Sunday mornings are a big deal in our house, because that is usually when we (read: I) plan our meals for the upcoming week, barring any other more-important tasks, like going for a run, harassing the dog, or sleeping.
Most of the time, Mike wakes up early on Sunday mornings to play football on his X Box without me annoying him. About 30 minutes later, I stumble downstairs, get a nice cold Diet Pepsi (I don't drink coffee), a stack of cook books and my computer to start looking through recipes.
Before I write anything down on the grocery shopping list, I ask Mike what he feels like eating that week. Only when he is in between plays, does he actually hear me and tell me that he is fine with anything.
So then I get to pick out all of my favorite meals to eat! And Chicken Parmesan has always been at the top of my list. BUT, it's not very healthy when made the authentic, Italian way. So I decided to get a little creative.
Here's my new "healthified" version of Chicken Parmesan. You will find it hard to believe that this oooey, gooey, cheesy dish can be made healthy and still taste good, but you are WRONG, just plain wrong!
1 large package chicken breasts (4 - 5 breasts), trimmed of fat, and cut in half
2 cups raw almonds
(I also used 1 cup pistachios because I had them leftover from another dish, but you could just use 3 cups almonds)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2/3 cup egg whites (I buy the box of egg whites)
1 jar marinara/pizza sauce (we use our own canned sauce which we know has no added sugar, but feel free to use your favorite jarred sauce)
1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
We top with crushed red pepper flakes too, because we can't eat anything that isn't spicy!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.
I used a spice grinder to grind up all of the almonds and pistachios so they were very fine, and placed in a bowl. In another bowl, add the egg whites. Generously season the egg whites with salt and pepper and Italian Seasoning.
"Bread" each piece of chicken by dipping in the egg whites, and then dipping in the ground nuts. Arrange each piece of chicken so it is laying flat in the baking dish.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Then pour the marinara sauce over the chicken and top with the mozzarella cheese, and grate some Parmesan on top. Bake for another 30 minutes and let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.