Fries are such a natural pairing with so many summer meals. A burger or some barbecued chicken drumsticks just aren’t the same without some crispy potatoes alongside. But most days it’s just too darn hot to fire up the oven. That’s why I went on a search for the perfect barbecued fries. Let me tell you. I found a winner.
The method is key. First you boil some starchy Russet potatoes until they’re on the verge of being tender, but not quite. Then you slice them into wedges, toss them in oil and spices. Then pop them on the grill until they’re crispy and golden on the outside, and tender and fluffy on the inside. These are sooo good. And, addictive. I think my kids could’ve eaten the whole batch by themselves if I had let them. And the fact that they’re so easy and don’t heat up an already hot house is just a really big bonus.
Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are not quite tender (a fork will go in but will be difficult to pull out). Drain and allow to cool for a bit. Slice each potato into 8 wedges. Toss gently with oil and seasoning.
Heat a grill over medium to medium-high heat. Place potatoes on the grill, careful to avoid any falling between the grates. Grill on one side until crisp and grill lines appear. Flip potatoes and grill until that side is crisp and the insides are cooked through and fluffy. Remove from grill. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
I haven’t had a bag of potato chips sitting in my cupboard in a very, very long time. Mostly because they’re my weakness. I’m a salty craving kind of gal and I know if I had something like that laying around they would find a way to get eaten. That’s where these chips come in. They’re a healthier way to curb those cravings because they’re easy to prepare, nice and crunchy, and use zero oil.
I would never have guessed that you could make potato chips in the microwave and have them turn out crispy, but I promise you they do! And without any oil, that’s pretty amazing. The guests I served them to even told me they preferred these chips to store-bought. That’s the fun part about making them yourself – when you serve them to company they seem so gourmet but really they couldn’t be easier. They do take a bit of time, merely because you can’t cook them all at once in the microwave, so you wouldn’t want to make a mega batch for a potluck or anything with this method. But most of the time is hands off and you can be prepping other stuff while it cooks. Also, if cooked and stored properly they will stay crisp for several days in an airtight container, so they are a potential make ahead.
I find that if I make something like this at home it’s a special treat. I savour it more. And, I appreciate the work that went into it. Which means that my tendency to gorge or over eat is a lot less. The same goes for any sweets that I make. If I only eat “junk food” or sweets when I go through the effort of making them myself (and seeing what goes into them) I’m less likely to eat them mindlessly.
I normally don’t like to cook things in the microwave but I prefer this method over oven baked for two reasons 1) I’ve never made an oven recipe that turned out as crispy as these. 2) If you cook them in the oven you have to use oil and I love that these are completely oil free. Of course, if you wanted more of a deep fried flavour you could brush them with olive oil before microwaving. But, I honestly don’t think there’s any need for it.
This would be a fun “baking” project with kids and is an easy way to make a healthier version of a crowd favourite for a small bbq, game night or even just to curb a single-serving potato chip craving.
Crispy Microwave Potato Chips
I prefer to leave the potato skins on for more nutrition and for looks, but feel free to peel them if that’s your thing. Also, the cooking time will depend on the power of your microwave, after a few batches you’ll know what it takes to get the perfect chip from your microwave.
russet (baking) potatoes (1 potato for every 2 people, depending on size)
salt, to taste
Slice potato as thinly as possible. Submerge slices in bowl of cold water as you go. You can leave them in the water for 10 minutes or so, if desired, to remove some of the starch. Once you’re ready to microwave, rinse the potatoes until the water runs clear; drain. Pat the potato slices dry between two clean kitchen towels. Place slices, in a single layer, on a paper towel lined microwave-safe plate (you will need to do this in batches). Sprinkle with salt. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Flip the potatoes (careful they’re hot!). Cook for an additional 3 minutes at 50% power. Remove any chips that are crisp. Continue cooking, one minute at a time, until all chips are golden and crisp. Repeat with remaining potato slices. Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in an airtight container for several days.
Normally my family eats our tacos burrito-style – rolled up in a soft flour tortilla. But, lately I’ve been craving crispy taco shells. It’s just something about that crunch. But, I don’t really like the ones you get from the store, they’re not the epitome of health and aren’t all that flavourful either. So, I started brainstorming about an easy way to make crispy shells at home without having to deep fry. As I was thinking about how I make my tortilla salad bowls it hit me. If I took tortillas and propped them up in an upside down muffin tin (see picture below) then they should hold their shape as they bake. I’m happy to say it worked! And, we’ll now be enjoying our tacos this way often. The shells are not only tasty and have the desired crunch, but they don’t fall apart as easily as the ones from the store do, which is a big bonus in my book.
