We’re all about healthy makeovers, so when one of our fans asked us to create a new version of her family’s favorite chicken dinner without the usual can of creamed soup, we were more than happy to take on the challenge. Our Chicken Cordon Bleu “fix” features a made-from-scratch sauce which we thicken with a roux of olive oil (versus butter), low-fat milk, and cooking wine. We also use a low-fat cheese to bring the fat down even further.

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu
Makes 6 to 8 Servings

The flavor of this dish pops thanks to the cooking wine (it’s an ingredient you can find at the supermarket). Serve the meal with brown rice and steamed broccoli florets on the side … or with whole grain noodles and just about any other veggie your family loves: peas, asparagus, spinach, carrots … you name it.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus 3 tablespoons, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 x 3-inch strips (32 total)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup Holland House White Cooking Wine
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1½ cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup all-natural chicken broth
6 ounces diced spiral or honey-baked ham (1 cup)
2 ounces low-fat Swiss cheese, chopped or shredded (about 1/2 cup)

1. Place 1/2 cup of the flour and the pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine. Toss the chicken in the flour mixture until each piece is well coated.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and repeat with 1 more tablespoon oil and the remaining chicken. Adjust the heat to medium if the chicken browns too quickly. Remove the chicken to a plate when done.

3. Lower the heat to medium. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour, the basil, paprika, and celery seed and whisk constantly until smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk the cooking wine into the flour mixture until well incorporated and the wine has cooked off a bit, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and broth until well combined. Raise the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer and stir gently until the mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Stir the chicken and ham into the milk mixture and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese until it melts, and serve on individual plates with your favorite vegetable and whole grain starch.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 340 calories, 13g fat (3.0g saturated), 590mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 37g protein, 15% calcium

Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD and Liz Weiss, MS, RD are The Meal Makeover Moms, and together, they’re on a mission to help busy families eat better. For more recipes, check out their new cookbook, No Whine with Dinner. You can also read their blog, Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen or listen to their weekly podcast, Cooking with the Moms.

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