Parmesan Crusted Potatoes

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We are a potato loving family.  We love them mashed, roasted, fried, baked… you name it.  My kids’ favorite is mashed (not surprisingly) but I like variety.  These Parmesan Crusted Potatoes are one of my favorites.  The salty, crunchy crust on the tender potatoes is TO DIE FOR.  I could make a meal out of these.  They take just a few minutes to prep, so I like that I can make these first and pop them in the oven to cook while I make the rest of supper.  Serve hot with some chives & sour cream or ranch dressing.  These are 4 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per serving… the challenge is eating just one serving!

~Erin

 

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs. baby red potatoes

½ c. shredded parmesan cheese

¼ tsp. garlic salt

½ T. garlic powder

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Cooking spray

Coarse kosher salt

Chopped chives, optional garnish (I buy the lightly dried kind.  They last longer.)

Sour cream or buttermilk ranch for dipping, optional

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Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Spray a shallow baking dish with non-stick spray.

Wash potatoes & pat dry.

Cut each potato in half and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix shredded parmesan, garlic salt, & garlic powder; mix in olive oil, stirring to coat.

Spread the parmesan mixture evenly on the bottom of baking dish or small sheet pan.

Place the potatoes, cut side down, on top of the parmesan.

Spray the tops with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until tender & golden.

Scrape potatoes off the pan with a metal spatula, being careful to loosen parmesan along with the potatoes.

Sprinkle with chives & serve with ranch or sour cream, if desired.
Weight Watchers info:  This recipe makes 6 servings at 4 SmartPoints each, not including optional dipping sauce.

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Chicken Parmesan Casserole

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We live near a town known for its Italian food, Krebs —  also known as “Oklahoma’s Little Italy.”  It was settled by Italian immigrants years ago, who soon opened several restaurants, cafés, and shops.  In fact, two of my favorite foodie establishments are there.  Lovera’s Italian Market makes their own award winning cheeses, sauces, sausages, marinades, dressings, etc.  When I go into their shop, I want one of everything.  It’s a foodie’s dream.  My other favorite Little Italy stop is Rosanna’s Italian Food.  Their Chicken Parmesan is to die for.  Rosanna’s also makes cheesecakes from scratch.  Again, a foodie’s paradise…however this Weight Watcher has to enjoy these things in moderation.  When I’m craving Chicken Parmesan but don’t want to spend the calories or cash, I make this easy, healthy spin-off.  It’s baked instead of fried and has all the best parts of Chicken Parm, complete with that crunchy crust which makes it worthwhile.  Plus, it’s much faster and easier for busy cooks!  Serve it with spaghetti or all by itself.

͂ Erin

 

Ingredients for chicken layer:

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast – cut into small pieces

1 (29 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 packet McCormick Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix

1 T. garlic salt

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

¼ to ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I use ½ tsp. – plus I add more on my plated serving.)

Non-stick cooking spray

 

Ingredients for topping:

2 c. low moisture, part skim shredded mozzarella

2 c. panko breadcrumbs

½ c. shredded parmesan

1 ½ T. extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp. garlic salt

Basil, for garnish (optional) – I buy the chopped, lightly dried kind in the produce section

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread chicken pieces evenly on the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle the chicken with 1 T. garlic salt, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk McCormick seasoning packet into tomato sauce until well combined.  Pour the tomato sauce mixture over the chicken.

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella evenly over sauce; set pan aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine panko, shredded parmesan, olive oil, and ½ tsp. garlic salt.  Spread this topping evenly on top of mozzarella layer.

I usually spray a quick spritz of non-stick cooking spray over the top, to ensure even browning, but that is optional.

Bake on the center oven rack for 45-60 minutes until very bubbly and browned on the top (most importantly, until chicken is 165°F in the center).  If it starts to get too brown before fully cooked, cover loosely with foil.

Sprinkle with chopped basil before serving, if desired.

 

Weight Watchers info:  This recipe makes 8 servings.

Old Smartpoints plan:  8 SmartPoints per serving

Freestyle plan:  6 SmartPoints  per serving

*Many have asked why spaghetti is not included in the SmartPoints calculation.  This is so you can customize it to your needs.  You can eat it with a big serving of spaghetti or a small serving, zoodles (zucchini noodles), spaghetti squash, or no spaghetti at all.

Spicy Italian Chicken & Artichoke Pasta

All four of us love spicy food, and if you do too, you’ll know how annoying it is that most things marked “spicy” in restaurants are really fairly bland.  After many frustrating Italian restaurant visits (thank goodness for Tiramisu), Robin and Barry decided to come up with their own perfect pasta. Barry tinkered in the kitchen, ending up with a hybrid of some favorite Italian dishes.  This creamy, savory pasta is serious comfort food.  And the best part is, we can set some aside for the kids — or guests with low-spice-tolerant palates — and (cayenne!!!) pepper our portions to our hearts’ content.  

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Ingredients:

4-6 chicken tenders, depending on size, diced

1/4 cup canned sliced mushrooms, drained (we use Giorgio)

1/2 cup dry, julienned sun dried tomatoes (thoroughly rinsed if packed in oil)*

1 15-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained, then quartered  

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

2 cloves minced fresh garlic (could use jarred garlic, but we prefer fresh)

3 T. butter

For Sauce:

1 15-oz. jar roasted garlic Alfredo sauce (We use Classico)

1 ½  cups finely shredded parmesan cheese

⅓ cup milk

¼ to ¾ tsp. of cayenne pepper, aka “red pepper” (depending on heat preference)

8 oz. farfalle (bowtie pasta) — half the box of Barilla that we usually use

3-4 sliced green onions

Instructions: 

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*The Bella Sun Luci sun-dried tomatoes pictured here are strongly recommended…far superior to those packed in oil both in terms of mess and flavor as far as we’re concerned, but if you’ve found a favorite that’s in oil, that’ll do too!  We normally do fresh garlic, but this is the jarred brand we use if the pantry is lacking the fresh variety.  If you’ve never bought fresh garlic, it keeps much longer than you’d think.

Prepare farfalle per box instructions.

In a small pot, put all sauce ingredients on low heat, stir occasionally while preparing chicken portion (be sure not to let it stick).  

In a large skillet heat butter and garlic on low. Add chicken and Italian seasoning. Increase heat to medium. When chicken begins to brown, add mushrooms, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes, heat on medium high for two to three minutes. Add sauce. Simmer for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

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At this point, it’s hard not to just eat this as is, but it’s worth the wait to put it all together.

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Serve over farfalle; top with green onions.  We like to add a little more ground cayenne pepper too, both for a touch of color and, of course, some spice.