Seasonal Bulgur Pilaf

I love this bulgur salad recipe I found in a grocery store magazine some years back. I renamed it my Harvest Bulgur Salad. I think it’s more apt. I also deviate from the recipe where produce and spices are concerned since I’m not to big on cumin. I just don’t like it as much as everyone tells me I should. Meh.

I can easily adapt for all four months with a simple swap of the sweet potato for other vegetables that make sense at the time, for whatever is in season at that time. I did a summer version using corn that I smoked on the cobb in my backyard. That was so delicious.

For the Spring version, I use apple chunks or dried cranberries. And for winter, I might use pomegranate seeds or something else that catches my eye.

I love to roast the sweet potato chunks in my air fryer after rolling it around in a bit of oil, s&p, and smoked paprika.

I sent this to my husband’s office pot luck where more than half of the staff are hardcore vegetarians, and it went over well. Give it a try in its base form, and tweak it from there. It’s a lovely, filling meal. One I love to make over and over.

Air Fryer Pork & Reduction Sauce

I tried air frying some pork loin the other night. It came as a two pack, so I marinade both at the same time and cooked them at the same time. They were, *chef kiss*, fabulous. This is my new go-to pork marinade.

My biggest gripe about pork is that it’s bland without any a quasi brining step before cooking it. I have tried a lot of marinades for pork, but none of them were worth repeating. This one is. I’ll be using this one again and again.

Pork Loin Marinade:
1/4 C Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Ketchup
1 tbsp Fish Sauce

This was enough for both of the loins. I rested them in the fridge for 4 hours before dripping the marinade off before dropping the meat in the air fryer. While they were cooking, I poured the marinade out into a small sauce pot and heated it up and let it roll boil until it thickened up. I poured this sauce over the meat that I cut on the diagonal.

So tasty, so easy, and so cheap to pull together. I love hearty meals that aren’t a million dollars to put together. I know this marinade is simplistic and pared down, but when you hit the right ratio of a few ingredients that really gets the job done, why overdo a recipe?

The saying, ‘Less is more,’ exists for a reason. Simple is better when it comes to meat.

Air Fryer Crispy Jacket Potatoes

I made these lovely ‘baked’ jacket potatoes in my air fryer. It took way too long, but that’s because I should have pricked and microwaved the potatoes for 3-5 minutes before spraying the outsides with oil and S&P, and stuffing them in the air fryer.

I really love how crispy the skins turned out. It was really enjoyable to eat, and the meal inside was perfectly cooked.

It was baked on 400*F for far too long, but if you do the 3-5 microwave trick, you can shave off a lot of time. I would check yours after 15 minutes of air frying. Go from there. Stop when you can stick a knife into one and it comes out with almost zero resistence.

I filled each one with sour cream, shredded marbled cheese, bacon crumble, and diced tomatoes (salsa or Pico de Gallo would work well instead). I think this was the best baked potato I’ve eaten in a very long time. I’m still thinking about it a month later.

Air Fryer Biscuits

I found this recipe online and thought, this is the perfect Sunday breakfast side. So, here we go:

Air Fryer Biscuits:
25g Butter, grated and chilled

1 C A-P Flour
1 1/2 tea Baking Powder
1/4 tea Sea Salt

25g Parmesan Cheese, grated
75g Cheddar Cheese, grated

1/2 C Milk

Flour for the countertop

Yield: 12 mini 2-bite biscuits

Grate and chill the butter. Grate the cheeses; set aside. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and massage it by hand into the dry flour mix a bit before folding in the cheeses.

Add the milk last to combine it all. It should be wetter than you think it should be for a biscuit mix because the air fryer tends to dry baked goods out.

Sprinkle the reserve flour out on clean surface and drop the batter out. Flatten it into a smooth disc of around 1 1/4″ to start cutting the biscuits out. Place your circle shape over the dough and push it straight down to make the cuts. (I used my 1/4 C measuring cup since it was the final biscuit size I was after.)

Resist the urge to move your cutter side to side to make sure the dough is fully cut. Also resist.

