Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan has always been my favorite go to at an Italian restaurant. I’ve always wanted to make it on my own but it’s one of those recipes that has always intimidated me. Recently I found this recipe of Martha Stewart’s online and decided to try it on my own with a little twist. I couldn’t believe how easy it was and how amazing it turned out!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can of Tomatoes, lightly pulse in a blender or food processor
  • 2 teaspoons of Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Garlic Salt
  • 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (split down the middle) or chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup of plain Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds of fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

Directions:

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, the garlic, the crushed red pepper flakes and stir for about 30 seconds.

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Add the tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

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Lay the chicken breasts or tenderloins (I used tenderloins) on parchment paper or plastic wrap and season with some black pepper and a little garlic salt.
In a large prep pan, combine the breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Spread out to cover the whole bottom of the pan.

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Lay down as many chicken breasts or tenderloins as you can that will fit evenly. Make sure you season each side of the chicken and turn over completely coating both sides.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle 2 tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and butter to coat the skillet.
Add some of the chicken and cook until golden.

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Remove and repeat process for the remaining chicken, adding a little oil and butter to the skillet as needed.
While the chicken is cooling, preheat your oven to 400°F and spoon some of your tomato sauce into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Layer the pieces of chicken and top with your sliced Mozzarella. Spoon over 1 1/4 cups of the tomato sauce and then sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

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Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

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I also boiled spaghetti pasta to serve on the side with the remainder of my tomato sauce. So easy and delicious!

From my kitchen to yours,

-R. Vargas

Health & Happiness Update Pt. II 

This has been my second month having a gym membership and trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

Last month my main goal was to just be active and my mission was accomplished because I joined a gym!
This months goal was to research healthier snacks and meal prep plans.
I decided to cut back on junk food which is only difficult when I am craving Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Since I already pack lunches for work, I decided I would try to pack healthier lunches and incorporate more fruits and vegetables along with healthier snacks.

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Honey flavored Noosa yogurt with strawberries & granola.

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Baked chicken with vegetables.

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First attempt at prepping my meal.

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A homemade torta which wasn’t all that healthy but I did add some vegetables at the bottom.

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Baked vegetables drizzled with olive oil & sprinkled with a little salt & pepper.

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Baked drumsticks and veggies with a Cesar salad and a fruit cup.

I try to prep my meal the night before so all I have to do in the morning is gather everything in my lunch bag and head to work.

A few things that have worked for me have been to stock up on frozen chicken breast, drumsticks, tenderloins, thighs, etc. and divide the pieces in a Ziploc bag and leave one bag out to defrost and cook. Then I place the rest in the freezer so I don’t have to cook them all at the same time.

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I also bought frozen vegetables and bake them in the oven instead of steaming them. I feel it holds in more flavor.

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I even found myself ordering from the “Lighter Side,” of menus while dining out. (Pats myself on the back.)

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Baja Chicken from Cheddar’s

Another accomplishment for me this month was working out at the gym while my mother shopped around at our favorite thrift store. (There is a Planet Fitness in the same shopping center as that thrift store and instead of shopping, I dropped my mom off and headed to the gym.)
Since I have the PF Black Card membership I am able to visit any PF location so I made good use of it.

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I also added healthier snacks to my “snack shack,” at work.

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My drawer AKA snack shack at work.

I also had a doctors appointment this month and had some blood work done.
I was sure my doctor would tell me that I was borderline diabetic or had a high cholesterol but to my surprise she commended me on exercising and on eating healthier.
A few days later when my blood work results came back, she called me and told me everything looked great and to keep up the great work!
I was so relieved. I just need to keep this up and continue to make healthier choices.

With the small changes I have made, I have noticed my hair thickening, my face being less oily, and less feelings of fatigue.

 

Any healthy recipes or tips you can share with me?

Xoxo,

-R. Vargas