Air Fryer Attempts: Potato Chips and Donuts

My sister and her husband love their air fryer so much that they upgraded to a bigger model and lent me their original one to try out for myself.  We have made pork chops, onion rings, fish and a few other things.  Most have been pretty good.  The air fryer does a great job on items that should be crispy on the outside, blowing hot air around like a convection oven does.


I came across a recipe for Air-Fryer Potato Chips at Taste of Home that looked very easy so I decided to give it a try.  First I made a batch of french onion dip because you simply cannot eat potato chips without it!

The recipe for the potato chips is super simple, slice potatoes very thin, soak in ice water, dry potato slices, then cook them in a single layer in the air fryer.

Next thing you know Dave and I were enjoying Happy Hour!


The chips were good and definitely crispy but a little thick for me.  I did use a mandolin slicer but next time will try to adjust it to create thinner slices.  On the other hand, the french onion dip was delightful!!!

When I was telling my girl gang about the potato chips on our twice weekly ZOOM call, Julie mentioned she had seen an Air-Fryer donut recipe I should try.  Loving donuts like I do, and feeling confident from my potato chip experiment I figured I couldn’t lose.  Silly me!

The first issue I had was that the recipe I used from The Kitchn for Easy Air Fryer Donuts called for Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Biscuits.  These are the premium in the canned biscuit world.  I should have known before I made the trip to the store during these days of empty shelves they might be low on these.  What I found was that there was not a Pillsbury baking product left on the shelves.  I had to settle for the store’s brand of biscuits that were small, flat and misshapen right out of the can.  I went ahead with the recipe anyway, cut out the holes and placed them in the Air-Fryer.


The recipe calls for cooking them 5-6 minutes and turning half way through.  Once they were done I rolled half in cinnamon sugar and glazed the other half.

The first few I made were not just crispy but hard so I adjusted the cooking time.  I also tried putting two of the biscuits together to get a thicker donut but this just resulted in a chewy donut…..basically a glazed biscuit.  When eating them warm they were ok  but I would hesitate to call them good.  I wonder if using the better quality Pillsbury biscuits or even making homemade biscuit dough would make them better?

I have used the Air-Fryer enough to discover a couple of things with at least the model/brand I am using.  First, setting the temperature is tricky……there is a wheel with temperature numbers on it but no real indicator of what temperature you are selecting.  Additionally, the timer is just another wheel to turn that is not very precise for selecting time.  Since the machine turns off when you pull out the basket, for making these donuts I turned the wheel to the ten minute range but used Alexa to set an actual timer.  Having a digital display of temperature and timer is probably available on upgraded models and what I would look for if I actually buy one myself.

I have not decided if I am going to try and make the donuts again, never say never, but I do know that for a mere $1 each I can always get one of these at Hy_Vee.

Let me know if you have ever made donuts in your Air-Fryer and how they turned out!

The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make

My mom loved to bake bread.  Every Sunday we would have either a loaf of homemade bread, cloverleaf rolls, cinnamon rolls or my favorite, cinnamon bread.

She never used a recipe, just magically produced those delightful treats off the top of her head.  When I became an adult I made her come to my house and make her basic bread dough while I wrote down each and every step.  The problem was she did not measure anything , she could tell what she needed by how it looked or felt.  I am definitely not that kind of baker.  Over the years I have attempted to make her rolls and cinnamon rolls several times and although we ate most of my creations, it never seemed to measure up to what I remember as a child.

During this quarantine period I have been sewing almost every day of the 19 days we have been sheltering in place.  I have made Easter bunnies for my ETSY shop. (Now sold out)

Most recently have been making masks for family and friends.

Yesterday I decided I needed to step out of my sewing cave and do something else.  Lately I have seen several recipes for NO KNEAD DUTCH OVEN BREAD and decided it was the day to try it.  I looked at several recipes and decided this one from Feast and Farm looked like the easiest.  It only calls for four ingredients and just seemed super simple.  What I liked most about this recipe was that it is mixed up one day and then baked the next.  Seems like most bread recipes you need to mix, let rise, knead, let rise again, then bake and it takes up most of your day.  This recipe could not have been any easier.

