Skinny Funfetti Cheesecake {Valentine’s Day Style}

 

I am a sucker for pretty things that are the color pink. When I went to Target a few weeks ago, I spotted pink and red sprinkles, small vases with love quotes and sparkly valentines day cards and of course I just had to purchase them. Adam loves funfetti just as much as I do (soulmate!), so last week I made this cheesecake as his Birthday cake. I used my Valentine’s Day sprinkles in this recipe and it turned out better than we expected for being so “healthy”. This would be perfect to make for your significant other this weekend since bikini season is right around the corner… Um, hopefully.

 

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Skinny Funfetti Cheesecake  {Valentine’s Day Style}

Ingredients:

  • 2 sleeves of Low Fat Graham Cracker (Or use Gluten – Free), crushed in food processor or by hand
  • 3 Tbsp. Light Butter, Softened
  • 8 Oz. Neufchatel
  • 8 Oz. Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 C. Organic Sugar
  • 6 oz. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Egg Whites (or from 2 Eggs)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Corn Starch
  • 1 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 C. Valentine’s Day Sprinkles

 

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and butter until combined.
  • Coat the inside of a 10″ spring form pan with cooking spray and press the crumbs onto the bottom.
  • Bake until browned, about 5 minutes. Let cool, about 10 minutes.
  • Beat both cream cheeses and the sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, then beat in the greek yogurt on a lower setting.
  • Lightly whisk the egg whites in a bowl, then add to the cheese mixture along with the whole egg, corn starch, flour and vanilla.
  • Beat on medium speed until fluffy, 3 minutes.
  • Add the sprinkles to the mixture last and fold in until distributed pretty evenly through the cheesecake mixture. Pour over the cooled crust.
  • Bake until the cake is set but the center still jiggles, about 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge, then cool.

 

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Buffalo Vegetable Quinoa (Mac) & Cheese

Well it’s officially Christmas at the Kartzman’s!

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Yes, those M&M’s have been completely eaten already by yours truly. (#IAmUncontrollable) Since the weather is getting colder but Holiday season is upon us with plenty of chances to indulge, we should be eating healthy every chance we get! I usually make healthier style comfort food during the week so we don’t feel as guilty when we eat out.

 

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Buffalo Vegetable Quinoa (Mac) & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed & drained
  • 1 lb asparagus, chopped
  • 1 lb zucchini, diced
  • Onion
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (fresh is best)
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce (I used Franks)
  • 1 cup rice milk (or regular)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups Vegetable Stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Panko or Breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions

  • Saute your vegetables in an 8 quart pot with a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper until partially translucent
  • Add your Vegetable Stock.
  • Add additional seasoning.
  • Lower the heat and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the milk, buffalo sauce, egg, and grated cheese. Pour in the quinoa mixture and combine.
  • Pour into a greased pan and top with breadcrumbs or more cheese (optional). I used panko and parmesan.
  • Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes depending on the depth of your dish.

How to not gain weight on Thanksgiving…

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could eat as much as we wanted and it wouldn’t affect us in the weight department??

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I saw an article in Health Magazine on ways to have a No-Guilt Thanksgiving.. It gives you tips on how to stack your plate with the foods you HAVE to have without overdoing it. Here is what they suggest.

If you must have cranberry sauce: If this tangy-sweet staple is your weakness, go for a big scoop, about half the size of a tennis ball. Add matching portions of stuffing and mashed potatoes, along with a helping of skinless white-meat turkey the size of a smart phone. Have as many green beans as you want. Top it with a shot glass size portion of gravy and enjoy a sliver of pie (use two thumbnails as a width guide) TOTAL 745 CALORIES

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If you must have Turkey (Light & Dark meat) and gravy: Pile up the white and dark meat for a portion that’s as large as a bar and a half of soap. You can have enough gravy and cranberry sauce to fill a shot glass each. Keep servings of stuffing and mashed potatoes to about the size of half tennis balls, or have a whole tennis ball size portion of one or the other. Have as many green beans as you’d like. Enjoy that sliver of pie! (two-thumbnail width) TOTAL 740 CALORIES

