Quick and easy meals do not mean bad ones

You don’t need to cook every night; sit back, relax with some fan favorites



Popcorn chicken is a quick and easy option for the airfryer.

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

This summer, I have tried my best to expand my cooking repertoire, trying out new recipes and an air fryer for the first time. But there are days that the last thing on my mind is spending thirty minutes to two hours cooking, worn out as I am from working or hiking around the Palouse.

So with that in mind, it makes sense that my past week has included a lot of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cold cereal, and most importantly, frozen food cooked in my air fryer. Perhaps it is not the healthiest, and I would not recommend having your diet for the rest of the year consist of these dishes, but these quick and easy meals can be lifesavers on a long, hot day.

There are times that you do not feel like cooking a full meal for yourself, and I want to reinforce that this is okay! Especially as we are moving into the hottest part of the summer, some of us with classes and others with jobs, make sure to get some food in your body. Here are some recent favorites of mine that I would highly recommend.

Frozen Hash Browns:

  • These come in a few different varieties, but I will always go for shredded rather than cubed or biscuit shapes nine times out of ten. These frozen potatoes take only a few minutes for seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil, and you are off to the races. They go great with most other dishes, are very filling and are cheap in the grand scheme of things.
  • Hash browns in the air fryer come in handy if you want to make use of your microwave simultaneously, allowing you to get your food out quicker. Popping these in the air fryer rather than using a skillet or the oven can still get you a nice crunchy outside with a soft inside. 

Popcorn Chicken/Chicken Strips:

  • The go-to order at restaurants for people who do not know what to get, air fryers can pretty reliably make popcorn chicken and chicken strips. Many bags even have instructions specifically for air fryers, so you do not have to scour the internet or do guesswork. 
  • This meal pairs well with any dipping sauce you like; I usually go for a nice fry sauce or ketchup. I typically eat my popcorn chicken bites with a side of fries and some melon. A summer meal that will not tank your budget. An even more significant plus during this heatwave is that you do not have to turn on the oven!

Hot Pockets and Pizza Bites:

  • I know for many right now, the idea of eating something with hot in the name might induce some groans, but you need to hear me out. If you want to microwave or even throw your pizza-flavored item into the oven, then go for it, but I have found that the air fryer makes it incredibly crispy. 
  • Most air fryers have a decent amount of room, so you can make snack foods for your visitors without having to do dishes or go through multiple rounds in the microwave. The best part of using an air fryer is not turning on the stove or oven to cook, but my air conditioner is broken, so maybe I am biased. 

Stay hydrated out there and enjoy!