In general, you mix the four ingredients together, cover with plastic wrap and then put in a warm place for 18-24 hours.  When you are ready to bake, you gently knead it one time, put it in a large dutch oven to bake covered for thirty minutes and uncovered for ten minutes.  Besides having your house smell wonderful, you are rewarded with an incredible loaf of goodness.


The outside is crusty and chewy while the inside is soft and moist.  It is amazing!  Slather a little butter on a warm slice and I am sure you will agree!


Let me know if you give it a try.  Stay Safe!


On the Menu

I know most of us are cooking more than usual these days during this unprecedented time in our country. Although I have been a menu planner for a long, long time I still am constantly on the outlook for inspiration when it comes to getting dinner on the table.  Some of my favorite blog posts include daily menus so I thought I would share with you what is on our menu for the last half of March in case you are looking for inspiration of your own.

Last week when I realized we would be staying in for a while I did an inventory of our freezer and pantry.  I usually keep both fairly well stocked so these menus were based mostly on what I had available.  I did make a run to the store, like everyone else in America, but mostly bought fruit and dairy supplies.

Since I just cook for Dave and I these days, many of these meals provide leftovers for lunch.

Sunday     Slow Cooker Taco Soup – there are many variations of this soup but the one I made you can find here.  It is simple, thick and so very good. The leftovers were my lunch for several days.

Monday    Breakfast Casserole/Sausage Links– I love breakfast for dinner.  The recipe linked here was the inspiration but I added 1/3 cup each of sauteed green pepper, onion and mushroom, used regular milk instead of evaporated and left out the ham.  Leftovers provided a couple of breakfast also.


Tuesday         Honey Garlic Chicken Thigh Sheet Pan Dinner – this EatingWell recipe came across my facebook feed.  The recipe can be found here.


Wednesday   Salmon/Long Grain and Wild Rice/Cut-up veggies – Dave is in charge of making salmon (or any fish) in this house.  He found this recipe and uses it all the time.


Thursday       Homemade Pizza

Friday            Tacos 

Saturday        Taco Salad – using the leftovers from friday night’s dinner.

Sunday           Grilled Cheese/Tomato Soup – We ordered carry-out from our local BBQ restaurant for lunch so went lighter for dinner.

Monday          Breaded Shrimp/ Sauteed Rice/Caprese Salad – going to try the shrimp in the air fryer.  The rice recipe can be found here.  The Caprese Salad is my own version, sliced up grapes tomatoes with grated mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, tossed with Zesty Italian dressing or Olive Oil.  An even better version of this salad can be found here but I do not have any avocados right now.

Tuesday          Pork Tenderloin/Roasted Garlic Parmesan Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli –  Dave will eat the pork leftovers for his lunch this week.

Wednesday   Spaghetti with Meat Sauce/Salad – this pasta sauce I froze a few weeks ago when I made sugu (Italian marinara sauce recipe from a family member).  I always double the recipe when I make this and freeze half for a later date.

Thursday        Hamburgers on the Grill/French Fries – I am going to try the frozen Red Robin fries I found at Wal-mart in the air fryer.

Friday              Beef Lo Mein – I have never tried this before, but it was on sale last time I went to the store so I thought I would give it a try.

Saturday          Chicken Marsala/Mashed Potatoes/Green Beans- Here is a link to the recipe. I have not tried this before but it looks really good.  I will probably substitute the fresh mushrooms with canned and use evaporated milk unless I get to the store before I make it.


Sunday     Black Bean Soup/Cornbread – this Black Bean soup is so easy and so good.  I usually make it in the crockpot but it could just as easily be made on the stovetop.  Here is the recipe I shared a while back.

Monday     Garlic Steak Bites- this is an EatWell recipe that I have made several times, here are the instructions.  The first time I made it I also made the Lemon Zucchini Noodles and they were good also.  I do not have any zucchini on hand right now so will have to find a different veggie to go with it.

