Let me start by saying I do not have an air fryer. But my dad does. In another region of the world. When I’m at Dad’s, he cooks the chicken pieces in his air fryer. When I’m home, I fry them. Simple. It’s gluten-free, but you must check your soy sauce and ketchup to be sure it’s in compliance. I’ve made this dish several times now and it’s super yummy. Don’t miss my instructions on making squash bowls below this recipe. Have fun!

  • Ingredients
  • 1# boneless chicken, breast or thigh meat, cut into apx. 1″ chunks (okay to substitute pork)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Corn starch
  • Oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 onion, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1 large bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • Sliced green onions, optional garnish

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken pieces and then dredge the pieces through corn starch. If you’re using an air fryer, then you won’t need oil in order to cook the chicken. If you’re frying, then you’ll need the oil in a skillet. Use just enough oil to pan-fry the chicken to cook it through. This is not deep-fried.

While the chicken is cooking, stir together in a small bowl: sugar, vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, and ketchup. Set aside.

In a skillet with a little bit of oil, or in the skillet you cooked your chicken in, stir fry the onion and bell pepper until it softens. Stir in the pineapple and let it heat through. Stir in the sauce you set aside. Let it heat through. Stir in the cooked chicken. Let it heat through. Remove skillet from heat and sprinkle with green onion slices, if desired. Serve warm over rice or in squash bowls or however you like it.

NOTES: My sauce has always come out the correct consistency, but if yours is runny for some reason, then make a slurry of corn starch and water, then stir the slurry into the skillet over heat until the consistency is corrected.

Squash Bowls

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the bottom and the top off of an acorn squash, just so each side will sit upright on a baking dish after it’s sliced in half. Then slice the squash in half crosswise through the middle. Scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle a bit of olive oil on a baking dish. Rub each squash “bowl” with olive oil and set upright on the baking dish. Sprinkle each “bowl” with salt and pepper. I really like using the Hawaiian Volcano Sea Salt. It’s strong, but so is the squash. It works well. Sprinkle the “bowls” with a little more olive oil. Then, flip the “bowls” over so that the flesh is against the bottom of the dish and it’s skin-side up. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, flip the bowls right side up, and check the flesh with a fork. It should be soft. Serve warm or cold. I usually roast mine in the afternoon and then let them sit, flesh side up, until time to serve with dinner. They fit right into a bowl and we fill them with Sweet and Sour Chicken or Pulled Pork or Chicken a la King or Egg Roll in a Bowl. Any kind of thick sauce should work.

Another recipe from my brother. I like how he just whips things up because he knows the basic idea of what should happen. He and I and my daughter and a friend were at our cabin in Delta Junction when he decided to make chocolate souffle. Please understand that at the cabin, the water comes off the roof into a cistern and is then piped into the house . . . when it works. Sometimes we just bring water from home in jugs because it’s easier. Electricity at the cabin (to run the water pump and a kitchen light) is provided by a couple small solar panels hooked to a couple car batteries. Other lighting is from kerosene lamps. The gas range is fueled by propane, a small tank like for a barbecue. The bathroom is a walk to the outhouse. Grey water for washing is thrown over the side of the deck. And he’s going to make a chocolate souffle. First, there wasn’t any chocolate powder or chocolate chips to be found among all the food left behind through several years. He handed a Ziploc of old M&Ms to the girls and told them to start pounding them with a hammer. He whipped up eggs and whatever else goes into a chocolate souffle, mixed it with the crushed M&Ms and we had the most delicious chocolate souffle I’ve ever eaten. That’s how my brother rolls. Anyway, this is his very tasty recipe for Caesar Salad.

  • Ingredients
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 egg
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan, plus more to sprinkle at the end
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • Croutons

In a very large wooden bowl, mash the garlic with a fork. Add anchovy fillets and mash into a paste with the garlic. Stir in the raw egg and the lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Stir in olive oil and vinegar. Stir in Parmesan. Toss the Romaine into the mixture so it’s well coated with the dressing. Sprinkle Parmesan over all. Sprinkle with croutons. Serve.

