Dehydrated Fruit Snacks

Lily and Grandma make healthy and tasty dehydrated fruit snacks in the latest episode of Lily-Rose: Kindergarten Cook! Kids love to make these (and eat them!)

Dehydrated Fruit Snacks

 

8 ripe bananas

3 apples

4 small seedless oranges or clementines

 

Peel bananas and slice into ¼” slices.  Lay slices in a single layer on a food dehydrator tray.

Thoroughly wash and dry apples.  Cut in half and remove seeds, stem and stamen.  Using a mandoline, slice the apple into ⅛“ slices and lay slices in a single layer on a food dehydrator tray.

Thoroughly wash and dry oranges.  Using a sharp knife, cut into ¼ “ slices. Lay slices in a single layer on a food dehydrator tray.

Place trays into food dehydrator and set the heat at 130℉.  Allow to dry until they have reached the desired level of dryness, either chewy or crunchy, 6-12 hours.

 

10 servings, 130 calories per serving

Hack: Drying time varies depending on the water content of the fruit, thickness of the slices and the efficiency of the dehydrator itself but, in general, the time required will be between 6 and 12 hours.

Hack: Store dried fruit in an airtight plastic or glass container.  Dried fruit should not be stored in or come into contact with metal.  If a condensation forms inside the storage container, it indicates that the fruit is not dry enough and should be returned to the dehydrator for further processing.

Hack:  Most dried fruit can be stored for up to a year but temperatures above 60℉ or a higher level of retained water will deteriorate that time frame. They can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to protect it from higher temperatures.  Any fruit that begins to darken after a period of storage, develops an unpleasant odor or loses its flavor should be discarded.

Hack:  Many fruits (such as apples and bananas) tend to brown when they’re dehydrated.  This doesn’t affect the taste, nutrition or food safety of them but if you prefer your snacks to remain closer to their natural color (or perhaps another color altogether!) click here to learn different methods to achieve this.

Hack

Hack:  To see more videos from Lily-Rose and her friends, check out our YouTube channel!  Don’t forget to like, subscribe and press that notification button so you won’t miss any new videos!

 

Meatballs and Cabbage

Meatballs and cabbage is a quick and easy one-skillet meal that sure to be a crowd-pleaser! Make it gluten-free by using rolled oats when making the meatballs.

Meatballs and Cabbage
Meatballs and Cabbage

Meatballs and Cabbage

 

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)

1 (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp beef bouillon powder

Salt and pepper to taste

8 Best Italian Meatballs*

6 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage (1¼ lb)

Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

 

Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet.  Add onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent (5-7 minutes).  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Mix together tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar and beef bouillon powder.  Pour into the skillet and add the meatballs.

Cover with cabbage and cook for 30-40 minutes until cabbage is tender and meatballs are cooked to an internal temperature of 160℉.  Turn cabbage and meatballs gently and occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve immediately.

 

*To make this recipe gluten-free, use the gluten-free version option of the meatball recipe.

 

2 servings, 480 calories per serving

 

Hack:  Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days or freeze in serving-sized portions for up to 3 months.

Hack:  Check the produce department for loose celery stalks.  If you don’t see them, ask a clerk if they’re available.

Hack:  Shop the salad bar if you just need a small amount of an item that you don’t think you’ll use again before it “goes over”.

Hack:  Ask the produce clerk to cut a head of cabbage into wedges so you’ll only have to buy what you need.  They’ll wrap the leftover pieces and put it back on the shelf for sale.

Hack: Use leftover green cabbage to make Andouille Sausage With Fried CabbageHomemade Chinese Dumplings or Simple Healthy Coleslaw!

Best Herb Roasted Potatoes

Sometimes called fondant potatoes, these creamy, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes are cooked in the oven to create the easiest and best herb roasted potatoes ever!

Best Herb Roasted Potatoes
Best Herb Roasted Potatoes

Best Herb Roasted Potatoes

 

1 lb red-skinned potatoes (3-4 medium)

2 tbsp butter, melted

⅓ tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp dried rosemary

½ tsp parsley

¼ tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

⅓ cup chicken broth

1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)

 

Preheat the oven to 400℉. Use non-stick cooking spray to coat a baking pan that’s large enough to lay the potato slices in a single layer.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

Cut potatoes into 3/4″ to 1″ thick slices, discarding ends. Toss the potatoes in the butter mixture. Arrange in a single layer the baking pan.

Roast the potatoes for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip potatoes over. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 15 minutes.