I’ve been making homemade taco seasoning for forever. I’m not really sure why I haven’t shared it with you yet. I guess it seemed like too simple of a recipe for an entire blog post. But now that I’ve armed you with a way to make crispy tacos shells I better hand over the goods for a tasty filling too. The first time I tried this recipe I knew I would never have to buy a store-bought packet again – it’s bang on. I suppose you could make it in bulk and store it in the cupboard, but I find it just as easy to measure out the ingredients as I need them.
Taco night will never be the same again! Yumm.
Crispy Baked Taco Shells
Invert a regular-sized muffin tin. Warm as many 6-inch corn tortillas (or flour, if you wish) as you need, in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, until soft and pliable. Fold gently and prop up between the bottom of 4 muffin cups. Bake at 450ºF for 3-5 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned.
A few of the taco shells may curl over on the top while baking, which makes it a little harder to fill. You could solve this by either propping them open with something oven-proof (such as tinfoil) or by filling them with your meat and cheese before baking, that would also make the cheese nice and melty, which is never a bad thing! I haven’t worried about it because it only happens to one or two, but if you find this happening too much, then you may want to do something about it. :)
1 muffin tin makes 6 tacos shells
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1.5 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
Cook 1 pound of ground beef (or desired meat) in a non-stick skillet until cooked through. Sprinkle with seasonings. Add a splash of water to help the seasonings stick to the meat, cook and stir until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper.
For me one of the perfect weekend breakfasts is a plate full of hash browns, eggs, toast and bacon with a side of coffee. I’ve tried so many versions of homemade hash browns but they never seemed to turn out crisp enough, or were never quite cooked through and always seemed to be lacking in flavour. I’ve been dreaming of a hash brown recipe that I could make in bulk and store in the freezer so I could use it as a substitute for the ones you find in the grocery store that have so many other ingredients in it that you wonder how much real food is actually in there.
This is it. I found the recipe. It took the brilliant minds of Cooks Illustrated to figure it out for me. Thank you! This recipe works on so many levels. It makes a large batch so you can make it easily for guests or you can enjoy some now and freeze the rest for later. The potatoes turn out super crispy thanks to being boiled in water, along with baking soda, which quickly breaks down the outside, without cooking in the inside, so that it gets a nice crust while it bakes. The baking pan is also preheated in a screaming hot oven so that the potatoes start cooking as soon as they hit the pan, virtually turning it into a large skillet. I also love that it’s basically hands-free once you get it in the oven, meaning that if you are serving it to guests you can focus on other parts of the meal.
The preparation plus baking time definitely doesn’t produce instantaneous results, this isn’t a quick recipe. But my plan is to make it in batches when I have the time and then storing it in the freezer so that it can be instantaneous later on. I prepared mine with dinner the first round, froze the remainder and served them for breakfast a couple days later. It literally took five minutes for them to be ready from the freezer and they tasted just as good as when I made them fresh. That’s even better than the ones you get in the freezer isle.
Crispy Baked Hash Browns
I don’t peel my potatoes because the skin adds more nutrition and I like the flavour, but feel free to peel the potatoes before dicing if you prefer.
3.5 pounds russet potatoes, diced ( 3/4 inch or smaller)
Place a large rimmed baking sheet on an oven rack set to the lowest position. Preheat oven to 500ºF.
In a dutch oven, bring to boil 10 cups of water, over high heat. Add potatoes and baking soda. Bring back to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain potatoes and return to pot; place over low heat, shaking the pot occasionally, until any liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in butter, salt, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Stir together until mixed evenly and potatoes are coated with a starchy paste.
Remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle with oil. Spread potatoes in an even layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring potatoes every 15 minutes, until potatoes are browned and crispy. Serve immediately.
To Freeze: Allow potatoes to cool fully on baking sheet, transfer to the freezer until frozen. Once frozen toss into a resealable plastic bag. When ready to use, remove as much as needed from freezer bag, cook in a small amount of oil in a pan over medium heat until warmed through (about 5 minutes).
My love of crispy chicken burgers and sandwiches knows no bounds. If I spot it on the menu, no matter how hard I try to convince myself to try something else, I’ll always end up getting it. I know if I ordered something else I’d just wish it were more crispy, chicken-y and sandwich-ish. So, I stick to the usual and have yet to be disappointed in my decision. You can’t choose who what you love crave.
I recently made a recipe for a crispy chicken sandwich that was fried in a skillet. *shudder* All it did was remind me of all the reasons I hate deep-frying. Really, I despise it. The greasy smell that lingers in the house. The grease splattered walls and floor. Not my cup of tea! But what it really means, is that I have to find healthier alternatives that are just as yummy as their greasy counterparts. Darn. :)
This Crispy Chicken Sandwich is worlds better than the deep-fried version I tried and makes so much less mess. It’s flavour packed – starting with a sour cream marinade and crispy chicken coating, and ending with a quick aioli slathered onto crusty rolls. Who needs fast food when you can make something this easy and delicious at home?
