What can you not put in an air fryer? 

11 items experts warn against cooking in your appliance

null© Getty Images

Air fryers have fast become the most versatile appliance in the kitchen, but there are plenty of things you should avoid putting in your machine. 

1. Water 

There have been plenty of hacks circulating on the internet for cleaning an air fryer, but not all of them are a good idea. Filling the drawer with water and soap before turning the air fryer on, for example, has been touted as the easiest way to clear out baked-on grease; however, it is an accident waiting to happen. 

Cheese 

Melted cheese is a truly indulgent snack, especially on a toastie, but its low melting temperature means that melting cheese in an air fryer will likely just result in a burnt, stringy mess. For once, a good old skillet or toastie machine is best in this situation. 

Frozen breaded cheese bites and mozzarella sticks are fine, however. In fact, cooking these in an air fryer will often get them perfectly crispy in half the time it takes an oven. But fresh cheese is a no-go. 

3. Roast chicken

Air fryer baskets are almost always on the smaller side, but even if you have a model luxurious enough to fit a whole chicken in it is perhaps best that you do not. The smaller baskets are for a reason, and if you know how air fryers work, then you will understand that they are primarily for smaller jobs meaning a whole chicken is at risk of not cooking through properly, or cooking unevenly risking salmonella and food poisoning.

4. Wet batter 

Just as with adding water to an air fryer, wet batter can be blown around an air fryer and adhere to the heating elements, or even blow behind the fan, both of which can lead to a fire. 

What’s more, wet batter does not crisp under direct heat as it does in hot oil – a good rule of thumb for cooking with an air fryer is to remember that it is the same as a conventional oven, it’s just much faster and cheaper to cook with an air fryer. A good rule of them is: if you wouldn’t cook it in an oven, don’t try it in your air fryer. 

5. Popcorn 

‘Air fryers are healthy cooking alternatives, so I can see why some people would try frying a healthy snack such as popcorn in an air fryer but this is perhaps the worst idea I could think of,’ says Millie Fender, head of reviews at Homes & Gardens

‘Air fryers, despite being plugged in appliances, are not the same as microwaves. Not only can they not heat popcorn kernels up enough to get them all to pop, the strong current created by the fans can blow kernels around the machine and cause irreversible damage. For an appliance that is so hard to get a hold of at the moment, this is less than ideal.’ 

6. Vegetables with low water content such as broccoli and fresh greens 

Although some vegetables, such as sprouts and potatoes for fries, cook wonderfully in an air fryer, some greens such as broccoli, or thinner, leafy greens can quickly dry out and start to burn in the intense, quick heat of an air fryer making traditional cooking methods like frying and roasting better in this instance. 

7. Loose seasoning and breadcrumbs 

‘Much like popcorn, loose seasoning can blow around your air fryer basket and become burnt onto already difficult to clean heating elements,’ Millie Fender says. ‘Seasoning your food after it has been cooked where possible can help to avoid this.’ 

This is not to say that you should not season your food at all when cooking in an air fryer, but to ensure seasoning is stuck well to the food with a little oil first with any excess gently shaken off.

8. Red meat 

Red meats such as burgers and steaks can definitely be cooked in an air fryer, but it is not advised if you want a perfectly cooked meal. Air fryers work by using quick, direct heat to crisp food meaning it is often too intense for delicate or precise cooking. The result is often overly dry meat with not much flavor and sub-par texture. 

If you do choose to cook red meat in an air fryer, make sure to regularly open the basket to check the progress. 

9. Bread for toasting 

Although you can achieve crispy bread in an air fryer, there is very little point when you have a toaster fit for the job. Toasting bread in an air fryer can lead to stray crumbs on and around the fan and heating elements which are difficult to remove and can lead to a persistent burning smell with every use. 

