I am forever collecting quick meal ideas and trying the latest and greatest kitchen gadget. Not because I love being in the kitchen. It’s the exact opposite actually.
I HATE cooking. I always have. In fact, I’ve always said that if I could just take a few capsules a day and get all the nutrients that I needed, I would.
Thanks to some pretty nasty chronic illnesses, my diet is anti-inflammatory to the point of being no sugar, no dairy, gluten-free, Paleo. Basically, I eat plants and protein and some nuts & seeds.
I’m a real treat when it comes time to go out to a restaurant.
My husband and my daughter basically eat anything that isn’t a plant and my boys won’t even look at food that doesn’t fit into their list of about eight acceptable picky eater meals.
So, as you can imagine, preparing meals is not fun. It just makes a task that I already don’t like doing even more complex.
THAT is why I’m always looking for quick meal ideas. Anything that I can do to make dinnertime or, any meal time really, easier – I’m in!
Is an air fryer really worth the hype?
Like I said, I will buy any of the newest and trending kitchen gadgets if they promise to make my time in the kitchen faster. Anything “set it and forget it” has my name written all over it.
When I saw the air fryer start trending, of course I was interested. I mean, the queen of quick meal ideas obviously wants to get her some air fryer action.
Some of the pros that made it really exciting to me were:
- It cooks frozen food instantly
- It’s easy to clean (this is ESSENTIAL for me)
- Food cooked with the air fryer has 75% less fat than food that is fried in oil
- Air fryer food reduces the calories in the meal
- As a mom, I don’t have to worry about giving my kids french fries for every meal
We have the Philips Airfryer Black HD9220/28 in the XL size since we’re a family of five.
When I started doing research on which AirFryer to buy, that was the one that everyone loved and raved about. And, honestly, I freaking love the thing. Nothing has upped my quick meal ideas game like it.
I’ve had mine for about a year now and it has been a total game-changer for me. As you can imagine, my diet gets pretty boring. Using the air fryer, I can make every kind of roasted vegetable imaginable (which, I admit doesn’t sound as exciting as I feel about it).
I can make sweet potato fries, which is fantastic for those days when I feel like eating “junk food” but, don’t want to be in bed for the next three days with flu-like symptoms.
And, all I have to do is dump the food into the basket, set the timer and walk away. Soooooo … that’s basically magic. And, over the last year, I have collected some awesome quick meal ideas that me and the fam will eat over and over.
Quick Meal Ideas in 15-mins From The Air Fryer
I’m always trying to find meals that everyone in my family will eat and bacon is one of them.
I can cook up a couple of packages of organic grass-fed bacon and every single person in the house can and will eat it.
But, I don’t like all of the clean up afterward. It’s either a stovetop covered in grease splatter or an oven baking dish with an inch of hot bacon oil.
The air fryer eliminates all of that AND makes the best bacon ever. You know that bacon that you get in a breakfast diner? The kind that is meaty and chewy but, also just the right amount of crispy?
That’s the bacon that you get out of the air fryer. Honestly, so many foods come out of that thing that my husband (who is an incredibly picky man) calls “restaurant quality”.
Again, I realize how this does not sound exciting or sexy. But, if you eat as much veggies as I do, then you know how difficult it is to eat them when they’re bland or you can’t really pump up the flavor.
Using the air fryer, I can roast broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, and cauliflower and put a different seasoning on each one.
Sometimes I just like salt and pepper but, I also like to experiment with garlic sauce and other organic spice blends and sauces.
Just a little bit of olive oil and some sprinkle spices and you’ve got a delicious side dish! Or, even some vegan cheese 🙂
One of my boys loves cheddar cheese and the other will only eat mozzarella cheese. But, they both love grilled cheese sandwiches.
The problem is, I hate having to get out the frying pan and spatula just to make them lunch.
So, I looked up a recipe for how to make grilled cheese in the air fryer. And, what do you know, there was one!
This is been so awesome. I can quickly make them a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches (with their preferred cheese) and then just rinse out the air fryer bowl and have it ready for making dinner.
It’s such a dream!
(I get it. I need to raise the bar for what gets me excited)
Obviously, my boys love hot dogs. Which 4 and 5 year old picky eater doesn’t? But, no one else in the family really likes them.
So, it’s hard to work them into the meal plan because I’m literally cooking two single weenies.
But, with the air fryer, I can easily cook two hot dogs at any time (lunch or dinner) and it’s simple and easy to clean up.
No exploded hot dog in the microwave. No saucepan full of hot dog water on the stove.
The whole process is easy, fast and clean.
The boys love it because they can request a hot dog for lunch and I’ve got them covered.
This one is obviously fun for the kids. They get to pick their own toppings and load up their own little pizzas.
Yes, I have to cook one at a time, which is a pain in the butt.
However, the cook time for each is EIGHT minutes. So, I suck it up and do it because my children are adorable and I love them.
Plus, I have basically zero clean-up time after preparing this gourmet meal. So, I can’t really complain about the assembly line cooking process.
Since I have to eat every two hours, it can be a real pain to cook myself a plate of food.
I really miss that part of my life when I could just eat a king-sized Snickers bar and a cup of coffee and be good to go until Wednesday.
But, those are gone and now I have to cook myself steamed kale and chicken breasts for breakfast.
Being able to bread some pork chops (in gluten-free breading because my family can’t tell the difference) and cook them in the air fryer in under 15-mins is pretty damn convenient.
I can cook one for myself for lunch and then cook up the rest for dinner and never really have to do anything.
Frozen French Fries
I love sweet potato fries and, of course, my kids love french fries. But, I’m not going anywhere near a fry daddy to cook them.
And, I really don’t like supporting fast-food restaurants.
So, being able to dump a bag of frozen french fries into the air fryer and cook them for dinner is so awesome.
I get to be my kids’ hero and the clean up is pretty much non-existent.
Plus, at Whole Foods, there are so many options for clean or healthy frozen fries.
Now, we’re moving into the dessert stuff. I can’t eat donuts and I really don’t like when the kids eat them because of the sugar.
But, on Saturday mornings, I really don’t mind whipping up a batch of cinnamon and sugar donuts and cooking them off in the air fryer.
I feel better knowing that it’s not a ton of fat and that I’m controlling how much sugar is going on the donuts. Sometimes, I can get them to eat the donut plain and just dip it in some organic maple syrup.
These are more for me. I slice a Granny Smith or a Fuji apple, pour a mix of Stevia and water over them and then sprinkle them with cinnamon and lay them into the air fryer.
But, if you’re not on a crazy strict diet like I am, you can use this recipe and sprinkle delicious delicious sugar on your apples 🙂
Do you have an air fryer? Which one of these recipes sounds the best to you?