Why go out to get fast food?



Express Lane Meals

By Rachael Ray

Fast Food Fix

75+ Amazing Recipe Makeovers of Your Fast Food Restaurant Favorites

By Devin Alexander

Rodale / 2006 / $14.95

America is a fast-food nation; despite the warnings from nutritionists, we're not giving up Wendy's or Burger King.

Devin Alexander says emulating fast-food favorites at home is a more healthful way to satisfy cravings. Her Fast Food Fix covers the gamut of fast-food favorites: Pizza Hut's Meat Lover's Hand-Tossed Style Pizza, Taco Bell's Soft Taco Supreme, Subway's Meatball Marinara and, of course, McDonald's popular Big Mac. She also crams in plenty of kitchen tips.

Alexander says at-home preparation cuts the calories and fat content, and can save money, too. But it's less convenient --and, for many, isn't that the point of fast food?

Alexander's take on my favorite fast-food indulgence -- McDonald's french fries -- produced a great fry. Her secret is to slice russet potatoes into shoestrings, boil them in salted water for no more than 2 1/2 minutes and then bake them for about 25 minutes.

As good as the fries were -- I even loaded them with salt just like Mickey D's -- they weren't as crispy as I expected them to be. But I didn't get that rock-in-my-stomach feeling that I usually get after inhaling a McValue meal, and Alexander says I saved 106 calories and 12 grams of fat by skipping the drive-through.


McDonald's-Style French Fries

Makes 1 medium-sized serving

1 3/4 teaspoons salt (divided use)

2 russet potatoes (1 pound)

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Set the potatoes on a cutting board. Make straight cuts on the 4 long sides of the potatoes to remove the peel. With a vegetable peeler or small knife, peel the ends of the potatoes. Discard the peels.

With a knife, cut the remaining potatoes lengthwise into 1/4 -inch thick sticks. These can vary in length. On a scale, weigh 9 ounces of potatoes or measure 2 cups. Transfer the potatoes to the boiling water. Cook for exactly 2 1/2 minutes but no longer or they will break. Drain in a colander. Set aside for about 5 minutes to cool.

Transfer the potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add the oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Carefully toss to coat well. Place the potatoes, not touching, in a single layer on a large nonstick baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turning the potatoes about every 5 minutes or until crisp and golden. Sprinkle, if desired, with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

From "Fast Food Fix"

Per serving: 430 calories, 8 grams protein, 5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 91 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 4,092 milligrams sodium

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