There’s no denying that fried foods taste really wonderful. You probably already know that eating a lot of fried foods can translate to weight gain due to fat and calorie content. For the most part, you want to limit fried foods for the sake of your health. The good news is that you can bake many of the foods you enjoy fried and still get that crunchy, crispy texture you love as well as the flavor you crave. Try baking these foods and you’ll see just what I mean.
1. Chicken Legs, Thighs, Breasts and Wings
It doesn’t really matter what part of the chicken you like best. Any piece is just as yummy when it’s baked rather than fried. Here’s how I do it. First I dredge the pieces in egg, then I drag them through cornmeal seasoned with salt and pepper. I place them on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, then spritz each piece with the spray. Then I bake at 425 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes. Easy, right? And totally tasty too!
2. French Fries
Who would ever want to give up French fries? Not me! Luckily, you can give them a healthy makeover so you can enjoy them without all the guilt. Start by peeling your potatoes. I usually do one per person. Then cut them in four slices the long way. Lay each slice flat and cut it into four or five fries. Toss the potatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Then lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning once during cooking.
3. Onion Rings
If you’re more of an onion ring kind of girl, you can still enjoy your indulgence without all the grease. To make your onion rings baked instead of fried, cut them as you normally do. Then dip the rings in whipped egg whites. Coat them with crushed cornflakes and bake at 450 until the rings are golden brown and crispy on the outside. This will take about 30 minutes.
4. Fish Sticks
Say goodbye to the frozen fish sticks of your childhood. They are not a good choice for a healthy diet, no matter how good they taste. Instead, make your own version. I guarantee they’ll taste better too. Take white fish fillets and soak them in a mixture of egg white and milk, seasoned with salt and pepper. Then coat them liberally with panko bread crumbs or crushed corn flakes. Bake them at 350 degrees until the fish flakes and the coating is crunchy. Go easy on the tartar sauce because it can ruin even the healthiest piece of fish.
5. Coconut Shrimp
I’ll be totally honest with you here. I can’t resist coconut shrimp when I go to restaurants. However, it’s definitely not something you want to eat all the time. To make it baked instead of fried, it lets you enjoy the meal more often. Again, dip raw shrimp in whipped egg whites and then firmly press the shredded (not sweetened) coconut into the shrimp and bake them at 350 degrees until cooked through and crispy.
There is nothing like taquitos with melted cheese on fiesta night. They don’t have to be fried though. I’ve made them baked many times and they still taste wonderful. You’ll make them as usual – by wrapping shredded beef or chicken in small corn tortillas and securing them with toothpicks. Bake at 450 degrees until the tortillas harden and get crispy. Serve with salsa and guacamole and you’ll never notice the difference.
7. Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
Heaven is what these are, am I right? Take a page from my book and learn to bake them so you can eat them without the crushing guilt of chowing down at the bar. Cut several string cheese sticks in half, coat them with egg whites and roll them in panko bread crumbs, seasoned with Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and black pepper. Bake at about 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so. Watch them carefully so they don’t burst and melt all over the place.
8. Baked Churros
Churros are a great sweet treat, except they're typically fried so they're loaded with calories and fat. But now, you can have baked churros at a fraction of the unhealthy version. They're slightly softer than their fried version but still as delicious. Make dough/choux paste as usual and pipe onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake 10-12 minutes at 425. Cool slightly and roll in cinnamon sugar.
9. Toasted Ravioli
Toasted ravioli is such an easy and delicious dish to make. Cook regular frozen ravioli half the time, spray with cooking spray, dip in egg whites and coat in bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese. Bake 15-18 minutes at 450 degrees. Serve hot with marinara sauce for dipping. This is a perfect dish for any occasion any time of year!
Doughnuts are my weakness. Fried to perfection and completely delicious. Now I can make them baked without the guilt of having them fried. Find a doughnut dough you like, there's tons of flavors out there on the web! Mix it up and bake at 350 until golden brown (about 15-20 minutes). Slightly cool and dip in cinnamon sugar or whip up a yummy glaze.
Which one are you dying to try? What other foods do you bake instead of fry?