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If you must have dessert: You can get about an eighth of the pie. Choose one favorite or two half portions of different pies. During dinner, have a thin portion of skinless white-meat turkey, stuffing and mashed potato servings should be about the size of a large egg each. Stick to a golf ball size dollop each of gravy and cranberry sauce. Have as many green beans as you’d like. TOTAL 760 CALORIES

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If you must have stuffing: Go ahead and spoon up a generous portion, about the size of your fist. To compensate for all of those carbs, keep your portion of mashed potatoes to the size of a large egg. Opt for a portion of skinless white-meat turkey about as big as a smart phone, topped with golf ball size dollops of gravy and cranberry sauce. For dessert have pumpkin or fruit pie. No need to stay with a sliver… Make a peace sign with your fingers to measure your slice. TOTAL 750 CALORIES

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There are things you can do if you don’t want to skimp on anything at the table as well.

  • Participate in a turkey trot that morning with friends/family or hit the gym for a good sweat.
  • Eat light on Wednesday and Friday making vegetables the main attraction.
  • Don’t starve yourself until you eat Thanksgiving dinner. Keep your metabolism rolling by eating small (healthy) snacks throughout the day.
  • Plan a post meal walk… A brisk walk will help you burn some calories and maybe put you in the right mindset to turn down that second slice of pumpkin pie.
  • Bring an interactive game for everyone to play — Wii dance is always a big hit!
  • Plan a workout date the very next morning. Soulcycle is offering 90 minute “Turkey Burn” classes. Ouch!
  • Volunteer to help clean up… Instead of picking at leftovers help the host clean. Not only does it burn calories but it gets you off of the couch.
  • Stop eating when you’re full. OK, this tip probably seems pretty obvious, but Thanksgiving is one of those holidays when people plan to eat until they are stuffed to the brim. Instead of seeing how much you can eat, serve yourself a small, golf-ball-size serving of everything you want—no restrictions—but have only enough to satisfy your stomach without overdoing it. Remember, Thanksgiving is oneday. Done right, you won’t set yourself back too far!

 

Mock Mashed Potatoes

 

My Grandma makes the best mashed potatoes in the world. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and certain birthday’s she peels, chops and boils about 15 pounds of potatoes to make her family happy. I know they are loaded with butter, milk & sour cream (duh, that’s why they taste so good!) and those items combined, are things I like to “avoid” during the week. I have seen a lot of recipes floating around for cauliflower mashed potatoes so decided to give it a whirl. I think they turned out pretty well and I even got my husband to eat half of the batch. Veggies for the win.

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Mock Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (I used vegan butter that was Soy Free)
  • A splash of Low Sodium Veg Broth

Directions

  • Boil a pot of water and steam the cauliflower until tender (about 10 minutes)
  • Drain cauliflower and add to blender (or food processor) with garlic, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and butter
  • Mix until everything is smooth. Here is where I add a bit of broth to give it a creamy consistency instead of rice texture.
  • Taste for seasoning.
  • After I placed the “mashed potatoes” in the serving bowl, I sprinkled more of the Smoked Paprika on top.
  • Enjoy!

 

Spooky Pasta

Happy Halloween!!

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Isn’t my baby cousin the cutest!? She has multiple Halloween costumes today… such a princess already 🙂

Last night I made “Spooky Pasta” which used mainly healthy ingredients (minus the cheese!) and it was a big hit. It also includes Pumpkin and has a TON of protein… Good way to get your children to eat something different (or your husband).

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Spooky Pasta

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces pasta (I used mung bean pasta which is Gluten Free and has 20 grams of protein per serving)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup rice milk (or whatever milk you use)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Cook the pasta as directed on the package.
  • Melt the butter in pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add the milk, broth, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, Parmesan and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.
  • Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Poor sauce over cooked pasta and serve on a plate.
  • Add 2 goat cheese circles for eyes. I had to use chocolate chips for the eyeball but an olive would work best!

