Lately I have been living with a super impatient monster. He demands instant satisfaction and will generally not be fun to be around if he doesn’t get his way. This is especially true with his food.
His favorite food at the moment happens to be these cheddar broccoli tater tots that need to be baked — otherwise they are gross molten goo in the microwave.
Baking, plus an impatient one-year-old, equals a recipe for disaster.
Air fryer to the rescue!
I had bought an air fryer randomly while walking through Target a few days after Black Friday. They must have not pushed enough of them and they were having a massive sale. I managed to get a air fryer/convection oven/toaster oven in one combo for nearly 60 percent off. I amazingly did not meet much resistance from my loving wife when I arrived home with a shiny new kitchen appliance, so I set it up.
The first few months, I won’t lie, we didn’t use it much. Our regular oven is convection and gas and does a great job baking things, so we did not have use for a smaller appliance where I couldn’t bake a big tray of cookies in for the holidays. My wife would use it for her toast — even though we have a nice four-slice toaster — and that was pretty much the extent of things.
That was until my son arrived at the age of not as much milk and more solid foods. Then it became a life saver.
A package of crinkle cut fries says you need to bake them for 30 minutes at 425 degrees — an eternity for a one-year-old. Plus, I don’t blame him. That is a substantial chunk of his life up to this point.
An air fryer will take that bake time down to less than 10 minutes, and they are nice and crispy on all sides. No more of the random, slimy-sided fries you get after baking them.
That is really where an air fryer shines — the speed. They market them as healthy alternatives to deep frying, but unless your running a bootleg KFC out your back door, I would venture to guess most of us don’t fry a whole bunch. It’s messy, takes a lot of set up and makes your house smell like some used burger wagon.
But if you do fry a lot, then you should look into an air fryer double time.
Amazon’s choice for an air fryer will set you back $80 dollars. It looks like a giant black egg with a blue display, typical of what you imagine in your head when you hear “air fryer”. It is the tray pull-out kind and varies in size. From the reviews, it looks like it is a mixed bag with these types of air fryers. Some like them and have no issues, others hate them as much as a tack in the toe. Although, I think some people just like to complain to complain and I would take most of any Amazon reviews lightly.
The one I purchased, and couldn’t recommend more, is a Cuisinart TOA-60 air fryer toaster oven. I would recommend this over the other egg-shaped versions because of its versatility. It will replace your old toaster oven and add the air fry function. If you get a basket kind, you will need to store it or keep it alongside your older toaster oven. Plus the three-year warranty doesn’t hurt, especially in this day and age of disposable appliances.
If you do decide to buy one, welcome to the world of quick frying. It will change how you prep for lunch and dinner and expedite your cooking.