It’s Waffle Wednesday

Hey fellow foodies.  I’ve been thinking a lot about waffles. And I just looked it up. National Waffle Day isn’t until August 24th. I can’t wait that long to celebrate. I like waffles and today’s Wednesday. I am declaring this Waffle Wednesday.

A few weeks ago, I was experimenting in the kitchen and I came up with this fantastic idea of combining my love of potatoes with my waffle maker. If you’ve been following me, you may have seen my earlier post about waffle potato fries.  While those are totally delish and super easy to make, I wanted to combine a few types of potatoes and make something even more delicious.

To backtrack a little, I often spend some time each Sunday batch cooking for the week ahead. It’s really easy to carve out a couple of hours and prepare things like rice, potatoes and some broccoli and even some beans all at once. When you do this, you are never at a loss of “what’s to eat”. No one likes to come home “hangry” and reach for a bag of chips. If you’ve got rice and veggies prepped in your fridge, then you can easily throw together a meal.

Potatoes are a nutrtional powerhouse, in case you were wondering. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A and rate lower on the glycemic index. They are also slighty higher in fiber and lower in calories than the white potato.  But, white varieties, including the yukon gold, provide 1/3 of the daily allowance of Vitamin C and they’re also high in potassium, magnesium and iron. All are fat free and should be included in your diet as a whole food.

So, back to the potatoes. I had a few already cooked yukon gold and sweet potatoes in my fridge. I decided to take two yukon gold potatoes and one sweet potato to make this dish. I mashed all of them in a bowl–with the skins on.   I added some seasonings and crudely formed it into sort of a “potato snowball” for lack of a better word.   I seasoned mine with garlic, salt and pepper and dried rosemary. The rosemary makes it smell and taste lke Thanksgiving. I’m sure you could add whatever spices you like. I then placed the “ball” on the heated waffle plate and smashed it down.  I let it do its thing and peeked after about 10 minutes.

Potato Waffle Mash Up

  • Servings: 1-2 waffles
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Ingredients:

  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked and cooled
  • 1 sweet potato, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 1/4 t. ground black pepper
  • 1-2 t. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mash the potatoes, leaving the skins on.  Ideeally, you want a one a two thirds potato and one third of sweet potato as a ratio.  If you have too much sweet potato, the waffle will burn. Add the seasonings and use a fork or your hands to mix in the seasoning well. Form a ball with the potato and place the ball on the preheated waffle iron plate.  (See tips) Close the plate and allow the waffle to cook. Everyone’s waffle iron cooks differently. Mine took about 8-10 minutes. Avoid “peeking” or the potato will stick to the plates. I did not spray or oil my plates and they did not stick at all.  I have a CuisinartWaffle maker.Enjoy!

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When I opened up the waffle iron, I was treated to a perfectly browned, crispy yet still fluffly potato waffle. Naturally, I served mine with a big side of steamed broccoli. Always need to get those nutrient-rich greens in with every meal.

Tips: If you pre-cooked your potatoes, you may want to microwave them for a minute or two to make them easier to mash. Also, depending on the size of your potatoes, you may be able to get 2 waffles from the recipe. Also, don’t attempt to make this from sweet potatoes alone. You need the yukon gold potato to get the correct consistency.

I encourage you to try these. These could easily be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Tag me @heidicookplants with your photo. I’d love to see your litchen creations!

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

Winner, Winner, It’s (not) Chicken Dinner

Now that Chili season is finally here, it’s time to transform a family favorite into a Plant Based version. This Buffalo “Chik’n” Chili recipe was inspired by a recipe from Rachael Ray that I have made countless times. It is hearty and spicy and so delicious, and I knew there had to be a way to make it just as good with my vegan modifications.

Butler Soy Curls are the perfect chicken substitute for this dish. I started cooking with soy curls this year and they’ve become a great addition to many of my dishes. The only ingredient is Whole Non-GMO Soy Beans. They are 100% natural, gluten free and vegan.  Soy gets a bad rap, but the whole soybean product that is used here is unprocessed. It does not contain soy protein isolate, which is the “bad” type of soy that you hear about. The curls are easy to use and so versatile. I’ve coated them in panko and cooked them in my air fryer as well as sauteed them in barbeque sauce for a “pulled” chik’n type sandwich.