Enjoy!

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Hope everyone has a fun Halloween! If you get a chance, watch this 2 minute video my brother sent me about giving children healthy candy.

Quinoa Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I saw these Quinoa cookies last week and thought “Hmmm, that sounds intriguing”. I’m a big fan of quinoa but have never tried it in a sweet dish. (PS: this Bud Light commercial cracks me up every single time) I decided I was going to give these a go but that they were missing a certain ingredient. A cookie isn’t a cookie without something sweet!

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Quinoa Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup raw quinoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (vegan or regular)

Directions:

  • Add quinoa to a fine mesh stainer and rinse well before using in this recipe.
  • Add water and quinoa to a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Once complete, remove from the stove, remove lid and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Set aside.
  • Add flour, sugar, ground flax, pumpkin pie spice and salt to a large bowl. Then, measure 1½ cups of the cooked quinoa and add to the dry ingredients. Stir to coat, until all quinoa granules are covered in the mixture. Set aside.
  • Add pumpkin, oil, vanilla, egg white and honey to a small bowl and stir well.
  • Pour the wet mixture in with the dry mixture and stir to combine.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • One tablespoon at a time, scoop mixture onto prepared baking sheet, leaving a small space between each cookie. They will not spread out, so you can keep the cookies close. Lightly form each cookie, as you’d like them to come out. I flattened them slightly with a spoon.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through and golden.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack and allowing them to cool for a couple of hours. Because cooked quinoa was used in this recipe, the longer you leave it to cool, the firmer your cookies will become. Leave them be and they will transform!
  • Cookies can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. (Will make about 30 cookies)

Enjoy!

 

Crockpot Chicken Pho

Ah, remember that time I made Pho, posted it on my Facebook page and promised to post the recipe very soon? Well, time got away from me but I’m still making good on that promise.

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For those of you who have never had Pho, it is a type of Vietnamese soup, typically made from beef stock (chicken in this case) and spices to which noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken are added. It’s a kind of soup that cures your sickness and heals your soul. Is that too deep for 9am on a Tuesday?

Crock-pot Chicken Pho

Ingredients 

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (two 32-ounce boxes)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 10 whole star anise ( I used 10 — But I would maybe use 9 next time)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 ounces rice noodles ( I used thin but I believe traditional is wide)
  • 6 cups chopped bok choy
  • Mung bean sprouts (optional)
  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Thai chile or serrano, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Directions

  • Add chicken to bottom of crockpot (You can cook chicken before, but I put it in uncooked)
  • Combine broth, brown sugar, fish sauce, star anise, cloves, ginger and cinnamon stick in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on High for 4 hours (or on Low for 8 hours). (I did low FYI)
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Remove spices and discard.
  • Add noodles and bok choy to the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes.
  • Shred the chicken with two forks.
  • When the noodles are tender, stir in the shredded chicken.
  • Serve bowls of soup with bean sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro, sliced chile and lime wedges on the side so everyone can add their own toppings.

This is not one of those recipes that you make with items that are “just lying around”, but I promise it’s worth the effort!

Clean Eating – Breakfast

I’ve always been a healthy eater. OK, not ALWAYS… I used to eat an entire big bag of UTZ Sour Cream and Onion Rippled Potato Chips and McDonald’s daily… But, then I grew up. I couldn’t stay in shape and continue to eat that way. Adam and I eat clean majority of the time unless we are eating out. I always hear people say that it’s “too hard to eat healthy” or they “don’t have time” but when we are both up at 5am and working out by 5:45am, these excuses seem like laziness to me.

I’m sure you’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s also the meal where you aren’t “supposed” to have veggies so it almost everyone’s favorite. I normally include veggies in my breakfast because I know it will help me choose the healthy way for the rest of the day.

All of my breakfast foods take no longer than 5 minutes to make because let’s be honest, I’m always running late for work. Below are my favorite quick clean meals.

