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YIELDS:

2-6 (2/6 a piece) servings

PREP TIME:

0 hours 15 mins

COOK TIME:

0 hours 8-10 mins

TOTAL TIME:

0 hours 25 mins

ingredients

1/2 Cup Wondra flour

4 Lg. Eggs, beaten

1 Cup Panko

1 Cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

1 Tsp. Onion Powder

1/2 Tsp. Garlic Powder

2 Tbsp. Dried Oregano

12 String Cheese sticks (Mozzarella), plastic wrappers removed

Kosher Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Spray

1 Cup Marinara Sauce

Fresh Basil Leaves for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Set up a breading station: on one plate have the wonder flour plus a pinch of salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. In a bowl, have the beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. On a third plate or shallow dish, mix the Panko, Italian breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder and dried oregano. Mix thoroughly.

2. Dip each cheese stick in the flour and roll around. Tap off the excess. Next, dip it in the egg and let excess drip off. Then, roll it in the breadcrumbs and press to adhere. Place on a plate. Proceed with all 12 cheese sticks.

3. Place the breaded sticks in the freezer at least four hours or overnight.

4. When you are ready to bake the cheese sticks, you’ll preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Place in the oven to preheat the baking sheet.  After the baking sheet has heated for 10 minutes, take the preheated baking sheet out of the oven and spray it with cooking spray. Place the breaded sticks on the tray and spray lightly with cooking spray. Put in the oven and bake approximately 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown.

5. Sprinkle with salt and serve on a platter garnished with fresh basil leaves. Serve with the heated marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

NOTES:  OK, this is another oldie but goodie appetizer.  Typically, these are made with sliced mozzarella and they are usually deep fried.  I have made this easy for everyone and just used string cheese.  Genius, right?  LOL  The hardest part of this recipe is getting the plastic wrapping off each cheese stick.

I’ve also lighted it up significantly by baking them instead of frying them.  I start with a much lighter flour called Wondra…it keeps things lighter and won’t clump.  There are a few tricks that will help you get that golden brown and super crunchy crust when baking.

1.  Always use panko.  These bread crumbs are crunchier than traditional bread crumbs and do the trick every time.  You’ll note I mixed them with Italian seasoned breadcrumbs to get some flavor in there.  This mix is a good combo.

2.  Preheating your oven to a high temperature is a must.

3.  Then, preheating your baking sheet so it is screaming hot will really help toast the bottom of the mozzarella sticks quickly.

4.  Spraying the baking sheet AND the top of the mozzarella sticks gives them just enough oil to get the “fried” texture you are looking for without all the fat.

This method works when baking all kinds of traditionally fried foods like chicken, onion rings and fries.  Try it.

I make my own Marinara Sauce but as always, feel free to use a premium jar of quality sauce…kids love ketchup! (Hint, hint)

These are always welcomed at sporting events and group gatherings so they’ll be on my Super Bowl menu this year…again!  Enjoy.

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