Sunday, January 24, 2021

Slow Cooker Ribs and Air Fryer Onion Rings

This is my favorite dinner so far this year. It was easy and WOW delicious. I did a zoom baking class today so I wanted something easy. Click here to learn more about the baking class. Cue the Slow Cooker. Ribs. Our usual recipe with our usual BBQ Sauce, Stubbs. But this time I used the Hickory Bourbon Sauce. The taste was over the top delicious. I heard the word, "Wow" more than once from the other side of the table. Air Fryer Onion Rings have been on the must-try list since the Air Fryer entered the kitchen. One medium-sized sweet onion was just enough for the two of us. I only used 1/2 of the onion, the rest went into the freezer to be used for chicken stock. The recipe was from

The Slow Cooker Rib Recipe-

I made a rub of onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. I removed the membrane for the underside of the ribs. I brushed both sides of the ribs with BBQ Sauce. 8 hours in the slow cooker. I removed the ribs from the Slow Cooker and placed them on an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet (easy clean up is so important). I brushed the ribs with more sauce. They went under the broiler set on low for almost 5 minutes. They were tender and the BBQ sauce was caramelized.

Home Made Air Fryer Onion Rings-

1 Vidalia, or sweet onion (peeled)
1 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs 
1 cup buttermilk (1 cup of milk with 1 tsp. lemon juice)
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
salt and pepper to taste 
cooking oil spray

The Dipping Sauce! (I made 1/2 this recipe and there was more than enough)
1/3 cup mayo
1 1/2 -2 tablespoons ketchup I use unsweetened and 2 tablespoons
1-2 tablespoons horseradish If you are a fan of horseradish, you may enjoy 2 tablespoons. Start with 1 taste, repeatedly, and adjust as necessary.
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil.
Cut the stems off both sides of the onion. Cut the onion into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Onions are very wobbly. Try to stabilize the onion before you slice.
Add the flour to a bowl large enough to dredge the onions. Season the flour with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper to taste.
Add the buttermilk and egg to the seasoned flour. Beat and stir to combine.
Add the panko breadcrumbs to a separate bowl large enough to dredge the onions.
Dredge the sliced onions in the flour buttermilk mixture and then the panko breadcrumbs. 
Place the onion rings on a plate. After breading the onions, freeze the onion rings for at least 15 minutes. This is highly recommended. It helps keep the breading intact.
Place the onions in the air fryer. Do not stack them. Cook in batches if needed.
Spray with cooking oil.
Cook for 10-12 minutes at 360 degrees. I did not need them flip. Check-in on yours to determine both sides are golden brown and crisp. Flip if necessary.

Fort the Dipping Sauce
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Dinner Basics: Winter Nights Comfort Food

Monday. Chicken Pot Pie.

Pate Brise
Ingredients -
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch granulated sugar

5-1/2 Tbsp (2/3 stick) sweet butter, chilled

3 Tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
1/4 cup ice water

Method -
Sift the flour, salt, and sugar together into a bowl; add butter and shortening and cut them into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture is like a coarse meal.

Sprinkle on and blend in enough of the ice water to make a workable dough, mixing water in lightly with a fork.

Turn dough out onto your work surface and, using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you, about 1/4 cup at a time. Scrape up the smeared dough into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Chicken Pot Pie from
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups 1 percent milk
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Method -
Heat oven to 400° F.
Cook the chicken in a pot of simmering water until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool, then shred.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stir-ring, until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken). Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Transfer to a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.
Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal. Cut several vents in the crust. Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Tuesday. Mom's Baked Macaroni.

Dinner really does not get easier than this...

Feel free to substitute any cheese you prefer.

The recipe -
Boil 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
Grease Pyrex loaf pan.
Alternate layers of macaroni and American cheese starting with the macaroni.
Break 3 eggs and pour over macaroni. Fill a baking dish with milk to almost cover macaroni.
Top with bread crumbs, and parsley. Bake 350 degrees until set, usually about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Steak. Air Fryer.

Yes, Steak in the Air Fryer. How could we go wrong? It was cooked perfectly. I purchased a sirloin that was about 1 1/4 inches thick. It was large enough for us to split with the possibility of leftovers for another night's dinner. The steak was moist and right at medium rare in the middle and more medium at the ends. Perfect for us!

