If you’re thinking about getting an air fryer, maybe air fryer French fries will help make up your mind? They’re brown, crispy, and cooked in 15 minutes!
A funny thing happened last month. A lady asked me in one of my Instant Pot classes if I had ever used an air fryer. I hadn’t, and she told me that I needed to get one and start teaching air fryer classes.
Then, a couple of weeks later, some more ladies told me in another Instant Pot class that I needed to get an air fryer, learn how to use it, and start teaching air fryer classes.
You don’t have to tell me twice. Okay, never mind. They told me twice. But you don’t have to tell me three times! I went that weekend and bought an air fryer.
Honestly, I was not expecting to like it. I didn’t really think that it was going to be all that useful. The problem was that I didn’t really realize what the air fryer was.
Not Just For Frying!
I was thinking it was just a replacement for a deep fryer. And, indeed, you can cook traditionally deep fried foods in it. What I didn’t know, though, is that an air fryer is actually just a mini convection oven. You can do all sorts of things in it, including:
- “Frying” foods, of course
- Cooking un-breaded meats (e.g. steaks, pork chops, chicken breasts)
- Reheating leftovers
- Cooking frozen snacks
- Making grilled cheese sandwiches
- Small batch baking
I am sure there is more, but I digress. And while I haven’t done all of these things in it (I’ve yet to cook un-breaded meats, make a grilled cheese, or bake anything), at this point I am sold on the air fryer for its ability to reheat leftovers (including pizza and chicken tenders) to crunchy perfection and to make traditionally fried foods that are, in my opinion, just as good as the original. I made fried yellow squash in it this week and it was 💯. I will share that recipe soon!
Air Fryer French Fries!
But, perhaps my biggest air fryer triumph to date (in, you know, the whole month that I’ve owned it), is its ability to make amazing fries. My air fryer French fries are adapted from my favorite baked fries. Honestly, when I set up to make these fries I was not expecting much. What I got were perfectly browned skin-on fries that were every bit as good as my baked version with ten minutes shaved off the cook time.
So now I can honestly say that even if I hated the air fryer for every other purpose (which, again, I don’t), I would keep it and use it on a regular basis just to have these awesome air fryer French fries. I hope you’ll give them a try!
Yield: 2 servings
10 minPrep Time:
18 minCook Time:
28 minTotal Time:
- 2 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided use
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch planks. You can peel the potatoes, but I never do. The easiest way to cut the potatoes is to cut them into slices lengthwise then stack several slices and cut them into planks.
- Once the water boils, place 1 teaspoon of salt into the water. Add the potatoes to the water and boil for 3 minutes. Drain the potatoes and allow to stand in a colander for at least 5 minutes, shaking frequently to remove the water.
- While the potatoes are draining, preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the drained potatoes into a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat the potatoes.
- Place the potatoes in the air fryer basket. Cook for five minutes then toss gently. Repeat this twice. The fries should be browned and crispy after 15 minutes. If not, add cook time in 2-minute increments until they are done. Serve immediately with desired dipping sauce.
- Calories 188
- Total Fat: 2 g 3.08%
- Saturated Fat: g 0%
- Cholesterol: 0 mg 0%
- Sodium: 1781 mg 74.21%
- Potassium: 888 mg 25.37%
- Total Carbohydrate: 38 g %
- Sugar: 1 g
- Protein: 5 g
- Vitamin A: 0.04%
- Calcium: 28 mg 2.8%
- Iron: 2 mg 11.11%
Loaded baked potato salad is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: potato salad with all the ingredients of a loaded baked potato. It’s easy, delicious, and it’s great for the mayo or traditional potato salad haters in your life!
I have always, repeat always hated potato salad. In fact, I pretty much boycott all side dishes that routinely come alongside barbecue: potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw. We had barbecue for our rehearsal dinner when we got married back in 2001, and I gave my mother-in-law specific instructions to buy chips because I did not eat barbecue sides.
I’ve softened a little…I’ll occasionally put a spoonful of sweet bacony beans on my plate at a cookout, and I’ve learned to like good slaw on top of my barbecue sandwich or tacos. I’ve really never learned to like traditional potato salad, though.