10. Most commercial spray oils 

One of the most important things to know about air fryers before buying one is that they often still require a little bit of oil to help crisp and brown food perfectly. While many air fryer recipes say to spray your baskets with spray oil, most commercial oil sprays contain a lubricating additive called lecithin which can react with non-stick surfaces under heat and degrade its quality over time, slowly destroying your air fryer basket (and any non stick surface for that matter). 

Instead, use a silicone brush to wipe a thin layer of regular oil over the base of the basket or the crisper tray.

11. Liquid sauces 

‘Air fryers are not designed to be filled with liquids,’ says Millie Fender, head of reviews. ‘I have tested several air fryer models for H&G and not one makes it fit for an abundance of liquid. Loose liquids can easily be blown about by the fans and cause a spark leading to a fire,’ she warns.

Anything with an overly loose sauce should be cooked on a stove top, or in a traditional oven instead. The chances are these foods don’t need to be crisped up anyway. 

Source: http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle

4 Steps to a Gorgeous Charcuterie Board Your Guests Will Devour

Learn how to create a stunning appetizer board in step-by-step photos so you can whip up an impressive (and delicious) spread for your next gathering.

While charcuterie (pronounced shar-COO-tur-ree) technically refers only to a selection of cold cooked meats, it’s usually inclusive of a broad supporting cast of cheeses, spreads, crackers, nuts, and produce. The best aspect of charcuterie boards is the flexibility they afford. Scale portions up or down depending on the number of guests, adjust ingredients for dietary needs and preferences, or shop for foods within a specific color palette or region. To get you started, we show you how to make a simple meat and cheese board from start to finish—with photos.

Where Do I Start?

Though there are many easy charcuterie board ideas out there, the process is somewhat formulaic. Start by adding structure with little dishes, then place your ingredients on the board starting with the largest elements like the cheeses and meats, followed by smaller items like crackers and fresh produce.

Step One: Add Structure

Fill small vessels with dips, spreads, and items that can be piled onto the board. Try honey, mustard, cornichons, blue cheese-stuffed olives, or a mixed selection of salted nuts.

Step Two: Add the Cheeses and Meats

First, place the cheeses. Arrange them evenly around the board and allow space for slicing and scooping. We used two kinds of Brie (a robust, creamy Brie and a mild Brie), blue cheese, an aged cheddar, and goat cheese on this board. Next, add the meats. We placed the prosciutto, Italian salami, and American salami in little piles next to the cheeses. It’s OK if items on the board touch; they’re meant to be enjoyed together.

Step Three: Add Crackers

Slip two or three small stacks of sliced bread or crackers among the bowls, meats, and cheeses. Let them topple over and get a bit messy—it’s part of the board’s beauty. We used two kinds of crackers— asiago cheese and flax seed—to complement the various flavors on the board.

Step Four: Add Fruits, Veggies, and Herbs

This last step is the icing on the cake. Fill in any gaps on the board with fruits, vegetables, and sprigs of herbs. We used whole radishes, sliced figs, red grapes, and thyme. If you don’t have fresh items available to you, sub in dried fruits like apricots, cherries, and plums for something sweet and chewy. When your board is finished, set it out with a few cheese knives so guests can help themselves after they marvel at your masterpiece. Enjoy!

Editor’s note: Most charcuterie meats and cheeses are tastiest when served at room temperature. Perishable items shouldn’t sit out for more than two hours. Consider keeping a small selection of “refill” items, like sliced meats and cheeses, in the refrigerator so they’re ready to go when the board needs restocking.

17 Best Christmas Brunch Recipes

Updated with new photos and links.

Unwrapping presents may be the main event on Christmas morning. But a delicious brunch—best enjoyed in PJs—also brings merriment to the morning. Whether you like sweet (extra syrup, please!) or savory (ham and cheese are a dream team), here are 17 brunch recipes that feel just right for Christmas morning.

1. Muffin Tin Quiches with Smoked Gouda and Ham

© Provided by Eat This, Not That!

