Enjoy crispy fried foods with less fat this year

Air fryers can offer tasty meals in less time, but they can be used to make more than fast-food staples

Air fryers are among the newest kitchen gadgets to catch the imagination, and for many they have earned a coveted space on the kitchen counter.

After all, you can use them to crisp food without oil, but they can also be used to roast a whole chicken or pork roast, reheat food quickly and even dehydrate foods.

An air fryer can do anything that an oven can do, just in a smaller space, so it takes less time to cook the food and it will generally get more crispy on the outside and stay more moist on the inside.

Here are a few tips from airfryeranytime.com.

When using an air fryer, you don’t need to preheat it but you should remember that cooking times aren’t exact. Keep an eye on the food and know that with different machines you can have a two to five minute difference in timing.

Use a minimal amount of oil in your cooking. Just lightly spray foods with a fine mist of oil.

If you’re making something breaded, use breadcrumbs and make sure to spray the food evenly with oil before cooking. Breading with just egg and flour, like you might do with fried chicken when deep frying it, won’t give you the crusty exterior you’re looking for.

There’s no need to add extra oil to frozen, deep-fried foods because they already contain a lot of oil in the breading. Vegetables benefit from being lightly oiled. Skin-on chicken thighs need no oil.

Use a spray-on oil from a reusable bottle, not a commercial spray. They leave a sticky residue on the basket and will ruin the non-stick coating.

For best results, shake your food or turn over at least once during cooking to ensure your food gets crispy all over.

Don’t overcrowd the basket. Food needs space and air circulation in order to get crispy in the air fryer.

If the food you’re cooking is especially sticky or delicate, use parchment paper to keep it from sticking to the basket. You can get round or square parchment paper that has air holes so it doesn’t affect the air circulation around your food.

If you find your air fryer smoking while cooking fatty foods, like pork belly or chicken wings, you can put a little bit of water in the bottom of the cradle, which will prevent it from smoking.

Air fryers can also be used for baking — as long as the pan fits in the basket.

When you’re done cooking, soak the basket in hot, soapy water right away for easy cleanup.

And don’t forget to clean the inside of the air fryer once a week or month, depending on how often you use it, to prevent it from getting caked with grease and grime.

Following are a few recipes for air fryer foods from tasteofhome.com and thepioneerwoman.com.

Air-Fryer Southern-Style Chicken

2 cups crushed Ritz© crackers

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage

1 large egg, beaten

3 to 4 pounds broiler/fryer chicken, cut up

In a shallow bowl, mix crackers, parsley, garlic salt, paprika, pepper, cumin,  and sage. Place egg in a separate shallow bowl.

Dip chicken in egg, then in cracker mixture, patting to help coating adhere. In batches, place chicken in a single layer on greased tray in air-fryer basket. Spritz with cooking spray.

Cook 10 minutes. Turn chicken and spritz with cooking spray. Cook in a 375 degrees fryer 10 to 20 minutes, until chicken is golden brown and juices run clear.

Air-Fryer Sausage Pizza

1 pound loaf frozen bread dough, thawed

1 cup pizza sauce

1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage, cooked and drained

1-1/3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 small green pepper, sliced into rings

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Crushed red pepper flakes, optional

On a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch dough into four 4-inch circles. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll and stretch each dough into a 6-inch circle. Place one crust on greased tray in air-fryer basket. Carefully spread with 1/4 cup pizza sauce, 1/3 cup sausage, 1/3 cup cheese, a fourth of the green pepper rings and a pinch of oregano. Cook in a 400 degree fryer for six to eight minutes, until crust is golden brown, six to eight minutes. If desired, sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

If your toppings are ending up everywhere but on your pizza, lightly grease the air-fryer rack with olive oil and place it atop your pizza. food.

Air-Fryer Coconut Shrimp and Apricot Sauce

1-1/2 pounds uncooked shrimp (26-30 per pound)

1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

4 large egg whites

3 dashes Louisiana-style hot sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup flour

For sauce:

1 cup apricot preserves

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on.

In a shallow bowl, toss coconut with bread crumbs. In another shallow bowl, whisk egg whites, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Place flour in a third shallow bowl.

Dip shrimp in flour to coat lightly, then shake off excess. Dip in egg white mixture, then in coconut mixture, patting to help coating adhere.

In batches, place shrimp in a single layer on a greased tray in air-fryer basket. Cook four minutes in a 375 degree fryer,.Turn shrimp, cook until coconut is lightly browned and shrimp turn pink, about four minutes longer.

Combine sauce preserves, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until preserves are melted. Serve shrimp immediately with sauce.

