Who says healthy eating can’t be good, mouth-watering meals? This recipe is so delicious and ridiculously quick and easy to make. As an extra time saver, cook the chicken breasts ahead of time, then layer all the ingredients when ready to cook.
The recipe calls for organic tomato sauce. It’s a little more expensive, but there again it isn’t overly processed, doesn’t have all of the additives and preservatives and is better for you. Get the salt-free version if you can and add your own. You can make your own red sauce, which takes a little more time but is well worth the effort. You can freeze the leftovers and use in a variety of dishes. I’m researching and experimenting on red sauces, stay tuned!
You’ll also note that the recipe uses fresh cheeses vs. pre-sliced and pre-shredded. You know the saying by now, fresh is best! However, the main reason I use fresh cheese is because I don’t care to eat wood. Yep, you read right, it’s not a mistake, wood. Read the ingredient list on pre-sliced and pre-shredded cheeses. See cellulose on there? Know what that is? Yep, wood pulp. It’s used as a filler to bulk up the item and cut back on the real stuff. When you get fresh cheese, you’re getting all cheese!
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup plain, whole wheat panko crumbs
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups organic tomato sauce with basil and oregano
- 4 slices fresh mozzarella
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil for garnish (optional)
- Chopped cherry tomatoes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Pound chicken breasts with a meat mallet to an even thinness; season with salt and pepper.
- Dredge each breast in the egg, then roll in the panko crumbs. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Swirl the heated oil to coat the bottom of the skillet.
- Lower the heat to medium and cook the chicken four minutes on one side. Flip and cook three – four minutes on the second side or until just barely pink in the middle. You’ll be cooking it the rest of the way in the over, you don’t want to completely cook at this point.
- Place the cooked chicken in an oven-proof baking dish. Pour over the tomato sauce, top each breast with a slice of mozzarella, then sprinkle with parmesan.
- Bake approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.
- Plate each breast and top with freshly chopped cherry tomatoes and basil. Optional, but it makes it really pretty!
Option: You can quickly saute’ peppers, onions and mushrooms and add to the red sauce. You’ve just elevated the recipe to a cheesy cacciatore and added good-for-you vegetables!
Before I got totally on board with healthy eating (you know, only halfway making the effort), I made a version of this recipe that my sister absolutely loved. While healthy for you, the bad part was that I served it in those cute little tortilla flat-bottomed “boats,” which are highly processed and full of things that I steer clear of now. This past weekend as we had a family meal, my sister said, “I have a recipe I want you to put on your website!” and requested this one, which I had forgotten about. The only difference from what I made for her before and this version is the wrap, which is whole wheat and much, much better for you than the cute little boats!
In this recipe, you’re getting a lot of protein from the wrap and chicken, plus a little extra if you decide to add plain yogurt. The peppers are low in calories and are high in vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fiber. Red ones have the most nutrition because they’ve been on the vine the longest. The onions are also high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber.
I have to confess, I got so into this recipe that I completely lost track of time and forgot to feed Toby Dog his supper! He was patiently lying at my feet, not one complaint did I hear. Sorry, Toby Dog!
- 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (juice of two limes)
- 4 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon + 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp minced garlic (more if you like – it’s also not pictured because I was making it for my sister and she is not a garlic fan)
- 2 tsp. Truvia brown sugar baking blend
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced (you can use whatever color combination you want, I used red and yellow because that’s what I had)
- 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- Whole wheat tortillas (optional)
- Plain yogurt (optional)
- Place chicken breasts one at a time in a gallon freezer bag and, using a meat mallet or whatever you have, Mama uses an old rolling pin), pound to an even thickness of approximately ½ inch. This not only tenderizes the meat, it helps it to cook evenly and faster, keeping it moister. Transfer chicken to a baking dish
- In a small bowl, combine lime juice, cilantro, 1 tbsp. olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, cumin and chili powder.
- Pour half of lime juice mixture over chicken, turning to coat well. Let sit for 20 – 30 minutes.
- Lightly coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat until very hot, swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Add chicken and cook for six minutes, three minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Cook the peppers and onions for five minutes or until slightly charred, then stir-fry for one – two minutes.
- Add reserved lime juice mixture to peppers and onions, cook together for one minute. Remove from heat.
- Cube ½ cup of the cooled chicken. Warm a whole wheat tortilla in the microwave for five or six seconds (not too long or it will toughen). Place ¼ cup of the vegetables and the ½ cup cubed chicken into the tortilla, top with yogurt, roll and slice in half. It’s easier to eat that way!
- As a meal without the whole wheat wrap, serve ½ cup of vegetables with ½ chicken breast and a dollop of yogurt. You can add a third item to the plate, quinoa makes a great accompaniment to this meal. What, never heard of quinoa? It’s one of the super grains, stay tuned for a recipe!
Change up the vegetables, add mushrooms, broccoli or carrots to the stir fry. Halve some cherry tomatoes and add to the wrap before rolling (I did and it was a yummy addition). You can also use a different protein, shimp, pork or beef would all pair well. Get creative, make it suit your taste, have fun with it!