You know how salad never tastes even remotely the same at home as it does in a restaurant? You can do all the Pinteresting and specialty shopping you want, and nothing will taste like a perfect steak house salad. And it is even worse for those of us who are limited in what we like in our salads! (Think croutons, meat, and cheese! ha ha) My favorite salad for many years as been the Chicken Caesar Salad from Applebees–without the dressing (I know….I eat like a ten year old!) and with CRISPY chicken rather than grilled. (I do love grilled chicken, and as soon as my new Intermittent Fasting course is up and live, I am going to share my amazing oven grilled chicken marinade recipe….want to get some new pics for it!) But no matter what I did, I couldn’t duplicate at home. They have amazing sour dough croutons that aren’t airy or break-your-teeth hard. They are juuuuust right. They have the crispest Romaine. Perfect salad cheese. Yes, I am craving it right now!
Mozzarella sticks CAN be a “real food”!!?? Okay, maybe not the deep fried ones from street fairs and carnivals. But making these at home (in an air fryer, especially) can yield a pretty healthy snack with just the natural fat in the mozzarella cheese and eggs and a few (or very few) carbs in the breading mix (depending on your choice of breading). Note that you can also bake these in the oven (see below).
I have loved experimenting with my air fryer! While it “fries” up par-fried, store bought, frozen foods wonderfully, that is not what I’m really after (though it is incredibly convenient for when my sons drop in!). What I really want for everyday fare is to make something lower carb/more healthful AND low fat (if I choose—-with the option to slather something with healthy fats if I feel so inclined). The air fryer has not been disappointing!
I have been having so much fun cooking in my air fryer. I am sad that it isn’t super helpful for large families as it is amazingly convenient. (It doesn’t hold much at one time, which is why it is hard to cook for a family in it. It is a quick 12 to 15 minutes for homemade French fries for two or three, but if you need to make that for six or eight or ten, it is extremely time consuming.) However, I would have to say that the air fryer is THE perfect kitchen appliance for empty nesters. Super fast to just toss foods in it and go. Seriously, I LOVE it. I had four roast-an-ears to fix for dinner one night with some bbq beef and stir fried veggies, so I thought I would give it a try in my fryer. Twelve minutes later, after simply brushing them with butter and sprinkling with salt and pepper, I had four perfect ears of corn. They tasted and looked like they had been cooked on the grill. Yum!
Two of the most common praises you hear for the air fryer are chicken (tenders, nuggets, wings, thighs, breasts–you name it!) and French fries (or potato wedges–really any “fried” potato)–and with good reason! These two, formerly-forbidden-to-many, “fried” foods are absolutely amazing in the air fryer. I love popping French fries, mozzarella sticks, and chicken tenders in my fryer for my sons when they stop by–yes, all “premade” and found in the freezer section of the grocery! See my original Air Fryer Tips and Croutons here!