7.16.2013

Baked Mozzarella Sticks


As many of you may know, the month of Ramadan has rolled around again, this time smack dab in the middle of summer, which means days are going to super long, nights are going to be super short, and I am going to be fighting against time to get posts up for the blog. It's not so much the baking and picture taking that takes time, it's the writing and editing. I like to work at night, when it's quiet and I can focus, but now that my nights are fully occupied with eating or religious activities, it's going to take twice as long to get things done.


I'm going to try my best to keep up with my blogging schedule, but I hope you guys will understand if I miss a few posts here and there. Now let's talk about these mozzarella sticks!



The last time I shared mozzarella sticks with you guys was five years ago, in 2008. It's crazy that it's been that long. But that was when I first started blogging and when my photography skills (or should I say lack thereof) were atrocious. A lot has changed since then, including, but not limited to my metabolism. Which is why I'm now making baked mozzarella sticks instead of fried. 


Now the issue with making healthier things is that you sometimes end up sacrificing flavor, but that is totally not the case here. These babies are just as delicious as the deep-fried version. They still have that signature crunchy exterior and irresistible melty interior. The only thing that changes here is the amount of calories and fat.


I used half the pack of string cheese thinking 24 sticks would be too much, but I don't think they would have been enough! My family and I polished off the 12 I made within seconds of breaking our fast. Thank goodness they're guilt-free!

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Yield: 12 mozzarella sticks
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Ingredients:

6 sticks part-skim mozzarella string cheese
1/4 cup flour
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme

Storebought or homemade marinara sauce, for dipping

Directions:

Unwrap string cheese and cut all of them in half to make a total of 12 sticks. Place them in the freezer for about an hour, or until frozen.

In a small bowl, whisk together breadcrumbs, oregano and thyme. In another bowl, add the flour, and in a third bowl, add the beaten egg. Roll each of the frozen cheese sticks first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs, pressing lightly to adhere the breadcrumbs to all sides.

Line a tray with wax paper and place the coated cheese sticks on the tray. Return to the freezer for an additional 30 minutes. DO NOT skip this step, or else your cheese sticks will melt when baking. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and generously spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place frozen cheese sticks on the baking sheet, and spray their tops with cooking spray. 

Bake on the bottom third rack of the oven for 4-5 minutes. Then, turn them over gently, spray again, and bake for an additional 4-5 minutes until crispy, making sure to keep a close eye on them so they don't melt. Serve immediately.
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