Healthy Chicken Parmesan & Side Caprese Salad

With all this great weather going around, I have been craving light, summery foods.  One of my favorite things to eat in the summer is a Caprese Salad with homegrown tomatoes and fresh basil!  I went to Pennsylvania Macaroni (my favorite Italian store) this past weekend and picked up some goodies!  Since I bought extras of everything, I figured I would try a healthy version of Chicken Parmesan.

Even though it's not breaded, it was really good because all of the ingredients were so fresh!

I baked the chicken first (without toppings).   Once it was done, I topped it with the sauce and cheese and broiled it...turned out perfectly!  This would also be great with pasta on the side, or a nice hunk of Italian bread!  I included my "recipe" for the Caprese Salad, although it is pretty standard.


Healthy Chicken Parmesan
Recipe & Photos by halftomatohalfpotato
Serves 4

-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-garlic salt & pepper (for seasoning)
-1 cup of marinara sauce (i like a little extra so the chicken doesn't get dry)
-1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese (you can use any mozzarella; shredded, sliced, etc)
-1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

-Preheat oven to 375ºF
-Season chicken breasts with garlic salt & pepper and place in a baking dish, sprayed with non-stick
 cooking spray
-Bake chicken breasts about 30 minutes, or until cooked through
-Remove chicken from oven and turn broiler on high
-Top each chicken breast with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese
-Broil for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly
-Remove from broiler, top with fresh basil and serve!

Caprese Salad

-tomatoes (I like homegrown, but used cherry tomatoes this time)
-fresh mozzarella balls (I used the small balls)
-fresh basil, chopped
-salt & pepper (to taste)
-high quality olive oil

-In a small bowl, mix together tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil
-Season with salt & pepper
-Drizzle olive oil over everything and serve!


Spicy Baked Cod

Eating healthy can be repetitive and I wanted to try to do something to break up the monotony.  I make fish fairly often but this time, I made the same marinade I use for steaks and put it on cod.  It turned out great!  It's a little spicy but you can adjust the spice level yourself when making this recipe, or omit it completely.  For the heat, I used DeLallo Hot Pepper Bruschetta  (ingredients:  Chili Peppers, Sunflower Seed Oil, Vinegar, Salt).  You could use Sriracha sauce as an alternative or even fresh chopped chili peppers.  

Any white fish will work with this recipe.  I prefer cod because it's a little thicker and has a good texture.  The important thing to remember is that when you're purchasing fish, always opt for wild-caught rather than farm raised.  Wild caught fish is more natural and of higher nutritional value vs farm raised counterpart.  I paired it with seasoned green beans but brown rice would also be a nice addition to this dish.


Spicy Baked Cod
recipe and photos by halftomatohalfpotato.com

-1 lb cod fillet, cut in half (2 pieces)
-salt & pepper, for seasoning
-2 Tablespoons olive oil
-1 or 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped (i grate mine with a hand grater, works great!)
-1 teaspoon lemon juice
-1 tablespoon Delallo Hot Pepper Bruschetta OR 1 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce (adjust according to taste)

-Preheat oven to 400ºF
-Rinse cod with cold water and pat dry; set aside
-In a medium bowl, add olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, & hot sauce; stir together
-In a shallow dish, season cod with salt and pepper on both sides and pour the marinade over it
-Marinate for about 20 minutes, turning once
-Transfer marinated cod to baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray; pour any remaining
  marinade over fish
-Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until it flakes easily


Chicken Piccata

Every Sunday, we go to my Mom's house for dinner.  We always seem to have a big group and it's always somebody's birthday or somebody's visiting from out of town, etc.   Tonight was different...somehow, there were only 5 of us!  I don't know why, but my Mom decided that we would make chicken piccata.  We haven't had it in a while and since Sunday is my cheat day, I didn't mind :)

This recipe was my grandmothers.  We usually pound the chicken breasts with a meat tenderizer to make it thin, but you can also buy thin sliced chicken cutlets if you want to skip that step.

It tastes light and lemony, but it's also rich in flavor.  We doubled this recipe and for some reason, the store only had these giant capers but they were pretty tasty.  You can also sprinkle fresh parsley over the finished product if you like.


Chicken Piccata
Recipe and Photos by halftomatohalfpotato

2 chicken breasts (cut in half,  then pounded thin with meat tenderizer)
salt & pepper
flour, for dredging (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
capers (can use as many or as little as you like)

Cut a chicken breast in half and then cover it with Saran Wrap (or put it between two pieces of wax paper).

Pound chicken until it's about 1/4 inch thick.

-Once all chicken is thinned, set it aside
-In a small bowl, mix together flour and garlic salt
-In a large skillet, melt butter & olive oil (over medium high to high heat)
-Dredge chicken in flour mixture, shake off excess
-Once butter and olive oil are bubbling, add floured chicken breasts to skillet
-Brown chicken on both sides, NOT cooking through
-Remove chicken from skillet
-Into the pan drippings, whisk in lemon juice, wine, broth, and capers 
-Bring to a boil and then add the chicken back to the skillet
-Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through
(NOTE: you may have to add a little flour to the sauce if it doesn't thicken enough on its own)
-Remove chicken to serving platter, pour the sauce over the chicken and serve



Baked Feta

I've been into pinterest lately and found some awesome recipes!  Since yesterday was Superbowl Sunday, I wanted to make a super tasty, but easy appetizer...so, baked feta it is!  This is probably the easiest thing I have ever made (it only has 4 ingredients) and it was a-mazing!  If the smell of this baking doesn't lure you in immediately, we are not friends!

Baked Feta
recipe adopted from pinterest
photos by halftomatohalfpotato

6 oz crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup pizza sauce (i used organic tomato and basil sauce)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (i used more, to make it spicier)
french bread loaf, sliced

-preheat oven to 350º
-stir feta, sauce and red pepper flakes in a small bowl
-transfer to a shallow baking dish or gratin dish
-bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly
-serve with sliced bread

Spinach Pesto Chicken

This is one of my FAVORITE dishes!  So simple, yet SO GOOD!!

During the summer, I had an amazing basil plant and made pesto all the time.  Since the warm weather is long gone and basil is not in season, I used spinach for the pesto this time...JUST as good!

This recipe yields a pretty decent amount of pesto.  It's usually more than I need for the chicken so I put the excess in an airtight container and freeze it.  It comes in handy when you want a quick, weeknight dinner and it freezes for up to 6-8 months!

This is also great served over pasta...just thin the pesto with a few tablespoons of hot pasta water before tossing with pasta.

(By the way, I know this isn't the best looking thing in the world, but I assure you, the flavor makes up for it!)

Spinach Pesto Chicken
Recipe and Photos by halftomatohalfpotato

3 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
salt & pepper
1/2 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

-Combine spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest in food processor or blender
-With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and process to desired consistency
-Season with salt & pepper

-Preheat oven to 400ºF
-Lightly coat the bottom of a casserole dish with 2-3 tablespoons of the pesto
-Put the chicken breasts into the casserole dish on top of the pesto; season with salt & pepper
-Top the chicken with pesto and spread out evenly to cover all pieces
-Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes (or until chicken is lightly browned) and serve