Garlic Butter Steak Bites with Lemon Zucchini Noodles - #recipe by #eatwell101


Tuesday     Chicken Thighs on the Grill/Pasta Salad

I hope this provides you with some ideas for your dinners each night.  Let me know what you are cooking!  Please stay home and stay safe!!!


I made bagels!!!

Hello friends, I have been absent around here for a long time because, well…….. life!  However, yesterday I made a recipe that I just had to share with you all.

I found the SkinnyTaste blog several years ago when I was attending Weight Watchers.  All of the recipes on Gina Homolka’s site include Weight Watchers points and nutrition information.  She has an incredible number of recipes and one that I love and have made several times is the individual meatloaves with skinny mashed potatoes.  A while back she published a cookbook, Skinnytaste Fast and Slow that my cookbook club just happens to be cooking from this year.

When I saw this no-boil bagel recipe from Skinnytaste pop up on my Instagram feed, I knew I would have to try it.   These bagels are about half the size of a Panera bagel and have about half the calories (300 for a Panera everything bagel and 152 for these bagels).  However, the real news is that even though half the size they still have the same 10g of protein due to the greek yogurt in the recipe.  I promise this recipe is EASY, EASY, EASY!

Easy Bagels

The original recipe makes only four bagels but I doubled the recipe to make eight which is what I reflect below:


2 cups all purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 cups non-fat greek yogurt

2 egg whites

Everything Seasoning (see note below)


1. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

2. Stir the yogurt into the flour mixture until combined.

3. Move the dough to a lightly floured countertop and knead about 15 times.  The dough will be slightly sticky.

4. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll into a rope about 9 inches long, then shape into a bagel.



5. Place the bagels on a baking sheet covered with a silpat or with parchment sprayed with oil.  I highly recommend a silpat which I use for almost all my baking.

6. Use the egg white to wash the bagels….I gave each at least two coats.

7. Then sprinkle each bagel with Everything Seasoning.  I also use this seasoning on baked chicken breasts.   To make the seasoning I used:

1 T black sesame seeds

1 T white sesame seeds

2 T poppy seeds

2 T dried garlic flakes

2 T dried onion flakes



8. Bake the bagels for 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Cool ten minutes before slicing if you can stand it.  I will guarantee you will be starving by the time these are done, they smell soooooo good!


I am already thinking about my next batch, Asiago cheese, cinnamon….the possibilities are endless.  Let me know if you try them!

Challenge Accepted: Mini Sky High Chocolate Mousse Pies

Have you ever visited the blog Sally’s Baking Addiction?  I have been a regular reader for a few years and love all her recipes and beautiful photography.  I must admit that I have been much more of a reader than a baker but this year I decided to up my baking game by participating in Sally’s Monthly Baking Challenge.  Each month Sally provides a recipe, step by step directions and even a video to increase the baking skills and confidence of her readers.  This month’s recipe is Sky High Chocolate Mousse Pie.



It was a fun assignment and my only deviation from her recipe was to make 3 mini pies instead of just one pie.  The intent is that I will share the pies and Dave and I will not have to eat the whole dang pie, because I know we could do it!!  As Sally describes on her site, there are three steps to this pie:

  1. An Oreo crust.
  2. Chocolate Mousse
  3. Whipped Cream

Everything is made from scratch except for the Ores of course!  I even made a special trip to one of my favorite stores in the world, Cockrell’s Mercantile, to buy some individual fiesta ware pie plates.  Any reason to buy more fiesta ware is a good reason to me!

Step one – the Oreo crust.  I have made Oreo crust several times before and each time I do I tell myself that next time I am going to double the recipe because I never seem to have enough to take the crust up the full sides of the pie plate.  Not sure if the fact I used three mini pie plates instead of one made a difference or not.



Step two – Chocolate Mousse.  This step consisted of three parts, melting the chocolate, making and adding meringue, then making and adding whipped cream. This was definitely the richest mousse I have ever tasted, so, so good!





