If you‘re the type of person who celebrates a half-empty glass as having room for more wine, try looking at the current crisis as an opportunity. As we spend time at home, social distancing to keep ourselves and others in the community safe, now is a perfect time to play in the kitchen. Take this time to try out new recipes, explore attachments of food prep appliances you already have and maybe find an excuse to add new ones. After all, it’s for the health and safety of your community, right?
In all seriousness, manage your stress by filling the time doing what you love. Practice new recipes and techniques now in preparation for the day we can again come together with family and friends and celebrate. Starting with healthy snacks is a great way to try out different flavors and tools. Discover your new favorite appetizers, hors d’oeuvres and side dishes as you experiment with your small appliances.
Air Fry Loaded Baked Potato Bites
If baked potatoes top your list of comfort foods, you’ll love these savory potato bites loaded with sour cream, cheddar cheese and bacon. This simple recipe has you form bite-sized balls, roll them in egg and breadcrumbs, then “fry” them to tender yet crispy perfection in your air fryer. The process of air frying mimics the results of deep-frying, delivering food with a moist, tender interior and crispy, crunchy exterior using just hot air and only a trace of oil.
Serve the potato bites warm with a bit of sour cream for dipping. Enjoy them now — they’ll disappear fast at your next party!
Parmesan Crusted Asparagus Spears
Now is a great time to find fresh asparagus, packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. This recipe for crispy asparagus spears covered with crunchy Parmesan cheese uses just 4 ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes from prep to partaking. Air frying keeps the spears tender and full of flavor while imparting a delicious crunch to aged Parmesan. Serve with a spicy tomato sauce as a side dish for fish or chicken. Or serve with chilled ranch dressing as a healthy, flavorful snack.
Zucchini Fries with Herbed Yogurt Dip
These tempting, tender-yet-crunchy zucchini fries are never touched by even a drop of oil. Aged Parmesan cheese does another round as a star ingredient to turn a bumper crop of zucchini into a vitamin-packed, delicious snack with just the right touch of tongue-tingling spice. Whip up the yummy yogurt dip with herbs fresh from the garden. This is sure to become a summertime fave.
Red Lentil Hummus
Red lentils and whey combine to make this hummus oh-so-creamy. Perfect the texture by using a blender to aerate the lentils mix with the whey, rather than a food processor. The result is a smooth, luscious hummus in a creamy yellow that’s the perfect dip for any summer garden veggies. Garnish with chive blossoms for an elegant finish. In the (unlikely) event you have some left over, it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
With all this tasty food, you need a refreshing new drink to add to your repertoire. This Zesty Zinger is an energy boost in a glass. Superfood kale is sweetened and made delicious when combined with kiwi, cucumber and other fruit in this nutrition-packed beverage. Coconut water adds sweetness and subtle nutty flavor. Simply add the ingredients to your blender and it’s ready in 45 seconds flat.
Where There’s Smoke, There’s Flavor
With summer just around the corner, are you looking forward to backyard barbecues and the wonderful flavors of food cooked over the fire? Why wait? With a smoke gun, you can add genuine smoky flavor of hickory, applewood or oak to any snack or meal you make. Smoke fish, beef, pork or chicken, but the possibilities go far beyond your main course. Consider smoking your favorite cheese before offering it with fresh fruit and a loaf of bread. Add a rich, smoky flavor to nuts, chips, drinks, even ice cream.
With the smoke gun, you light just a pinch of wood chips. As the smoke builds up, it travels down a slender hose. Put the end of the hose in a bowl of popcorn, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap for a few minutes. Then, remove the wrap, sprinkle on paprika and enjoy a cold smoked snack. Alternatively, fill a bowl with ripe avocado. Add a squirt of lime juice, cilantro, minced garlic and chopped onion. Put the smoke gun hose in the bowl and cover for a few minutes. Remove the cover, coarsely mash the ingredients and enjoy hearty, smoky guacamole. How about a Smoky Bloody Mary with Smoked Bacon? The possibilities are endless.
Summer and a return to a new normal will be here before you know it. In the meantime, explore your love of cooking and make the most of the extra time available to you. Try a few of these recipes as well as those you always mean to when you get the time. Combine a couple of these snacks into a light meal and enjoy.