Category: appliances

Healthier Taco Bowls

I had fun using several of my kitchen gadgets to make my healthier version of taco bowls. First, I “fried” the taco shells in my new Power Air Fryer oven. I cooked my chicken breast in my Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-quart, shredded it using my Cuisinart, and heated my cheese sauce in my microwave oven. The payoff was a delicious and filling meal that counts only 3 Weight Watchers SmartPoints.

RECIPE

HASTY TASTY TACO BOWLS

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • OLE tortillas
  • ½ pound chicken breasts (Fresh or frozen)
  • 1 can Ro*Tel (you pick heat level)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn kernels, rinsed and drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jar Tostitos Queso con Salsa (or similar brand)
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

  1. Form each tortilla into a bowl using a mold or oven-proof bowl.
  2. Air-fry at 370°F for 12 minutes.
  3. Place chicken breasts and contents of a can of Ro*Tel into the pot of a pressure cooker. Cook under pressure 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to drop on its own.
  4. While chicken cooks, prep beans, corn, onions, and cilantro and combine.
  5. Carefully open pressure cooker and remove the chicken (replace lid to trap in the heat). Shred chicken and return to cooker.
  6. Stir in beans, corn, onions, and cilantro mixture with the shredded chicken. Cover and allow residual heat to warm the beans and corn.
  7. Pour Queso con Salsa into a heatproof measuring pitcher and heat 2-3 minutes in the microwave oven, stirring occasionally.
  8. Place taco bowl shell on a plate, fill with 1/4 of the mixture, and then drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of the queso con salsa. Serve immediately.

Air Fryer Bagels

I love bagels but not the kind in grocery stores. Our time living in New Jersey spoiled me for fresh, NY style bagels. I’m not returning to the northeast anytime soon, so I’m making my own. I won’t heat my Florida kitchen using the oven, either, so here’s my take on air fryer bagels using a recipe I found in the Weight Watchers’ Facebook group.

 

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • coarse salt for coating

Directions:

  1. Combine flour and yogurt and mix well.  Allow dough to rest 30 minutes and then knead 4-5 times.
  2. Bring 1 quart water to boil in a large saucepan.
  3. Separate dough into 4 spheres. Shape bagels by punching the middle of each sphere and spinning the dough until desired shape.
  4. Drop each bagel into the boiling water, turning after 2 minutes.
  5. After boiling bagels for a total of 4 minutes, remove to drain on paper towels.
  6. Sprinkle tops with coarse salt.
  7. Place bagels in air fryer and set for 390°-400° (settings vary per air fryer) for 7 minutes.
  8. Remove and enjoy with your favorite cream cheese or jam!

Do these bagels taste as good as NY bagels? Not even close. However, they’re good enough, and these bagels are only 2 SmartPoints® on the Weight Watchers® program! 

Turkey Under Pressure

My husband loves turkey, and I indulge him because I love him and turkey, too. Turkey is an inexpensive protein. It’s not exclusively a holiday meal, either. We have turkey year around.

But we live in sunny Florida. Nobody wants a hot kitchen after using an oven for several hours, especially in summer. I researched alternatives (No to the indoor turkey fryer, and no to the electric roaster).  I’ve successfully pressure cooked and slow cooked a turkey breast with good results, yet never a full turkey (and I love the dark meat). 

After watching one too many Sunday morning infomercials for the 10-quart Power Pressure Cooker XL, in which Eric Theiss exuberantly shows off a whole turkey cooked in 40 minutes, I ordered one for a birthday gift for myself. I was skeptical because I want stainless steel pots, not nonstick-coated aluminum. The PPCXL has only the nonstick-coated aluminum inner pot. As far as I know, there is no stainless steel replacement pot that will fit it.  I resigned myself to the nonstick pot, though, and tested the cooker as a turkey roaster.

Oh my goodness! I am so pleased with the results, and so is my family. Now turkey dinners aren’t limited to cool weather months. There are a few tricks to my pressure cooked turkey, though. First, it must be no larger than 12 pounds. Mine weighed in a tad over 11. Second, use a bit of butter. I thoroughly greased the bottom of the nonstick inner pot with butter. I also put a little butter between the skin and the breast meat on either side of the wishbone. If you like crispy skin (we don’t eat skin), you’ll need to brown it under the broiler for 5-10 minutes before carving.  Finally, I let pressure drop completely before opening the cooker and removing the turkey. From prepping the turkey to serving it took a total of 2 hours, still much quicker than oven roasting.

As for the nonstick coated pot I detest, it fared well and cleaned up easily in hot soapy water. I baby it with nylon or silicone tools and gentle scrubbing, though. Except for the nonstick coated pot, I’m impressed with the performance of the 10-quart PPCXL. I own an older model PPCXL that’s noisier and a bit more difficult to use, so Tristar has made improvements I like. If you’re in the market for a large multi-cooker, consider the 10 quart Power Pressure Cooker XL. (Check out the video on YouTube for the infomercial) If you want something smaller, stick with Instant Pot or other brands that offer the stainless steel inner pot.

RECIPE

TURKEY UNDER PRESSURE

Serves 8-10

Equipment needed: 10 quart or larger pressure cooker. chef’s knife, measuring cup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 whole turkey, 9-11 pounds, thawed
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 rib celery, halved
  • 1 clove garlic. chopped
  • 1 carrot, halved
  • 1 pepper, any kind, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • seasonings (salt, pepper, poultry seasonings)

Directions:

  1.  Divide butter and use 1 Tbsp. to coat bottom of the pressure cooker’s pot.
  2. Pour 2 cups water into the pot.
  3. Place the turkey inside the pot, breast side up. Stuff the cavity with the onion, garlic, celery, pepper, and carrot.
  4. Gently separate the skin from the breast meat and insert 1½ tsp. butter on either side of the wishbone.
  5. Generously sprinkle turkey with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
  6. Seal pressure cooker and bring to pressure. On the PPCXL, select Chicken/Meat and adjust time to 45 minutes.
  7. When the turkey has cooked for 45 minutes under pressure, remove from heat (or hit Cancel button) and allow pressure to drop completely on its own (approximately 15 minutes).
  8. Carefully remove the turkey from the pot using lifters or two sets of tongs. Place on a carving board and cover loosely with foil.
  9. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve for making gravy, soup, and/or dressing.
  10. Allow turkey to rest another 10-15 minutes before carving. Serve and enjoy!

Stuff cavity of turkey with aromatics.

Set time for 40 – 45 minutes (we like fall-off-the-bone turkey)

Success! But for prettier presentation and crispy skin, place turkey under a broiler for 5 – 10 minutes.

Mix It Up – With A KitchenAid

I blog often about my cooking tools, like the Instant Pot, air fryer, pressure cooker, Vitamix, and Cuisinart Food Processor. Another tool I love is my KitchenAid stand mixer. It’s 30 years old and still going strong. I updated it with a new five quart glass bowl and a newer paddle with scraper. Through the years I’ve bought attachments for it, like the pasta extruder and the meat grinder. Mostly, though, I use it as a mixer. 

I’m not much of a baker, but there’s much more you can do than mix batter with a KitchenAid. I use low speed to whip potatoes, high speed to make whipped cream (SO much better than from a can!), and medium speed to shred cooked chicken for burritos or chicken salad. Use the dough hook to knead pizza dough. These are just a few applications. And especially if you’re a baker, the KitchenAid stand mixer is a must-have.

For more information about the KitchenAid mixer (Still assembled in the USA. Yay!), read this review
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