This meal is true comfort food, minus the heaviness.
Breading chicken and baking it in the oven instead of frying it in oil drastically reduces calories and fat without sacrificing flavor and juiciness, says Katie Rankell, director of the UCI Health Weight Management Program.
“And that’s not just any old fat, but the bad, artery-clogging saturated fat,” she says.
A side of sweet potatoes instantly ups the fiber content and vitamin A, which has a role in protecting vision health, says Rankell.
“Orange fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, making them very filling. That helps with weight loss and constipation,” she adds.
If you’re looking for ways to lower your blood pressure, the high potassium content of such vegetables can also give an assist.
Add Rankell’s recipe for roasted green beans with sliced almonds for an additional side and you’ve got yourself a well-rounded, delicious, nutritious meal.
Crispy oven-baked chicken with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted green beans
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- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup low-fat milk
- 1 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs or panko
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried paprika
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the peeled, cut sweet potatoes in a pot. Pour in cold water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch, then salt the water. Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork (about 10-12 minutes).
Drain the potatoes in a colander. Return them to the pot and mash until smooth with a fork or potato masher. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, the chicken stock and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine. Cover to keep warm.
While the sweet potatoes boil, place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound breasts with a meat tenderizer until they are an even thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Put breadcrumbs or panko on a plate. Pour the milk into a wide bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.
Place one of the chicken breasts in the milk to coat, then place the breast into the panko to coat both sides. If needed, press the coating into the breast so it sticks. Place the breast on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Place the chicken in the oven and cook for 45-50 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. Cook until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees, or until it is no longer pink inside.
While the chicken bakes, place trimmed green beans in a bowl with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
During the final 15 minutes of cooking the chicken, place green beans on the same baking sheet around the chicken breasts. They’re done when light brown. After serving, sprinkle with almonds.
(1 breast, ½ cup sweet potatoes and 2/3 cup green beans)
- 452 calories
- 16 g fat
- 33 g protein
- 11 g fiber
- 43 g carbohydrates
- 347 mg sodium