Cookbook caters to McDonald’s, KFC cravings

Fast taste

Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2006

AMARILLO, Texas — If you get a hankering for fries from McDonald’s, want to pick up some KFC for picnics or stop by Starbucks for a Mocha Frappuccino Blended Coffee on Monday mornings, you might like a cookbook that helps you do it yourself.

Devin Alexander has taken some of the most popular fast-food choices and stripped them down to slimmer and less expensive versions in “Fast Food Fix.”

Alexander, owner of Caf Rene Catering in Los Angeles, analyzed about 75 food items, including Big Macs, and figured out how you can make them at home while retaining the taste that sent you to McDonald’s in the first place.

She includes restaurants such as In-N-Out Burger, El Pollo Loco and Dunkin’ Donuts. Others are Starbucks, Subway, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen and Taco Bell.

Alexander presumes cooks have basic kitchen equipment such as nonstick skillets and pans and basic cooking skills. Her instructions are so clear a novice can follow them.

Besides recipes, she also tells how to cook the perfect burger and the perfect french fry.

Alexander lists her favorite products and includes tips for speeding up preparation time and excising even more calories.

Gary Lenox, assistant athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coordinator at West Texas A&M University, confesses to liking KFC Original Recipe fried chicken. However, now when he eats deep-fried chicken, it’s usually home-cooked because he hasn’t eaten at a fast food restaurant in a long time.

Lenox wonders whether the taste of fast food can be replicated at home using low-fat ingredients.

The difference between Alexander’s Big Mac at home — 11 grams fat — and in the restaurant — 30 grams fat — is 19 grams of fat.

“I think trying to make it taste like fast food will be tough, unless you use the things like the saturated fat to fry it or the increased amount of fat in the burgers,” Lenox said.

Big Mac

Yield: 1 burger

3 ounces 96 percent lean ground beef (about 1/3 cup)

2 pinches salt

1 sesame seed hamburger bun plus 1 bun bottom

1 slice (1/2 ounce) 2 percent milk yellow American cheese

1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1 tablespoon McDonald’s Big Mac Sauce (recipe follows)

1 teaspoon finely chopped white onion

1/3 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

2 rounds dill pickle

Divide the beef in half. On a sheet of waxed paper, shape each half into a 4-inch patty. Season both sides with salt. Transfer the waxed paper to a plate. Place uncovered in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until drops of water sizzle when splashed on the pan.

Place the patties in the pan, cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until no longer pink. Meanwhile, place the bun top and bottoms, cut sides down, in the pan. Cook for about 1 minute or until toasted. (If the pan is not large enough to hold the patties and the buns, first cook 1 patty with the bottom bun and then start assembling the sandwich while the others cook.) Just before the patties are cooked, place the cheese on 1 patty.

Place 1 bun bottom on a plate. Spread on 1 tablespoon sauce. Place the cheeseburger, cheese side down on the bun. Spread 1 teaspoon sauce on the second bun bottom and place, sauce side down, on the cheeseburger. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon sauce, the onion, lettuce, pickles, the remaining burger and the bun top.

Nutrition information: 386 calories, 26 g protein, 11 g fat, 2 g fiber.

Original McDonald’s Big Mac: 560 calories, 25 g protein, 30 g fat, 3 g fiber.

Big Mac Sauce

Yield: 2/3 cup, enough for 4 servings

1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 teaspoons dill pickle relish

2 teaspoons ketchup

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons yellow mustard

1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon finely chopped white onion

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, sugar and mustard. Stir to blend well. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Stir in the onion just before serving.

Nutrition information: 49 calories, trace protein, 3 g fat, trace fiber.

KFC Original Recipe: Chicken Breast

Yield: 1 serving

1 bone-in chicken breast half, 10 to 12 inches

1/2 tablespoon unbleached or all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon paprika

Olive oil spray

1 egg white

1 teaspoon fat-free milk

1 tablespoon panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs

Place chicken on a cutting board. Remove and discard the skin and all visible fat. With a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut through the chicken and the bone at the base of the ribs to detach the bottom third of the breast. (Refrigerate or freeze for another recipe.) The larger piece should weigh about 6 1/2 ounces after trimming.

In a small resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt, sugar, pepper, onion powder and paprika. Shake to mix well.

Add the chicken. Shake to completely coat the chicken with the flour mixture. Place in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly mist a small nonstick baking sheet with oil spray. Set aside.

In a small shallow bowl, combine the egg white and the milk. Beat with a fork until smooth. Place the panko and the bread crumbs on a small sheet of waxed paper set next to the egg white mixture. Mix with a fork to blend.

Dip the chicken into the egg white mixture being sure to coat completely. Allow any excess egg white mixture to drip off.

Dip into the panko mixture to coat completely. Place, ribs facing up, on the reserved baking sheet. Lightly mist with oil spray.

Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken. Lightly mist again with oil spray. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the breading is crisp and the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Nutrition information: 270 calories, 40 grams protein, 4 grams fat, less than 1 gram fiber.

Original KFC Original Recipe Chicken Breast: 380 calories, 40 grams protein, 19 grams fat, 0 grams fiber.

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