Notes: This serves 4-6 depending upon how large a head of Romaine is used. If you’re concerned about using a raw egg, you can coddle it, but that’s a different subject. I use raw. This salad doesn’t save, so you really need to eat it when made. It’s really easy to make!

This started a looooong time ago as a recipe by Jenn Segel at onceuponachef.com. I have modified it in several ways to accommodate ingredients that I usually have on hand. The flavors are really bright.

  • Dressing ingredients
  • 1 oz. (1/8 cup) honey
  • 1 oz. salad oil
  • 1 oz. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. siracha sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. minced ginger root
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • Salad ingredients
  • 2 cups red cabbage, diced or shredded
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roast peanuts

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set aside.

In a very large bowl stir together all salad ingredients, except the peanuts. Pour the dressing over and stir again. Sprinkle the peanuts on top. Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Notes: I have used Napa cabbage, green cabbage, all colors of bell pepper. I use dry-roasted peanuts. I think last time I made this I used raspberry vinegar because I ran out of rice vinegar. Instead of garbanzo beans, Jenn calls for edamame. I barely know what that is, so I can’t tell you yay or nay. I use canned garbanzo beans and usually make hummus with the unused half-can. The recipe is very forgiving, do what you like. As I write this, tonight I’m going to serve it with Sweet and Sour Chicken in Acorn Squash Bowls. Again, the flavors of this chopped salad are really bright.

This recipe is based upon the one found in Electric Bread (Innovative Cooking Enterprises, 1991) written by Suzan Nightingale. I haven’t used a bread machine in years, but I’ve adapted the recipe to my stand mixer and oven. It really works! Make sure your sourdough starter is active. Most people don’t have 2 cups of it at the ready, so planning may be involved. The last couple of times I made this, I doubled the recipe.

  • Ingredients
  • 3 tsp. active dry yeast (or instant)
  • 2 cups sourdough starter
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2-3 cups flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together the yeast, sourdough starter, and sugar. Once the yeast has started to dissolve, stir in the powdered milk, salt, butter, and 1-1/2 cups flour. Turn the machine on low and let it mix for 5-8 minutes to build the gluten. Start adding flour a little at a time until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and clings to the hook. The dough should feel smooth and elastic. Remove the dough hook and cover the bowl. Let sit in a warm place for a couple hours or so, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch it down and form into one loaf. Spray or grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set the dough into the pan. Let rise in a warm spot until it rises level with the top of the loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Bread should sound hollow when tapped and it should be a golden color all over.

When I made this last week, I doubled the recipe. After the first rise, I placed both loaves into loaf pans. One loaf I let rise and the other loaf I placed into the freezer. Once it was frozen, I removed it from the pan and wrapped it tightly in plastic cling wrap. According to sources on the Internet, I should be able to take it out of the freezer, put it into a loaf pan, let it thaw and then rise like usual, and then bake. I’m hoping that works. I’m awash in sourdough and don’t eat that much bread.

Cuban-Style Pulled Pork

The last few years I have been purchasing pork picnic roasts. Walmart had missed-priced them for about a year on the grocery pickup app, so one could buy the whole roast (about 8#) for under $2. Yeah, that’s not a typo. The whole roast was $1.98. Me and my family members kept a supply in our freezers. Once covid hit and nearly everyone started using the grocery pickup app, the store corrected their error and the price returned to about $19. After a year or so, I ran out of picnic roasts. Shopping in a local store, New Sagaya, I saw the same type of pork picnic roast on sale for about $10. I bought it and threw it into the freezer. I knew what to do with that. So, here for my convenience are the recipes for two pulled pork recipes: Cuban style and barbecue. The Cuban-style recipe started at bellyfull.net. The barbecue recipe is a hodge-podge of several recipes. I like each type of pulled pork equally as well and they are quite different from each other. The very nice thing about the pork picnic roasts are that you can make one recipe of each of these pulled pork with just the one roast. If you do decide to go the route of the picnic roast, know that it’s the upper part of a leg, so there’s bone-in and there’s a fatty skin layer. I remove as much skin and fat as possible, but I don’t worry about the rest of it. It keeps the pulled pork moist and delicious. If you have to cut the roast down to fit it into a pan that’s totally fine. If you do that, it will probably be ready at the three hour mark, rather than later. Last note here, I use the oven, but most people use a slow-cooker. Whatever.