Pull the leftover dough away before picking up the biscuit to set aside. Gently ball up the leftovers and flatten out until it’s all used up. Do not knead! The dough it too delicate for kneading.

Bake in two batches at 300*F for 10 mins each. Soften a small bit of butter in a dish in the microwave for 15 secs. Brush this butter on the tops of the baked biscuits.


Sunday Dinner – Meatloaf & Beans

Made a late simple dinner tonight. I cooked a lovely meatloaf in the air fryer. And as that rested, I cooked some green beans with canned mushrooms, and fried onions as the side. I have made many different meatloaves over the years, but this one is up there with my favourite ground turkey meatloaf that I keep craving.

Here’s what I put in mine:

Jalapeno Meatloaf:
1+ lbs Ground Beef
1/4 sm Yellow Onion, grated finely
1/4 Bell Pepper, any on hand, fine diced
1/2 med Jalapeno, seeded and fine diced
Cracks of Pepper
Pinch of Salt
3 tbsp Everyday Seasoning Rub
1/2 C Panko
1/2 C Dry Breadcrumbs

Everyday Seasoning Rub:
1 1/2 tbsp: Garlic / Onion Powders
1 tbsp: Salt / Paprika
2 tea: Black Pepper / Mustard Powder

(Despite only needing a bit of the rub mix for the meatloaf, the above will net you enough to fill a small mason jar. You can use it with any kind of food group.)

Mix all of the meatloaf ingredients in a mixing bowl by hand. Place fistfuls of meat into a greased pan, and press the meat into the corners first. Add the rest to the middle and spread it all out evenly across the surface.

Place the pan into the air fryer (or on a sheet tray) to cook at 375*F for about 18-20 mins. Pull the loaf when it temps at 158-160* and let the residual heat finish cook the meat. Let it rest on a cutting board in the pan for about 15 mins as you work on the green beans.

Green Beans:
1 tbsp regular Olive Oil
S&P, to taste
1/2 can Mushrooms (for cooking speed), drained
1+ tbsp Dried Onions

Clean out the mixing bowl with soap, and drip dry it. Run your green beans under cool water to rinse off any dirt. Drain them and dump them in the bowl. Assemble the other ingredients over the beans. Roll everything around nicely. With tongs, move the mixture to the air fryer basket (or dump it onto a sheet tray to cook them in the oven, or in a skillet to pan fry). Cook the beans at the same temp as the meat for about 5+ mins.

They are done when you can hold one bean with the tongs and bend it over in a soft V shape. Plate it all and decide if you want any sauce to top the meat with or not. Enjoy.

Pizza Pizziola

This is a spin on the Subway Pizziola we used to make back in the day. I love the idea of chicken and pepperoni in the same sandwich, so it seems like it would translate nicely to an actual pizza version. And I was right. This might be the husband’s new favourite.

I’ve made these mini pizzas on naan bread both in the oven and in the air fryer. Both come out roughly the same with not much difference, so bake it in what you have. It’s definitely faster in the air fryer, though.

Here is how I did it: I laid the sauce down on the naan and topped it with a bit of veggies, and then the pepperoni slices. I placed the pulled chicken all over then then topped that will a few dabs of sauce before laying the whole top surface with mozzarella.

After I bake the pies, and I get the colour on the cheese I’m after, I pull them out and top them with Italian Blend spices and cracks of Red Hot Chili Pepper Flakes to finish it.

Air Fryer Smash Sliders

A few weeks back, I made some cute mini smash burgers at home that, although tasty enough, were a huge pain the butt to make on the stovetop. They had too much clean up time attached after the onions invariably burned while the thin meat patties resting over them steam cooked, and the cheese on top of them finally melted and the bun warmed up. Ugh.

I vowed never to make them that way again. They make a cute pub grub meal, but honestly, I wasn’t into making them the Alton Brown way again. What he does, he does well. But, I’m not Alton. I’m me. And me is really good at figuring out ways to streamline production and assembly methods at work, and at home. Work smarter, not harder!

So with that, I turned to my air fryer. In the back of my head, I was only going to cook down the onions in it (so they didn’t burn) while I pan fried the patties on one side before flipping them and adding the cheese on the second side as the meat finished up.

