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Healthy Up Your Fave Fried Foods By Baking

Sure, 'most everyone loves fried chicken, French fries, and pork chops fried until golden brown, but those faves can be given a good-for-you makeover by baking them instead. Try this quick-and-easy technique and you won't miss the satisfying crispy crunch while saving a boatload of calories.

1) Oven Baked Onion Rings

Like the full-fat, old-fashioned version, this 3-step prep process coats onions in flour, then an egg wash and breadcrumbs. But instead of dropping in hot oil, they hit the 450 degree oven for a quick bake, emerging perfectly poised to be dipped in ketchup or fat-free homemade tartar sauce. Calories per serving: 298

Pro tip: Let the sliced raw onion rings hang out in a bowl of ice water for few minutes before tossing in flour; the dredge will stick better.

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Photo via Meredith Publishing

2) Oven-Fried Pork Chops

This one gets a brilliant flavor boost from packaged stuffing mix -- no seasoning needed -- and it takes no time to put together. Dinner's on the table in 30. Calories per serving: 422

Pro tip: Bake the chops on a cookie cooling rack so the bottom portion gets crispy, not soggy.

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Photo via Meredith Publishing

3) Oven-Baked Potato Fries

If they're not fried, can they really be called fries? One glorious bite will dismiss this debate because those toasty taters are almost as good as their deep-fried cousins. The Oven-Baked Sweet Potato version is killer, too. Calories per serving: 264

Pro tip: For best results, place prepped potatoes in cold water for a few minutes, then dry thoroughly. That step extracts some of the starch from the potato, helping them crisp up more efficiently.

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Photo by MommyFromSeattle

4) Spicy Oven-Fried Chicken

We've got a hen house's worth of Oven Fried Chicken recipes, but this fiery bird stands out because, well... it's winter and this'll help you stay warm. The one-two combo of cayenne pepper and hot pepper sauce turns up the heat. Calories per serving: 394

Pro tip: If you don't have the buttermilk this recipe calls for, it's easy enough to adapt by adding a splash of vinegar to regular milk instead. The tangy flavor it creates is addictive.

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Photo via Meredith Publishing

5) Baked Sweet Potato Falafel

These chickpea fritters gain a lot of creamy character when sweet potatoes are added to the traditional mix. Try serving those on top of a Greek Salad for the full meal deal, or pass them around as appetizers. Calories per serving: 298

Pro tip: Go gluten-free by swapping out the all-purpose flour and using garbanzo bean flour instead.

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About Leslie Kelly

Always hungry to learn, never had my fill of oysters, Memphis dry rub ribs, wild salmon, chocolate chip cookies or a well-rolled lumpia. Washington state wine lover, bourbon fan. Totally obsessed with brunch!