Sticks + Tator Tots = Mozza tots. Something I daydreamed up mid 30-second stint of jumping lunges. Thanks, Jillian Michaels. There is something about that woman's incessant heartrate-raising workouts that makes me feel like I can eat whatever I please immediately after I'm done. Of course, I usually follow-up her workouts by first lying on the floor for 16-17 minutes before I even begin to consider the thought of moving again. For anyone who's questioned why I workout at home instead of at a gym, this is why. I like to be a little sack of potatoes post workout and that would likely be frowned upon at East Bank.
Given that this idea popped into my mind while working out, I figured I should at least make the delectable little treats healthy. Thus, they're baked, not fried and use part-skim mozzarella sticks instead of their full-fat counterpart. To up the crunch, I also threw in some crushed pretzels.
These tasty snacks are healthy(er) and will likely make you happier. So, make them, eat them, be healthy, and be happy.
Baked Mozza Tots (Makes 48 tots)
◊ 12 part-skim mozzarella sticks, quartered
◊ ⅓ unseasoned bread crumbs
◊ ⅓ panko bread crumbs
◊ 10 pretzel sticks, crushed or pulsed in food processor
◊ 1 ½ tsp Italian seasoning
◊ ½ tsp red pepper flakes
◊ ½ tsp sea salt
◊ 1 tbsp fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped
◊ ½ cup flour
◊ 2 eggs, whisked
◊ 1 cup pizza or marinara sauce, warmed
Place quartered mozzarella sticks on a small plate.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, panko, crushed preztels, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and parsley.
Put flour in another small bowl.
Put eggs in yet another small bowl.
Create an assembly line in this order: mozzarella sticks, flour, egg mixture, and breading.
Move through the assembly line one stick at a time. First, coat in flour being sure to brush off any extra so there is only a very thin coating.
Next, coat in egg mixture and shake off excess egg.
Last, coat in mozza tot breading and place on a large plate or platter.
Once you've coated all of the mozza tots, put them in the freezer for 30-45 minutes. The longer, the better as you'll need the cheese to be cold so the coating can crisp up in the oven before the mozzarella starts to run out everywhere.
Heat oven to 400°F. Bake mozza tots for 9-11 minutes or until crispy and golden and cheese is just barely beginning to ooze out the sides.
Serve alongside your favorite pizza or marinara and enjoy!