String Cheese for G-Strings
The weather’s getting warmer and you want to fill your tummy without working on that muffin top. If stripper aerobics classes don’t put the sparkle in your crystal heels, you might want to shave off some calories another way.
When I first saw the shockingly seductive pics of baked treats using wonton and eggroll wrappers on Pinterest, I was skeptical. Could some cooking spray and a quick trip in the oven beget lacy, crunchy appetizer happiness? I ran the first test on my classic crab rangoon recipe and was literally floored – each light and crispy bite was greaseless and guilt-free. Plus, my kitchen wasn’t covered with a sheen of oil from manning a deep fryer.
I thought for my next test, I’d go with the ridiculously simple filling of mozzarella sticks – unpeel, wrap and seal, bake and dunk seemed like an effortless path to snack bliss. Plus, it’d give me the opportunity to test out an idea that I had brewing on the back burner – how to make a marinara substitute that would provide an unctuous sauce but with nary the tomato used in the dish. Epic win.
The best part of this recipe is that it’s supportive of any amalgamation of cheese and wrapper than you can think of. Throw some sauteed mushrooms and spinach in there. Or maybe some prosciutto, basil and sundried tomatoes. The glory is in the fact that you won’t be doing much of any work to get it going, and still save yourself the guilt of a deep-fried cheese binge. Because who the hell wants that?
Baked Mozzarella Sticks with Butternut Squash Marinara
Make sure to bake these babies seamside down and check them a bit, or they’ll explode on you. Which means you’ll then have to scrape the melted cheese off the cookie sheet and eat it over the stove when no one’s looking. Or you can let them watch. No shame in your game.
Makes 4 servings (or 1 unapologetic snack binge)
Preheat the oven to 400. Grab a cutting board, a small cup of water, your egg roll wrappers and mozzarella sticks. Lay a wrapper in front of you so that it makes the shape of a diamond (as opposed to a square). Lay the mozzarella stick horizontally about an inch below the middle of the wrapper. Fold the bottom point up to the middle of the wrapper. Fold in the two sides to the middle. Moisten the two top corners with some water and the roll the whole baby up, making sure that the seams are nice and tight. Place on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper or a silpat to get things extra crispy). Repeat with remaining mozzarella sticks and wrappers.
Spray the rolls liberally on both sides with cooking spray. Make sure that your rolls are tight and that they are seamside down Pop the rolls in the oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.
While the rolls are cooking, grab a skillet and heat olive oil on high. Add garlic and butternut squash puree and cook until warmed through. Stir in basil and turn off the heat. Serve warm with the roll for epic dipping success.