Light Chicken Piccata
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I was skeptical about this lighter version of Chicken Piccata before I made it, but it got 5 stars, so I thought, what the heck.
The original recipe I love uses 6 Tablespoons of butter, so I felt it would be quite a challenge to come close to that awesome version. Turns out I needn’t have worried – this is really, really good. And honestly, I can’t think of another recipe that you can get on the table this quickly.
This healthier version comes from The Food Network’s Robin Miller. It’s very easy and fast to pull this together. I’m going to one-up myself by having red quinoa, which I’ve really gotten to love.
Robin Miller used to have a show on The Food Network called “Quick Fix Meals.” For many years, I would watch The Food Network and The Cooking Channel whenever I was in the kitchen, which was often!
She’s got this cookbook out on Amazon called “Quick Fix Meals.” Her emphasis is on quick (obviously) but also healthy meals. This is a great, inexpensive source of inspiration when you’re absolutely clueless as to what to make for dinner (again!).
She also has another cookbook on Amazon called Robin Takes 5: 500 Recipes, 5 Ingredients or Less, 500 Calories or Less, for 5 Nights/Week at 5:00 pm. That’s no easy feat!
If you’ve never tried red quinoa, you should. Make sure you rinse well to remove the saponin that covers it because it is bitter. Saponin is a naturally occurring insecticide; it’s not a man-made chemical.
If you’d like to check out the many health benefits of eating quinoa, click here. It’s a pretty amazing grain!
For one cup quinoa, use 1 ½ cups water. Combine in a medium saucepan and add about a teaspoon of kosher salt.
Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer and cover. Mine took less than 30 minutes. When it’s done, the white squiggly middles open up. Your quinoa is done when it looks like this. As with rice, use chop sticks or a fork to fluff it.
I also save the leftovers and put them in freezer bags. Some of it I’ll save in a little mason jar in my produce drawer. The more nutrients you can sneak into a salad or an entrée, the better!
Of course, I’ll make a salad! God forbid I go a day without salad.
One of my mother’s favorite sayings was “Everything fun is either illegal, immoral or fattening.” She wasn’t all that far off (just kidding – this meal should be fun and non-fattening)!
I did make two small changes to this dish. First of all, in addition to the one Tablespoon olive oil, I added one pat of butter.
Secondly, I found her sauce to be flavorful but way too thin. So, before I deglazed the pan with the lemon juice/wine/broth mixture, I removed the cooked chicken breasts to a pie plate, and put them in the 200° oven. After adding the lemon juice/wine/broth to the hot pan, I turned the sauce up to high, and let it boil away, while I sprinkled a bit of flour into it, whisking constantly. I used my shaker, but I would guess I only added about 2 teaspoons of flour.
After about 5 minutes on high, the sauce became nice and glossy and thicker. Then I turned down the heat to medium and added the browned chicken back into the sauce. If I had left the browned chicken in the pan the entire time, it would have overcooked the chicken and sprinkling in some flour would have been impossible.
Light Chicken Piccata
4 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (I used the zest of two lemons, since I love lemon)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus one tablespoon butter)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered (meh)
1/4 cup drained capers
I chopped some parsley, to top it all off.
Preheat your oven to 200°.
Place chicken in zip-top bags and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until 1/4-inch thick. Remove chicken from bag and season all over with salt and black pepper. In a shallow dish (or plastic bag), combine flour, lemon zest, paprika, and garlic powder. Mix well. Add chicken and turn to coat. Remove chicken from flour mixture and shake off excess flour.
Heat oil (and butter) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. (Note from me: I am pretty sure chicken wouldn’t be done after only 2 minutes per side, but I guess it depends on the thickness of the breast.) Remove chicken to a pie plate and put in your preheated oven.
Add lemon juice, wine and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Whisking constantly, sprinkle in a bit of flour, a little at a time. You’ll need to cook this for at least 3 minutes, to cook off the taste of flour. Continue to whisk and reduce, adding another sprinkle or two until the sauce thickens.
Return chicken plus juices to the sauce and heat on medium until warmed through. Add artichoke hearts (optional) and capers and simmer 1 minute to heat through.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve over quinoa, rice, or angel hair pasta.
Enjoy! I’ll definitely be making this again!