Cuban Style

  • Cuban-Style Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Several grinds pepper
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 pounds pork roast
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a Dutch oven or roasting pan, stir together all the ingredients except the roast and the olive oil. Coat the pork roast with olive oil and place into the pan, turning to coat. Cover the pan and place into the oven. Bake at 300 degrees F for three hours. Remove from oven and use a couple forks to see if it pulls apart easily. If it does, use the forks to shred the meat and stir it into the sauce until it’s all well incorporated. If it’s not quite ready to shred, return to the oven and check it again in a half hour or so. If the bone is in, it may take closer to 4 hours.

I like the Cuban-style pulled pork served over baked sweet potatoes or rice or as a filling for plantain cups or poblanos. It’s a wonderfully flavorful dish. This makes about 8 servings. I typically freeze what I don’t use the first day.

Barbecue Style

  • Barbecue-Style Ingredients
  • 1 12-oz. can Coke (cannot be diet Coke)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (try the SBJ sauce here)
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • Many grinds of black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 3-4 lb. pork roast

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a Dutch oven or roasting pan, stir together all ingredients except the pork roast. Add the pork roast and turn it to coat all sides. Cover the pan and bake at 300 degrees F for 3-4 hours. Check it at 3 hours to see if you can shred the meat easily with a couple forks. If yes, then shred the meat into the sauce until all is well incorporated. If no, then return to the oven for another half hour to hour or so, whatever it takes. If it’s bone-in, then it will take longer.

The other day I made this and I didn’t have Coke, so I used wine instead. And my most current batch of SBJ barbecue sauce is mouth-on-fire flaming hot, so I used a half-cup of that and a half-cup of a sweeter store-bought barbecue sauce. Still a delicious pulled pork. All of this is just to tell you it’s hard to go wrong.

I like to serve this type of pulled pork over sandwich buns (recipe here) or over baked sweet potatoes. It makes about 8 servings. I usually freeze whatever I don’t use the first day.

I think this originated as an Ina Garten recipe and it morphed from there. I have made it many, many times tweaking a little each time. I hate to run out of bread crumbs before I’m finished breading the chicken, but usually end up throwing some away. I guess it just depends upon how large and what type of chicken pieces you use.

  • Marinade Ingredients
  • 4 Chicken thighs and 4 Chicken drumsticks
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • Breading Ingredients
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Small handful fresh thyme or about 1-1/2 tsp. dried
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Several grinds of freshly ground pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups fine bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

Anytime up until roasting, mix the buttermilk, Dijon, and salt. Coat the chicken with the marinade and let it sit under refrigeration until it’s time to roast. I try to do this part before lunch.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small food processor (maybe a blender would work?), place the garlic cloves, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Process until the garlic is very fine. Add the bread crumbs and process to mix it all together. Drizzle the olive oil in, wetting the bread crumbs. [I do this by pouring the oil onto the top of my mini food processor which has little holes to drizzle liquids into the bowl — it works very well.]

Pour the bread crumb mixture into a pie tin or other flat container. Withdraw the chicken from the marinade, one piece at a time and dip in the bread crumbs. The bottoms need only be very thinly coated, if at all. The tops of the chicken should get the bulk of the bread crumb mixture. Place onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Test for doneness. It may take more time. Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

This is incredibly tasty! And it tastes great for lunch the next day. Yeah!