1. I probably eat this the majority of my summer days.

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2/3 cup of egg whites, spinach and asparagus mixture (i make a big batch on sunday), sliced strawberries, blueberries and half of an ezekiel bagel. Most days I leave the bagel out… Sometimes I just need the extra carbs.

2. I eat this meal mainly on the weekends. It feels like a treat, even though it’s healthy!

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Protein Pancake (1/4 cup egg whites, 1 scoop of protein powder (MRM is clean), 1 tbsp ground flax, cinnamon, splash of almond milk, 1/2 mashed banana) topped with plain greek yogurt and strawberries.

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Another protein pancake (made same way as above) except this is topped with Peanut Flour Sauce (PB2 + Water = 45 calories) and the other half of the sliced banana.

3. This is my go to meal during the winter.

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1/2 cup raw old fashioned oats, 3/4 almond milk, chia seeds, banana slices and a tbsp of peanut butter. A cup of green tea to wash it down 🙂

4. Another summer staple — These are perfect after a sweaty run!

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1 frozen banana, 1 1/2 cups of almond milk, 1 scoop of chocolate clean protein powder, PB2 or Peanut Butter ( I add spinach too — You can’t taste it!)

5. Last but not least. Most of you will think ewwww, what is that. Chia seeds help weight loss, make you feel fuller faster, used for hydration for athletes, reduces your blood pressure, is the richest plant source of omega-3, and has a ton of benefits for diabetics.

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1/4 cup chia seeds, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp PB2, 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder

Questions: What do you normally eat for breakfast? Is it clean?

Candle 79

I teeter and totter between trying to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and an everythingatarian so while I was in my “vegan phase” I begged and pleaded for Adam to try out Candle 79.

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Surprisingly, he said yes!

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We started off splitting the Spinach Ravioli as an appetizer

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Saffron ravioli, sautéed garlic spinach, cashew vegetable cheese in a truffled tomato sauce.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ravioli so big! If we didn’t know any better, we would have never guessed that this was vegan. It was cheesy but not heavy like one stuffed with ricotta.

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Adam ordered the carribean jerk grilled seitan sandwich. I thought it would be the most “meaty” thing on the menu and sure to fill him up. Plus, it had a habanero coulis and the man loves everything spicy! He finished the meal and it also filled him up! Maybe I could turn him Vegan?

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I ordered the Grilled Kale Salad and it was HUGE. I don’t think I’d ever see the day where I would say can you box the other half of my salad up. It was delicious and I enjoyed all of the textures from the avocado, lentils and sunflower seeds.

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Vegan Desserts are just as good as regular desserts so we went ahead and placed an order to split the Chocolate Chip Brownie. I personally would have chosen the Peanut Butter Mousse Pie but I gave Adam the reigns of choosing since he was a trooper for agreeing to Vegan food.

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Anything drowned in chocolate sauce is A-OK in my book! It blows my mind how they can make a dessert taste just as decadent without any milk, cream & eggs.

We were both really surprised at how tasty and flavorful all of the dishes were considering they were largely vegetable/grain based. I felt that they really focused on using fresh seasonal ingredients and a variety of spices and unique flavors to make Vegan meals more appealing to a carnivore. The best part was that when I left Candle 79, after eating an appetizer an entree and a dessert, I didn’t need to unbutton my jeans. I was satisfied, but not stuffed. The best kind of full.

Guest Post: Baked Chicken Parm with Zucchini Pasta

Happy Wednesday! I have a guest post for you today by the amazing Ali. She uses one of my favorite kitchen tools to prepare creative dishes so her boyfriend eats more of the green stuff… When i first met Adam, he ate ZERO veggies. Um, this isn’t going to work for me… Adam slowly but surely came around and eats his greens with almost every meal. But the one thing I’ve been having trouble getting him on board with, is zucchini pasta. Ali to the rescue!