Your muffin tins are multi-taskers. Not only can they bake your favorite muffins, but they can also make individual quiches to wow your brunch crowd. This recipe is especially great for Christmas morning because you can dice up some leftover ham from a Christmas Eve dinner, then mix in the vegetables. A generous serving of Gouda gives them a creamy, buttery bite.

https://www.eatthis.com/muffin-tin-quiches-smoked-gouda-ham/

2. Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding with Pistachios

© Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Psst, this bread pudding recipe with chocolate and sweet cherries may look and taste like dessert, but it’s just as great as a brunch dish.

https://www.eatthis.com/chocolate-cherry-bread-pudding-pistachios-recipe/

4. Breakfast Casserole

© Beth Lipton/ Eat This, Not That!

For a delicious brunch, bake this flavor-packed and filling breakfast casserole that’s made with caramelized onions, baby kale, and mushrooms.

https://www.eatthis.com/keto-breakfast-casserole-recipe/

7. Charcuterie Brunch Boards

Here’s a genius idea: Make a charcuterie board for brunch on Christmas morning so that your family can wander in and out of the kitchen, enjoying a completely customizable and leisurely breakfast.

© How Sweet Eats

Easy-to-assemble, a charcuterie board is a perfect place for your favorite brunch staples. The possibilities are endless, but you can start with cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, sliced ham, waffles, fruit, vegetables, and more.

Speaking of more, to see more brunch idea’s, click below:

17 Christmas Brunch Recipes for a Festive Holiday — Eat This Not That

FRESH MANGO SALSA

This salsa is chunky, fresh and full of bright flavors. It is really just a Mexican salad that you eat with tortilla chips. (Hm… looks almost Christmassy).

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

This salsa is chunky, fresh and full of bright flavours. It is really just a Mexican salad that you eat with tortilla chips.

The mango adds a nice, subtle sweetness that balances well with the jalapeños and tangy lime.

I like to use grape tomatoes as they are a bit firmer and less acidic than regular tomatoes, but feel free to use what you like. Be sure to use fresh herbs and fresh squeezed lime juice, trust me, it makes a difference.

INGREDIENTS

  • Grape or cherry tomatoes – diced Roma tomatoes will also work
  • Mango – Any type
  • Red onion – milder than white, but you can use what you like
  • Jalapeño peppers – remove the seeds for milder spice
  • Cilantro – Can omit if you don’t like cilantro
  • Lime – Fresh is best, but bottled will also work

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Start by dicing all your veggies and place them in a large bowl.

Then squeeze your fresh lime on top and give everything a stir.

Your fresh mango salsa is now ready to serve!

You can serve it right away, but if you can wait, even 30 minutes, it really does taste better after the flavors have had a chance to develop.

How long will this salsa keep?

This salsa should keep for about 5 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Source: tastesofhomemade.com/amazing-mango-salsa/

Christmas Fruit Salad

This Christmas Fruit salad is the perfect combination of red and green fruits and is ideal for a Christmas dinner or holiday party!

This Christmas Fruit salad is one of my new favorites to make in the winter because it’s packed full of a delicious mix of flavors and textures with the different fruits.

Christmas Fruit Salad with red and green fruit

For my fruit salad I used red raspberries, red strawberries, and red pomegranate arils. For the green fruit I used green grapes, green kiwis, and green apple.

I like focusing the salad on some of my favorite fruit options that are available this time of year. And the red and green colors of this salad make it extra fun for Christmas dinner, holiday parties or other special occasions.

Other fruit options:

  • red apples
  • red grapes
  • cranberries
  • lingonberries
  • maraschino cherries
  • pears
  • honeydew

The fruits all come together so perfectly. And you can either squeeze a little lemon juice or lime juice on top to keep the apples from going brown. Or serve the fruit salad with a yummy honey poppyseed dressing.

Source: lmld.org/christmas-fruit-salad

Charcuterie Wreath

Making a Christmas Charcuterie Wreath is an easy and fun holiday appetizer idea. Antipasto skewers arranged into a festive wreath shape then decorated with rosemary will be a show stopping dish for all of your parties and feasts.