I don’t know what it is about it. I like all the ingredients…potatoes, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, eggs…but something about combining them all then chilling them just weirds me out. I’ve tried, but it turns out that regular old potato salad is just one of those “uh-uh” foods for me.
One of my friends mentioned to me once a while back that a barbecue joint (now closed) that was near my house served “baked potato salad”. For some reason I first thought that baked potato salad was some sort of salad featuring lettuce and a baked potato (what a weird thing to think, right?). I was wrong.
Baked potato salad (or loaded baked potato salad is potato salad with all the toppings that you’d put on a regular loaded baked potato:
- sour cream
- green onions
I prefer firmer, less starchy red potatoes to the Russets that are traditional for baking, and, well, I don’t actually bake the potatoes. The name’s not about the cooking method, it’s about the dish that this mimics.
This potato salad is great for the people at your picnic, cookout, or party who don’t like mayonnaise (and I know a lot of those people!). You can buy baked potato salad at some grocery stores, but this is so simple that you won’t bother with spending $4.00 on a teeny little tub with a bunch of ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
I can tell you that loaded baked potato salad has not only changed my mind about potato salad, but it’s changed the minds of a lot of people I know also disliked potato salad! Do you have a favorite potato salad recipe?
This is a great side dish for your 4th of July festivities! Make this loaded baked potato salad and see if it changes your mind (or someone else’s) about potato salad!
Yield: 10 servings
This loaded baked potato salad is the perfect cookout or picnic side dish for the mayo or traditional potato salad hater in your life!
15 minPrep Time:
15 minCook Time:
- 2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
- 4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped
- 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2-3/4 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place the potatoes in a 4-6 quart pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Liberally salt the water. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and leave in colander until cool and water is completely drained away,
- Place the drained potatoes in a large bowl and add the cheese, bacon, green onions, and 1/2 cup of sour cream. Mix to thoroughly combine. Add remaining sour cream if the potato salad is too dry. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill the potato salad until ready to serve.
Prep time does not include time to allow potatoes to drain and cool.
- Calories 91
- Total Fat: 8 g 12.31%
- Saturated Fat: g 0%
- Cholesterol: 22 mg 7.33%
- Sodium: 124 mg 5.17%
- Potassium: 12 mg 0.34%
- Total Carbohydrate: 4 g %
- Sugar: 2 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Vitamin A: 18.9%
- Calcium: 55 mg 5.5%
- Iron: 0 mg 0%
These cheesy grilled potatoes in foil with bacon are easy to make and quick to clean up-you don’t even need dishes! They’re a perfect side or main dish.
Grilling = Life
I mentioned in my naan bread pizza post a few weeks back that grilling is my new summer obsession. I can’t stop with the grill and I am constantly trying to think of something new that I can cook in my propane-powered outdoor oven instead of heating up the house with my oven.
The funny thing is, this recipe was originally supposed to be grilled Monterey chicken – honey mustard chicken topped with bacon and cheese. And man, that’s a great recipe. But I saw a blogger that I follow post a nearly identical recipe the week that I was planning to take pictures of the Monterey chicken and decided that I needed to come up with a Plan B.
Cheesy Grilled Potatoes
I had been making grilled potatoes to go with the Monterey chicken so I decided that grilled potatoes were going to be the recipe that made the blog. Cheesy grilled potatoes in foil, to be exact. Oh yeah – cheesy grilled potatoes in foil with bacon. So there’s that. Because how can you go wrong when you combine potatoes with cheese and bacon and throw them on the grill?
One of the great things about these grilled potatoes is the foil packet that they are cooked in. It makes for easy clean-up and much less mess on the grill than if you were trying to use tongs to flip individual wedges of potatoes.
Mastering Grilled Potatoes
My recipe for cheesy grilled potatoes is adapted from a recipe from Master of the Grill from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s a great starting point to help you figure out how to grill just about anything. Their recipe is more basic than mine, so it took several tries to get the recipe just right. Here’s what I learned:
- Perfect grilled potatoes need to take a spin in the microwave for about 5-6 minutes before you grill them, or they will be nice and crunchy. And not in a good way. In a raw potato way.
