Air Fryer Chicken Thighs and Sweet Potato

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I know instant pots are all the rage now. I have heard of people who own these in various sizes! Not me…at least not yet. I haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet – and even if/when I do, I am quite confident I will not be owning more than one. So, for now, I do own an air fryer (have been for maybe a year now).

You may wonder what I have used it for. In all honesty, my husband has used it more often than I have – and definitely it is not to make anything meal worthy! He has only ever made frozen fries in them. They taste great, but I figured there should be other applications of the gadget than just for crisping up frozen food. So, I started experimenting, first with vegetables seasoned with salt and ever so slightly drizzled with oil. My favorite…eggplant slices and broccoli! Yum! Then, I got to thinking…and googling.

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Damn! You can even make desserts in an air fryer! Wow! Anyway, I wanted to attempt a main dish, and hence was born this chicken and sweet potato recipe.

Honestly, you can use any seasoning for the chicken thighs (or drumstick or cut up breast). I happened to stumble upon harissa seasoning at a local TJMaxx (love the store for the interesting finds) and decided to try it. Harissa seasoning has complex spice notes with good amount of heat, so use it according to your taste. I needed to add salt because the bottle I bought did not have any.

After about 30+ minutes in the air fryer, the chicken thighs were super crispy on the outside (thanks to the skin) and juicy and delicious inside. Sweet potato took on a nice flavor from the chicken as well. The best compliment was “Hon, I am sorry, I don’t think I can eat the bone!” So, if you own an airfryer, you have to try this recipe. If not, either buy one or try the recipe in a 450F oven.

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Air Fryer Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

4 chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed, but with skin

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon harissa seasoning

1 teaspoon salt, divided

2 medium sweet potato (or regular potato)

2 tablespoons oil, divided

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 375F.
  2. Score the skin side of the chicken thighs deeply with a sharp knife. Season with a blend of 1 tablespoon harissa and 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste). Make sure seasoning gets into the cut slashes. Drizzle both sides with a tablespoon of oil.
  3. Place chicken thighs, skin side down in the air fryer and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, peel and cut the sweet potato into large chunks, about 1″ wide. Toss with remaining salt, harissa and oil.
  5. Remove the chicken thighs from the fryer and set aside on a plate.
  6. Add the sweet potato to the air fryer and top with the chicken, this time with skin side up.
  7. Cook for another 25 minutes or more till the chicken and sweet potato are cooked through and the top of the chicken is browned and crispy.
  8. Transfer to serving plates and serve with other sides or vegetables for a wholesome, delicious dinner.

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Blackbean and Veggie Falafels

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I am glad to admit that I am not a purist. There is something a bit more personal and exciting about bending the norms a little. At least in the food we enjoy! Think about it…if you always followed the same cake or casserole recipe, won’t you be bored? That’s when we get creative with tossing in a little bit of this and that or “wing it” along the way.

These falafels are the result of going with the flow and keeping my fingers crossed that they won’t be a crumbly or horrible tasting mess. Inspiration for this recipe, which uses cauliflower, sweet potato and black beans came from watching the recent trends with cauliflower everything, including pizza crust! PIZZA CRUST! If cauliflower could be a pizza crust, it better be a darn good falafel. And it delivered!

Honestly, these falafels are a winner not not because they have a good doze of veggies, but also because they are oven-baked with a light drizzle of oil and not deep fried like the traditional ones. What is not to love about it, right?! These delicious bites held their shape, stored well for few days refrigerated and made a perfect match as a salad topper or filler for a pita. So, go ahead and make a batch! You can drop a thank you note later! 🙂

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Blackbean and Veggie Falafels

  • Servings: 18-20 falafels
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Note about Prep Time: Prep time is about 20 min, refrigeration for about 30 min and cook (bake) time about 45 min.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups grated cauliflower

1 1/2 cups grated sweet potato

1/4 cup finely chopped onions

3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

Salt to taste

1 14.5oz black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chickpea flour

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds for 5 min over low heat and grind to a powder in a dry grinder or in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. In a saute pan, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and saute the vegetables, including onion and garlic. Add the ground spices, salt, paprika and cayenne. Let cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, mash the drained blackbeans. Add the vegetable mixture and chickpea flour and thoroughly mix in. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F.
  5. Take the refrigerated falafel mixture out and form into about 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls.
  6. Arrange on a parchment lined baking tray and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  7. Bake for about 25 min. Turn over and continue to bake for another 20 min till firm and golden.
  8. Serve immediately in a salad or as a wrap. Refrigerate remaining falafels.

Crispy Homemade Fries

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Everyone has a secret indulgence, wouldn’t you agree?! 🙂 One of mine is fries! Not the fast food type, but real good fries that are perfectly crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. You know the type that I am talking about – the kind that doesn’t get limp and lifeless as soon as you scoop it out of the oil! Yes, that kind!

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Yes, yes, I am talking about the deep fried version. Yikes! But once in a while, it’s OK to eat a few of these without any guilt. Of late, I am following the principle of “limit, not restrict”. I feel it works better for me and my family to actually treat ourselves to “normal” food so we don’t feel deprived. Do I over-indulge often?? Of course not! But when I do prepare a not-so-light versions of anything, I allow myself to enjoy them shamelessly within bounds! And hence these fries!

These fries are lightly coated in a very thin batter, drained off of any excess and fried at high temperature so the oil doesn’t get soaked into the spuds. You can hold them in a low-temp oven till you are done with all the batches, so they remain crisp and delicious when it is time to serve!

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Crispy Homemade Fries

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients
2 medium size russet potatoes
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 – 1 cup cold water
Oil for deep frying

Preparation
1. Vigorously scrub the potatoes and rinse under cold water.
2. Slice them into long strips, about 1/4 inch wide on all four sides (or slightly bigger). Cover them with cold water (feel free to add few ice cubes) and let stand for about 20 minutes or so.
3. While the potato is standing in water, prepare the batter by mixing the flour with all other ingredients, EXCEPT the oil. Adjust the seasonings as desired. Batter should be fairly thin to coat the spuds and easily drip off.
4. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel.
5. Heat at least an inch deep of oil in a shallow frying pan over medium-high heat.
6. Dip the potato strips lightly in the prepared batter and let any excess drip off. Do this one at a time. Drop them into the hot oil. Fry for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally till the fries are golden brown and crisp.
7. Transfer the fries to a baking tray in a preheated warm oven (about 200-225F) till you are done frying everything. Serve immediately.