Christmas Charcuterie Board

This is less a recipe and more of a basic how-to. Gather all of your favorite antipasto foods, skewer them on large toothpicks then arrange into a wreath shape.

It is so, so easy but makes a big impact on that holiday appetizer table. Plus it is a great way to serve antipasto. Folks can just grab a few skewers instead of touching and pawing at everything on the platter. . .I’m talking to you, Aunt Betty!

This Antipasto Wreath is perfect for bringing to a party or dinner. It travels well and can be prepped ahead of time.

Ingredients Needed For Christmas Charcuterie – use all or just your favorites

Salami
Pepperoni
Prosciutto
Mozzarella Pearls
Fontina
Havarti
Manchego
Green Olives
Black Olives
Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Mini Pickles
Roasted Red Peppers
Peperoncini
Cherry Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Grapes
Rosemary
Thyme
Basil
Micro Greens
Large Toothpicks
For my wreath I used: Salami, Mozzarella, Fontina, Dill Havarti, Green Olives, Black Olives, Marinated Artichokes, Roasted Red Peppers, Mini Pickles, Tomatoes, Rosemary Sprigs and Micro Greens.

Stick with white cheese as well as using green and red ingredients. The white, green and red makes for the prettiest antipasto wreath.

How To Make A Christmas Charcuterie Wreath


Gather your antipasto ingredients. Prep any that require chopping, slicing or cubing.
Skewer ingredients onto large toothpicks. Arrange in a wreath shape on a large round platter or serving board.
Transfer to refrigerator until ready to serve.

More  by NICOLE HARRIS recipes at link below.

Source: https://wonkywonderful.com/charcuterie-wreath/

Our 35 Easiest Ever Christmas Cookie Recipes

Christmas means cookies. Lots of cookies. When the season is upon us, it’s time to start thinking about what cookies to bake for our family, fill up our cookie tins for gifts, serve at our potlucks, and munch on as we start wrapping yet another present. Are you going for a festive cookie to decorate with icing and candies or a more subdued cookie that evokes the season with flavors like cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, and—of course—chocolate? Well, sometimes, our schedules dictate what treats we’re baking.

We don’t always have the time to make batches of complicated masterpieces. Occasionally, we want a delicious, simple cookie that, if we’re being honest, tastes just as good but with half the hassle. That’s where these delicious yet easy holiday cookie recipes come in—they give you Christmas cheer with little effort. (And we are all for it). Check out these easy Christmas cookies you’ll be making all season long.

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

photo by micah a leal

These vibrant cookies start with a box of red velvet cake mix. It can be our little secret. Pops of white chocolate makes this cake-inspired cookie one of our all-time favorites.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

PHOTOGRAPHER: ISAAC NUNN, PROP STYLIST: JULIA BAYLESS, FOOD STYLIST: RUTH BLACKBURN

Snickerdoodles highlight the spice of the season: cinnamon. You won’t be able to resist a taste after smelling these cinnamon-sugar cookies baking. The trick to making these cookies is browning the butter.

No-Bake Dark Chocolate-Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLING: EMILY NABORS HALL; PROP STYLING: AUDREY DAVIS

These cookies take just 30 minutes to pull together. Store them in an airtight container for up to five days, but we doubt they’ll last that long. Store-bought chocolate wafers make this dessert look fancy, even though it does not require any baking.

Ready to view 32 more recipes? Click on link below.

Source: https://www.southernliving.com/holidays-occasions/christmas/recipes/easy-christmas-cookies

12 Foods That Cause Excessive Mucus In The Body (and 14 Foods That Eliminate It!)

If you suffer from a chronic cough that won’t go away, wake up with puffy and crusty eyes in the morning or you have bad breath throughout the day, then you may be suffering from excess mucus production. In fact, there are over 12 foods that cause excessive mucus in the body, some that may come to a surprise and others not so much.

