Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Maybe it's the juicy, crunchy chicken bite or just thinking about that ooey, gooey cheese you could pull straight across the dinner table to someone else's plate, but I've been seriously craving this lightened up chicken parm dish.

It's full of flavor yet light on calories, making it a perfect 30 minute meal to bring to your dinner table!

You guys really wanna know why I came up with this recipe?


It's because I had pizza for both breakfast and lunch on the same day. Yup, Ms. Lightweight Plate over here with a big ole' heavy plate of Dominos Cheese pizza. And you know what? It was freaking delicious and so were the two mini Twix bars I crushed after it.

But that was the weekend and Monday's are always a fresh start for me so we're gonna pretend that never happened.

I'm feeling better about myself after eating an entire spiralized zucchini for just 33 calories. The spiralizer I use is called the Veggetti Pro and it was a whopping $14 from Walmart. I seriously use this thing all the time! It comes with 3 different stainless steel plates; one for thin spirals, one for thick spirals and one ribbon cut. For this particular dish, I used the thin spirals but I find the thick spiral plates works better for thicker veggies (sweet pots, etc). It's super easy to assemble/disassemble and it's dishwasher safe.

This recipe is seriously so healthy and so fresh, you won't want to go back to the carb-heavy pasta version, but if you want to make an even lighter version, try baking your chicken or cooking it without the breadcrumb coating.

Feel free to tag me in your photos if you try this recipe @LightweightPlate on Instagram. I love seeing your pictures!

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Chicken Parm Zoodles
A lighter version of the traditional comfort food!
  • 1 Medium Chicken Breast
  • 2 Medium Zucchini (spiralized)
  • 1 cup Bertolli Olive Oil & Garlic Tomato Sauce
  • 1 ball Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (sliced thin)
  • 1/2 cup Progresso Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Parsley
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally to make two thinner breasts.
2) Mix the breadcrumbs & Italian seasoning on a plate and then dredge the chicken in the mixture.
3) In a cast iron skillet (or oven safe pan), heat the olive oil to medium high heat and brown breaded chicken for about 5 minutes on each side.
4) Place the entire pan in the preheated oven to allow chicken to finish cooking for about 10 minutes.
5) Remove, top with sauce and cheese and return to oven for another 5 minutes or until the cheese bubbles.
6) Serve over spiralized zucchini and garnish with fresh parsley.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 Servings

Monday, October 23, 2017


It's happened before and you know it. You've gone to a restaurant, eaten a full meal and walked out already planning your trip back. I can't honestly say Applebee's - yep, that Applebee's - was somewhere I thought this moment would happen for me, but man was I wrong.

In my little college town of Boone, NC restaurant options were slim, like reallllly slim. The local Applebee's was a happenin' spot and I spent 3 of my 4 college years as a full-time Applebee's employee taking orders from tourists and locals alike. Let's just say I ate there, a lot. 

I know what you're thinking and trust me, I didn't venture far from my favorites on the menu because, guys, it's Applebee's. But for some reason I just couldn't stop eating this salad.

(This is the part where I skip down to the pretty pictures and let you see it for yourself)

If you have the time, use my homemade bruschetta recipe below and throw your chicken on the grill. It really elevates the flavors and freshness. But to speed things up for a perfect in-a-pinch weeknight meal, trying using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and jarred bruschetta! I promise, either way, you'll finish your meal wanting more.

To lighten up the calories, skip out on the fried mozzarella bites and use a Lite Balsamic dressing instead of the Champagne Vinaigrette.

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Applebee's Copycat Bruschetta Chicken Salad
Fresh ingredients, light yet filling, this Applebee's inspired salad is perfect for lunch or dinner!
  • 4 cups Leafy Greens (any greens will work)
  • 1 large Chicken Breast
  • 2 Medium Sized Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Roasted Red Peppers
  • 1/4 Cup Diced Red Onion
  • Sprinkle of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 2 Mozzarella String Cheese Sticks
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Italian Breadcrumbs
  • Flour
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Light Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Balsamic Glaze
Optional Prep Steps;
1. Cut chicken in half to split into two breasts (this makes them thinner and allows them to grill faster).
2. Marinate chicken in light Italian dressing overnight before making the salad. It helps to keep the chicken from drying out on the grill.

For Bruschetta;
1. Combine diced tomatoes, diced roasted red pepper and diced red onion in a bowl.
2. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

For the Chicken;
1. Grill halved chicken breasts on Medium-High heat for about 5 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the thickest part.

For Mozzarella Bites;
1. Pour vegetable oil into a saucepan (use enough oil to be at least two inches deep, so your oil amount will depend on the pan you use).
2. Heat oil until it reaches about 350 degrees.
3. In separate bowls put flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs.
4. Cut string cheese into 4 pieces (so 8 pieces total) and dredge in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.
5. Carefully drop string cheese pieces into oil and cook until golden brown.
6. Drain on paper towels.

To Plate;
1. Assemble your greens, bruschetta and sliced chicken.
2. Top with shredded mozzarella, then garnish with fried mozzarella bites and drizzle balsamic glaze over whole salad.
3. Add champagne vinaigrette as desired.

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


I'm a sucker for Buffalo Chicken Wraps and if you are too, this recipe is the perfect low-cal alternative. 
It satisfies that spicy craving while still fueling your body the right way! 

I was in a seriously grumpy mood yesterday;

  • I failed to put together a 5-shelf garage organizer we just bought and cut my finger in the process. 
  • I bailed on my workout. 
  • I almost bailed on making dinner in one of those "screw it, let's go out" moments when I realized I forgot to get the lettuce for the lettuce wraps over the weekend. UGH.
  • Then I contemplated just eating ice cream for dinner because I can.

HOWEVER, I made it through my grumpy mood (with the help of my fiance and a quick trip to the grocery store) and boy, am I glad I did, because these wraps were literally the highlight of my night. 

Well, that and watching Guys Grocery Games on Food Network. 

This recipe is so versatile and perfect for those times when you A) haven't gone grocery shopping, B) wanna feel fancy without actually trying, C) need something healthy in a pinch, or D) in my case, all of the above. It only takes 25 minutes from start to finish!

In my version, I used frozen chicken tenderloins (only because I forgot to take them out of the freezer over the weekend) and they worked perfectly. Simply leave them in the skillet longer and cover your skillet with a lid to speed up cooking. You could also super shortcut and used pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, or even canned... go crazy!

Keep in mind uncooked chicken usually varies in thickness, so be sure to "sacrifice" a piece to check for any pinkness. There should be NO pink in the middle.

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Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
A quick & delicious dinner for the health conscious buffalo wing lover!
  • 1/2 cup Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • 4 cups Cooked Chopped Chicken (Tenderloins, Breasts or Rotisserie will work)
  • 5 large leaves of Bib Lettuce
  • 1/2 cup Celery (diced)
  • 1/8 cup Red Onion (sliced thin)
  • 1/4 cup Queso Fresco (crumbled)
  • Cilantro (roughly chopped, add to taste)
  • *Optional: Ranch Dressing
1. If using pre-cooked chicken: Chop into small, bite-sized pieces and set aside.
2. If using raw chicken: Cut into small, bite-sized pieces and add to a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook thoroughly, about 7-10 minutes.
3. Mix cooked chicken and Frank's RedHot Sauce together in skillet over medium heat to warm throughout, approximately 3-5 minutes.
4. While chicken and sauce mixture are simmering, chop up your onion, cilantro, celery and crumble the queso fresco. Set aside toppings.
5. Assemble lettuce wraps with about 1/4 cup buffalo chicken and add toppings as desired.
6. Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing on the side.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 5 lettuce wraps