For the Buffalo Chili, it’s important to season the strips very well. I use a combination of  seasonings that gives them a poultry flavor and lots of added spice and “kick” for the buffalo-style.

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Package of Butler Soy Curls
  • 1 T. dried rosemary
  • 2 t. 21 Salute Seasoning
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • 2 1/4 C. low sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 3 carrots, medium dice
  • 3 ribs celery, medium dice
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T. smoked paprika
  • 1 15- oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes (I used Fire-roasted) but any variety is ok
  • Hot sauce to taste (I used several dashes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place dried soy curls in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and let sit for about 10-15 minutes until the curls have rehydrated.
  2. Drain the soy curls in a strainer.
  3. Heat about 1/4 cup of vegetable broth in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat.
  4. Add the soy curls to the pot and add the seasonings (rosemary through coriander only)
  5. Stir to blend the all the seasonings and curls and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf and smoked paprika and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  7. Add the remaining vegetable broth (2 cups), both cans of tomato and the hot sauce and bring to a bubble.
  8. Simmer for a half hour or more (uncovered) until flavors come together.
  9. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

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I love to serve these with my own homemade air fryer tortilla chips because I know those are cooked without oil. If you are short on time, store bought is fine! You can also add some shredded vegan cheese as a topping.

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Spicy, comforting and so delicious. I know you’ll want to make this again and again! Have you cooked with soy curls before? Let me know in the comments and enjoy!

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

 

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Avocado Air Fryer Spring Rolls Oil Free and Vegan

Have you tried those yummy yet very greasy avocado egg rolls at your favorite happy hour lately? We often order the Avocado Egg Rolls at Kona Grill and I absolutely love them. But, they’re fried and probably not plant based. My version is crispy and crunchy and made without any oil!

I’ve had a lot of success making other versions of air fryer spring rolls, as you will find in one of my previous posts.   I thought it was time to play around in my kitchen and make a copycat version. Here’s my healthy take on this restaurant snack without the added oil. These are also completely plant based and vegan.

Avocado Air Fryer Spring Rolls

  • Servings: Makes 12
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Ingredients:

Directions:

In a medium skillet, heat about 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and then add the broccoli slaw and saute until softened. Add salt and pepper to taste and then set the slaw aside. On a flat work surface ( I like to use these), lay out one egg roll wrapper with the point facing towards you. Start with a slice of avocado, and then add a little bit of each ingredient to the center of the wrapper. Try not to overstuff—it takes a little trial and error! Take the bottom corner and fold over to cover the filling. With a small pastry brush, moisten the reamining edges with a little water and then fold in the sides and gently roll away from you. Once all of your spring rolls are finished, you are ready to air fry!

Set your air fryer to 370 degrees. I placed 4 rolls in the basket at a time and cooked for 4 minutes and then turned and continued for 4-6 minutes. Everyone’s air fryer works differently, so I recommend checking every couple minutes. You want a nice browned and crispy shell for that awesome crunch!

Serve with the sweet chili garlic sauce or whatever sauce you like!

I am often asked what brand of air fryer I use. I have a Krups air fryer that I purchased last year. It has served me well this past year, but I think I’m ready for an upgrade. I’ve been researching some of the newer versions and I am interested in the new Ninja  Foodie Air Fryer . So, perhaps i can snag a new one on Black Friday this year!

This recipe makes 12 spring rolls and they can easily be reheated the next day in your air fryer or in the oven.  They make a fantastic appetizer or even a side dish. It’s a great way to get a serving of veggies (broccoli slaw) as well as a healthy dose of fat with the avocado. When you serve these to your friends and family, be prepared for rave reviews. They are always a hit at my house, and I want you to give them a try.

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Tag me in your photo on Instagram or send me a comment after you make these. I know you’re going to be a fan!