Excessive mucus is a sign that the body is in a state of agitation. It can come from toxins, pollutants, allergies, and food additives, and often involves the lymphatic system, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system.

The Role of Mucus in The Body

Mucus is produced in order to protect the mucous membranes where they are found. The problem occurs when there is excess mucus production, which can be stimulated by irritants like dust, smoke, other pollution, chemicals, bacteria and viruses, food additives, and food allergens. Excess mucus is produced to capture these particles and shuttle them out of the body – meaning more coughing, stuffy noses, a harder time breathing, and more.

Too Much Mucus and Health Issues

If you suffer from too much mucus production, you may experience, one or more of the following symptoms:

You suffer from a chronic cough that won’t go away
– You are currently experiencing mucus from a cold and/or flu
– You wake up with puffy and crusty eyes in the morning
– Bad breath throughout the day (even after brushing your teeth)
– You have a constant stuffy nose
– Your senses are dulled (you requires lots of salt to make food “taste good”)
– Your senses are not sharp – your mind is foggy and thinking clearly is difficult

These symptoms are often a result of a sluggish digestive tract, respiratory system and lymphatic system, which could be caused by excess mucus production. Although excess mucus production can come from allergies (aka. pollen, pet dander, smoke, dust), household chemicals, pollution, or bacteria and viruses, a major cause of mucus production is from the diet.

Mucus and Your Diet

Certain beverages and foods can trigger excessive mucus production in the body. Two main foods that cause excessive mucus build-up are dairy and wheat. Casein in dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.), and gluten in wheat require strong stomach acids for digestion.

To be a little more specific, here is a long list of foods that create mucus in the body:
– Dairy products (yogurt, milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, ice cream, butter, ghee)
– All corn products
– Eggs
– Sugary treats (cookies, cake, pies, pastries)
– Wheat (bread, pretzels, buns, bagels, muffins, etc.)
– Deep fried foods
– All soy products
– Safflower/sunflower oil
– Jams and jellies
– High-fat red meat
– Alcohol
– Caffeine

Eliminate Mucus and Treat Your Body Right

Eliminating foods that cause mucus is key to helping the body function at an optimal pace. Raw fruits and vegetables are one of the best mucus-cleansers out there. When I switched to a high-raw plant-based lifestyle, my mucus issues subsided and my health improved 10-fold.

Aside from that, however, there are also certain foods that can relieve excess mucus. These include:
– Radishes (red, daikon, horseradish, you name it – one of that best mucus-cleansers out there!)
– All leafy greens and herbs
– Cauliflower and broccoli
– Garlic
– Celery
– Asparagus
– Bamboo shoots
– Onions
– Ginger and turmeric
– Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, kumquats, etc.)
– Pineapple
– Berries
– Brussels sprouts
– Hot peppers

Source: https://livelovefruit.com/foods-that-cause-excessive-mucus/

How to Make a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board Everyone Will Be Thankful For

If your Thanksgiving is anything like mine, you have friends and family hovering in the kitchen until the much-anticipated meal is ready. In order to keep people from continually asking “Is it ready yet?,” a Thanksgiving charcuterie board is the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer to serve while you’re finishing up the mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey. Packed with meat, cheese, nuts, fruits and veggies, this seasonal spread has something for everyone.

© TMB studio

Foods to Include

Cheeses and meat: It wouldn’t be a traditional charcuterie board without cheese and meat! We opted for rolled-up cuts of hot uncured capocollo, and several kinds of cheese: a tangy blue, cubes of Colby and a wedge of Merlot Bellavitano with a vibrant, edible rind. We also cut a maple leaf shape into a small wheel of buttery Brie and filled it with highbush cranberry jam—a simple yet creative way to incorporate fall shapes on your Thanksgiving charcuterie board.

Fruits, vegetables and herbs: A wide selection of fall produce makes a Thanksgiving board feel especially seasonal.