Remove potatoes from the oven and flip one more time. Add the broth and garlic to the pan and return to the oven. Roast for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

3 servings, 215 calories per serving

Hack:  Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer – Is it Worth The Price?

I recently purchased a Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer and wanted to share an honest and unbiased review!  Read on to see if this is a product that could add value to your life.

 

Air fryers are all the rage and for good reason.  We can now “fry” up some crispy snacks without the negative effects of using oils.  What’s not to love?

But with prices ranging from less than $50 to well over $2,000, it’s hard to know how to choose the best one.  I recently purchased the Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer and wanted to share my opinion of this product.  Is it worth the price?

For comparison’s sake, let’s first take a look at the less expensive, basket-style air fryers.

Basket Air Fryer

I have wanted an air fryer for quite some time as I had heard great things about them.  As it happens, a friend gave me one that she no longer used and I was very excited to give it a try.  Unfortunately, I found myself completely underwhelmed with the product.

It was a basket air fryer, which I assume is supposed to make it seem more like a “real” deep fryer but, in my opinion, this setup works against it.

Items must be laid in a single layer with some space between them.  Since the cooking surface of the basket itself was quite small this didn’t leave room for many items.  As it turns out, this is why my friend was no longer using it.  She would have to cook food in batches, with the first batch sitting out getting cold while she cooked the second batch.

The air fryer did come with a rack that rested on the surface of the basket to create an extra cooking surface but that created problems of its own.

The air fryer recipes I have seen require that the food be shaken, turned or rotated halfway through the cooking process.

It’s impossible to shake the basket with a freestanding rack inside without the food on the rack flying everywhere.  If you opt to turn or rotate the food instead, that involves somehow removing the rack to get at the food beneath it.  The rack sits down inside the basket and there’s not enough room available between the rack and the sides of the fryer to grasp it.  In addition, there are no sides on the rack, no way to hold that food in place while lifting it.

For me, the whole process was just more trouble than it was worth

Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer – Is it Worth The Price?

The Pampered Chef Air Fryer opens from the front, similar to a toaster oven.  This is a huge improvement from the basket air fryers because it’s easier to get food in and out, as well as turn/rotate food (just slide the racks out!)

This is a great feature to me because the design is similar to a toaster oven and I love my toaster oven.  I’m a single person so it’s perfect for creating single-serving meals.  It doesn’t heat up my kitchen like an oven does and uses a fraction of the electricity.  And, by some weird coincidence, my ancient, secondhand toaster oven gasped its last breath the very moment I was considering the Pampered Chef Air Fryer.

Because this air fryer has the ability to air fry, bake, toast, and function as a rotisserie (it comes with a rotisserie basket for french fries and a skewer for whole chickens), I have used it just about every day since I got it.

The rotisserie cooks a 4lb chicken in 45 minutes, which is much more time-efficient than putting it in the oven.

The 9”x10” cooking surface on each of the 2 racks that are included provides plenty of room for family-sized meals but there’s room for a 3rd rack (which can be ordered separately) if you want even more cooking space!

Pampered Chef Small Bar Pan
Pampered Chef Small Bar Pan

This Pampered Chef Small Bar Pan fits perfectly on the rack for baking saucier or more tender options;

 

 

AIR FRYER FRUIT LEATHER TRAYS
AIR FRYER FRUIT LEATHER TRAYS

You can even use this as a food dehydrator.  I love these Pampered Chef Fruit Leather Trays because they make delicious and healthy snacks!

 

 

 

Despite the ginormous cooking capacity of this appliance, the entire unit measures a mere 14½” tall x 12 3/4″ x 14 1/4″ to enable it to fit in the smallest of spaces!

But…Back To Me

Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer
Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer

So, what do I do with my Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer?

I have made homemade Chinese dumplings, crispy vegetable spring rolls and Chinese-style pancakes using the air fryer.  I have toasted sandwiches, including western breakfast burrito, veggie bagels and made spinach and feta pizza for one.

I have made whole meals using this baby such as homemade chicken tenders with french fries.   I can bake potatoes, roast ears of corn or bake pork chops.

My favorite air fryer recipe are these bacon wrapped cheese dogs that I made with my granddaughters:

What can’t I do with this air fryer?  I can’t answer that question because I haven’t had anything fail me yet!

Bottom Line -Is the Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer Worth The Money?

By now you’re asking yourself how much this prized piece of machinery costs, right?  And is the Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer worth the money?

I will tell you that, from my experience, it IS worth the money.  While I’ve gone over the specifics in regard to cooking, I can also say that there is a 1-year warranty, with a no-holds-barred, for-any-reason return or replacement policy.  You can send it back for any reason whatsoever!  Yes, even if it just doesn’t match your kitchen.