See you in the kitchen soon!

Heidi

This blog participates in the Amazon Affiliates program. When you purchase a product from the included Amazon links, I am paid a nominal fee. (really nominal!)

 

 

Cool Summer Salad

I don’t know about you, but here in Florida it is HOT HOT HOT! Tonight is definitely a no-cook dinner night. And I think there is nothing more refreshing this time of the summer than a watermelon salad. This easy and delicious salad has just a few ingredients, and I’m betting you have most of them already in your house.

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I had a similar version to this Watermelon–Jicama–Cucumber salad on my recent cruise on Celebrity Cruises last month. It was certainly a challenge for me to stay true to my plant based way of eating while we cruised around the Baltic countries, but our waiter, Aldo, did a fantastic job making sure I had healthy choices every night. This salad was one of his favorites, and it quickly became mine as well.

Watermelon, Jicama and Cucumber Salad

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

2 cups English cucumber, cut into large dice

2 cups peeled Jicama, cut into large dice

3-4 cups of cubed seedless watermelon

Juice of one lime

3 T chopped fresh basil

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

 

Directions:  Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir together gently. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.  Enjoy!

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The crunch of the cucumber and jicama is so delightful paired with the sweet juiciness of the watermelon. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t find this a delicious addition to the table, especially on a hot summer night. You could even make a whole buffet of salads and make it a true “no cook” night. Why not throw together some spinach, beets and balsamic glaze topped with some toasted walnuts? Sounds good to me!

Give this refreshing salad a try and let me know how much you love it!

See you in the kitchen soon!

Heidi

 

Healthy Pitaya Bowl

Am I the only person who didn’t know that dragon fruit was also known as pitaya?? I was strolling through the frozen aisle at Publix last week and saw this bag of frozen Pitaya chunks. I have bought fresh dragon fruit in the past and quite honestly, it tastes like nothing. It’s very pretty when you slice it open, but it doesn’t really have a flavor.

Dragon fruit has so many beneficial nutrients, though, so we should try to add it into our diets when we can. It’s rich in antioxidants and it’s full of fiber, which helps keep you full. This gorgeous pink fruit is also high in vitamins B3, which I learned can help your skin recover from a sunburn faster. Dragon fruit is also considered a powerful anti-inflammatory, which is great for anyone who suffers from arthritis.

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For lunch today I decided to make a Pitaya Bowl. I always have a supply of frozen bananas and other frozen fruits in my freezer, so this came together quickly. And lucky for me, I still had some granola that I made over the weekend. I highly recommend adding granola to your bowl. Fresh fruit is also a must––gotta have those antioxidants in your diet!

Healthy Pitaya Bowl

  • Servings: one
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Ingredients:

  • one banana, frozen in slices
  • 1/2 cup frozen pitaya chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, or fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (you may need to add a little more, if too thick)
  • granola and fresh fruit to garnish

Directions: In a high speed blender, combine banana through almond milk.  When you are using all frozen fruit, it will be thicker and you may need to add a litle more almond milk. Pour into a bowl when done and garnish with granola and fruit. Enjoy!!!

 

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This is a filling and healthy treat that you could easily serve for breakfast, lunch or even as a dessert.  Let me know how much you like yours by leaving a comment. What fruit did you use? I’d love to know.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

Plant Based Cheezy Portobello Sandwiches

Can you believe I used to NOT like mushrooms? True. Until about 2 years ago I just never really cared for them. But since I’ve been following a whole food, plant based way of eating, I am in love with mushrooms. But, they have to be cooked––still not a fan of raw mushrooms.

So, when I discovered this amazing vegan restaurant in Brooklyn, NY last week, I knew the only choice on the menu was the Portobello Sliders. You can read all about my meal in my last post. I was so inspired by that meal, that I decided to try my hand at my version of the same sandwich. I think it came pretty close and I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse. They are high in antioxidants, like selenium and glutathione, which is believed to “reduce inflammation, protect cells from damage and reduce chronic disease”, according to a nutrition column in the New York Times.

