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Alternatives for family favorites

February 19, 2013


We are still working to put a healthier spin on some of our favorite recipes at our house. We have definitely had a more than a few cheat days, but that is necessary if we want to make this a lifestyle change. Nobody in my house is good at self deprivation so I have been working double time to find recipes that aren’t too diet busting but are satisfying. The first one I want to share is a version of parmesan chicken from Barefoot Contessa “Family Style.” I think the reason that I haven’t recognised this recipe in the past is that I have a tried and true chicken parmesan recipe, but it isn’t exactly on our new regimen. Let’s just say it involves a bunch of butter, double the bread crumbs and a plate of pasta. Barefoot Contessa’s version uses pounded out chicken and is topped with mixed greens dressed in a homemade lemon vinaigrette. I am obsessed with this lemon vinaigrette. The recipe makes way more than you need that night so I save it for salads later in the week. Bill said after he ate the new version that it didn’t feel like he just ate a basketball like the old one.  

I have been making the second recipe for a couple of years now. It is an oven fried pork chop and if you close your eyes, you might just think they are really fried. This recipe comes from one of those Ultimate Southern Living cookbooks. This cookbook is a compilation of a bunch of successful Southern Living recipes and I use it all of the time. Both of the recipes this week use a egg mixture to dip the chicken or pork in to make the bread crumbs stick. I am guessing this mixture must be healthier than melted butter. Both recipes also seem like they have a bunch of steps, but don’t shy away, they are definitely doable for a week night.  

Parmesan Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I like to buy the thinly sliced ones, or butterfly 3)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
Unsalted butter
Good Olive oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry
Lemon Vinaigrette

Pound chicken breasts until they are 1/4 inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or rolling pin. Combine flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Coat chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.  

*You can pound the meat between two sheets of wax paper & to keep your chicken warm for about 15 minutes on a sheet pan in a 200-degree oven.

Lemon Vinaigrette

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil (I prefer to use 1/4 cup oil because I like the acid, try both ways)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and toss with greens

Oven Fried Pork Chops

4 (3/4 inch thick) bone-in pork loin chops
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. pineapple juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4  tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Trim fat from pork chops. Combine egg, pineapple juice, and soy sauce in a shallow bowl, and whisk gently. Combine bread-crumbs and the next three ingredients. Dip chops in egg mixture, and dredge in breadcrumbs. Place chops on a rack in a greased roasting pan. Drizzle butter over chops. Bake at at 350 degrees for 25 minutes; turn and bake 25 more minutes or until done.

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