It’s cold here in Chicagoland. Although winter is not technically here, I’ve already dug out my family’s down coats, woolen scarves, and knit hats. The snow is falling, the wind is blowing —only the brave want to venture outside. And for my family, the onset of winter weather ups our craving for comfort food. The juicy and refreshing fruit that we relished in June has been replaced by our need for ooey, gooey deliciousness.
As a mom who loves to cook, preparing winter meals is an absolute delight. Tantalizing aromas warm our house, and my husband and sons eagerly come to the table to enjoy a nourishing meal. The problem, of course, is that comfort food often equals calorie overload. I want to fortify my family – not fatten them up. So, this year, I decided to give myself a seasonal cooking challenge: How can I lighten up my family’s favorite recipes without sacrificing taste?
With this noble goal in mind, I headed to my local Ahold Grocery in search of a way to redesign one of my son’s favorite treats: Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, the quintessential scrumptious treat of kids and grown-ups alike. While you might be tempted to buy a prepackaged box of these appetizers, I promise you that they are easy to make and you can avoid ingesting the ridiculous amounts of sodium infused into the commercially-prepared boxes in the frozen food aisle.
I headed to the dairy aisle to survey the wide array of cheese options in search of something low-fat but delicious. Immediately, I gravitated to the Weight Watchers® options. The packaging promised a gold-medal taste with only fifty calories – with half the fat & 25% fewer calories than low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese. And if Oprah Winfrey loves Weight Watchers, count me in. I tossed three 10-ounce packages (with twelve servings each) into my cart and headed for the checkout line.
With purchases in hand, I hurried back to my car through the brisk cold. I had just enough to time to get home and whip up a batch of toasty mozzarella sticks before my ever-hungry boys got home from an exhausting day of learning. I was eager to see how this recipe fared with them. (Sure, my boys will eat anything – but they are brutally honest about my cooking.)
The best praise that my kids gave me was an empty tray with the request to make it again the next day. I was convinced that my revamped recipe made the perfect after-school snack – it’s filled with protein, calcium, and cheese-y goodness. Plus, like all of my MommaChef recipes, you can prepare it with six ingredients in six minutes or less.
And if that doesn’t convince you: you totally have to appreciate their delightful marketing pun: Weight Watchers® is so confident you’ll love Weight Watchers® cheese, they’re offering a money back guarantee. That’s Great Taste, GuaranCheesed!
- 8 sticks of Weight Watchers® Light String Cheese
- ½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (you can also use GF Panko)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Cut string cheese in half to give you 16 pieces and place in the freezer until cheese is frozen, at least 30 minutes.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400° F.
- In a large bowl, mix together eggs and milk. Set aside.
- In a large Ziploc bag, add the breadcrumbs and salt.
- Dip each string cheese in the egg/milk mixture and put them in the Ziploc bag. Shake to coat all sides of the cheese.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Arrange the cheese in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes.
- These need to be baked when the cheese is frozen, or you will have messy blob of cheese (which did happen to me when I was trying these out, and I have to admit, these still did taste great). If they are not still frozen when ready to bake, just simply return the breaded cheese to the freezer for 20 minutes then bake immediately.
- My kids like dipping these in marinara sauce.
- This a great activity to make with your kids.
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