Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lemon-Artichoke Chicken--Italian Made Healthy

Lemon and garlic are two of my favorite ways to add a lot of flavor to food and they pair really well with chicken so when I saw this Lemon-Artichoke Chicken recipe in the Jan/Feb 2009 Clean Eating magazine I knew I had to try it. I really like Clean Eating magazine, as a source for healthy, nutritious and "clean" recipes, in fact I marked a few recipes in this issue to try. This one was in their "The Tasty Cucina Redone" article, all about making over Italian classics to have more nutrients and less calories and fat. 

Clean Eating says: "Quick-cooked thin chicken cutlets are often sauteed in a pool of olive oil and finished with butter. But by dredging your chicken in seasoned whole-wheat flour and cooking it on a moderately hot skillet misted with olive oil cooking spray, you can still get all the great flavor without the fat."

Lemon-Artichoke Chicken
Julie O'Hara, Clean Eating Magazine, Jan/Feb 2009
Serves 4 / Hands-on time 32 min, Total time 32 min

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt or coarse kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning (to taste)
1 lb thin chicken cutlets
olive oil cooking spray
1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut into sixths
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

In a shallow bowl, thoroughly combine flour, oregano, pepper and 1/4 tsp salt.  Dredge each chicken cutlet in flour mixture, shake off excess and place on a plate.  Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium to medium high, so skillet is hot but not smoking.  Add 1/2 the chicken cutlets and cook 3-5 minutes per side, until lightly browned and cooked through.  Transfer to a clean serving plate and repeat with the remaining cutlets, coating the skillet once more with cooking spray.  Cover your serving plate with foil to keep the chicken warm.  Adjust temperature to medium-low and heat oil.  Place onion in pan and cook, stirring frequently until soft and golden, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, cooking for 1 minute, stirring constantly; then chicken broth, bringing it to a simmer; followed by artichokes, lemon juice and zest, simmering for 2-3 minutes until heated through and slightly thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour artichoke mixture over chicken cutlets, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Nutrients per serving (4 oz chicken, 1/2 cup artichoke mixture): Cals: 220, Total Fat: 4.5g, Sat Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Omega-3s: 90mg, Omega-6s: 700mg, Carbs: 20g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 2g, Protein: 27g, Sodium: 420 mg, Cholesterol: 65mg 

Notes/Results:  Great! A lighter, brighter version of the Chicken Piccata recipe I like to order at the Italian restaurant near my house with definitely much less oil and butter but still lots of great flavor. This is a very tangy dish from the lemon and artichoke hearts and I am a fan of tangy. (BTW: The canned artichoke hearts I bought must have been smaller than the ones the author used. They would not have cut well into sixths and I just cut them in half.) I paired it with some whole wheat spaghetti with a little lemon, parsley and a just touch of olive oil, and a simple green salad on the side. It was pretty quick to prepare (about 30 minutes total), went together easily and would be simple enough for a weeknight dinner but still nice enough to serve to company. I like the fact that this lightened-up dish tastes good enough to not make me feel like I am depriving myself in any way and will make it again.


  1. Mmm.. lemon chicken is the best! Looks like you found a great way to indulge guilt-free! Does that mean we can eat more?

  2. I love lemon with chicken. And I especially love chicken that hasn't been drowned in olive oil and butter. I always saute my chicken in either butter flavored or olive oil flavored nonstick cooking spray. Why add calories when you don't have to?

  3. definitely a nice way to add more flavor, looks great!

  4. Debi, you are my hero! I was hoping to make taco burgers tonight, but forgot to buy ground beef! I had already taken out a package of chicken cutlets to defrost. I have everything needed to make this wonderful dish for dinner tonight. I never heard of Clean Eating magazine, but will try to track it down. I'll link to your post when I post mine later this week. Thanks for saving dinner tonight! I was going to try to lighten one of Ina's recipes; that will wait for another time. Smiling through the ice,

  5. That sounds so good! Lemon, chicken and artichokes are 3 of my favourite things.

  6. I love chicken! and lemon. And artichokes. I'll be making this soon.

  7. Just finished dinner and this dish was a hit with Larry and me. The only bummer was my fresh parsley had "died" and I had only dried. It's very lemony and tangy, as you noted, but I really liked it. Thanks, Debi.

  8. This looks so delicious! Full of flavor but not fat! Yummy!

  9. I'm all for lowering the fat and I especially like the combinations here - you had me at artichoke. Thanks for the tip on the cutlet frying - it's a good one.

  10. Thanks Everyone!

    Arlene--I am so happy you liked it too. It's a great simple dish!

  11. just made this tonight... delicious! the zest is such a nice addition. thanks!


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