A Week of Low-Carb Meals, Day 2: Pecan & Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast

Easing the hubby into low-carb eating continues here at Unintended Domesticity HQ, and after posting yesterday’s recipe, I got a really interesting comment from a friend. She lamented that she felt like having her husband join her on a diet was “punishing him,” and so she struggled with cooking meals that met both her dietary requirements but also were still tasty for the hubby.

I totally get it. My own hubby, fantastic as he is, is definitely not a low-carb fan. But I don’t really feel bad for “making” him go low-carb with me, because:

  • Low carb is more about eating healthy than attaining some specific result like weight loss.  I think I’d feel it was a lot more problematic if I was significantly limiting calories or doing some sort of crash diet like all-cabbage or juice-cleanse or whatever.
  • With a little creativity, it’s easy to tweak a lot of his favorites to make a low-carb version.

Tonight’s dinner definitely fit into that latter category.  The hubby’s favorite meal that I make is pecan-crusted chicken tenders. Generally, the breading on such a dish is a mix of crushed pecans and bread crumbs, but with a little ingenuity, I was able to make it into a low-carb version that he loved just as much as the original.

The key here is swapping tenders with breasts in order to achieve a better protein vs. breading ratio, and then replacing bread crumbs with grated parmesan cheese. Because of that secondary alteration, you also have to switch out your cooking style somewhat, otherwise the parmesan can burn. Here’s how you do it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup pecan pieces (I buy the “candy pieces” size, the smallest they make)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter

Directions:

  1. Salt and pepper both chicken breasts liberally. Begin preheating your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small plate, crack your egg and add the water and vigorously whisk them together until fully combined.
  3. In a second small plate, mix the cheese, pecan pieces, and spices with a fork.
  4. Heat a frying pan over the stove for 30 seconds on high heat, then reduce to medium-high heat and add your oil and butter. (Combining both types of fat will give you a higher flash point, enabling a better pan-fry.)
  5. Dip your chicken breasts in the egg wash, then dredge in the cheese/pecan/spice mixture, covering all sides. You may need to use a fork to press the mixture onto the side of the chicken, depending on the thickness of your breasts.
  6. Once “breaded”, place each breast in the frying pan, and allow to cook for 3-minutes on each side.
  7. After you’ve crisped each side, transfer your chicken breasts only (no oil) to a baking dish, and let the chicken finish in the oven. You’ll want to cook the chicken through, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, which for my chicken took about 20 minutes.
  8. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from oven and let it sit for roughly 5 minutes before serving. Your chicken should be moist, tender, and flavorful.

Basically, I can make this meal anytime, and the hubby wouldn’t even know he was being fed something “low-carb”. It’s great! Hope all the other low-carb fearing hubbies out there love it too!

Whitney