This lightened up version of the traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu is quick & easy and still full of flavor with a light, lemony dijon sauce to balance the hearty flavor of this classic ham and Swiss cheese topped chicken dish!
So, the cat’s out of the bag. If you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook, you may have seen that I’ve started doing WW (formally known as Weight Watchers) back in July. I’m leading this post with this information because it’s been a big deal for me lately and it’s definitely changed the food I eat and how I cook, so I wanted to at least give that preface so that we’re all on even footing. Additionally, I rant and rave about it, and I need everyone to know that these opinions are my own and I am not being compensated in any way for any positive endorsement of this program. Glimpse at Grace is a place for me to be honest, lay it all out there, and share my experiences and journey to wellness, right? Didn’t I mention that back in the About Me page? Here’s to holding myself accountable! 😅🥂
As it turns out, WW has been 100% awesome for me. As a person, I’m extremely goal-oriented and very competitive, so working the plan and having parameters (the Freestyle SmartPoints system) is really, really good for me. So far, it has really made me not only more mindful of the type of food I’m eating, but also much better at making choices when it comes to food. I’ve been forced to really think about why I’m eating (am I really hungry or just bored?) and decide what I’m willing to put into my body. I also love that it doesn’t feel like a diet, it feels like a lifestyle change and is really just about relearning behaviors and making choices to balance my life. I joke all the time that it’s basically like a game to see how much I can eat for as little points as possible.
Why am I talking this much about it as I lead into a recipe? Because the recipe I’m going to share with you today is one I tried from Skinny Taste because it was already pretty low in points but still had good, big flavor and one that I’ve enjoyed since starting this adventure into #healthyeating and #wwrecipes. I’m all about the WW hashtags on, Instagram, btw. The recipe that Gina has on her website is 5 Freestyle Smart Points, and, because I’m me and can’t leave well enough alone and like to hoard my points, I adapted it ever-so-slightly to lower the points to 3 Freestyle Smart Points, which I calculated with the WW Recipe Creator.
Jeff and I have been suckers for French food for as long as we can remember, and although I would admit that this is some pretty low brow “French food,” it still feels a little fancy if we’re talking about how much chicken we eat. They say variety is the spice of life, and there are just some days that grilled chicken or baked chicken or however you normally prepare your chicken gets a little old and you just need to zhuzh it up. And, honestly, if you can’t see the silver lining in topping chicken with cheese, then we have larger problems to solve.
Traditionally, Chicken Cordon Bleu is pretty decadent in the sense that it’s usually pounded thin, meat wrapped around ham and cheese, breaded and fried for a delicious crispy crust. But when you’re trying to lose weight and wear smaller pants, usually “cheese” and “breaded” and “fried” are naughty words and not really aligned with those goals. Enter this shortcut, lightened-up version. It does the trick (without all of those naughty words). Let’s be clear here: I’ll never live without cheese.
To lighten this up, I skipped the breading and frying steps and I skipped the step of dredging it in flour to do a light pan fry. I removed the “frying” part of this all together and decided to just bake the chicken to keep it light, and it removes the fat of adding butter and/or oil. I simply sprayed my baking dish with non-stick spray to make sure nothing tricky would happen in the oven with the chicken and just baked them plain, except for a light dusting of salt, pepper and a touch of garlic powder on both sides. Besides, once we add the ham and cheese and the sauce, we aren’t really missing anything there.
You guys know me and how I’m all about the mise en place. I like to prep as much as I can before I’m actually ready to cook, so that when the time comes, I don’t have to worry about chopping something or assembling a sauce. That’s why while these babies are baking, I mixed all the stuff needed for the quick Dijon sauce together so I could get the rest of the meal together in a snap.
The sauce is simple and light but it does add a depth to the dish that is necessary, as a Dijon sauce is traditional with Chicken Cordon Bleu. One of the things I’ve really loved about jumping on the WW bandwagon is just reminding myself that I really can have it all, I just don’t have to do it all the time and with all the butter. \
Just before the chicken was cooked all the way through, I poured my sauce into a skillet large enough to fit all four pieces and let it simmer. I sprinkled in the teaspoon of flour to add a slight thickness to it (a very lazy slurry, if you will). Once it was just slightly thickened, that’s when I nestled the chicken breasts into the sauce in the pan. This is when things start to get fancy and the chicken begins to look way less naked. 🤷🏻♀️
One by one, top each chicken breast with one thin slice of ham and follow it with a thin slice of swiss cheese. To make sure it gets all delicious and melty, pop a lid on for a minute or two and then… voila, melty and delicious Shortcut Chicken Cordon Bleu – in a guilt-free way!
I usually serve this with mashed potatoes and green beans.
Shortcut Chicken Cordon Bleu
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (thin) (approximately 4 oz each)
- 1 tsp all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup chicken stock (I used Swanson low sodium)
- 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 4 slices thin sliced swiss cheese (I used Kraft Extra Thin slices)
- 4 slices thin sliced deli ham (I used 4oz Dietz & Watson Black Forest Ham, thin cut)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt & pepper to taste (I also sprinkled a bit of garlic powder on to season the chicken before baking it)
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Spray baking dish with cooking spray so chicken does not stick. Bake chicken until cooked through and internal temperature is 165 degrees, approximately 20 minutes.
- In medium skillet or frying pan, combine chicken broth, flour, lemon juice and dijon mustard. Simmer and allow liquid mixture to reduce slightly.
- Once mixture is thickened, place cooked chicken breasts in sauce, top each chicken breast with 1 slice of thin sliced deli ham and 1 slice Swiss cheese. Place lid on skillet and cook for a couple of minutes to allow the heat to melt the cheese.
- To serve, use a spatula to lift each piece of chicken to a plate and spoon remaining sauce over each chicken breast.