- Get the potatoes good and dry before you put them in the foil.
- Add a little oil to help the seasonings stick!
- Grilling on high heat will get a great grilled flavor into the foil packets.
- The cheese and bacon need to be added at the end. If you add them at the beginning, you’ll end up with a whole bunch of cheese stuck to the inside of the foil and not a whole lot on the actual potatoes.
- If you don’t want to wash dishes, you can totally serve this in the foil. And cheesy grilled potatoes in foil can totally make a light summer meal!
Tossed in just a little bit of oil and a homemade ranch seasoning, grilled on high for ten minutes, with a little cheese melted on top and some bacon thrown in for good measure, these cheesy grilled potatoes in foil packets are great for a cookout or just for an easy, quick clean-up family dinner!
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Yield: 4-6 servings
10 minPrep Time:
17 minCook Time:
27 minTotal Time:
- 2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 16 wedges, and wedges cut in half
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- homemade ranch seasoning (recipe below) or 1 packet store-bought ranch seasoning mix
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup of cheese)
- 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Preheat your grill to high heat for 15 minutes.
- Place the cut potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, shake to redistribute the potatoes, and microwave for another 3 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and wipe out the bowl.
- Place the potatoes back in the bowl and toss with the olive oil and the ingredients for the homemade ranch seasoning or the packet of store-bought ranch seasoning.
- Tear off 4 12-inch pieces of aluminum foil. Divide the potatoes among the four sheets of foil and fold the sides to close them up and make a rectangular package.
- Using long tongs, place the packets on the grill. Grill for 5 minutes then flip and rotate the packages so that they cook evenly (for example, my grill is hotter in the back so I moved the packets that were in the front to the back and vice versa). Grill for another five minutes.
- Remove the packets from the grill and open up the top edge. Place 1/4 of the cheese and bacon into each packet and place the packets back on the grill for one minute to melt the cheese. Remove the packets from the grill and serve immediately.
- Calories 649
- Total Fat: 5 g 7.69%
- Saturated Fat: g 0%
- Cholesterol: 5 mg 1.67%
- Sodium: 9670 mg 402.92%
- Potassium: 15 mg 0.43%
- Total Carbohydrate: 96 g %
- Sugar: 24 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Vitamin A: 1.88%
- Calcium: 2 mg 0.2%
- Iron: 0 mg 0%
What’s better than cheesy tortellini with fresh antipasto ingredients? These tortellini pasta salad has all of those components in one bowl. It’s perfect as a main dish or as a side to serve at your next picnic or cookout!
Pasta salad used to be one of those foods that I just did not like. I honestly don’t know what it was about them, unless it was the fact that to me, pasta was something that should be served hot. Also, my mom really never made pasta salad so most of my experience with pasta salad was creamy pasta salads on salad bars that had so much mayo that you could not distinguish their individual ingredients.
As an adult, I’ve discovered a love for pasta salads, though. It could be the fact that they are ridiculously easy to make. It could also be the fact that they are ridiculously easy to serve. I mean, what’s not to love about a cold salad that you just grab from the fridge and dish from the bowl?
Make It How You Want It
The other clear advantage to pasta salads is their adaptability. The pasta salads of my youth were mostly “macaroni salads” (including my grandmother’s macaroni salad, which I honestly do not remember her making but it is delicious). However, pasta salads are definitely NOT limited to macaroni, nor are they limited to only creamy dressings.
My personal favorite pasta salad is the BLT pasta salad that I make that was inspired by a menu item at Southern Star. A friend of mine makes a fantastic bacon ranch pasta salad. And then there is this tortellini pasta salad…
Inspired By Antipasto Ingredients
A few years back I discovered a chopped salad on Smitten Kitchen that was inspired by the ingredients of an Italian sub, one of Philip’s very favorite sandwiches. The salad was hearty and did not disappoint. Every time I buy the ingredients I will eat the salad for at least a week.
