Friday, September 28, 2012

A Little Bit Better For You

Everyone wants to eat healthier.  But, no one wants to give up all of their favorite guilty pleasures.  So, don't!  You can still have them if you just make a few changes.  A couple of tweaks here and there and poof!  That deep fried nugget of deliciousness just dropped some calories and fat like a hot rock.  This is not diet food, by any means.  I hate the word "diet"!  It's not a coincidence that the first part of that word is "die".  No, it's not diet food, but it is a little bit better for you.

This first recipe is Old School Italian Husband-Approved (and that ain't easy to do).


6 small chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
3 slices whole wheat bread
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (plus more for topping)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 egg
1/4 cup lowfat milk
flour for dredging
1 jar spaghetti sauce (or make your own)
part skim mozarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Here's a trick:  put your baking dish in the oven while you're preheating.  The hot dish will help crisp up the bottom of your chicken.

Make your own bread crumbs by zipping the bread in a food processor.  It's way cheaper and you can use whole wheat bread if you want, so it's a little healthier.

Get out 3 shallow dishes (pie pans or plates with a lip).  In the first dish, add enough flour for dredging (about 1 cup or so) and season it with salt and pepper.  In the second dish, whisk together egg and milk and season with salt and pepper.  In the third dish, mix bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper. (You want to season each layer to add more flavor).

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Dredge each in the flour, then egg wash, then bread crumbs.  Set aside on a rack until all are breaded.  When all of the chicken is prepared, remove the hot baking dish from the oven and spray it with cooking spray.  Place chicken on dish.  Spray top of chicken with a bit of cooking spray (to help it crisp up).  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat spaghetti sauce in a pot on the stove.  When chicken is done, add a slice of mozarella cheese on top of each.  Then sprinkle a bit of grated parmesan on top.  Bake for 5 more minutes to melt the cheese.

Serve with the warm sauce.

You can't tell these aren't fried.  They are so good and a bit better for you!

Kids love chicken nuggets.  That's a universal truth!  But traditional fried nuggets aren't so good for little ones, especially when they want them all the time!  Every now and then swap out regular nuggets for these.  And, yes, they are Pickiest-Son-Ever Approved.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into nuggets
1 egg
1/4 cup low-fat milk
flour for dredging
pretzels, crushed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Use the same trick from above and place your baking dish in the oven to heat it up.  Season nuggets with salt and pepper.

Get out 3 shallow dishes (pie pans).  Put flour in the first (season with salt and pepper).  Whisk together egg and milk in the second (season with salt and pepper).  Put crushed pretzels in the third.  Dredge nuggets in flour, then egg wash, then pretzels.  After you finish them all, take the baking dish out of the oven and spray with cooking spray.  Add nuggets.  Spray the tops with cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Dip in BBQ sauce or


2 TBS mayo (you can use low-fat if you want, but I hate it!)
2 TBS yellow mustard
1 TBS honey

Whisk everything together.  Yummy!

So, there are a couple recipes that seem like guilty pleasures, but are a little bit better for you.  Enjoy!

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