One of my awesome clients Jason gave me a challenge last week. He wanted a quick (30 minutes or less) meal he can make at home with ingredients he can pick up at practically any grocery store (not just Whole Foods) that will fit his macros. Normally he meal preps and is open to the occasional food delivery service but wanted something he could make himself and hopefully have left overs. Challenge accepted!
I'm a big fan of traditional chicken parmesan (basically fried chicken with cheese served on top of spaghetti). My partner Peter and I played with that idea and figured out a way to scratch our itch for Italian while keeping protein and healthy fat up and total calories and carbs down. We ditched the breading and pasta and opted for a flavorful yet still rich Chicken Caprese.
The recipe below is for two servings but you can easily double it for four and eat the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
What you'll need:
- Salt and pepper (or a basic "Everything" seasoning)
- Two 6-8oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Olive oil (4-6 tablespoons)
- Garlic (3-4 cloves)
- Cherry, grape or Marzano tomatoes (cut into halves, about 2 cups)
- Balsamic vinegar (1/4 cup)
- Fresh basil leaves (about 12 fresh leaves, if not available about 1-2 tablespoons dried basil)
- Two slices of mozzarella cheese
- Two large zucchinis
Here's what to do:
- Spiralize your zucchini in advance. Don't have a spiralizer? Get one here.
- Season the chicken breasts to taste (a pinch or two of "everything" seasoning or a little salt and pepper).
- In a non-stick skillet add about 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the chicken on medium/high heat until no longer pink in the middle (about 4-6 minutes on each side). Remove the chicken, cover with tinfoil and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon or two of olive oil to the pan, about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and the garlic cloves coarsely chopped.
- Add the tomatoes and the chopped basil leaves and simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon for a few minutes until everything is juicy and tender.
- Put the chicken back in with the pan, add one slice of cheese on each breast and cover with tinfoil for 30s-1 minute so the cheese melts.
- Put your zucchini noodles in a bowl and microwave for 60-90s. Drain excess water. Heap on your plate. Add the chicken and tomatoes and enjoy!
- Note: if you want HIGH carbs, no problem (yay bulking!). You can serve this with traditional spaghetti or tortellini. But with the zucchini you can be pretty sure this meal is under 20g of carbs (depending on your portions) with plenty of protein and healthy fat.
Peter and I took some pictures as we cooked this the first time that might be helpful. Here you go.