Air-Fryer Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1-1/2 cups flour

1-3.4 ounce package instant vanilla

pudding mix

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars  five to seven minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk oats, flour, dry pudding mix, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets and flatten slightly. In batches, place one inch apart on greased tray in air-fryer basket. Cook until lightly browned, in a 375 degree fryer for eight to 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Air-Fryer Steak Fajitas

2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup lime juice

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 pounds beef flank steak

1 large onion, halved and sliced

6-8 inch whole wheat tortillas, warmed

Sliced avocado and lime wedges, optional

For salsa, place tomatoes, red onion, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, and cilantro in a small bowl. Stir in one teaspoon cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let stand until serving.

Sprinkle steak with the remaining cumin and salt. Place on greased tray in air-fryer basket. Cook at 400 degrees six to eight minutes per side until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a thermometer should read 135°; medium, 140°; medium-well, 145°). Remove from basket and let stand five minutes.

Place onion on tray in air-fryer basket. Cook two to three minutes until crisp-tender, stirring once. Slice steak thinly across the grain and serve in tortillas with onion and salsa. If desired, serve with avocado and lime wedges.

Air-Fryer Ground Beef Wellington

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

2 teaspoons flour

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup half-and-half cream

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound ground beef

1-4 ounces tube refrigerated crescent rolls

1 large egg, lightly beaten, optional

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

In a saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook stirring five to six minutes until tender. Stir in flour and 1/8 teaspoon pepper until blended. Gradually add cream. Bring to a boil, then cook  two minutes, stirring until thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a bowl, combine egg yolk, onion, two tablespoons mushroom sauce, salt and remaining pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into two loaves. Unroll crescent dough and separate into two rectangles, pressing perforations to seal. Place one meatloaf on each rectangle. Bring edges together and pinch to seal. If desired, brush with beaten egg.

Place Wellingtons in a single layer on greased tray in air-fryer basket. Cook at 300 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into meat loaf reads 160 degrees. Warm remaining sauce over low heat and stir in parsley. Serve sauce with Wellingtons.

Air-Fryer Keto Meatballs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1 garlic clove, minced

1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)

For the sauce:

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce with basil, garlic and oregano

2 tablespoons prepared pesto

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat air fryer to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls. Place in a single layer on greased tray in air-fryer basket; cook until lightly browned and cooked through, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, mix sauce ingredients; heat through. Serve with meatballs.

Air Fryer Fish

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon seasoned salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 pounds cod or haddock fillets,

cut into strips

Olive oil cooking spray


1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

French fries, for serving

Lemon wedges, for serving

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

For the fish: Place the flour on a plate. Whisk the eggs in a wide shallow bowl. Combine the breadcrumbs, cornmeal, seasoned salt, and pepper in another wide, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dredge the fish in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip completely in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture to coat. Repeat until all the fish pieces are breaded. Spray the breaded fish with olive oil spray on both sides.

Working in two batches, place the fish pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, with about 1/4-inch of space between them. Cook in the air fryer set at 380° for five minutes. Carefully flip the fish and continue to cook for 5 minutes longer, until the fish is golden brown and flakes easily with a fork. Keep the first batch warm in a 200° oven while air frying the second batch.

For the sauce: Stir together the mayonnaise, pickle relish, onion, lemon juice, black pepper, and salt in a small bowl.

Serve the fish with fries, tartare sauce, lemon wedges, and a sprinkle of chopped, fresh parsley, if you like.

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese

4 slices sourdough bread

2 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup grated smoked gouda

1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar

1 1/2 tablespoon butter, softened

Spread the mayo and mustard equally on one side of each of the four pieces of bread. Sprinkle the two types of cheeses equally on two of the pieces of bread. Top with the other slice (mayo/mustard side down).

Butter one side of each sandwich, then place butter side down in the air fryer basket, leaving a little space between the two sandwiches. Butter the top pieces of bread of each sandwich.

Set the air fryer to 390°, and cook for four minutes. Flip the sandwiches and return to the air fryer for four to six  minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden and toasted. Wait one or two minutes, then slice and serve.

Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally (or 4 cutlets)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup ground parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup marinara sauce

4 slices mozzarella cheese (about 4 oz.)

Fresh basil, for garnish

Season the chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Stir together the flour and garlic powder in one shallow bowl. Add the eggs to a second shallow bowl. In a third shallow bowl, stir together the panko, parmesan, and Italian seasoning.

Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge it in the flour, dip in the egg, then coat in the panko mixture, pressing as needed. Repeat until all of the chicken pieces are breaded. Spray the breaded chicken with nonstick cooking spray on all sides.

Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, with about half inch of space between them. Cook in the air fryer set at 375° for six minutes. Then flip and continue to cook for six minutes longer.

Open the air fryer basket, and spoon about  tablespoons of marinara onto each piece of chicken. Top each with one mozzarella slice. Return to the air fryer, and cook until cheese is golden brown and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Garnish with freshly chopped basil.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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