Experimenting with my latest kitchen appliance has been fun. The air fryer allows you to bake, reheat, fry, and dehydrate. Less oil is required, so air-frying is considered healthier than deep-frying. However, you will still need to lightly spray many of your foods with oil to keep them from sticking to the surface of the air fryer. I recommend avocado oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil for misting or coating food, but you might need to also lightly rub oil on the cooking grate or basket to prevent foods from sticking. Aerosol sprays should never be used; they can possibly damage the coating on the air fryer surface. Overall, I find that my air fryer is a quick and convenient option for preparing tasty food.

Simple Doughnuts

This is a fun treat to make with the kids. Set up two stations: one for the cinnamon and sugar coating and one for the glaze.

• 1 (16.3 oz.) can flaky layer biscuits (Pillsbury Grands)

• ½ cup sugar

• 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

• 5 TBSP. butter, melted

• 1 cup powdered sugar

• 2-3 TBSP. milk

• ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the air fryer and coat with avocado oil or another type of oil. Cut the center out of each biscuit with a cutter to make a hole in the middle. Set the “holes” aside. Place the doughnuts in the air fryer and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, until golden brown. To air fry the holes, reduce the timer to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Coat the hot doughnuts and holes in the cinnamon and sugar mixture and/or the glaze.

For the cinnamon and sugar coating: Melt the butter in bowl. In flat-bottomed bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Brush each doughnut or hole with the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Spoon the mixture over the tops as well, and gently shake off any excess.

For the glaze: Stir together the powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and slowly stir in the milk to make a thick glaze. Dip hot doughnuts or holes into the glaze and place on wax paper to dry.

Carne Asada Tacos

Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning is a great blend of spices, but you can use any chipotle powder for this recipe.

• 1 lb. flank or skirt steak, about ¾ inch thick

• 2 tsp. Southwest chipotle seasoning

• 1 TBSP. chili powder

• 1 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 tsp. garlic powder

• Zest of one orange

• 1 TBSP. vegetable oil

• Lime slices, diced onion, diced avocado, salsa, and tortillas

Stir together the spices and orange zest in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix over the steak and drizzle with oil. Coat the meat evenly. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. Place steak in air fryer and cook for 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. If you prefer medium-rare, you will need to reduce time to 10 minutes. Transfer steak to a cutting board and allow to rest for a few minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain, not with the grain. Squeeze fresh lime over the strips and serve in warm tortillas with onion, avocado, and salsa.

Meatballs

For a quick and delicious appetizer, serve these meatballs with marinara sauce or with a smoky barbecue sauce.

• 1-1 ¼ lbs. lean ground beef or ground sirloin

• 1/3 cup plain or Italian bread crumbs

• 2 TBSP. milk

• 1 egg

• 1 TBSP. fresh parsley

• 1 heaping TBSP. shredded Parmesan cheese

• ½ tsp. Italian seasoning

• ½ tsp. onion powder

• ¼ tsp. salt

• ¼ tsp. black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Shape into meatballs (makes about 16 meatballs). In a preheated air fryer, place meatballs in a single layer and cook at 385 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until browned. Serve with your favorite sauce and pasta.

Praline Pecans

Candied pecans in the air fryer are so easy to make! Sprinkle on a kale salad or, if you prefer, substitute whole almonds for the pecans.

• 3 cups pecan halves

• 1 egg white

• 1 TBSP. water

• 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

• ¼ cup sugar

• ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed

• ½ tsp. cinnamon

• 1/8 tsp. salt

Whisk together the egg white, water, and vanilla extract until frothy. Add pecans and stir until coated. Add both sugars, cinnamon, and salt and stir until fully coated. Spread out the pecans in air fryer basket; air fry at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through the process. Spread out on parchment paper and cool for about 10 minutes.

— Amy Fischer lives in Fort Payne, Alabama, and is a Southern food enthusiast who loves to spend time in the kitchen creating tasty recipes. You can contact her at facebook.com/MySouthernTable.

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