February 27, 2012

I love mozzarella sticks. Dipped into some warm marinara sauce, it can be such a comforting appetizer or snack. The only problem is that often when you order these at a restaurant, they come loaded with fat and calories. So this week I took to the kitchen to create a version that would be lower in both but just as delicious!

I used this Fried Cheese Sticks recipe and made the following tweaks to retain all the taste and flavor of the classic but with much less fat.

  • 2 (8-oz.) pkgs. Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers (To lower the fat in the original recipe, I replaced this with 2 8-oz. packages of reduced fat mozzarella cheese sticks)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I omitted the flour all together to create a lighter batter)
  • 1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs (Instead of the 1 cup of regular bread crumbs I used 1 cup of panko bread crumbs which are lighter in texture and lower in sodium and saturated fat than regular bread crumbs; whole wheat bread crumbs would also be a good alternative here)
  • 4 eggs beaten (To lower the cholesterol I utilized ½ cup of egg substitute (such as Egg Beaters) in place of the 4 eggs)
  • Vegetable oil (I omitted this completely as I baked the sticks for 3-5 minutes on 350 degrees Fahrenheit in lieu of frying)

The above substitutions worked out really well! I was pleased with how crispy the sticks came out being baked not fried, and the flavor didn’t suffer without the full fat cheese one bit. These are perfect as a quick afternoon snack or finger foods to serve when entertaining.

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