Crispy Chicken Sandwiches
You can store any leftover aioli in the fridge. Serve it as a dip for fries, spread on burgers and sandwiches, or use it as a yummy alternative to tartar sauce.
2 chicken breasts, cut in half widthwise to make 4 thin ones
Mix together ingredients for the sour cream marinade. Place chicken in the marinade, making sure each piece is coated evenly. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400ºF while you prepare the rest of the meal.
Stir together aioli ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Coat marinated chicken pieces in homemade shake ‘n bake. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve on rolls spread with aioli and topped with lettuce, sliced tomatoes and cheese.
*Tip: for extra crispiness, bake the chicken on an oven proof cooling rack so the air can circulate under the chicken as well.
I am seriously so excited to be sharing this with all of you. Last spring when searching for online cooking schools I ran across a site called Rouxbe. I can’t gush enough about how much it has changed the quality of my cooking. It’s taught me how to cook without a cookbook, which ends up saving me money because I’m better able to throw things together and have them turn out. That’s because they teach you how to understand the process of cooking so that you get great results every time. Once you practice, the lessons become second nature, and the chances of a dish not turning out become almost non-existent.
I could go on but I might as well just show you. Here’s a great video from Rouxbe that really sums up what they’re about.
I didn’t want to keep this jewel to myself any longer so I’ve become an affiliate partner with Rouxbe and will occasionally be sharing some of their tips, tricks and videos on this site.
But, that’s not all. Today Rouxbe is being so generous as to give away a three-month membership to two Kitchen Simplicity readers. I’m giddy over the fact that I get to give two of my fabulous readers three months of free cooking school curriculum (see bottom of post on how to enter).
And, there’s still even a little bit more. Every reader of Kitchen Simplicity can sign up for a free 14 day trial, which is only available by following my affiliate links. There’s no obligation to become a paying student once your trial period’s ended so there’s no need to fear giving it a go. Although, I can’t promise you won’t get hooked! ;)
I used to hate eating plain chicken with just salt and pepper. It always tasted meaty, dry and bland. I never thought I would be the type of person that would be able to eat a plate of plain chicken, rice and vegetables and be happy with it. But, that has all changed over the last couple of months, and I am so glad. My family is eating so much healthier because I’m learning how to cook the basics and do them right so that they’re mouth-wateringly good.
Pan frying chicken breasts is a great and healthy way to make a burger during the cold winter months. These Crispy Prosciutto Chicken Burgers have become a favourite at our house. When following the proper techniques of pan frying, the chicken stays moist while the prosciutto becomes nice and crisp. We love the tropical flavours of pineapple on our burgers and the french fried onions add so much flavour. I definitely don’t miss the grill when these are on the menu.
4 slices cheese (monterey jack and swiss are our favourites)
4 pineapple rings
french fried onions
mayo, mustard and barbecue sauce, for serving
Cut the chicken in half width-wise to create 4 thin chicken breasts. If necessary, cover with plastic wrap and lightly pound with the heel of your hand until evenly flattened. Cut each piece in half creating 8 thin medallions. Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper. Place a slice of prosciutto on each piece and press down lightly so that it adheres. Preheat a pan over medium high heat. Add a small amount of oil and cook chicken, prosciutto side down, until the prosciutto is crisp and the chicken is white along the edges. Flip and cook until no longer pink in the centre.
Spread buns with butter and toast under a broiler until top is browned.
Assemble burgers with two chicken medallions, one slice cheese, one pineapple ring, a sprinkling of french fried onions and the condiments of your choice.
For a chance to win a free three-month membership to Rouxbe.com do one, any or all of the following.
Leave a comment and tell me what you’d like to learn at a cooking school.
Sign up for your 14 day free trial by following any of the links from my site to Rouxbe.
Follow me on twitter, follow Rouxbe on twitter or mention the giveaway (with link) on twitter.
Like my facebook page or mention the giveaway on facebook (with link).
* IMPORTANT: Please leave a separate comment for every entry letting me know which entry you have done. That way I won’t miss it!
The contest will end on Sunday at 8:00 am CET. Make sure to check back to this post on Sunday (January 9th) to see if you’ve won!
P.S. This contest is open world-wide!
**** This Giveaway is Now Closed ****
And the Winners Are:
1) Sheri: “I’ve been a pretty lazy cook for most of my life, but have recently been finding the joy in process as much as the results. I’d love to improve my basic cooking skills and then challenge myself to move beyond recipes. Working full time (and then some) I wouldn’t have time for traditional classes but the rouxbe online classes sound perfect!”
2) Stephanie Sonksen: “I also would like to be able to ad lib in the kitchen. I love following recipes, but I wish I had better cooking instincts.”
Congratulations ladies! I’m so excited for you! I’ll be e-mailing you your redeem codes shortly.
Thanks to everyone who entered! As always, I wish you could all win! Don’t forget, you can still learn from Rouxbe by signing up for your 14 day trial, so all hope is not lost. ;)