Here are the instructions that I found on

Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper, place on a plate, and refrigerate for 2-3 days, uncovered. Flip every 12 hours or so, blotting the juices with a paper towel. You can skip it if pressed for time.

Remove the steaks from the fridge 45-60 minutes before cooking and let them sit at room temperature.

Brush the steaks with melted butter on both sides, place them on the rack of your air fryer. 
Cook at 400˚F for 15 minutes, without pre-heating, for medium doneness. 

Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes less for medium-rare and rare respectively, and 1-2 minutes more for medium-well and well done respectively. The times will need to be adjusted further if air frying steaks thicker or thinner than 1.25" thick. 

These cooking times are approximate, so use an instant-read thermometer in conjunction with the table shown here-

Remove steaks from the air fryer, wrap in foil or wax paper, and let rest for 10 minutes, then serve. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken

I am in a ZOOM group through the Madison Library, The International Cooking Group. This month we are celebrating the Chinese New Year. I suggested the recipe for Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken. The recipe is from Chef Savvy

Three hours in the slow cooker set on low. The taste was as good as take-out. There was just enough heat for the 2 of us. When you order this in a restaurant, do people still eat in restaurants? Okay when you order take-out, Support Local, the dish is made with broccoli. Someone in the house does not like broccoli. That is why we used zucchini and yellow squash. Next time I have to make more sauce. You could use chicken thighs but I had the chicken breast in the freezer.

Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken from Chef Savvy -

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup hoisin sauce
4 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Sliced Zucchini and Yellow Squash
green onions for serving, if desired 
Add chicken and cornstarch to a large ziplock bag. Toss to coat the chicken with the cornstarch.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok.

Saute chicken until golden brown on both sides for about 2 minutes on each side. (Note the chicken will not be fully cooked and that is ok)

Add the chicken to the slow cooker.

Add hoisin sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil to a medium bowl and whisk until combined.

Pour the sauce onto the chicken and stir to coat the chicken.

Cook on low for 2-3 hours.

Saute the zucchini and squash olive oil and add the slow cooker before serving

We served this over rice. 

I found out that 2021 is the year of the Ox. What does that even mean? 

The Ox is the second of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Ox was about to be the first to arrive, but Rat tricked Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox. Thus, Ox became the second animal.

Men born in the Ox year are reliable and trustworthy. They put their entire heart into everything they do. They feel a great responsibility towards their family as well. However, due to their confidence (almost arrogance), they don’t allow anyone to go against their rules. They hold your children to high expectations, even though it might be unrealistic.

Women born in the Ox year are calm and gentle. They will never surrender to fate and rarely think of choosing an alternative. This no doubt leads to a life of struggles. But no matter what, they will walk down the road they choose until the end. Despite this stubbornness, they think and react quickly.

I did a little more research and found out I was born in the year of the Dog. The eleventh sign. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Monkey, Rooster, and Dog were in another country, helping a god defeat evil spirits. After, they set off to the party together. Because they arrived at the same time, the Jade Emperor went by the order they met the god in the other country. Thus, Dog became eleventh.

Yeah just like me, always late to the party.

Pizza Fritta - Air Fried

I love the Air Fryer. We had Pizza Fritta this afternoon while watching football. I had the dough in the freezer, the Jim Lahey recipe. The sauce was a simple marinara. I sprayed the tray with olive oil and brushed a little on the tops of the dough. 8 minutes. Flip and another 3 minutes. Light and crispy. Just like what you would get at a church carnival, minus the grease!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Game Day Chili

Did you taste the chocolate? Bittersweet chocolate. Just a touch. 

The recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens. A slow cooker recipe. Today was a day of football 🏈. Even though the only game that really matters is on tomorrow at 4:30. 

It just seemed like a chili day. I made changes in the original recipe. For starters I made enough for just the 2 of us, with maybe a lunch leftover. I did not make the Chili Seasoning Puree. I did not use dates or ground coriander. This was the second recipe this year that called for ground coriander. I have tried 2 stores and have not be able to find it. The dates reminded me of raisins in meatballs. Not what I was raised on. I am sure it would have been tasty but not what I wanted to try today.

