Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fast Food Makeovers

Sorry to our wonderful readers that this post is late; it has been one crazy kind of week! In the midst of weeks like this, I definitely struggle with meal planning and finding the desire to get in the kitchen and make dinner. Most of the time, I love to cook but there are certainly days that I'd rather just have my hubby pick up some Thai food on the way home, or hit a drive through, or grab a pizza. With the budget kind of tight these days, fast food sometimes holds appeal – heck, you can "feed" your family for less than $5 if you want to. But we all know that fast food – particularly those items on the dollar menu – really isn't food at all! So this blog post is about making over fast food into healthy (or at least healthier) alternatives! And, remembering this crazy week where I maybe didn't ask for help when I needed it, I'm going to ask for your help in creating this post!!

What are your favorite "Fast Food Re-Dos?" Do you have any fast and easy homemade versions of fast food? Or maybe you have a more gourmet spin on a fast food? Please post your ideas and we can all reap the rewards! Here are some of my favorites:

I made pizza Monday night using Chef Brett's crust recipe and it was awesome! I made 4 individual pizzas and we all got to top our own. The boys had a lot of fun spreading sauce and pepperoni and cheese all over the place and I got to make mine piled high with artichoke hearts just the way I like it! It's easy to boost the health factor by making your crust with whole wheat flour and adding lots of veggies as toppings. My friend Billie, who has been eating gluten-free lately, says she uses rice tortillas from Trader Joe's as her crust and she makes her husband pizza on pita bread!

French Fries
Maybe my favorite fast food re-do is oven baked sweet potato fries—a much healthier potato option (see our previous post). I got the original recipe from The Sonoma Diet by Connie Guttersen but now I don't really follow a recipe. Peel 1-2 red sweet potatoes and slice into half rounds or wedges. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper. Spread on parchment paper on a cookie sheet with some sprigs of fresh rosemary if you've got them. Bake at 450 until soft inside and crisped a bit outside (about 30-40 minutes), flipping once (or just stirring them about a bit). We like to dip them in mayo mixed with balsamic vinegar.

Fish Sticks
Last week, my "Big C" asked me for fish sticks for dinner. I was making Mahi Mahi that night so I just cut fish stick size pieces, rolled them in egg and panko bread crumbs and baked them in the toaster oven. He loved them and I they were much healthier than the fish sticks from the freezer section! You could do the same thing to make homemade chicken nuggets.

Popcorn Shrimp
I went out last night with my family and my friend Dianna and we ordered popcorn shrimp—which my family loves! A couple weeks ago I made coconut shrimp at home that was so much better: breaded with panko, coconut & lime zest and fried in coconut oil they were amazing dipped in sweet chili sauce mixed with orange marmalade and lime juice! Here's the recipe from Bon Appetit (Feb 2010) – I substituted coconut oil for frying and the dipping sauce is my own creation.

So, please share your ideas – I can't wait to read what you come up with!

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