In case you weren’t aware, when you try eating healthier some things are forced to go by the way side. For some people, that’s drinking. For others, sweets. For us, it’s fried foods. There is no greater treat than biting into the grease pocket of a freshly cooked mozzarella stick or onion ring. To this day, I still miss Red Robin’s cheese sticks now that we’ve moved to the city.
It’s been a goal of mine to try and find some type of equivalent that wouldn’t also destroy our goal of losing weight before our wedding next year. And needless to say, it’s not all that easy. My first attempt was a resounding disaster, using a Weight Watchers recipe that relied on using brown mustard to coat the mozzarella sticks. The result was a gooey mess that tasted more like mustard cheese than a cheese stick.
But then I stumbled onto this recipe from The Hungry Girl while flipping through her book one day at the local Borders. Tucked in between recipes for a substitute for Carl Jr’s Cap’n Crunch Milkshake and other “healthy” alternatives I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. I mean, I already destroyed a perfectly good block of cheese with the weight watchers recipe, what was one more possible recipe fail?
And you know what, nothing will replace the perfection that is deep fried cheese. It’s not possible. Saturated fat fried in more saturated fat is not a flavor easily replaced. But this recipe does a pretty good job. It retains the saltiness and the crunchiness along with the all important cheesiness. At less than 200 calories for a single serving of 4 cheese sticks, it’s a pretty quick and easy snack.
“Healthy” Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
- 2 pieces light or reduced fat string cheese
- ½ Fiber One Cereal or Panko Bread Crumbs
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp parsley
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp granulated garlic
- 3 Tbsp Egg Beaters
- low fat marinara sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If using Fiber One, grind in a processer to a breadcrumb consistency (if using panko, skip this step). Put the breadcrumbs and spices into a plastic bag and shake to mix.
Cut string cheese in half so you have 4 sticks. Place cheese sticks in a bowl with the Egg Beaters, swirling to cover. Transfer to the bag with the crumbs and shake to cover completely. Repeat the process of dipping the cheese sticks in the Egg Beaters and then the breadcrumbs 2 more times or until completely coated.
Spray a baking sheet lightly with nonstick spray. Place the cheese sticks on the sheet and lightly spritz with the nonstick spray. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese just starts to ooze.
Serve immediately with the marinara.