I rarely cook Italian food.

I’m not Italian, and while my dark hair may fool you, I assure you that my pasty, sickly-pale, so-white-it’s-pink skin gives it away.

The truth is, I don’t really like Italian cuisine. I really don’t like tomato sauce.

Italian’s, please cover your eyes: I use tomato sauce from a jar.


I see no sense in making it if I don’t like it, and Mr. How Sweet has eaten sauce from a jar since his bachelor days. He doesn’t know the difference. Maybe it’s the acidity that I don’t really enjoy? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fact that tomato sauce is made with vegetables.


Naturally, I love alfredo sauce. I love it so much I could bathe in it. Come on – we’re talking cheese, cheese and more cheese. But that’s neither here nor there.


Many days, Mr. How Sweet asks for a manly meal.

I usually need to prepare it, unless I want to watch him stand in front of the fridge for an hour and whine ‘...but…how do I make stuff??’


I tend to consider chicken parmesan a man’s meal.

It may stem from dating guys who used to order the Tour of Italy at the Olive Garden and still leave hungry. I think this happened with a few different date’s.

Clearly, I have always had an issue with hungry men and relationships.


Luckily, for Mr. How Sweet, I came up with this healthier version of the dish only for him.

Because even though he loves to eat himself silly, he really does eat healthy, delicious foods.

Yes, you may see 3 chicken breasts up there.

In this house, 3 chicken breasts do not necessarily yield 3 servings. Sometimes they yield 2 servings. Occasionally, 1 serving. It just depends on the mood that Mr. How Sweet is in.

In my experience, that mood is usually a hungry one.


See, I have never had the difficulty of cooking for two.  There may only be two of us in this house, but Mr. How Sweet eats for four. Or seven. And sometimes, even thirty-one.

I never have the problem of cooking too much; I always have the problem of not having nearly enough.


For instance, last night after dinner was made, Mr. How Sweet served himself while I fiddled around wasting brain cells on the computer. When I finally went to get my plate, the food was gone.

Sometimes, in his hungry fog, Mr. How Sweet forgets that I need to eat, too.

(I’m not really sure how he can forget, judging by the size of my thighs. But, alas, he forgets.)

(And don’t worry, I’ve already wondered how he could ever feed our future children.)


For this chicken parm, I coat the chicken in whole wheat breadcrumbs and italian seasonings. Then comes the cheese. Lots and lots of glorious cheese.

I could actually rename this three-cheese chicken parmesan. Not only is there parmesan cheese, but also shredded provolone and fresh mozzarella.


Mr. How Sweet didn’t really eat cheese until he met me. He usually avoided it. No cheese on sandwiches, no cheese on pasta – I know, he didn’t really live before me.

Then I came along, and he had a fridge full of cheese and pants that were too small.

It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t force him to eat the cheese.

I just showed him the beauty of it.


Lightened-Up Chicken Parm

Serves 3-4

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

2 tablespoons italian seasoning

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup tomato sauce

3 oz fresh mozzarella

1/2 cup low-fat provolone cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400.

Set up 3 bowls in an assembly line. In the first, add the flour. In the second, add the beaten eggs. In the third, add the bread crumbs, italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese. Pound chicken to tenderize.

Preheat skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil.

Dip one chicken breast in flour, egg, then bread crumb mixture. Lay in pan and fry until golden brown. Repeat with the other 2 chicken breasts.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, add 1/2 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom. Lay chicken breasts on top. Add remaining tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and provolone.

Bake for 20 minutes. Tent with foil, and bake for another 25 minutes.

Serve with whole wheat pasta and whole grain garlic bread.



How spoiled is Mr. How Sweet?

He lives a good life.

Luckily, it evens out – I trade tasty meals for new shoes.

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81 Responses to “Lightened-Up Chicken Parmesan.”

  1. #
    Abby (Nibble, Nourish, Run) — April 21, 2010 @ 5:48 am

    Um YUM! I love chicken parm! This lightened up version looks just as fabulous as any I’ve ever seen…so cheesy and delicious!


  2. #
    Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly — April 21, 2010 @ 5:50 am

    So cute…I love your sense of humor…I bet you are a riot in person! Have a great Wednesday Jess!


  3. #
    Ally @ Sweet & Savory — April 21, 2010 @ 5:53 am

    Unlike you…I LOVE Italian and this is one of my favorite dishes!


  4. #
    Erica — April 21, 2010 @ 6:20 am

    He didn’t eat cheese? I’m not sure I understand this concept?? Very nice! Instead of egg in my lightened up chicken parm, I use a 1:3 ratio of lemon juice mixed with water. It works strangely well! Your dish looks just perfect


  5. #
    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) — April 21, 2010 @ 6:30 am

    That is exactly how I do chicken parm! I haven’t made it in so long since my husband is now gluten free. I was just thinking about it this morning…you have now convinced me to make it. Yours looks delicious!