I don’t know when this became such a favorite of mine, but I sure do make it a lot. Yum! This is a gluten-free recipe. I’ll give you the ingredients, but not the amounts. I just throw the food into a bowl and stir it around. I like to serve this with finger food like pulled pork sandwiches or oven-fried chicken.

  • Ingredients
  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Vinegar
  • Pepper
  • Red onion, sliced thin
  • Frozen peas, mostly thawed
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Crispy bacon crumbles

Make a dressing with a dab of sour cream and about twice as much, or more, mayo. Stir in a Tablespoon or so of vinegar. I use white wine vinegar. Stir in a couple dashes of pepper. Stir in the remaining ingredients until well mixed. If you have to add more mayo to get everything covered, then do that. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I have made this about once a year for many, many years. I had to go hunting for the recipe today, so decided to put it here for an easier find. When I first tasted this at a potluck, it blew me away. This will serve any number of people, just adjust the amounts.

  • Ingredients
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Bleu cheese salad dressing
  • Crumbled bleu cheese
  • Shredded cooked chicken
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Use crackers, crusty bread, tortilla chips, and/or celery sticks as vehicles for the dip.

Notes: My friend Sandie gave me the recipe with some of the ingredients in very specific amounts. For example, it called for 2 cups shredded sharp cheese, 1/2 cup Frank’s, and one bottle of bleu cheese salad dressing, along with the other non-specific ingredients. Since I always make my own bleu cheese dressing, in this recipe I use mayonnaise and lots and lots of bleu cheese crumbles. Adding plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk in place of some of the mayonnaise would probably work well. This dip tends to separate into oils and solids because of the oil in the cheddar cheese and mayo. I don’t know how to make it not do that. I try to ladle some of the oil off before serving.

Instead of baking the dip, you could put it into a crock pot for 4-6 hours. I don’t have a crockpot.

  • Ingredients
  • Spinach
  • Bleu cheese crumbles
  • Avocado, diced
  • Berries, chopped or whole, depending upon size
  • Sweet Spiced Pecans (recipe found here)
  • Dried cherries
  • Balsamic glaze

Use the amount of ingredients for the number of people you’ll be feeding. Layer the ingredients in individual bowls and let people add their own balsamic glaze as the dressing.

I would say the only “must-have” parts of this salad are the spinach, the bleu cheese crumbles, and the balsamic glaze. I always buy the premade glaze, but I supposed you could find a recipe for it, it’s very sweet. I have used mandarin orange segments instead of berries. I’ve used strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. I’ve made this without the avocados. I’ve used plain pecans when I’ve been too lazy to make Sweet Spiced Pecans. I’ve used dried strawberries and dried cranberries in lieu of the dried cherries, and I’ve also skipped the dried berries (as is pictured since I was out). Anything goes!

I try to always have these on hand to make Spinach-Bleu-Berry Salad. It’s hard to keep them in stock because of the person who lives with me and likes to nibble on little snacks. So, there’s that. The recipe I use is double the one from dimpleprints. You can adjust the kick by raising or lowering the amount of cayenne pepper. This is a gluten-free recipe.

  • Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 4-6 cups pecan halves

Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a very large bowl, mix together brown sugar, cayenne, salt, coriander, cinnamon, and allspice. Set aside.

In a separate, smaller, bowl whisk together egg whites and vegetable oil until egg whites are foamy. Stir the egg mixture into the brown sugar mixture until it’s all incorporated. Fold in 4 cups of pecan halves. Keep folding as you want the pecans to be fully coated with the mixture and it takes time for the mixture to drip into the grooves of the pecans. Since I use extra-large eggs, I fold in another cup, or more, of pecan halves. Keep folding until it’s all soaked in.

Pour the pecans onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Roast at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. I stir mine two or three times during the roasting process. Keep a close eye on the pecans as they can scorch easily. Remove from oven and let them cool completely before lifting the parchment paper and breaking up any clumps. Store and/or share with friends.