This is my version. I think it is a keeper!

Game Day Chili

3/4 pound ground beef chuck
1 onion, chopped 
1 stalk celery, sliced 
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup water
3 ounce can tomato paste
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped

In a Dutch oven cook ground beef, onion, and celery over medium-high heat until meat is browned and onion is tender, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat.

Transfer meat mixture to a slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes, broth, the water, tomato paste, paprika, chili powder, dried oregano, cumin, crushed red pepper, and cloves. 

Cook, covered, on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours (or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3-1/2 hours). 

Stir in chocolate and serving immediately.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Air Fryer Calzones

Yes we love the Air Fryer! Calzones!! They were filled with Sausage, Peppers, and Ricotta. 

I brushed them with an egg wash and sprinkled them with parmesan cheese and oregano. 

Light as air. Crisp crust. Perfect.


Saturday, January 2, 2021

2020. The Best of List.

A Best of List for this year seems odd. But let's give it a try.
These selections are in no specific order. 

A house favorite  - Bullfighter's Beef.

A Family Recipe - The Hot Cross Bun Recipe.

I just love, love, love this dinner  -  Orzo Carbonara with Proscuitto and Burrata

This is what I do to relax  -  Friday Night Baking is a real thing

A new cut of meat  -  Best Ever Swiss Steak

How could this recipe not make the list?  -  Uncle Art's Recipe for Fried Squash Flowers

A childhood favorite  -  Zuppardi's Sausage Pie

Pork Chops and Applesauce!  -  My Favorite Saturday Night Dinner!

Yeah, My Dad on the Italian Garden Project!  -  The Italian Garden Project

Let's hope 2021 will be a healthy year for everyone.
From all of us at So What Are You Making For Dinner and
Friday Night Baking -


Friday, January 1, 2021

Prime Rib Beef and Lentil Soup and Air Fryer Grilled Cheese

Yeah, Air Fryer Grilled Cheese. Honestly, it is an incredible little machine! The bread was crisp and the cheese was oozing out. Real good!

Now the soup. We pretty much always have Lentil Soup on New Years Day. This year I had leftover bones from the Christmas roast and some meat. I found a recipe that used everything I had leftover! From Kitchen Confidante. I am not going to put the recipe on my blog. The link is here. There is such a sweet story on the blog, you should read it.

We loved the soup. It was a step up from our normal New Years Day fare. But honestly that grilled cheese!!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Slow Cooker Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs and Air Fryer Asparagus

Happy New Year. I think everyone has the same feeling about the year coming to an end.

A woman I work with gave me a recipe similar to the one I used. I could not find the recipe she gave me which is why I went with this recipe. I have to tell you that the aroma in the house was intoxicating. The meat fell off the bone and the sauce was delicious. Of course, we ended up with way too much sauce.

The recipe came from MidWest Foodie Blog.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 lbs. bone-in short ribs
1 onion, diced
2 cups sliced celery
2 cups sliced carrots
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried sage
12 oz. your favorite stout beer (I used Guinness)
32 oz. beef broth
3 bay leaves
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/3 cup heavy cream 

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.

Sear short ribs in batches, cooking them for 1-2 minutes on each side until a dark golden-brown crust forms.

Remove ribs and set aside. Add onion, carrot, celery, and a large pinch of salt and pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and add sage and thyme. Cook for one minute, stirring frequently.
Transfer veggies to the slow cooker insert. Add seared beef ribs.

Then add beer, beef broth, bay leaves, and another couple of large pinches of salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hours) until the beef falls off the bone and shreds easily.

Remove three cups of braising liquid from the slow cooker and pour it through a strainer and into a small saucepan over medium heat.

Combine cornstarch with 3 tablespoons cold water until dissolved. Add that to the saucepan and stir to combine.

Simmer braising liquid over medium to medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or until it thickens significantly (and almost seems TOO thick). Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For side dishes, I made Mashed Potatoes and Air Fryer Asparagus. The Asparagus was really easy. I just trimmed the ends and tossed the spears with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top. I set the Air Fryer for 400˚. I put the spears in for 7 minutes. That is all it took!