Saturday, July 31, 2010

Snack Smarter: Onion Rings

I love a good onion ring! My first job was working at Burger King when I was 16 and I absolutely loved snacking on the delicious onion rings, yum! Unfortunately, when purchased from a fast food joint they're awesomely horrific for you. Seriously, so much fat and calories it's not even worth it. Here's a quick way to make them at home and keep things on the lighter side. One word: fiber! Kicking up the fiber content in the onion rings will help your body to keep from absorbing all the excess fat. If you want to be super healthy you can skip the panko breadcrumbs and just use Fiber One cereal as the breading, but it honestly doesn't stick as well. I sprinkled in some panko, mixed it up, and gave it a go with another ring. It came out perfectly. I'd choose these rings over BK any day. Here's what you'll need:
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • cayenne pepper (balances out the sweetness of the cereal)
  • salt + pepper
  • 2 parts Fiber One original breakfast cereal, ground up in blender/food processor
  • 1 part Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute, or one egg beaten with a little water
  • sliced onion rings, make these pretty thick since they shrink up when they cook
You can either bake or fry these onion rings. They're much more authentic when fried and actually fry up wonderfully and taste great. The panko/cereal mixture is not sticky enough to stand up to the heat of the oil. What you'll need is pancake mix, fiber one, a little panko, and the same seasonings as above. So basically this time you're going to mix up the pancake mix according to the packaging instructions but substitute half of the flour with Fiber One then dip the rings in panko breadcrumbs. I tried this first without the panko and the mix pretty much slid right off of the ring. It was so sad =( So combine your pancake mix, Fiber One, and seasonings in a small bowl. Dip a ring into that mix and then drudge it into the panko breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs are what give you that nice crispy golden finish, and the flavor we all love. If you're unfamiliar with frying and are unsure about the temperature of the oil, the easiest way to tell when it's hot enough is by using a wooden spoon. Stick the handle directly onto the bottom of the pot with the hot oil, when the bubbles come up rapidly away from the wood you know it's ready. If they're bubbling but it's pretty slow you just want to give it another minute or so to really get hot (about 350 degrees).

If you're really trying to keep this snack on the super healthy side you can place these on a cooling rack, placed over a baking sheet and pop them in the oven. In a mixing bowl combine the crushed Fiber One, the panko breadcrumbs, and all the seasoning you love. I didn't measure because it's really up to you. I did a lot of cayenne because I didn't want them too sweet from the cereal, and I like a lot of oregano for the flavor. Dip a ring into the egg mixture and then into the breading, continue until all the rings are evenly coated. To oven bake them, pop them in a preheated 375 F oven for about 20 minutes. Be sure to flip these halfway through; since you're baking them you want them sliced nice and thick so they cook evenly and don't shrivel up and burn. 

You can see a BIG difference in the rings if you decide to bake or fry, part of my ugliness for the baked rings is the fact I cut them way too thin. Don't make my mistake, make nice thick and fat rings because whether you're baking or frying they will cook down.

  Well there you have it! A guilt free way to eat junk food. Fiber One original breakfast cereal is one of the best ways to bulk up the fiber in the meal and reduce the amount of crap carbs you're putting in. I recommend trying it to bread chicken or veggies as well!

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