Lemon Panko Chicken with Mushroom and Rosemary Sauce (cream-free)

Time to experiment! Though will cave in for a really good recipe that calls for cream, I generally try to make all sauces cream-free.   This mushroom sauce is lighter and though it calls for butter, I’m going to try it as is prior to swapping it out for olive oil on the next try.  For the crispy chicken, I pulled inspiration from my Lighter Chicken Parm recipe below.
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets

For the sauce:

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 3 oz. cremini mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into 1/4×1/2-inch strips
  • 3 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into 1/4×1/2-inch strips
  • 3 oz. oyster mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/4×1/2-inch strips
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbs. white apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth (low-salt canned is fine)
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

Preheat oven at 475.

Start with the sauce first.  Set a large skillet over medium heat and put in 2 Tbs. of the butter. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the wine, water, and cider vinegar; raise the heat to medium high and reduce the liquids by about three-quarters. Add the chicken broth and again reduce by half.

Whilst the sauce is simmering, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan

In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites, water and juice from half of the lemon together. (slice and reserve remaining lemon for garnish)

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.

Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes. Whilst chicken is resting, add the rosemary to the sauce and taste for seasoning.

Serve over pasta or rice.

Szechuan Pork

Here’s one of our household’s favorites re-posted for our new readers. (Originally posted July 2009).  We used to cook this with brown rice but I can’t kick my love for fragrant jasmine rice. The flavor really knocks this recipe out of the park!  Enjoy!
Though some foodies only create recipes based on only the most professional sources, I do go out of my way to find new takes.  This is an excellent Asian recipe from Redbook’s cookbook, Redbook Flavor Rules!
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless pork butt, well trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 by 2-inch strips
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
  • 6 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Asian chili paste with garlic

Thinly slice pork, then cut into 1/2 inch-wide strips. In medium bowl, stir together soy sauce, sherry, and cornstarch. Add pork and toss to coat.

In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. With slotted spoon, lift pork from marinade, reserving marinade. Add pork and stir-fry 2 minutes, or until cooked through. With slotted spoon, transfer to large plate.

Add peppers and celery to pan, reduce heat to medium, and stir-fry 3 minutes, or until peppers are crisp-tender. Add scallions and ginger and stir-fry 3 minutes, or until scallions are tender.

In small bowl, whisk together broth, chili paste, and reserved marinade. Pour into pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, return pork to pan, and cook 1 minute, or until sauce is lightly thickened and pork is heated through.

Makes 4 servings/350 cals, 19g fat per serving.

Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup

Here’s a much lighter take on chicken and rice that has now become one of my favorite soups of all-time.  Reviewers suggest that the soup is restaurant-quality, even without the heavy cream.

  • 2 tsp. Butter or Olive Oil
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • Half cup of parboiled rice
  • 1/4 cup butter or buttery spread
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 cup four
  • 1 cup milk (1% or 2% is best)

Heat a large pot or dutch oven to medium. Melt butter in pot and sauté carrots and onion until softened but not browned.  Add broth, water and chicken to pot. Bring soup to a rolling boil, then stir in rice. Cover and remove from heat and rest for 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in pepper, onion powder and oregano until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.
Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium-low heat until heated through and soup thickens to desired consistency, about 15-20 minutes.