Chicken parmesan meatloaf muffins

Two 'muffin'-sized meatloaves made of ground chicken and seasonings are topped with homemade marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Served with cauliflower risotto.I love chicken parmesan when I go out to eat, but I’ve been avoiding it due to the elevated sodium levels I know the sauce will undoubtedly have, the breading on the chicken, etc. I’ve been learning that some of my favourites from restaurants over the years are not the healthiest of choices and tend to have a million calories, two million grams of fat and an ungodly amount of sodium. Chicken parmesan is no exception, sadly.

But does this mean I have to swear off of it? No! Why not make my own and adjust things to fit my dietary needs? I’ll save my waistline from expanding (or my feet!) and save my pocketbook too!

I had a craving for it one night but didn’t have any chicken breasts to make it myself. What did I have? Ground chicken. What could I do with that? Well, I make beef meatloaf ‘muffins’ all the time, so why not do the same with the chicken? They’d have bread crumbs worked into them, using a similar theme to chicken parmesan. And heck, I have light parmesan in the fridge at all times! If I made up my own sauce, I could control the sodium considerably. So I went to work on it and here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground chicken (extra lean)
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp Mrs Dash table blend seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup (3.5 Tbsp) light parmesan cheese
  • 3 oz part skimmed mozzarella, shredded

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Lightly spray a muffin pan (12-muffin) with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients from chicken to parmesan cheese by hand in a bowl.
  4. Fill each cup in the muffin pan evenly with the meat mixture.
  5. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of homemade marinara sauce over the top of each muffin (see next recipe below).
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes (internal temperature should be about 165F).
  7. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over each ‘muffin’ and bake for 2-3 more minutes.

Serve with your favourite  pasta, salad or cooked veggies, or slice up and make into a sandwich.

Makes: 12 muffins

Nutritional information per muffin WITHOUT marinara sauce: 240 calories, 4g carbs, 10g fat, 34g protein, 377mg sodium, 1g sugars
Nutritional information per muffin WITH marinara sauce (below): 250 calories, 6g carbs, 10g fat, 34g protein, 382mg sodium, 2g sugars

Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 can reduced sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 1/4 tsp Mrs Dash table blend seasoning

Method

  1. Over a medium heat in a large saucepan, saute the onions in the olive oil until softened. Add garlic powder and stir until powder dissolved.
  2. Pour in the tomatoes.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and serve.

Makes: approximately 14 1/4-cup portions

Nutritional information per 1/4 cup: 20 calories, 4g carbs, 0g fat, 1g protein, 10mg sodium, 2g sugars
Per 2 Tbsp serving for chicken parmesan muffins (approx.): 10 calories, 2g carbs, 0g fat, 0g protein, 5mg sodium, 1 g sugars

Add salt to your own taste, adding the sodium count, of course.

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