A loose line of apples, pears and miniature pumpkins (both real and ceramic) draws your eye from one side of the spread to the other. Blanched green beans, as well as sprigs of sage, rosemary and thyme, bring in a pop of green to break up the warm harvest hues, while tiny arils in pomegranate halves add a lot of visual texture—even in comparison to slightly bigger fruits like dried apricots and grapes.

Other items: Both pickles and homemade cinnamon praline nuts bring some necessary crunch, and would make a perfect pair with the blanched green beans. Maple leaf cookies from Trader Joe’s are a sweet treat that everyone will want to try, while a bowl of mixed olives in a pumpkin-shaped bowl is a salty, savory finishing touch.

How to Build a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

Step 1: Begin with the Brie

First, cut a maple leaf shape into the wheel of Brie using a cookie cutter. Then, place the Brie and the jar of highbush cranberry jam a little off center from the middle of the board.

While we went with a maple leaf shape to match the Trader Joe’s cookies, you can use whatever fall-shaped cookie cutout you like.

Step 2: Place the bowls

After the Brie and jam, place the next biggest items: the bowls. Put down the bowl of olives in the top right corner, and balance out the board by putting the other bowl of candied pecans further away, leaving some space in between the cheese to make room for produce.

Step 3: Make space for the apples, pears and pumpkins

The empty space between the jar of jam and the bowl of pecans is perfect for bigger items like apples and pears. After you place some there, disperse the rest of them throughout the board, feeling free to cut one (or a few) in half.

Step 4: Set down the other cheeses

We placed the Merlot Bellavitano next to the Brie, since the purple coloring on the rind matches the cranberry jam in the middle of the wheel of Brie. Cubes of Colby would pair nicely with the pecans, so we put them next to each other in the bottom left corner. We set the red pomegranate halves above the orange bowl of pecans.

Step 5: Fill with remaining fruits, veggies, pickles and meat

Since the remaining items are smaller, they’re perfect for filling in the gaps on the board. We put the pickles and dried apricots in the upper left-hand corner, next to the pomegranates. Because the blanched green beans and rolls of hot uncured capocollo are similarly shaped, they look nice near each other in the lower left-hand corner.

Create some visual contrast by putting the round grapes next to the Colby cubes.

Step 6: Arrange the finishing touches

Arrange the Trader Joe’s maple leaf cookies to the right of the wheel of Brie, and sprinkle in a few more cookies in other spots of the board as well. Tuck in aromatic green sprigs of sage, rosemary and thyme sporadically.

Step 7: Serve!

Put out snack plates, napkins and toothpick skewers, so guests can prick their desired food items easily without using their fingers. If you have them, cheese markers will help you as a host by taking away the need to explain each kind of cheese to every guest. If you like, Chardonnay would be an ideal drink pairing, or try even more perfect pairings for cheese boards.

Place spoons with the pecans, olives and jam— and don’t forget to fill your wheel of Brie with the jam before you serve it!

What else can you put on a Thanksgiving charcuterie board?

Although we only included one kind of meat on our board, you could easily add more if your guests love the protein. Some other options for charcuterie meats could include prosciutto or salami. Adding a few kinds of crackers to go along with the slew of cheeses makes perfect sense—whether you go with Wheat Thins, Triscuits or club crackers (or all of the above).

Otherwise, take the spread in a different direction by making it into a Thanksgiving treat board: Fill yours up with fudge-striped turkey cookies, fall-themed sugar cookies, candy corn, maple-glazed shortbread cookies, truffles and more of your favorite fall desserts.

Story by Lauren Pahmeier for Taste of Home©

Are Chia Seeds Good for Health? 

The small, black seeds are among the richest plant sources of the omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Diets high in ALA have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Chia seeds are also high in fiber, which may help lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels.

© Provided by Getty Images

Chia seeds have several beneficial effects on health. They are rich in omega-3-fatty acids, protein, fiber and various minerals. Aids in the reduction of free radical production, in turn, decreases cancer risk. Aids in metabolism improvement and increases antioxidant levels.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition

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