This fried cheese is better than any restaurant appetizer, plus it's a great snack for a "cheesy" movie night with the kids. Check it out in this week’s edition of @urban’s ‘Taking on the Pioneer Woman.’
Had I known I could make cheese sticks in my own kitchen, there are some local restaurants and drive-ins that would have been out some money. There’s nothing like mozzarella sticks or cheddar cheese sticks with marinara.
This week my son had made plans to sleep over at a friend’s house but the plans fell through. So, I proposed a living room sleep-over complete with sleeping bags, snacks, and scary movies… with mom. For some reason he wasn’t as excited. That’s until I told him we could make our own cheese sticks! Thanks Pioneer Woman for saving the day.
This recipe comes from pages 104 - 105, in The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier.
And thanks to our friends at Ozark Natural Foods, we were able to use the finest organic ingredients.
26 recipes down, 93 to go!
First get a package or two adding up to about 16-20 string cheeses.Then start by peeling the cheese sticks from their wrappers. I would recommend a helper. Gregory helped me and what I thought was tedious, he thought was fun, so recruit the kids for this one.
I wanted to try both mozzarella and cheddar cheese for this recipe so I got both kinds.
Once the cheese sticks are unwrapped. Cut them in half.
Then put ½ cup of flour in a small bowl.
And put 2 eggs and ¼ cup of milk in a separate small bowl and whisk together.
Get a third bowl and add two cups of panko bread crumbs and a tablespoon of dried parsley flakes. (The recipe says to get a third small bowl for this step but I recommend a medium bowl. It’s a simpler and less messy when assembling your cheese sticks.)
By the way if you haven’t tried panko bread crumbs you’re going to want to try them for everything after this little recipe! I’m wondering if it would be totally wrong to put them in a salt shaker and sprinkle them on all my dishes. Yeah, no joke, they’re that good.
Now grab a piece of string cheese and one at a time dip it in each bowl assembly line style. First roll in the flour, then briefly dunk in the egg/milk mixture until covered. Last roll the sticks into the bread crumbs.
Make sure each is covered by bread crumbs. You may have to use your hands to gently pat on the crumbs in spots to make the crumbs adhere. This part was a little tricky and I had to go back over spots or holes that didn’t pick up the crumbs. My son discovered it’s easier if you just bury the stick in the bread crumb mixture.
This part was fun to do with my son and it looked like we were playing follow the leader by dipping the sticks in each bowl and circling around each other.
Place the dipped sticks on a cookie sheet and put in your freezer to flash freeze for about 20 to 30 minutes.
At this point place about half a jar (or more) of marinara sauce in a pan and cook over low heat.
About 5 minutes before you take your sticks out of the freezer grab a medium to large frying pan and fill it about 1 to 1 ½ inches deep with Canola oil. I used a 10 inch pan and it took about 32 ounces of Canola oil.
Turn the oil on medium to high heat and BE CAREFUL WHEN FRYING WITH HOT OIL. Hot oil was popping out periodically and I barely missed being splattered and burned more than once.
Once the oil was warm, I used some sort of hole filled spoon or ladle to lower the cheese sticks into the oil six or seven at a time.
Then turn/roll them over a couple of times to make sure you brown the sticks on all sides. Don’t cook the cheese sticks over two minutes, and watch to make sure the cheese isn’t bubbling or running out. Mine started to bubble out at about a minute thirty, so keep a close eye on yours.
Take them out with tongs or some sort of large hole-filled spoon or scoop and place them on a paper towel layered plate.
Give them just a couple of minutes to cool and serve immediately with warm marinara.
Gregory and I kicked back with a cheesy-funny movie that went perfect with our cheese sticks. And both the cheddar and mozzarella sticks were way better than either of us had ever had in a restaurant!
Fried Cheese Sticks
Please be careful when frying with hot oil!
16 pieces string cheese, removed from their wrappers
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup milk
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
Marinara sauce, for dipping
1. Slice the string cheese in half, for a total of 32 pieces.
2. Place the flour in a small bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
4. In another bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs with the parsley flakes.
5. One by one, roll the mozzarella pieces in the flour.
6. Then briefly dunk them in the egg/milk mixture.
7. Finally, roll them in the panko mixture. Use your hands if necessary to get the crumbs to adhere.
8. Place the mozzarella pieces on a baking sheet, then place them in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes to flash freeze.
9. To fry the mozzarella, heat 1 ½ inches of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mozzarella sticks 6 to 8 pieces at a time. Watch them closely and turn them over to brown evenly. They should cook for less than 2 minutes; make sure the cheese doesn’t start to bubble and leak.
10. Remove them to a paper towel-lined place.
11. Serve immediately with warm marinara sauce.