Lighter Chicken Parmesan

Before Mr. P moved to Italy and I had the privilege of spending lots of time traveling the country, my exposure to Italian food was…Olive Garden. Don’t laugh. I still love Olive Garden. However, America has made-over the Italian cuisine, just as they have Mexican and many, many others.

In Italy, there is no Chicken Parmesan. SHOCK! AWE! HORROR!

I know.

You can find chicken in the esselunga (grocery store), but I never once found it on a restaurant menu. Beef, veal, and seafood were the most common proteins of choice in Italy. While I know Chicken Parmesan isn’t “Italian”…it doesn’t make me love it any less. In typical Prevention RD fashion, the chicken was rolled in Panko and baked to a crisp. A perfect, lightened-up rendition of the popular deep-fried faux-Italian favorite!

I am going to a women’s hockey drill/practice session tonight. I have a feeling it’s going to be rough…but I can’t wait! :-D I’m ready for a break from the treadmill!

Question: Do you like Olive Garden?

Be well,


  1. I guess I don’t really remember eating chicken while I was in Italy either. Hmm.

    This looks so good! A great lightened version of a classic.

    Have fun at hockey! I always welcome a break from the gym.

  2. I think we have “Americanized” so many different dishes that it’s hard for us to distinguish what is what (I know Mexican food is a good example of this).

    However, I still love food and will try it every which way… lol. I like Olive Garden (hellloooooo salad and breadsticks!), but prefer the non-chains…

  3. I like Olive Garden.. unlimited salad?! I’m totally in. Plus, they have gluten-free pasta now, but I haven’t tried it yet!

  4. Funny that what we think of as a classic Italian dish isn’t at all! I love your lightened version.

  5. I had no idea that chicken parm wasn’t an authentic Italian dish, but now that you say it, it does make sense! Sigh.

  6. Wow…and here I thought Chicken Parmesan was the epitome of Italian food. *tsk tsk tsk*
    I still love the taste of it nonetheless! Thanks for sharing your lightened up version, Nicole! I can’t wait to make it! :-D

  7. I don’t think I have ever made Chicken Parmesan, but your version looks and sounds wonderful! I know my boys would love it!

    I haven’t been to Olive Garden in years, but I do remember some great lunches there with some ex-workers.

  8. I love the idea of toasting the panko breadcrumbs! I’m going to try the technique with a few other recipes I have (fish + panko + lemon = delicious).

    I’ve only been to the Olive Garden a couple of times and if I never went again I would be okay with that. I’m half Italian, so I’ve been spoiled with good Italian (and Italian-American) food. ;)

  9. YUM! This looks delicious! I’ve got to say I’m going to keep this one in the file for winter time as it looks like a great healthy dish.

    But I’ve got to say I’m a little disappointed :( most posts lately have been about indoor foods…what about the grill!!!! You live in the midwest girlie get out side and use that grill and give us some ideas to brighten up our summer table too!! Challenge accepted? ;)

    Miss you tons! Come up with your hubby next time he’s got a trip to michigan planned!

  10. I love Olive Garden. Such good food! Love the recipe!

  11. I LOVE Olive Garden. Their potato soup may be my all time favorite food.

  12. I’m not afraid to admit that I love Olive Garden ;) I know what you mean about “Americanized” cuisine – despite being half Chinese, I didn’t know that General Tso’s chicken is not authentic Chinese (although I probably should have guessed). It wasn’t until I went to China that I learned how much better real Chinese food is.

    Have fun at hockey, Nicole!

  13. I’ve never been a nig fan of chicken OR pasta (I know right?) but this looks REALLY tasty!! good job!

  14. This looks yum yum! I need to work on trying some different gluten-free bread crumbs because the one’s I tried using for my fried pickles made gluten-free crumb balls instead of breaded pickles.

  15. Oh Nicole, this looks DEE-LISH!!!!! And call me naive, but I would NEVER have guessed you couldn’t get Chicken Parmesan over in Italy! I’ve never been to an Olive Garden (we don’t have them here in Canada) but I’m pretty sure I’d like the endless breadsticks I see advertised on tv. (and THAT would explain why I’m on weight watchers! :) )
    Hope the practice/drills didn’t hurt too badly!!!

  16. Love love love Olive Garden and chicken parm! But I tend to overdo the breadsticks and salad so I limit my trips to the OG. This is a great chicken parm recipe :) I’d probably serve mine with spaghetti squash.

  17. Lol, you are too funny, Nicole! I love Olive Garden too! ;)

    I’m a huge fan of chicken parm and this looks incredible…love that Panko coating!

  18. Chicken parm is one of our favorites – love your lightened up version!

  19. I’m so glad you commented on my blog, because now I have discovered yours. I love your “story” and your happy weight – you look wonderful!

    If you lived in Tulsa and miss it, I understand. I grew up 10 miles south (in Bixby), and I would LOVE to eventually end up in Tulsa (we live near OKC).

    This chicken parm looks amazing! I am excited to bookmark and make it. I do like Olive Garden and never turn down an invitation there, but I prefer Carrabba’s for Italian food. :)

    • We were in Owasso and LOVED it! Thanks for your sweet comments! :) Looking forward to reading more at OK Peach Fuzz :)

  20. I really want to try making this (I actually have all the ingredients on hand), but I don’t have a wire rack. Would it work if I just baked it directly on the foil lined baking sheet? Thank you!

    • Shannon, yep! No problem…just flip the chicken half-way so its gets crispy on both sides :)

      • I actually picked up a rack at Target yesterday so I made the recipe last night and it got rave reviews from both my dad and husband. Thank you!! :)


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