While everyone is giddy over their Instant Pots, I get butterflies thinking about what I can air fry next.
I absolutely love a good culinary gadget. Hand me something that can shorten the time or amp up the taste, and I’ll give it a whirl. I’ve sampled my share of infomercial-touted must-haves over the years, but my small appliance pile up that includes a George Foreman, Pasta Boat, Express Pocket Maker, and more, has never quite held that special something to transform my time spent in the kitchen and the quality of the meals being prepared.
The Instant Pot craze has not been lost on me.
I got one for Mother’s Day last year, and I’ve dabbled at making it a part of my cooking repertoire. While it has become my go-to for making perfect hard-boiled eggs with no-hassle peeling, I haven’t quite mastered much more. When the display reads burn and the pressurizing stage seems to drag on forever, my confidence in a quality product starts to wane. I haven’t given up hope that I’ll turn a corner and embrace this rotund cooker that has become a staple on countertops everywhere. Some more confidence-building practice is definitely needed, and I am thankful for the Instant Pot cookbook I received this Christmas from my sister-in-law (who was likely done being the receiver of texts inquiring whether the pot should read this or that, or if I’m doing this right).
It is another Christmas gift though that earned the prime real estate spot on my countertop. Enter one of those friends you’ve known your whole life, who knows about and shares your love of a good infomercial spiel, and the gift of the golden, or should I say golden-brown gadget was given.
The Air Fryer
In the beginning, my shiny, new, and gloriously gorgeous air fryer offered me the same anticipation and hope as all those who came before; the hope that it would be the one. I gave it some time in the box so I could ponder the first use. With friends in from out of town and a night of appetizers and catching up on the agenda, unveiling the fryer to test out its prowess seemed to be apropos.
A quick read, rinse, and set up had me ready to toss some frozen chicken wings into the fryer basket and discover for myself all the hype surrounding crispy goodness without the fat of regular frying. Well, I’ll tell you what I discovered – taste, texture, and mouth-watering love! We were all amazed at the quality product and easy prep. Great first attempt, but how would this new suitor stack up to everyday items when I wasn’t wearing some rose’ colored glasses that may alter the palate?
Time after time, my fryer does not disappoint.
My husband and I are doing our best to build healthier eating habits, and the low fat and low frills of the air fryer have been a godsend. Even the picky taste buds of our five-year-old have embraced all the yummy goodness of my new love, I mean my new small kitchen appliance.
Fresh and frozen meats can be prepared quickly and are bursting with flavor. The soggy dino nuggets and fish sticks that come out of the microwave are restaurant-quality (or better) after 11 minutes in the air fryer at 390° F. While nuggets and fish sticks come out crispy on the outside and just right inside, all meats don’t have to take on that crispy outer layer.
I brush boneless chicken breasts with olive oil, sprinkle them with Swamp Seasoning (my absolute favorite, go-to spice for every meat, vegetable, and starch I make; another love story for another day), and place them in the preheated air fryer for a little over 20 minutes on 350° F with a flip after 15 minutes. Juicy and delicious, low-calorie perfection is the result. Pork chops receive the same prep followed by a 20 minute cook time at 360° F with a midway flip.
No need to step outside in the winter months to grill. I made mouth-watering, skinless chicken legs in the air fryer by sprinkling them with my go-to seasoning and setting them in the basket for 20 minutes at 390° F. Turkey bacon is all crispy goodness after 10 minutes at 400° F. Homemade potato wedges tossed in a bit of olive oil and seasoning are a perfect side dish after 15 minutes at 400° F and a flip 10 minutes into the cooking time.
As I’m getting to know my air fryer, we’ve been teaming up to add a healthy and flavorful addition to most dinners. With limited bells and whistles, the learning curve is easy to master. I set the temperature, turn the timer, and wait for that Pavlovian ding that gets my family’s mouths watering.
At the end of the day, I’m Team Air Fryer all the way. I won’t snobbishly turn up my nose at my Instant Pot, but the maker of golden-brown goodness has won my heart and a permanent spot on my countertop.
i love your article! very encouraging. i’m sending it off to friends that don’t know yet about the goodness of this incredible appliance. however, you should know that pork was reclassified maybe 10 years ago and chefs rejoiced! pink is fine. i cook my porkchop to perfection for 8-9 minutes at 375. it’s succulent and moist. it’s my favorite thing to make!