Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baked Parmesan Chicken Fingers

I crave chicken fingers a lot.

Like a lot a lot.

Unfortunately, no matter how much my craving overtakes my body, I know that eating fried food all of the time doesn't really help me maintain a healthy and toned figure ... (sad day, I know).

So.. what to do, what to do...

Oh, I know... 

Create a delicious, crunchy, crispy, and healthy chicken finger that I can eat all of the time...

And let me tell you, I did just that.... and they are awesome.

White, tender chicken breast dipped in Panko bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan cheese and then baked off until crispy and golden brown.  Yeah. One word: Delicious.

These tenders will totally kick that greasy craving to the curb!

The addition of salty Parmesan cheese and crisp Panko bread crumbs makes these no ordinary chicken fingers. Dip em' in some marinara sauce and you've got yourself a 'winner winner chicken dinner' meal on your plate!

1 lb. chicken breast tenders
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp garlic pepper
1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (optional-- I love the extra kick!)
3 egg whites, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 jar favorite marinara sauce

Prepare a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick olive oil cooking spray.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Prepare your chicken breast tenders on a plate.

Prepare three shallow bowls for your dredging station.  The first bowl should have the flour, garlic salt, garlic pepper, and chili flakes.  Mix together. The second bowl should have egg whites, beat with a fork until slightly foamy.  Finally, the third bowl should have the Panko and the Parmesan, mixed together.  

The first step of dredging your tenders is to completely coat a chicken finger in the flour mixture.  Shake off excess flour.  

Next, dip the chicken finger in the egg whites.  Make sure it is completely submerged in the egg whites.  

Lastly, coat the chicken finger with the Parmesan and Panko mixture. 

Place chicken finger on cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the tenders.

Place chicken fingers in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the inside of the chicken is completely white when cut in half.  In a small sauce pan heat up marinara sauce on low heat.  Serve along side with the chicken fingers and enjoy! :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Baked Lasagna Rolls

Okay so if Lasagna isn't good enough...

Like seriously, I am kind of obsessed with lasagna... the layers of smooth and creamy Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses, the soft and tender noodles, and you cant forget about the tangy tomato sauce.  Oh, and the meat! Italian sausage is my fave in a basic baked lasagna dish.

But sorry, this isn't your typical Lasagna..

And as my grandmother said, "It may just be better"...

So yes, Lasagna rolls are that good.

And let me tell you why...

Not only are they super duper easy to make, they are the perfect single serving size, and each bite is equally, if not more, delicious than the last.  Oh, and they are LOADED with cheese, spinach, and some more cheese.  Like really, how does that not sound good?

I tend to make these without meat, but the best part about this recipe is that it is so easy to play around with.  So feel free to add chicken, ground beef, or Italian sausage.

These little roll-ups are honestly one of my favorite dishes to make any night of the week.  Whether you are trying to impress someone, or you just want to cook something delicious and easy for yourself, I promise you cannot go wrong with these little guys!

10 Lasagna noodles, cooked al dente (This recipe usually makes about 8 roll-ups- I just do 10 in case one breaks in the pot)
1 10-oz. package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (squeeze out excess liquid)
1 15-oz. container of low fat Ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded and divided
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1-2 cans of your favorite tomato sauce

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Fill a large pot about 3/4 the way full and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add about 10 Lasagna noodles and cook for about 10 minutes until they are al dente.  (Cooked through but still have a good bite).  While the noodles are cooking, combine the spinach, ricotta, egg, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Make sure the ingredients are mixed well.

Set bowl aside.  In a 9x9 baking dish, add half of your favorite tomato sauce and spread out evenly.

Once the noodles are done cooking, lay out a few carefully on a cookie sheet.  Typically, I will use a paper towel to grab the noodles with.. they are hot! Be extremely careful during this step- you do not want the noodles to break.

Take about 2 heaping TBS of the spinach and cheese mixture and using your hands, press evenly onto each lasagna noodle.

Gently, roll the lasagna noodles to create a roll-up shape.

Set roll-ups seam side down into the sauce in the baking dish.  Repeat with the rest of noodles, filling up the baking dish.  If you want to make more, feel free to use a larger baking dish and two jars of sauce.

Pour remaining half of sauce all over the roll-ups.  Spread out evenly.  

Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Parmesan all over the top of the roll-ups.

Cover the entire baking dish with tin foil and place in oven.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.  Take the tin foil off and turn your broiler on high.  Broil the lasagna rolls until the cheese turns golden brown!  (Keep an eye on it, the cheese broils fast!)  Take out and allow it to sit for a few minutes before serving.  Enjoy! :)