Summer Cooking With Your Air Fryer

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Air frying is the cool new way to enjoy your favorite fried foods without using any of the unhealthy oils or additional steaming up the kitchen. If you have not jumped on the “air fryer” bandwagon yet, an air fryer cooks with very hot circulating air. They don’t “really” fry, but rely instead on a fan to circulate hot air to cook food, like a countertop convection oven.

According to Cook’s Countryand Consumer Reports, here are some things to look for when purchasing your air fryer;

Capacity and Cooking Space– When you check for capacity, be sure to check for cooking space, just because an air fryer has a larger capacity, does not mean that it has more usable cooking space. Air-fired foods cook best in one layer, the width of the air fryer cooking space is more important than the height. Favored models measured more than 10 inches by 10 inches, which will accommodate a family of four.

Wattage– Be sure your kitchen outlets will support the watts consumption needed by your air fryer. Most kitchens will support 800 – 1500 watts consumption, there are some air fryers with wattage levels up to 1800 watts and more.

Safety– Look for a well-insulated air fryer that has a cool-touch hand grips to avoid burning your hands when removing. Also look for non-slip feet, just avoid any unexpected slips that can also result in a burn. Look for a model that has an automatic shut off when you open for flipping or turning

Don’t forget the Food Safety Basics when using;  

– Always use a thermometer to make sure food has reached a safe temperature.

– Wash hands, appliances, utensils and preparation areas before starting to cook.

– Avoid temperature abuse, be careful when using the delay feature, foods left at room temperature are at risk of bacteria multiplying rapidly and causing food borne illness.

– Refrigerate or freeze leftovers immediately and do not store food in the pot.

Some good reasons for choosing an air fryer;

– Bakes and roast

– It is simple to clean

– Reduces calorie intake by 70-80% on average compared to a deep dryer

– Safer option than popping hot oil

– Foods have a crispy texture and are juicy inside

– Less chance of uneven cooking

– Simple and economical

For more information concerning your air fryer contact N.C. Cooperative Extension, Lenoir County Center at 252-527-2191.

Summertime is a terrific time try out fresh seafood and vegetables in your air fryer. Here are some easy recipes.

Parmesan Air Fried Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium fresh shrimp, cleaned, tails optional
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, add shrimp and coat in olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (you may use real minced garlic here).
  2. For best flavor, cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.
  3. Toss parmesan cheese into bowl with the shrimp, this will create a breading.
  4. Add shrimp to fryer basket and set air fryer to 350 for 10 minutes. Shrimp is done when they are opaque, white, and pink. Serve immediately. (these were terrific!).

Air Fryer Ranch and Bacon Jalapeno Poppers (Keto Friendly)

Ingredients

  • 6 fresh jalapenos
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup finely shredded cheese of your choice
  • ¼ teaspoon dry Ranch mix
  • 6-12 slices bacon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  1. Cut the jalapenos in half and scrape out the seeds and white ribs.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and Ranch seasoning (you may use whatever seasoning you like).
  3. Fill the jalapeno halves with the cream cheese mix. Cut bacon slices in half and wrap each half around the stuffed jalapeno.
  4. Sprinkle fresh ground pepper over the top to taste.
  5. Lay the stuffed jalapenos in one layer in air fryer basket.
  6. Air fry at 380°F for 10-12 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and the peppers are tender. Serve warm at room temperature. You may use prepared ranch dressing for dipping.

Mexican Street Corn in the Air Fryer

Ingredients

  • 4 ears fresh corn on the cob, shucked and silked
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, juice from one lime
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

Directions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F for 2 minutes. Some do not require a preheat.
  2. Brush the oil evenly over the corn to coat. Place the corn in a single layer in the air fryer. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  3. While the corn is cooking, add the sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and salt to a small bowl. Whisk well to combine.
  4. When corn is finished cooking, immediately remove to a plate and brush liberally with the sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with the cotija cheese and chili powder before serving.

Air Fryer Zucchini Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions

  1. Set the air fryer to 350°F.
  2. Cut the zucchini into rounds, and sprinkle with the salt (this will extract some of the moisture).
  3. Pat the zucchini rounds dry, then toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  4. Place the rounds on a single layer in the air fryer, cook about 10 minutes to desired crispiness, flipping halfway through.

Air Fried Onion Rings

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons Panko
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ large sweet onion
  • 1 egg white
  • Non-stick Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Combine crumbs, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.
  2. Dip onion ring into egg white and then into bread crumbs. Place in the air fryer basket in one layer.
  3. Spray lightly with cooking spray, flip and spray both sides.
  4. Air fry at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes or until crispy.