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Chicken Parmesan is an Italian dish that is prepared in generally the same way as both veal and eggplant Parmesan. Often called chicken parmigiana, the dish traditionally includes chicken that is breaded and fried, then baked in a rich tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Low-fat chicken Parmesan is the same general dish but prepared in a way to lower the fat content. This is usually done by baking the entire dish and skipping the step of frying the chicken before baking. A few other changes in ingredients can sometimes lower the fat content even more.
Eating low-fat does not have to mean deprivation, especially when dishes such as low-fat chicken Parmesan are included in the diet. There are many different variations of low-fat recipes of this dish to try. Most recipes can be converted to low-fat by simply using healthier ingredients instead of included fats and broiling or baking instead of frying. Low-fat chicken Parmesan is a dish that can usually be just as satisfying without frying if it is prepared correctly.
Beaten egg whites are typically a good choice for dipping the raw chicken into before breading. This is a low-fat way to help the breadcrumbs stick without making them too soggy to brown well in the oven. Bread crumbs made from low-fat or whole grain bread may help lower the fat content of the dish as well as add nutrition. The breaded chicken pieces can be baked until done and then put under the broiler briefly to brown so that the low-fat chicken Parmesan looks more like the regular version. Crisping the breadcrumbs this way will also provide a similar texture to the original full-fat recipe.
Most low-fat foods are not fried at all, though some can be quickly sautéed in a small amount of butter or olive oil. Instead of deep frying the breaded chicken, low-fat chicken Parmesan recipes sometimes call for oven-frying the chicken to help it brown. Chicken that is breaded and then oven-fried is often sprayed with a little olive oil cooking spray to help the breading turning golden brown. A tiny amount of oil applied this way will generally add only a trace amount of fat but will help add crunch and keep the breading from merely getting soft.
After the chicken is cooked, tomato sauce is generally added to the dish, covering much of the chicken. Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses top the dish and melt over the sauce and chicken. Most tomato sauce varieties are already low in fat, so it is not usually necessary to look for low-fat products when a tomato-based sauce is needed for any low-fat meal choices. The mozzarella cheese on top of the low-fat chicken Parmesan can be changed out for low-fat mozzarella varieties to make the dish even lower in fat. Using a little less mozzarella and Parmesan cheese than the recipe calls for will also help lower the fat content in the meal.