Kait's Meal of the Month: Healthy Chicken Piccata

February 26, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

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Editor's Note: Tired of hearing why it's important to eat healthy and what your diet should consist of? If you're a STACK reader, you know by now that certain foods are better than others; but how do you actually apply that knowledge to your daily eating habits?

We are pleased to announce a solution. Each month STACK Expert and sports dietitian Kait Fortunato provides a recipe to STACK athletes right out of her own kitchen! Each recipe is accompanied by a catalog of its benefits to athletes and Fortunato's advice about the best time to consume it. All of the recipes are healthy, quick and easy to prepare and, best of all, great-tasting.

Chicken Piccata

The following recipe is a great example of how easy it is to make cooking healthier. I took a traditional chicken piccata dish, trimmed the fat and amped up the protein and vegetables. It has minimal breading—a 1/4 cup of whole-wheat flour covered five chicken breasts—and I added lemon juice for flavor. The mushrooms, lemon juice and paprika make this one of my most flavorful meals to date! I love the appearance of a buttery crust without actually using any butter at all! Cooking this on the stove top with liquid allows for the natural flavors to come out and the chicken to stay nice and tender.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 to 5 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup lemon juice (divided)
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 pound mushrooms

Directions

  • In a shallow dish, mix flour, paprika and garlic powder, and in another beat one egg with lemon juice
  • Carefully dip raw chicken in egg mixture then in flour mixture before setting on a plate
  • Be careful not to cross contaminate
  • Heat olive oil on stovetop over medium-high heat and brown chicken on each side
  • Meanwhile, dissolve the bouillon powder in boiling water and add the other 1/2-cup of lemon juice
  • Adjust heat to medium, add the liquid to the pan, cover and cook for 20 minutes
  • Remove chicken and in the same pan cook mushrooms until brown

Nutritional Info (per serving)

  • Calories: 387
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Protein: 45g

Athletic Benefits

This is a great dinner for athletes. The chicken and egg provide lean protein and B vitamins for energy. Replacing the butter with olive oil provides a good source of heart-healthy fat. Using whole-wheat flour provides complex carbohydrates for a slow release of energy into the bloodstream.

I often encourage clients to use low sodium broth or bouillon cubes, but athletes might benefit from the extra sodium, depending on their activity intensity. The addition of lemon juice not only adds flavor but also packs vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system. The lemon combined with the paprika and garlic provide such intense flavor that portion control is usually not an issue when the meal is this tasty.

Enjoy!

Catch up on Kait's Meals of the Month

 

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
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