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Weekday dinner inspiration: Chicken Parmigiana and more

Mon | Meatless Mexican

Spicy Cheese Quesadillas with a side of fresh fruit makes an easy Monday meal. Grate cheddar cheese and mix with salsa and pickled jalapenos. Spread on a flour tortilla, place in a skillet or on a griddle and top with another tortilla. Cook until cheese melts, flipping halfway. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.

Tues | Fast soup

Make a quick Pasta e Fagioli soup tonight by first sauteing a couple of pieces of chopped bacon in a large soup pot. Add some chopped onion and carrot and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add a quart of chicken stock and a couple of cans of rinsed, red beans and simmer with 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves. In a separate pan, cook elbow pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain and add to soup pot. Season with pepper and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Chicken and Yellow Rice gets a hand from shredded meat from a rotisserie bird. If you can find a mojo-flavored chicken, go for it. Make a bag of yellow rice according to package instructions and mix it with the shredded chicken. (If it's dry at the end, stir in some chicken broth.) Add chopped fresh parsley and even toasted slice almonds or a handful of raisins. Serve with steamed broccoli.

Thur | Skinny Italian

Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito's current focus is scaling back the fat and calories on the food we love. The latest in his Now Eat This! series focuses on Italian food. His recipe for Chicken Parmigiana (recipe below) broils the chicken rather than frying, and the bread crumbs are whole wheat panko, another nutrition booster. Not a bad way to be cooking (and thinking) as we approach the new year.

Fri | A Stir Crazy favorite

Make TGIF Shrimp Kebabs by threading shrimp, peeled but with tail on, grape tomatoes and yellow squash chunks on skewers. Brush them with olive oil that has been mixed with dried herbs (your choice) and minced garlic. Before you toss skewers on a hot grill, start a pot of quick-cooking wild rice. Serve it all with chopped tomatoes and cubed avocado drizzled with vinaigrette.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8586. Follow her on Twitter at @roadeats.


Chicken Parmigiana

¾ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs


Freshly ground black pepper

4 large egg whites

2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise

Olive oil cooking spray

2 cups no-sugar-added marinara sauce

4 cups arugula

½ tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 even slices

1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Preheat the broiler. Position a rack in the middle of the oven, about 18 inches below the heating element. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top.

Place the bread crumbs in a shallow, broiler-proof baking dish and season with salt and pepper.

Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until foamy. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

One cutlet at a time, coat the cutlets with egg whites, then move each cutlet to the bread crumbs and coat evenly. Coat the chicken with 4 seconds of cooking spray and place each cutlet on the rack. Place the cutlets under the broiler and cook until browned on one side, about 8 minutes, then flip the cutlets over and brown the other side.

Bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a large saucepan.

Place the arugula in a chilled bowl. Dress with vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the chicken from the broiler and place it in a large, ovenproof skillet. Top each cutlet with marinara sauce and 2 slices of mozzarella.

Return the cutlets to the broiler and cook until mozzarella is melted. Remove from the broiler and sprinkle the Parmigiano evenly over the chicken.

Divide the chicken and salad among 4 plates.

Nutritional information: 11g fat, 324 calories

Source: Now Eat This! Italian by Rocco DiSpirito (Hachette, 2012)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Chicken Parmigiana and more

12/18/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 3:30am]
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