I realized that I had never assembled a hack of the great mozzarella sticks from America’s largest casual restaurant chain when I was working up a lower-fat version of this recipe for The Dr. Oz Show . Mission finally accomplished. Now you can make your own delicious and easy culinary carbon copy of Applebee’s popular finger-food appetizer that the Huffington Post claims is one of the best in the biz.

½ cup plain bread crumbs (such as Progresso brand)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning herb blend
¼ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
½ cup all-purpose flour
12 1-ounce mozzarella cheese sticks
6 to 12 cups vegetable oil

½ cup marinara sauce

1.Combine the bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Combine the beaten eggs with the milk in another medium bowl. Pour the flour onto a plate.

2.Working one at a time, dip a cheese stick into the egg/milk mixture, then coat it with flour. Let it sit in the flour for a bit so that the flour sticks. Dip the floured cheese stick back into the egg/milk mixture, then coat it with the seasoned bread crumbs. Arrange the breaded cheese sticks on a wax paper–lined baking sheet and place them in your freezer for 3 hours.

3.Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan with a thermometer attached to 350 degrees F.

4.Fry the frozen cheese sticks 3 or 4 at a time in the hot oil for 1½ to 2 minutes or until they are light brown and you see cheese beginning to ooze out. Drain on a rack or paper towel–lined plate. Serve the mozzarella sticks with warmed marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

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