  6. #
    Estela @ Weekly Bite — April 21, 2010 @ 6:33 am

    I think Chicken Parm is a man’s meal! My husband LOVES it! With the leftovers he makes chicken parm sandwiches.


  7. #
    Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie — April 21, 2010 @ 7:03 am

    Mmmmm this looks yummy! I don’t really like fresh tomatoes, but I LOVE tomato sauce and practically drown my pasta in it :).


  8. #
    diva — April 21, 2010 @ 7:05 am

    Please don’t dislike me, I love italian food. :P And I love their crazy many coursed meals that take about 2hrs to finish. This looks delicious. Glorious cheese.


  9. #
    Naomi(onefitfoodie) — April 21, 2010 @ 7:06 am

    i LOVE chicken parm but never really order it out bc I know its always deep fried…this is PERFECT for my italian cravings YUMMMMM Jess!!!
    im guessing this won’t send well either, right ;)


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2010 @ 7:09 am

      Come visit! I’ll make it for you. :)


  10. #
    Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle — April 21, 2010 @ 7:07 am

    Baking anything-parm is a great idea and it’s kind of surprising how close it is to the real fried thing. Hmm dinner idea?


  11. #
    My Delicious — April 21, 2010 @ 7:18 am

    mmm, yum yum! and your muffins made by me yesterday was awesome! Maybe tomorrow I`ll upload them on my blog :)


  12. #
    Midgetkeeper — April 21, 2010 @ 7:24 am

    I love Italian, and this looks absolutely divine.


  13. #
    MelissaNibbles — April 21, 2010 @ 7:24 am

    Looks great! I blend oatmeal in the blender to use for my chicken parm crust.


  14. #
    Marisa (Loser for Life) — April 21, 2010 @ 7:38 am

    what???!!! tomato sauce from the jar??!!! *clutches chest and calls for Jesus* ;)

    Despite the jarred sauce (hehehe), your chix parm looks fantastic! Ya done good! My Gram would be proud :D


  15. #
    Madeline - Greens and Jeans — April 21, 2010 @ 7:47 am

    No cheese?! I can’t even wrap my head around that


  16. #
    Yum Yucky — April 21, 2010 @ 8:35 am

    Girl, quit skin-bashing yourself. You’re a glowing beauty! (now gimme dat parm)


  17. #
    Dee — April 21, 2010 @ 8:41 am

    That looks so good. I am going to have to make it tonight with my kids. Then I will use green beans as my veggie. I love your blog you have a lot of fun ideas keep up the good work.


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2010 @ 8:48 am

      That is so funny – my hubby wanted green beans as a side, too! Hope you guys like it. :)


  18. #
    Nastassia (Let Me Eat Cake) — April 21, 2010 @ 8:45 am

    Looks so good jar tomato sauce and all, i’m actually suprised to hear you don’t like italian food well u do love alfredo :)


  19. #
    kelly — April 21, 2010 @ 8:47 am

    omg this looks amazing.

    when are yinz coming over for dinner? i promise once you have my spaghetti you’ll love that kind of sauce :)


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2010 @ 9:18 am

      We’ll be over as soon as you stop saying ‘yinz.’ :P


      • kelly — April 21st, 2010 @ 9:22 am

        someone has to remind you that you’re from pittsburgh n’at since you try to deny it.

        i’ll brb, i g/g get a shahr in tahrs real quick :)

  20. #
    Nicole @ making good choices — April 21, 2010 @ 8:52 am

    I’ll close my eyes and pretend you don’t use jared sauce :) I grew up on chicken parm and sauce so its basically in my blood stream at all times! I love making it and my husband is the same with being able to eat 3 (or 7 or 10) servings of meat, especially this dish!


  21. #
    Jennifer (take the day off) — April 21, 2010 @ 9:09 am

    Thanks for the recipe–it looks amazing! What I love about your blog is that you add a pizazz and personality to all of your recipe posts. There are a lot of food blogs out there, but I keep coming back to yours because not only does your food look delicious, but your posts are engaging! Well done!


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2010 @ 9:13 am

      Thank you so, SO much. You have no idea how much that means to me.


  22. #
    Crystal — April 21, 2010 @ 9:18 am

    This looks soooooo good! I love Italian food and I occasionally use jar sauce too. ::gasp::


  23. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — April 21, 2010 @ 9:29 am

    i’m still in shock that you don’t love Italian food :) i LIVE for that stuff! this looks like perfect Italian food heaven :)


  24. #
    Tina — April 21, 2010 @ 9:32 am

    I always love all your descriptions of Mr. How Sweet. And I am not a huge fan of Italian food either. Such a pain being married to an Italian. ;)


  25. #
    katie — April 21, 2010 @ 9:49 am

    freaking AWESOME recipe-once again!!!! my boy would LOVE this! a healthy spin on an UNHEALTH dish!