Once the mousse was complete, it was spread over the Oreo crust, topped with a layer of crushed Oreos, then another layer of mousse.


Step three – Making whipped cream.  This was definitely the easiest step, just whipping heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into a beautiful, melt in your mouth whipped cream.  Each mini pie was then topped with a generous amount and chocolate shavings were added for the final touch.



For the detailed recipe visit Sally’s Baking Addiction. Can’t wait to find out what is up for next month!  Now, who wants one of these extra mini pies?









Five Days of Salads

Salads and I have a funny relationship.  I love them when the weather is warm and the sun is shining, but not so much during cloudy, rainy or cold days.  On those days I just want soup.  A few weeks ago when we had several days in a row of great weather I challenged myself to make a different salad everyday for lunch.  A couple of the recipes I made were from my own recipe book while a few others were new to me.

I have always loved caprese salad  and make it often for dinner, but adding the diced avocado really put this concoction over the top.  This was definitely my favorite of the week.



I sliced grape tomatoes in half and paired it with mozzarella pearls and diced avocado.  For the dressing I drizzled with olive oil, basil, salt and pepper.  Super easy!

For day two I made this Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing from but added some leftover grilled chicken that I had in the fridge.  So good….


The salad is romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, corn, black beans, avocado, fresh cilantro, toasted tortilla strips and grilled chicken.  For the dressing, 1 cup cilantro leaves, 1/2 plain yogurt, 2 cloves minced garlic, juice of 1 lime, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 T apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt combined in the food processor.  Neither Dave or I were fans of this dressing, a little too tart for us,  but there are many versions of Cilantro Lime Dressing on the web so next time I am going to try a different one.

Day three consisted of a fruit salad inspired by the Orange Honey Rainbow Fruit Salad @, however her recipe serves twelve and with just Dave and I around much would go to waste so we cut it down and modified it a bit.


I included sliced strawberries, green grapes, blackberries, bananas and kiwis for my salad and altered the sweet dressing a little since I am not a fan of mint leaves.  My dressing included 1/4 cup of orange juice, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of honey.  This was a great lunch!!

On the fourth day I made a version of the Strawberry Spinach salad with Strawberry Lime Vinaigrette as found on the blog



The salad was awesome with strawberries, spinach, blue cheese, thin sliced red onion, sliced almonds and bacon crumbles.  The dressing consisted of 1/2 c chopped strawberries, 1/4 c lime juice, 1/4 c olive oil, 1 Tablespoon of honey and salt/pepper all pureed in the food processor.  Yummy!

For the final day I made one of my own recipes I have been making for years, Broccoli and Cauliflower salad.



The salad is 2 cups each of raw broccoli and raw cauliflower cut into small bites, along with 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup red onion and 1 cup peas.  I usually just toss those ingredients with 2 cups of ranch dressing and then top with parmesan cheese.  I think this taste much better if it chills for a few hours in the fridge before eating.

This was a fun way to lighten up my lunches and try new recipes.  I still have many other salad recipes I would like to try so I might need to do this again sometime.



The Cookbook Club

Many of you followed our groups adventures in the ABC Dinner club where we ate our way through the alphabet at restaurants in Kansas City.  That club came to a close a few months ago when we finally (after 5 years) made it to the letter Z.  One of our club members had a friend who was part of a cookbook club and suggested we try that for our next adventure.

I have read about cookbook clubs in the past and there seem to be as many versions of these types of clubs as there are cookbooks themselves.  Basically it is like any other book club, you get together with friends to eat, drink and discuss the book.  The difference is that in a cookbook club each person cooks a recipe from the selected book and brings it to share with the other members.


