Planning on having everyone stop by later on? There are some great "crowd pleaser" recipes recently featured, so take advantage of them for sure, but...fried mozzarella with marinara will make everyone forget school is starting!
I put this recipe off for weeks. Not really sure why, but the process--once you have everything set up--is very straight forward and worth the effort. Take the time to lay all your equipment out to proceed quickly. You cannot step away from this once you start, so commit to making the best mozzarella sticks from the outset.
You can certainly make your own marinara sauce as I have posted in Simple Marinara Sauce from Mario Batali, but saving time is easily done with great options from Rao's, San Marzano, Paul Newman's line up or Mario Batali.
(Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Fontier--great cookbook for delicious comfort food)
Awesome Fried Mozzarella Sticks
Cast-iron skillet (worth investing in and fairly cheap at most supermarkets)
Chopsticks or metal tongs (that won't melt in the oil)
Ideally: Wire-rack (like you use for cooling cookies)
If you do not have wire-rack, use a plate or cookie sheet with papertowels
16 pieces of string cheese, unwrapped and cut in half
1/2 tsp cayenne
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 cup milk
2 cups panko or Italian bread crumbs
1 Tbls dried parsley (if using Italian bread crumbs can skip)
Canola oil, enough to have 1/2" depth to whatever skillet you are using
1. Wash your hands.
2. Prep all of your stations in shallow bowls / plates with edges
--cut your mozzarella pieces
--combine flour, cayenne, and pinch of salt & pepper
--whisk eggs & milk
--combine parsley and bread crumbs
4. Have your wire rack / plate ready and spray with PAM Spray.
5. Lay out all of your stations: cheese, flour, egg, breadcrumbs, oil, wire rack / plate