I ended up poo-pooing the idea of using the stovetop all together when I remembered how fast cooking onions in the air fryer is at 350*F for about 10-12 mins. I could just wait ten minutes and add the patties after removing the onions. From there, 4 mins on the first side, flip, add cheese and cook another 4 minutes while I prepped the buns.

I chose a small dinner roll pack because the grocery store stopped getting the slider buns I was going to buy during the pandemic. I assume the bread maker axed this from their streamlined product line for supply chain issues. Oh, well. The dinner buns were the perfect size in the end.

I laid the onions on a platter in small nests so I could drop a cheesy patty on each when they came out of the air fryer. I placed the tops on each patty so they melded together. On the bottoms, I laid down some somewhat spicy burger/dip sauce I had in the fridge.

We then scraped up each pile off the platter and laid them down onto each bottom, and viola! Done. I really like how these turned out, and how fast they came together. And it was about as much clean up as cooking bacon strips in the air fryer. And none of it irritated me like doing these smash sliders on the stovetop did.

I’m calling this one as a win! Will do smash sliders this way from now on. Recommend.

Air Fryer Bacon

This was a gamble given how expensive thick cut bacon is, and since it’s the only bacon I will buy (snob alert!), I cut two or three in half, and lined the basket with them. I added some cracked pepper and grinds of red chili pepper flakes. I didn’t need to use any spray here. The fat rendering out of the pork did all of the heavy lifting for me.

The first side was cooked at 400* for about 4 mins before being flipped to finish cooking for another 3-4 mins. It cooked up perfectly. With minimal curl, to boot. I hate curly bacon (and hair).

Of course the first batch was immediately consumed in a BLT sanny. Yum!

Air Fryer Ciabatta Bread Loaves

A few nights ago I found a Youtube video showing me how to make ciabatta bread from scratch that can be baked in an air fryer. So, D-UH, I was into it. Here is my first attempt. This picture shows the bottoms after I finished flipping and baking the loaves. The tops look just as beautiful.

I made the mistake of spraying the loaves instead of brushing them with melted butter. I won’t do that again. I didn’t like the finished tops as much, but I did like them. Another thing this recipe calls for is using a bigger than the basket size of parchment so you can pinch up a segregation wall in the middle so the loaves don’t proof and bake together as one square of bread.

Baked at 400* for 8 mins over parchment paper, and then the parchment came off to finish the flipped over loaves in the bare pan another 6-7 mins. When they came out they felt hard or perhaps a tad overbaked, but after a quick rest on a rack, they soften up nicely. I was pleasantly surprised. 🙂

Air Fryer Mac & Cheese

Made this one last night. It took way too long and too much futzing with it to get the elbow noodles to finally finish cooking before adding the toppings and finishing it. BUT, I have ideas on how to speed it up for the next time.

After 25 mins, the cheese sauce was like molten lava. But that was ok; I felt it would help the toppings bake up faster, and I was right. Look at those bubbles along the rim of the baking dish in the video below. Love that visual.

Air Fryer Mac & Cheese:
1 1/2 C: Elbow Pasta / Water
1 tub Black Diamond White Cheddar Sauce (my new fave product!)
2+ tbsp Dry Mustard
1 tea: Onion Powder / Paprika

Stir it all up and put the baking dish inside the basket. Cook it at 360* for about 20 mins, stirring often to pull the protein skin down into the sauce every 4-5 mins. Till and turn the noodles up from the bottom so it all gets an even cook overall each time.

When you hit the 20+ mark, taste the noodles to see where their doneness is. If you need more liquid to get them softer, add 1/4 cup of water or heavy cream. Continue cooking it another 5 mins. Before adding the toppings, make sure the pasta is el dente. And then, add:

1+ C Marble Cheddar, grated
1/4 C Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs

Bake the dish with the toppings about 4 more mins. The dish was super hot, so I pulled the drawer out and scooped the mac out with a serving spoon directly. I didn’t even bother trying to get that hot dish out of the basket. It wasn’t necessary to do so.

I will post an update to the time saving changes after I make this again next week.