I wanted to make something along the lines of that salad but with pasta instead. A tortellini pasta salad seemed to fit the bill because I❤tortellini. I mean, cheesy stuffed pasta, right?
This antipasto tortellini pasta salad is infinitely adaptable. I’m not Italian, but as I was researching antipasto ingredients it certainly seemed like there were few rules. You can use what you have on hand and it is definitely going to be delicious.
I used salami, pepperoni, mini bocconcini (mozzarella balls), sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, a sprinkle of basil, and a tart vinaigrette. Roasted red peppers, chickpeas, prosciutto, marinated mushrooms…there are lots of delicious things you could toss in there. Just let it chill in the fridge for a bit and you have a perfect tortellini pasta salad!
Yield: 4 main dish serves or 8-10 side dish servings
15 minPrep Time:
8 minCook Time:
23 minTotal Time:
- 2 tablespoons red wine, white wine, or sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 9-10 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions (one regular sized package or 1/2 of a large package)
- 1/2 cup julienned or diced salami
- 1/2 cup julienned or diced pepperoni
- 2 canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, diced
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned or diced
- 4 ounces mozzarella pearls, diced bocconcini, or diced fresh mozzarella
- 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl or shake together in a small jar.
- Rinse the cooked tortellini with cold water and allow it to stand until cooled, shaking the colander occasionally to drain the water away.
- Combine the cooked tortellini in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients. Pour the vinaigrette over and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The salad will keep covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- Calories 1458
- Total Fat: 74 g 113.85%
- Saturated Fat: g 0%
- Cholesterol: 177 mg 59%
- Sodium: 3268 mg 136.17%
- Potassium: 517 mg 14.77%
- Total Carbohydrate: 136 g %
- Sugar: 16 g
- Protein: 58 g
- Vitamin A: 18.92%
- Calcium: 1000 mg 100%
- Iron: 6 mg 33.33%
The Instant Pot is great for all sorts of things, but rice is one of my favorites. Here are my super-simple directions for cooking rice in the Instant Pot (video included)!
Rice is one of those super-basic dishes that most people seem to cook all the time as a side dish or as a base for a main dish. Truth be told, though, before I got my Instant Pot, I rarely cooked rice. I really can’t explain it…it certainly isn’t like it’s difficult to boil a little water on the stovetop, throw in some rice, salt, and butter, lid up, and let it simmer for a bit. For some reason it just seemed like a pain to me, which I know is completely ridiculous.
Cooking rice in the Instant Pot, though, changed my life. Well, that might be a little dramatic…but I love cooking rice in the Instant Pot and now I do it all the time. There is a rice setting on the Instant Pot, but I never use it. I find that when I cook rice using the rice setting that it gets a little gummy. You could definitely change the time setting, but I just use the manual setting (because that’s what I do for most things).
To get rice that’s just a little firm to the tooth, cook it for three minutes. If you like your rice a little softer, go for four minutes. This recipe is just for white rice, so you’ll need to up the time for brown rice (I’ll do a video on that later). For this recipe, you’ll use a quick release of the steam (turn the steam release handle from sealing to venting rather than letting the Instant Pot depressurize naturally).
Perfect white rice in the slow cooker is easy and (relatively) quick to make. It’s a pressure setting so you do have to wait a little bit for it to come to pressure, but it doesn’t take that long. All you need is water, rice, salt, and butter, and there you go – perfect white rice!
Be sure to comment below and let me know your Instant Pot questions and what you would like to see next on Chattavore!
Yield: about 2 cups rice
5 minPrep Time:
5 minTotal Time:
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
- Place all ingredients into the Instant Pot. Place the lid and set the steam release handle to sealing.
- Press the "manual" button. Use the "-" button to set the time to 3 minutes for firmer rice or 4 minutes for slightly softer rice.
- When the Instant Pot beeps, press the "keep warm/cancel" button to turn the Instant Pot off. Carefully turn the steam release handle to venting, standing away from the Instant Pot to avoid the steam. When the float valve drops, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.
Amounts can be increased to make more rice. Just use equal parts rice and water and slightly adjust the salt and butter amounts accordingly.