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Fries make fine fumble-free football fare

At a Super Bowl potluck last year, my friend asked me to bring a couple of bags of frozen fries as a side dish for hamburgers. Ahem. Do you know who I am? I’m a diva! I can’t simply bring a bag o’ fries.

So here’s what I did. I made a scrumptious platter of mixed fries, some from the freezer section, some made with fresh vegetables, accompanied by a plethora of dipping sauces. It was so much fun. It was very inexpensive, super-easy and a huge hit with the guests. I’m doing it again this year.

You can adjust this idea to suit your level of devotion. Make it easy and pick up a few bags of frozen fries and shop the condiment aisle on your way to check out. Or you can give it a little diva and make some fries and sauces from scratch. These recipes will get the wheels turning.

Plate your creation artistically. Everyone loves this because there’s something for everyone.

ZUCCHINI FRIES

Great for low-carbers.

What you’ll need:

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 medium zucchinis, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch “fries”

1 egg, beaten

½ cup flour

Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a wire cooling rack with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine panko, Parmesan and pepper. Set aside. (I didn’t add salt because of the flavorful dipping sauces. To make these to eat alone, add a sprinkle of salt.)

In a bowl, beat the egg with a splash of water. Place cut zucchini into a bag and toss with flour. Working a couple of pieces at a time, dip into egg wash and dredge in panko mixture, pressing to coat. Place zucchini onto prepared rack. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini.

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown and delicious. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

CARROT FRIES

Sweet and caramelized, with a crispy Parmesan crust.

What you’ll need:

2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch “fries”

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a wire cooling rack with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside. Toss the carrot fries with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then dredge with the Parmesan cheese before spreading in a single layer onto prepared rack.

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until tender and lightly charred.

If you make both vegetable fries, they can bake together. Here are awesome sauces:

Herb sour cream: Like a creamy chimichurri sauce, and it’s everyone’s favorite. Mix ¾ cups sour cream, 1 small garlic clove (minced), 1 green onion (minced), ¼ cup (minced) fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, chives, whatever you have), and salt and pepper to taste.

Utah fry sauce: Beloved staple of Western American comfort food. Mix ¾ cups mayonnaise, ⅓ cup ketchup, ½ teaspoon onion powder and 1 tablespoon dill pickle juice.

Honey mustard: Sweet and tangy. Use your favorite mustard (I mix yellow and Dijon). Mix ½ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup mustard and 2 tablespoons honey.

Lemon garlic aioli: Garlic lovers, rejoice. Mix 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons lemon juice (if using fresh lemon, add the zest), ½ teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds black pepper.

Boom boom sauce: Southern favorite with a spicy kick. Mix ¾ cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (like Mae Ploy) 2 tablespoons ketchup, 2 teaspoons sriracha, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds black pepper.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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