Posted in Cuisine, Lifestyle

Initial Impression: Power Air Fryer XL Pro

I am not overly fond of fried foods. Too much grease nauseates me; however, the fried foods I do like, I like a whole lot… fried chicken, doughnuts, cheese curds, french fries… mmmm nom nom. I have a gazillion kitchen toys (utensils, gadgets and appliances) and am always anxious to try out the next latest and greatest invention. When I get a lazy Saturday morning, which RARELY happens, I enjoy sitting in front of the TV with my mondo-sized-mug-o-coffee and watching Food Network with The Mr. and kids; or when flipping the channels getting captivated by either ‘In the Kitchen with ______’ on QVC or sucked in with one of those uberly-excited, over-dramatic, you’re-going-to-keel-over-if-you-don’t-act-now infomercials. And sometimes, I (we) fall for it.

I learned about Air Frying a year or so ago, and have had a Philips Airfryer in my Amazon cart for about that long. I just never felt the need to spend $300 on a toy I may use every now and then, because again, fried foods make me wanna hurl. But then – I saw the informercial for the Power Air Fryer XL Pro. The demo impressed me. The price was a helluva lot less than the Philips and it had a decent try-it guarantee, so as I do with ALL (literally ALL) things I spend money on, I did research! (Google is my inquiry BFF) It seemed to get some very promising reviews AND, long story short, QVC offered it with special accessories and on 5 Easy Pay ($23.80 got it to my door), so why not? I ordered the 3.4 Qt. in Black.

I was excited to receive my new play thing, and had been dreaming of all the fantastic goodies I could whip up prior to it’s arrival, as it claims to not only ‘fry’ things, but bake, sauté, roast, steam and grill – Whooppee!

First things first… what do you imagine the very first thing is to try in the brand new air fryer? Something I have not really had since starting Weight Watchers – Hand-Cut French Fries! Oh yes, tasty little starchy morsels of goodness, that’s what!

I began with a medium-sized, Texas-grown russet tater. (I failed to take a picture of said tater, but figure you know what I’m talkin’ bout, right?)

I scrubbed it with a potato brush and left the skin-on. Skin-on fries are the tastiest and my favorite!

I then cut it into sticks.

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To remove the access starch, soak in a cold water bath for 15-20 mins.

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Drain off the water and give another rinse with cold water; dry completely! I wrapped in cheesecloth and pressed. I let the bowl sit on the counter for a bit and continued to press to absorb as much moisture as possible.

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Remove the cheesecloth and drizzle with VERY LITTLE oil (olive or vegetable), maybe a 1/2 tsp; sprinkle with salt and toss/mix to coat each potato stick. Cooking with air requires little to no oil. I added oil to help aid in the crispiness of the fry. Place in the fry basket.

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The Power Air Fryer has several presetting options, one being for Fries. Once locking the basket into place, and hitting the Fries button, they begin to cook immediately at 400° for 18 minutes. The user manual instructs you to pull out the basket and toss half way through the cooking process, so at 9 minutes, I did as I was told and then placed back into the paused machine.

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At the end of the 18 minutes, I pulled out the basket and gave them another toss to ensure they all looked done. They probably could’ve gone for an additional minute or two, as the centers were less crispy than I would personally prefer.

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The French fries turned out delicious! I’d say they were a cross between those cooked in an oil fryer and those baked in an oven, with zero greasy or oily residue/taste. Essentially the concept of ‘frying’ with air is nothing more than cooking in a convection oven. The hot, pressured air circulates the food being cooked, sealing in moisture while making the outside crispy. However, the time and energy saved using the countertop appliance vs. my wall oven, especially in the summer, is outstanding!! After my first go, I am extremely excited to try out a plethora of other things!

So, on my scale of 1-5 Bellyrubs, after the initial use, I give the Power Air Fryer XL Pro:

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4 Paws-Up!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cuisine

Vegetarian Quinoa Enchilada Bake

I love to find or create recipes that are an all-in-one meal; meaning, they are so hearty they need no side dish. This is one that is really tasty and easy enough for a weeknight. It can easily be altered to make more or less spicy. Add chopped jalapeños to be sautéed with onion and peppers, or as a garnish. This can also be made with ground beef or chicken for a non-vegetarian version. I can even see this being used as a burrito filling.

Vegetarian Quinoa Enchilada Bake

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A super tasty, not-too-spicy vegetarian meal. No side dish needed.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1-1/2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 10-12 oz red enchilada sauce
  • cilantro, freshly chopped or dried, to taste
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican/cheddar cheese, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
  2. Add the water to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the rinsed quinoa and simmer for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, red and orange bell peppers. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until onion is translucent and peppers have slightly browned.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, sautéed vegetables, black beans, corn, chili powder, cumin and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Stir to mix. Add the enchilada sauce, cilantro and lime juice; stir until well combined.
  5. Pour into a 8×8 or 9×9 square baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the sides are bubbling. Allow casserole to cool slightly before serving. Garnish with chopped green onions, cilantro, avocado, tortilla chips or sour cream, if desired.

This recipe makes 4 servings; recipe may be doubled for a family.

Recipe courtesy of Biscuits & Bellyrubs

I made this recipe using things I already had on hand. I didn’t have large red or orange bell peppers in the fridge, so I used the snacking bell peppers and half a sweet-Texas onion.

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