  26. #
    Angie — April 21, 2010 @ 9:49 am

    I love chicken parm so much! Great lightened up recipe!


  27. #
    Anne — April 21, 2010 @ 10:25 am

    Oh, the melted cheese on top of that chicken parma looks delicious :)


  28. #
    Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather — April 21, 2010 @ 10:28 am

    Sounds delish! Your husband reminds me of the way my little brother eats. I don’t know how they can fill their stomachs so much!


  29. #
    PippaPatchwork — April 21, 2010 @ 10:31 am

    Haha, I hear you! When Kyle bought me Marc Jacob flats after a couple months of dating, I knew he was the one. And who doesn’t like cheese?!?! He really owes you big time for that one.


  30. #
    Kacy — April 21, 2010 @ 10:39 am

    I’ll eat anything topped with three melty cheeses. Seriously. Anything.


  31. #
    Nicole, RD — April 21, 2010 @ 10:46 am

    He is so spoiled! This looks amazing! Making this ASAP!


  32. #
    Jenn (j3nn.net) — April 21, 2010 @ 10:49 am

    I’m Italian and I use jar sauce often! LOL It’s convenient. :)

    That chicken parm + spaghetti looks soooo good! Cheese is a MUST! I can’t get enough of it.



  33. #
    Stephanie — April 21, 2010 @ 11:13 am

    The Man loves chicken parm (and copious amounts of cheese), and come to think of it, I haven’t made that in quite some time either? Love your lightened up version of the dish!


  34. #
    Erica — April 21, 2010 @ 11:44 am

    This looks great! I am passing this on to my chicken parm loving friends :)


  35. #
    MySensei — April 21, 2010 @ 11:57 am

    You have inspired me to cook chic parm tonight!! I may try your breading mixture-sounds (and looks) delicious.


  36. #
    Jil — April 21, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

    Ahh this looks so good. I mean how can you say no to the 3-cheesiness of it all!!


  37. #
    Marci Butterfield — April 21, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

    Looks awesome. I’ll be trying this one soon!


  38. #
    Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete — April 21, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

    Is it sad when my mouth starts watering at the thought of cheese? Any type of cheese for that matter? Or if someone even says the word “cheese” ? Yes, I’m a sad, sad person! Can you imagine how much I just drooled over my keyboard after reading this cheese porn? Disgusting, isn’t it? ;)


  39. #
    Mr. How Sweet It Is — April 21, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

    You dated guys that took you to Olive Garden?? Mr. How Sweet married someone that used to date guys that took her to Olive Garden??? You married well, if Mr. How Sweet may say so himself.


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

      Don’t worry, I’ve already thought of that. ;)


  40. #
    homecookedem — April 21, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    Haha, 3 chicken breasts equals the same amount of servings in our house as they do yours!! ;) And Andrew always gets the bigger pieces, hehe!

    Your chicken parmesan looks so yummmmmmmy!!


  41. #
    Lisa — April 21, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

    YUM!!!!!!! Love it :)


  42. #
    Katharine — April 21, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

    Haha love the 3 chicken breasts = 2 servings. ;) Great recipe, again! And another reminder that classic dishes can be tweaked to made healthier. YUM!


  43. #
    Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition — April 21, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

    i’m Italian! But you would never know it looking at me. I tend to not cook Italian also. I’m not a huge pasta eater. (My mother/grandmother would kill me if they heard me saying that!) lol


  44. #
    Blond Duck — April 21, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

    Oh my God. You read my mind. I’ve been wanting to make this! If I don’t get to make this before we go to New Orleans, I’m making it immediately after. I’m so thrilled to find this version!


  45. #
    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — April 21, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

    That is the best looking chicken parm. I have EVER seen. He really is a lucky man, and you are a fantastic writer!!!!!! And a brilliant cook!!!!!

    Please have me over for dinner :-)


  46. #
    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) — April 21, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

    Lucky for me, I LOVE Italian food and your recipe looks like it’s right up my alley! Thanks!!


  47. #
    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — April 21, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

    i cant believe you have pinkish pale skin? you dont look “dark” by any means in your pics but i could totally see you rockin the pamela anderson blonde/blue eyed golden tanned skin thing. Darn we can’t lay out together!


  48. #

    I love the lighter chicken parm. It is such a traditional heavy meal. It looked really yummy.


  49. #
    Cassie — April 21, 2010 @ 8:16 pm

    This looks so easy and yummy! I’m with you on the tomato sauce front- it’s not my favorite and my roomies can eat it all day everyday!


  50. #
    Sophie @ yumventures — April 21, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

    Oh I love chicken (and eggplant) parm! So great to have a lighter version of what normally is so amazingly indulgent.



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