Here are the guidelines for our version of the Cookbook Club:

  1. Each member of the group will have a turn selecting a cookbook.
  2. We will meet monthly to share and discuss prepared recipes.
  3. Husbands are welcome (and encouraged) to assist with the recipe selection and cooking.
  4. Each member will select a recipe from the cookbook for that month’s meeting. The monthly meeting does not need to be a meal with complimentary dishes selected.  It can just be a tasting of random recipes.
  5. We will continue making recipes out of the book until we have a good feel for it and decide we are ready to move to the next cookbook.
  6. We can change these guideline whenever the heck we want to…

The first cookbook selected is Pioneer Woman Cooks – Food From my Frontier by Ree Drummond.  Below are selections from our first meeting on April 30, 2016.

cookbook cover


Corn Casserole with Peppers – easy to make, would be great in summer when corn is cheap.  Discussed buying corn during the summer in bulk, cutting off the cob and freezing.  Tasted great!


Buttered Rosemary Rolls – these rolls are excellent and easy to prepare since you start with frozen unbaked dinner rolls.  The coarse salt and fresh rosemary make all the difference in taste, the butter probably does not hurt either.


Spicy Caesar Salad with Homemade Cornbread Croutons – the addition of chipotle peppers kicks this salad up a notch from a normal Caesar. For those of you that care (like me) there are raw eggs in the dressing which is also normal for Caesar dressing.  The croutons were good but if made in the future would probably just buy croutons instead of going to the trouble of making from scratch.


BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas – easy to make and tasted great.  Serve with sour cream, salsa and a pineapple wedge on top.


Tangy Tomato Brisket – if you have six or seven hours to let this cook on a low temperature there is nothing better.  Easy to prepare and boy does it make your house smell good all day.  Turned out moist and tender which I can say is not always the case with brisket.


Knock You Naked Brownies – delicious but very rich.  The recipe is a little more complex than simple brownies but good for a special occasion. Wish I would have taken a picture of the gooey caramel and chocolate on the inside which is the star in this dish.


Let me know if you are or have ever been in a cookbook club.  I would love to hear how other’s operate.



Homemade Ice Cream with EASY, EASY Chocolate Dipped Cookies

A few weeks ago I watched an episode of Pioneer Women where she was making homemade ice cream and I was not able to stop thinking about how good that sounded.  With warm weather and the summer cookout season coming up I took the plunge and ordered a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker.


The day I received it Dave was out of town so I decided to fire that baby up and dig in to some homemade strawberry ice cream.  I used the recipe that came with ice cream maker and about 30 minutes later I had something that resembled strawberry ice cream and tasted really good but the texture was really icy, not at all what I had in mind.

I googled “icy homemade ice cream” and sure enough there were several articles on why homemade ice cream turns out icy.  It seems to be associated with the water content in the ice cream and if you are mixing in items with a high water content (like strawberries) the water will crystalize leaving the ice cream with an icy texture.

A few days later I decided to try again but with chocolate….cocoa does not have any water in it so I thought it would be safe.  Sure enough, it was PERFECT!!!


I really wanted to try the strawberry again so this time when I purreed the strawberries, I drained them and actually patted them with a paper towel to dry them a little.  The original recipe called for adding lemon juice and I left that out also.  That was the trick……strawberry heaven in a bowl.

Since we were having a cookout over memorial day weekend I decided to serve some of this frozen perfection but I wanted a little something else to go with it so I remembered what I had watched this week on Ina Garten (I know, I watch Food Network way too much!)  Ina had served some homemade ice cream along side chocolate dipped shortbread cookies.  Of course Ina made her own shortbread cookies but as far as I am concerned, Lorna Doone’s are amazing so I decided to just buy some of those but dip them in chocolate myself.


I wrote a post a while back about tempering chocolate for dipping items like fruit.  It is a complex process using multiple pans, water baths and thermometers.  You can read that post here.  Leave it to Ina to come up with a quick process that produces the same results.  If you have ever melted chocolate for dipping you might have seen how the chocolate turns a dusty gray color when it dries, this is called “blooming.” Tempered chocolate dries glossy.

