
Add egg whites to 1 bowl and the bread crumb mixture and spices to a 2nd bowl.
See the Directions listed below for the breading and 2 step baking process.
Serves 2 – 4
Ingredients
Marinade
1 cup         buttermilk or yogurt
Chicken Parmesan
2               6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup    Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup    Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup    grated parmesan cheese
1/3            tsp garlic powder
1/3 tsp      pepper
2 large      eggs, whites only
4 oz           part-skim mozzarella
1 cup         seasoned tomato sauce (homemade or readymade in a jar)
1 small      package of fresh basil leaves

Directions

1.        Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.        Lightly coat an ovenproof dish or skillet with olive oil or cooking spray if baking in            the oven.
            * If using a cast iron skillet if cooking in a make shift oven on the grill.  Place the                     skillet of prepared chicken onto 2
             flat bricks placed on the grill just under the sides of the skillet but not extending                  beyond the skillet.  In this a way                   the skillet is supported and elevated                    allowing  heat to flow over, under, side to side and front to back of the skillet.
             Cook over direct medium/high with grill lid down except for checking the chicken              process occasionally.  Note:  Viola, you have created an oven on the grill!
3.        The following directions are listed below and mentioned in the Introduction                         above: Rinse chicken breasts,
            pat dry and place on a cutting board.  Slice each breast in half lengthwise.  Cover                 the cut breasts  with saran wrap
            and lightly pound the chicken to an even 1/2″ thickness.  Create a breading station             using a couple of bowls.  Add dry
             ingredients to 1 bowl and stir to combine.  Add egg whites to the 2nd plate and                    whisk lightly with a fork.
4.        Slice or grate mozzarella into 4 portions, set aside.
5.        Dip chicken a piece at a time into the egg white mixture using 1 hand then with the             opposite hand dip and 1 to coat
            the chicken in the seasoned bread crumb mixture.
6.        Lightly coat the baking dish or skillet with olive oil or other baking spray, add your             chicken in a single layer, lightly
            spray the top of the chicken, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of seasoned tomato sauce.                         Repeat process for remaining chicken.
7.        Place the chicken in the oven.  If using convection oven place the dish on the metal            convection rack. Bake the chicken for 15 – 20 minutes until the internal                                  temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees F and the bread
           crumbs are lightly browned.
8.        With oven mitts, remove the chicken dish from the oven, set on a cool stovetop.
9.        Add a couple tablespoons of tomato sauce over each chicken breast and top with                 grated or sliced of mozzarella.
10.      Return the dish to the oven for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
11.       Remove the dish from the oven (using your mitts), place the dish or skillet on a                    cool stove top and sprinkle with
            freshly chopped basil.
If you have leftovers… all the better, simply cover and refrigerate to enjoy the next day. Heck why not make a gourmet chicken parmesan sandwich the following day or top a salad with diced chicken parmesan.
Another option would be to package and freeze some chicken parmesan that you have prepped but not baked.  Place  partially prepared chicken breasts in a single layer in a ziplock freezer bag after they are dipped in whisked egg whites and dredged in the breadcrumb mixture.  Simply slide a single layer of coated chicken into the freezer bag, burp the air out of the bag, seal the bag then using a permanent marker write the ingredients (Chicken Parmesan) on the bag, the date you prepped the entree and the cooking instructions to follow after you defrost the chicken in the fridge.
Enjoy within 3 months.

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