A Healthy Bowl of Manly Pasta: Getting The Man in Your Life to Eat Zucchini Pasta

The first time we met, Alyssa told me she already owned a spiralizer. Of course, I then realized that we’d be instant friends. She had told me that she tried making some zucchini pasta dishes for her husband, but he wasn’t exactly thrilled. I took this as a challenge and offered to guest blog for her and create a recipe JUST for ‘Life a la Wife.’ Now, here we are.

For those of you who haven’t heard of me, I’m Ali, the blogger at Inspiralized, a website dedicated 100% to spiralizing. Spiralizing is the act of converting whole vegetables into noodles by using a spiralizer (an inexpensive plastic counter-top kitchen tool) By replacing regular wheat pasta with these veggie noodles, you’re sneaking in more vegetables into your diet while reducing your calorie and carb intake! Find out more about this cooking method by visiting my blog, Inspiralized.com.

Although I’m not married (not yet!), I have been living with my boyfriend for about 6 months and completely understand the constant struggle between cooking healthy and cooking for a man. Most men are not as calorie conscious as us ladies are and I get it…. If I had the metabolism of a dude, I’d be wolfing down triple-decker peanut butter and jellies like there’s no tomorrow!

Everyone (especially men) love pasta. Zucchini pasta is a healthier, low-calorie, low-carb alternative to regular pasta. In order to get your man’s feet wet to the zucchini pasta movement, I present to you a dish that he’ll not only be impressed with, but will feel better after eating. In this healthier version of the classic Italian Chicken Parmesan, I skipped the frying of the breaded chicken in oil and baked it instead. I’ve also excluded butter and have used homemade whole wheat breadcrumbs.

Next time you make one of my healthy Inspiralized dishes and mention “zucchini pasta” he won’t shrug his shoulders or roll his eyes – he’ll be excited for a big bowl of pasta! The couple that eats healthy together stays together, I say.

NOTE: Recreate this in a skinny version for yourself by skipping the breading of the chicken. Then, when adding the mozzarella to melt, use half the amount of cheese. After plating, top with 1-2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs to get a bit more of that crunchy chicken parmesan feel. Almost half the calories and just as much deliciousness. Now you can eat alongside your manly man and not feel as guilty!

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Baked Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini Pasta

Serving size: 1
Time to prepare: 10 minutes
Time to cook: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, Blade C
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce OR 1 cup of my tomato basil sauce (below)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 piece of whole wheat bread
  • 1/4 tsp oregano flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 long ball of mozzarella cheese
  • cooking spray
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

For the tomato basil sauce (makes 1 cup)

  • 1/3 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 (14oz) can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp oregano flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 405 degrees.

Place your piece of bread into a food processor and pulse into breadcrumbs. Pour into a bowl and season with the oregano, garlic powder and then salt and pepper to taste.

Take out a baking dish or tray and pour the breadcrumbs onto the tray. Add in Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. Set aside.

Start your sauce. Place a large skillet over medium heat and pour in olive oil. Once oil heats, add in garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and then add in red pepper flakes. Cook for 10 seconds and then add in onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until onions begin to soften and are translucent. Add in diced tomatoes, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Crush tomatoes with a potato crusher, stir and lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Dredge your chicken in the beaten egg then dip in the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture. Dip on both sides and pat breadcrumbs into any crevices on the chicken breast. Place on the baking tray and put into the oven for 17-20 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken breast (thicker = longer).

Continue to simmer the tomato sauce until all the juice is absorbed. Once done, reserve half of the sauce and keep the rest in the skillet, but turn off the heat.

After the chicken is done, take out, pour on the half cup of tomato basil sauce, top with mozzarella slice and place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and starts to lightly brown on top.

While the chicken is cooking for the last 5 minutes, turn the skillet back on, throw in the zucchini spaghetti, and toss to combine, cooking for 3 minutes or until zucchini softens and sauce is heated. Place the zucchini pasta down on a plate and set aside.

Top the pasta with the Chicken Parmesan and serve to your thankful and adoring husband! This dish is sure to please his tastebuds.

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Thanks Ali!! Adam has already asked me when I will be recreating this for him… Better get on it!