Ina’s method is to melt half of the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second sessions, stirring between each session, until the chocolate is melted.  Remove the chocolate from the microwave.  Break up the second half of the chocolate and stir it in to the hot chocolate mix.  The more you stir the glossier the chocolate will be.  Within just a minute or so all the chocolate will melt and will be ready for dipping your cookies or fruit or whatever you want to dip.  SO EASY!


Happy Weekend!


Small Gatherings|May 2015|Smoked Pulled Pork Sliders

For this month’s small gathering we hosted family and friends for some good ‘ole Kansas City Bar-B-Que, smoked pork sliders and ribs.  Dave is the official griller/smoker in this house but on this particular day he had an obligation away from the house for several hours.  If you have ever smoked meat you understand that it is an all-day process and according to the hubby depending on the quality of your smoker can require a large amount of attention/intervention.  Much to Dave’s unhappiness our smoker is on the low end of the spectrum which means we have to babysit the charcoal fire every hour, all day long.

The night before smoking day, Dave applied his go-to rub (recipe below) to the pork, covered it in foil and refrigerated it for about 12 hours.  The next morning before he left, he started the pork in the smoker and tutored me in the process.

First, I had to make sure this fire did not go out which meant I had to continually add charcoal.   I also had to throw on a few pecan and cherry wood chips every so often.  According to Dave’s smoking bible, “The Art of Smokology” by Chef Richard McPeake, wood chips add a taste dimension to your finished product.  So far not too hard, but very messy!


Next I had to slather this hunk of pork with the mop (a basting sauce used to add moisture during the cooking process)every so often and monitor the internal temperature.  We were shooting for an internal temp of 165 degrees before we wrapped the pork in foil with additional mop and continued cooking.


Fortunately for me Dave came home before we had to wrap this beast in foil because I was not quite sure how I was going to do that by myself.  This was a LARGE (and very hot) piece of meat.  We cooked the meat for an additional four hours, about 12 hours in total before it was taken off to cool.  Once it was cooled, the pork was hand pulled and the “finishing flavors” were added.  The next day, about an hour before we served it, the pork was put back on the smoker to add the final touch of smoke.

The process is lengthy but if you enjoy pulled pork it is worth it.


Here is the rub Dave likes to use:

Pulled Pork Rub

“The Art of Smokology” by Chef Richard McPeake

½ cup Chili Powder

¼ cup Paprika

1 TB Kosher Salt

1 TB Ground Cumin

1 TB Ground Poultry Seasoning

1 TB Superfine Sugar

1 TB Garlic Powder

Combine all ingredients and blend well.  Liberally cover all sides of the pork, wrap the pork in foil and refrigerate for 12 hours.

In the next post I will share the fun dessert we had!

Chicken and Orzo Soup|Best Snickerdoodle Cookies

It is no secret that I love soup.  I have shared several soup recipes with you before including Black Bean, Cheddar Ale and Chicken Noodle Soup.   I especially like soup in the fall and winter but I eat it all year long. Last week while in Omaha I ate lunch at our company cafeteria and had a bowl of chicken and rice soup.   Although the taste was not bad, it was more chicken broth with just a hint of rice, chicken and vegetables. I like thick soup, almost stew like.   I knew I could do a better job.    I started by sauteing onion, celery, garlic and carrots in olive oil until the vegetables were soft.  I added chicken broth, a diced chicken breast and some orzo.  Now this is what I am talking about!  YUM!


I have included the recipe at the end of this post.  This past week I also came across an updated recipe for snickerdoodle cookies that were soft and so, so good.  If you like snickerdoodle cookies, do yourself a favor and make these cookies.


This recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  I have made several of her recipes and have never been disappointed.  Click here for the best Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles Cookies you will ever eat!

Chicken and Orzo Soup

2 T olive oil
1/2 cup carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 clove minced garlic
48 oz chicken broth
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
1/2 cup orzo
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Saute the carrots, celery, onion and garlic in the olive oil until the vegetables are soft.
  2. Add the chicken broth, chicken and orzo.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the orzo is soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sharing with Rattlebridge Farm Food Friday