TGI Friday’s Mozzarella Sticks Made Skinny



cheese-sticks

TGI Friday’s Mozzarella Sticks are extremely popular both in their restaurants and in the freezer section of the supermarkets. They’re dreamy, cheesy, and deep fried. Happily, my skinny ones are baked not fried!  Each serving, including the sauce, has 81 calories, 3 grams of fat and 2 Weight Watchers SmartPoints. These make a fantastic appetizer and a healthy snack for you and the kids.  Double the serving size and they make a yummy light lunch served with a salad. Watch them disappear quickly. They are that gooood!

Freeze Time: Cheese sticks must be frozen for 1 hour before using
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes


Ingredients for Mozzarella Sticks:

12 light string cheese sticks, I used Weight Watchers Smoked Flavor String cheese or any brand of light low-moisture part skim mozzarella cheese sticks, see shopping tips

1 large egg, I like Egg-Land’s Best

2 tablespoons flour

 cup panko crumbs, see shopping tips

¾ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Cooking spray, I like olive oil cooking spray


Ingredients for Dipping:

¾ cup pizza sauce or marinara sauce, I used Classico Pizza Sauce, see shopping tips


Instructions

1. Cut each cheese stick in half to create 24 pieces. Place cheese pieces on a plate and freeze for at least 1 hour until frozen. These can be stored for several days in the freezer until ready to use. Wrap them in plastic wrap, once frozen.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.

3. In small bowl, beat the egg. Place flour in another small bowl. In a third small bowl, add panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well.

4. To assemble mozzarella sticks: Dip frozen sticks in flour, shaking off excess, then into egg, then finally coat with panko crumbs. Repeat steps to coat all of them.

5. Place all coated sticks on baking sheet.  Spray the tops with cooking spray.

6. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over and spray with a little more cooking spray. Bake an additional 4-5 minutes until heated but NOT melted. In fact, be sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t melt!

7. Remove from oven and place on a plate.  Serve with pizza sauce on the side.  Refrigerate any leftovers. They will keep for several days. To reheat, either zap in microwave for a few seconds or place on a baking sheet and heat in a 400 degree oven until warm but not melted.

Makes 24 pieces (each serving 2 pieces and 1 tablespoon sauce) These 2 pieces are equal to 1 string cheese stick!


Food Facts

TGI Friday’s is an American restaurant chain focusing on casual dining.  Alan Stillman created the original concept in 1965 in New York.  TGI Friday’s,Inc. restaurant chain was founded by Daniel R. Scoggin and partners in 1971.

They now sell many of their foods in the frozen section of the supermarket including their mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce.


Shopping Tips

I recently discovered Weight Watchers Smoked Flavor String Cheese. It’s my very favorite kind of light string cheese!. It’s sold in supermarkets where other string cheese is displayed.  I think Weight Watchers is the only brand that sells the smokey flavor.  If you can’t find them use another brand such of light string cheese such as Frigo or Sargento.

I like Classico or Prego’s pizza sauce. It comes in a small (14 oz) size jar.  You could also use a jar of marinara sauce, if desired.


Weight Watchers SmartPoints 2
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 2

SKINNY FACTS: for 2 pieces and 1 tablespoon pizza sauce
81 calories, 3g fat, 1.1g sat. fat, 20mg chol, 7g protein, 5g carbs, 0g fiber, 277mg sodium, 1.4g sugar
TGI Fridays Facts: for 1 piece TGI Friday’s Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Sauce
110 calories, 6g fat, 4g protein, 7g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 260mg sodium, 1g sugar