Add to that the 4.7/5 star rating out of 976 reviews and I think we can say that this is a bargain at the price of $289!

Want an even better price?  Talk to me about getting 50% or more off the price by hosting a party.  Click here to reach me and let’s talk!

Have you used the Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer?  What did you think of it?  Leave a comment below and share your experience!

 

All my best,

Cynthia
cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

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Pan Fried Rice Noodles

Pan Fried Rice Noodles
Pan Fried Rice Noodles

Pan Fried Rice Noodles

 

2 oz rice noodles

1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

2 green onions

1 cup Best Classic Meatloaf Recipe (4 oz)

1 dried Thai chili pepper (optional)

2 tsp soy sauce

½ tsp sesame oil

¼ tsp sugar

½ tbsp Chinese black vinegar

¼ tsp black pepper

 

Place the rice spaghetti container that allows it to lay flat.  Cover with cool water and allow to soak for 1 hour.  Drain and return to the container.   Massage a small amount of oil over the strands and set them aside.

Thinly slice green onion and crumble meatloaf.  Set aside.

Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, vinegar and black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat oil and Thai pepper in a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

Add spaghetti, green onion and meatloaf to wok.  Cook until spaghetti is slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Use tongs to toss frequently for even browning and to prevent spaghetti from sticking together Pour in soy sauce mixture and stir to deglaze the pan.

Remove from wok immediately, garnish with additional green onions and serve.

1 serving,  635 calories per serving

Hack:  I’ve used leftover meatloaf in this recipe but you can use any leftover meat that you have on hand!

Hack:  For more variety, add some sauteed fresh or leftover veggies of your choice.

Hack:  Chop leftover green onions and freeze in a sealable freezer bag or container for future use. While they won’t retain the crispness that would make them suitable for salads or garnish, they will be fine for cooking.

Homemade Sesame Chicken

Why order out when you can make this delicious homemade sesame chicken right in your own kitchen? Thanks to Yuhong’s Country Kitchen video, it’s easy!

Homemade Sesame Chicken

 

8 oz skinless boneless chicken breast

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 egg plus one egg white, divided

4 tbsp cornstarch, divided

Pinch white pepper

Pinch salt

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

4 tbsp vegetable oil, divided, plus more for frying

½ cup of water

2 green onions

1” knob ginger, sliced (optional)

 

Cooking sauce:

2 tbsp soy sauce

Pinch salt

2 tbsp Chinese (black) vinegar

2 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp cooking wine

Pinch of white pepper

 

Cut chicken breast into 2” cubes.

Place chicken in a bowl with soy sauce, 1 egg white, 1 tbsp cornstarch, pepper and salt.  Massage with hand until well blended.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, 3 tbsp cornstarch, baking soda, 1 whole egg, 2 tbsp vegetable oil and one pinch of salt.  Stir in water, a little bit at a time stirring until the mixture has no lumps and is a consistency that will coat chicken cubes.

In a small bowl, mix all cooking sauce ingredients.  Cut green onion into thin slices and set aside.

Heat 2” of oil in a heavy sauce to a temperature of 350℉.

Mix chicken cubes in the batter.  Put coated cubes in a pan one at a time, stirring occasionally to make sure they don’t stick together.  Fry until it becomes a pale yellow color, about 3 minutes, and remove from pan.  Fry in several batches if necessary to avoid crowding.

Allow the oil to heat to 380℉.  Put all chicken back in oil and fry until they become a golden brown, 1-2 minutes.  Remove from the pan.

In a saute pan or wok, heat 2 tbsp oil and ginger over high heat.  Put in chicken cubes followed by cooking sauce and green onions.  Stir fry for 30 seconds and remove from the pan.

Garnish with more green onions, if desired and serve immediately.

 

3 servings, 529 calories per serving

 

Hack:  Do you know that you can freeze fresh ginger root?  Grating it in its frozen state is easier than grating it fresh and, if you choose organic ginger, you don’t have to peel it!  Simply place in a sealed freezer bag or container and pop it in the freezer.

Hack:  Chop leftover green onions and freeze in a sealable freezer bag or container for future use. While they won’t retain the crispness that would make them suitable for salads or garnish, they will be fine for cooking.

Hack:  For more instructional videos for making traditional Chinese cuisine at home, visit Yuhong’s Country Kitchen on YouTube! Don’t forget to like, subscribe and press that notification button so you won’t miss any new videos!