Monthly Archives: July 2011

Lighten up that Chicken Parm!

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Our favorite Italian restaurant has a delicious chicken Parmesan dish that is a killer. I shudder to think of its fat grams and carb count! The chicken breast is a huge portion, breaded and fried, and topped with ooey, gooey cheese served with spaghetti made from semolina flour (low fiber).  In typical Hasty Tasty Meals fashion, I made it my mission to prepare a figure-friendly (or at least a figure-friendlier!) version. It isn’t too labor-intensive, either.

Tip: Use a sturdy freezer storage bag for the marinade.


Chicken Parmesan for Two


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3-4 oz. each)
1 28-oz can crushed Italian tomatoes
3 oz. dried whole wheat pasta
2 Tbsp. prepared pesto sauce
½ cup lowfat shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
(Optional) two sprigs of fresh basil for garnish

*Marinade: 1 Tbsp. wine vinegar, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasonings, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp. minced garlic


  • Marinate the chicken breasts for at least an hour (overnight works, too) in an Italian herb dressing (either bottled or my recipe*).
  • Cook pasta according to directions on package to al dente. Do not overcook.
  • Preheat a 10″ covered skillet on medium. Add chicken breasts, cover, and cook until done (use a meat thermometer if in doubt). Turn off heat but leave chicken in the covered skillet.
  • Meanwhile, in a 2-quart pan, heat the Italian crushed tomatoes just to a simmer. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the prepared pesto.
  • Spoon some of the tomato sauce over each cooked chicken breast, just to cover. Toss remaining sauce with the cooked pasta and divide between two plates to serve.
  • Top each chicken breast with the two cheeses, replace cover on skillet, and allow cheese to melt (3-4 minutes).
  • Serve each chicken breast on top the spaghetti, garnish with a sprig of fresh basil (optional), and enjoy.

Those of you who have a copy of Chef Cheri’s Hasty Tasty Meals also have a quick and easy pressure cooker chicken Parmesan recipe, but this recipe is for those who are apprehensive about pressure cooking. ☺

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Leftover roast pork, poultry, or beef? Use it tomorrow to make yummy barbecue sandwiches. As for the sauce, that’s up to you. I’ve discovered people are passionate about their barbecue sauces. Sweet and sour? Sweet and hot? Spicy? Mild? Use whatever you prefer. I usually go with a basic bottled variety.


Serves 4


12 ounces (approximate) leftover roasted pork, beef, or chicken–shredded
1 cup beef or chicken stock
1 cup favorite barbecue sauce
4 Light wheat buns


Combine all ingredients in a one-quart pan, cover, then bring to a simmer over low heat.
Reduce heat to its lowest setting and simmer for at least an hour or until mixture thickens. If using a gas range, you may need a flame tamer to keep heat level low.
Spoon one fourth of the mixture (approximately 3 ounces) onto a wheat bun and serve as is or with your favorite toppings.

In selecting a bottled barbecue sauce, read the labels. Avoid products with the first ingredient “high fructose corn syrup” because those have too much sugar. My personal favorite is the locally made AVIATORS BBQ SAUCE, available online at

©2011 Cheryl Norman

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Filed under Healthful Eating, Recipes