These recipes originally appear in the March 2023 issue of HomeLife Magazine.
Whoosh! Nothing but air (fryer).
Has your time in the kitchen flopped lately? You’re not alone. As time runs out on winter’s arctic grip and the arrival of March’s fresh buds and occasional warm streaks tease us, I find myself searching for new ways to get back in the game. What I need most is an inspiring new weapon in my kitchen’s arsenal to add the much-needed spark for my comeback.
For months, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about the magic of air fryers and healthier cooking. The thought had crossed my mind to add one to my roster of gadgets but adding it to an overflowing kitchen of tools seemed like madness. Then, out of the blue, Jon, my Kiddo No. 3, gifted me an air fryer during his move across town. Like a good coach, I sat it on the bench to wait its turn. Then I forgot all about it.
Weeks later, Jon came back for dinner when I happened to be preparing roasted salmon with crispy kale, coconut rice, and sweet potatoes. Try as I may, the rhythm of the recipe was off. The sweet potatoes in the oven were lagging way behind the other dishes. Jon called for a time-out and hit me with a game-saving suggestion: Pull the air fryer off the bench and get it to work on the sweet potatoes. A winning basket of an idea!
My husband, Thom, has reminded me a time or two, “The right tool makes every task easier.” In this case it was easier, quicker, cheaper, and healthier.
So, if you want your next dinner to be a winner, look to the air fryer and eat up the health benefits. Here are a few more stats to get you on board: Air fryers are convection ovens that make your food so crispy, you’d think it’s deep fried. They are also energy efficient, cost effective, and timesaving, when you consider you’re not waiting for your oven to preheat before cooking. I’ve found our food cooks in roughly half the time. I must add that the intensity of flavor is the extra point that made me truly a fan.
If you’re like me, you don’t have the place on your roster — or the space on your counter — for another kitchen tool. Well, I happen to have a little saying up my sleeve: “Less is more,” which caused me to stumble headfirst into, “‘Tis the season for spring cleaning.”
While we’re all trying to win in our kitchens, we don’t need another foul. So, I decided to make some adjustments while taking inventory. I started by getting rid of the things I’d been storing but not using — like my bread maker. I rethought the not-so-clever additions that were merely taking up space — like my chocolate fountain.
So, put the air fryer into your game plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with these quick and easy recipes.
French Toast | Makes 4 servings
2/3 c. half and half
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
8 slices of thick white sandwich bread
confectioner’s sugar (garnish)
In a small shallow bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients. Add bread to the mixture one at a time and turn to coat. Arrange French toast in the basket of the air fryer, working in batches and careful not to overcrowd (or place toast on a sheet pan if cooking it in the oven). Set the temperature to 375 degrees and cook for eight minutes, flipping toast halfway through. Garnish with confectioner’s sugar and serve with maple syrup.
Texas Toast is an excellent option for the bread choice. — Tip from Laura
Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese | Makes 4 servings
6 oz. bacon
16 oz. fresh Brussels sprouts (quartered)
Salt and pepper
2 oz. goat cheese
Arrange bacon in strips in the basket of the air fryer (or on a sheet pan for the oven). Set the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 10 minutes. Cut bacon into bite-size pieces and set aside. Meanwhile, wash Brussels sprouts and drain. Trim the ends with a sharp knife and quarter them. In a bowl, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, then salt and pepper to taste. Cook at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. You’re looking for a little char on the leaves. Test for doneness, then remove to a medium bowl. Add bacon, goat cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and toss to coat all. Arrange salad on plates and drizzle with a light bead of Balsamic glaze back and forth across the salad several times.
Roasted Salmon with Crispy Kale, Sweet Potatoes, and Coconut Rice | Makes 4 servings
1 c. Jasmine rice
14 oz. can coconut milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. coconut oil (melted, divided)
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Sriracha hot chili sauce
3 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 tsp. paprika
1 bunch kale (ribs removed, chopped)
1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
4 salmon fillets
Preheat the fryer (or oven) to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, add the coconut milk and salt. When milk begins to boil, add rice and stir. Cover and turn heat to low, cooking the rice for 14 minutes. Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, and Sriracha sauce. Whisk together vigorously. Place peeled and cubed sweet potatoes in a bowl. Drizzle with remaining coconut oil and sprinkle with paprika. Toss to coat. Place in the basket of the air fryer and cook for 15 minutes at 375 degrees or bake for 30 minutes in a preheated oven. Place chopped kale and coconut flakes to one side of a large sheet pan and drizzle with 2/3 of the dressing. Place the salmon fillets on the other side of the pan, drizzle with remaining dressing, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
If roasting potatoes in the oven, place the sheet pan of salmon and kale in the oven for the last 15 minutes of baking time. — Tip from Laura