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  1. Health

Baked Garlic-Thyme Curly Fries are light on oil, big on flavor

I've been watching the "zoodle" craze from the sidelines. Admittedly, I've been tempted to jump in. Noodles made from healthy zucchini using a super-cool spiral cutter? Yes, please!

But truthfully, I've harbored fears that the fad (and my interest) would quickly fade, leaving me with one more gadget to add to the donation pile.

If you haven't seen a spiral cutter, it is a small piece of kitchen equipment that cuts vegetables into long, curly noodle shapes. You push the vegetable into the blade area, turning it, hence the "spiral."

I suppose my husband got tired of seeing me eye the contraption every time we shopped the kitchen supply store because I got a spiral cutter for Mother's Day. And now, I can't stop using it.

One of my favorite dishes is the zoodles, which can be eaten raw (toss with lemon juice, black pepper and Parmesan cheese) or softened by sauteing for 2 to 3 minutes in a bit of olive oil before tossing with your favorite pasta sauce for a low-carb dish. But I'm also spiral cutting sweet potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, turnips, carrots and even apples.

The spiral hit of the summer, though, has to be these baked curly fries. Oven fries are a great healthy alternative to the usual deep-fried french fries. But oven fries have always left us feeling a bit deprived, unsure whether the french fry itch has been adequately scratched. Until now. And with only 1 teaspoon of oil per recipe, these oven fries alone are worth the price of the spiral cutter.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."