The mushroom base starts with portobello mushroom caps that I chopped and sauteed along with some sweet white onion. The tasty “cheeze” sauce is such a great vegan hack that you must try it. The original sauce I had in Brooklyn was a little spicier and next time I think I’ll try upping the heat level, but this recipe has a little smokiness from the added smoked paprika.

The original sliders were served on a pretzel roll. I had a hard time finding a vegan pretzel roll at my supermarket, so I opted for a whole grain seeded ciabatta-type roll. I loaded mine with arugula for a spicy twist.

 

Plant Based Cheezy Portobello Sandwiches

  • Servings: 2
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Ingredients: (for the mushroom mixture)

  • 2 Portobello Mushroom caps, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 t. dried french thyme
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • Whole grain buns or bread of choice
  • Fresh arugula

Directions:  In a medium nonstick skillet, water saute the onions for about 5-7 minutes until softened. Add in the chopped mushrooms and seasonings and cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through. Keep on low heat until ready to assemble the sandwiches.

Ingredients:(for the Cheezy sauce)

  • 1/2 C. old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 C. nutritional yeast
  • 2 T.  corn starch
  • 1/4 C. white onion
  • 1/4 C. jarred roasted red pepper
  • 2 C. water
  • 1/2 smoked paprika
  • 1 t. kosher salt

Directions: Blend all the above ingedients in a high speed blender. I use a Nutri Ninja which works very well. Pour the liquid in a saucepan and heat over medium until the sauce thickens. Keep a close watch and use a whisk to stir as it will thicken rather suddenly and quickly.

When ready, assemble your sandwiches. Add the mushroom mixture, top with the cheeze sauce and add a heaping pile of arugula. Enjoy!

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I really hope you give these a try. They were a big hit for Sunday dinner and are now officially added to my regular kitchen menu!

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

 

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Air Fryer Veggie Spring Rolls

I am always on a quest to find a healthier version of my all time favorite foods. I love asian food. All of it. Spring rolls, Pad Thai, cashew anything, peanut sauce, rice paper rolls––I love them all!

A few months ago I posted a recipe for air fryer wonton chips.  I found a brand of wonton wrappers and egg roll wrappers that are egg free and oil free. These were a game changer in my house. It’s the trifecta of taste––crunch, salt and fat/oil free! Win-win for everyone. I even came up with a version using Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning. Talk about game changer!!

I had such great success with the wonton wrappers so I knew that an air fryer spring roll would be just as crispy and crunchy and here’s how I did it.

 

 

Air Fryer Veggie Spring Rolls

  • Servings: 10
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Ingredients:

Directions:

Saute broccoli slaw in about a half cup of vegetable broth. If it starts to stick to the pan, add small amount of broth. Season with the garlic and the pepper to taste. I used about 2 teaspoons of the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. You can season to your taste. Add in the mushrooms and continue to cook until softened.  Once the slaw is softened, removed to a bowl. On a clean, flat work surface (a cutting board works well), place one egg roll wrapper with a corner facing you. Place some slaw mix in the middle of the wrapper. Next, take a pastry brush and moisten each edge with water. Fold the bottom corner over the filling and then fold in the sides and gently roll away from you. The water should seal up the roll. Continue in this manner until you have used all the filling. There is probably more slaw mix to fill more than ten rolls, but I stopped at 10.

Place each roll in the  Depending on the size of your fryer, you may need to cook these in batches. I set mine to 350 degrees and cooked them for about 16 minutes. You’ll want to check them and turn them every few minutes until they are browned on all sides.

These are delicious served with sriracha or a peanut dressing. Enjoy!

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It definitely takes a little practice to get the roll just right. I was very happy with the results. You will have crispy, crunchy spring rolls without any fat or oil. They are completely fat free and vegan. I served them with  the same peanut dressing that I use for my buddha bowls. Feel free to add whatever dip you like, especially sriracha.

I know you’ll enjoy these as much as I do. If you make them, tag me @heidicookplants and let me know how much you love them!

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

This blog participates in the Amazon Affiliates program. When you purchase a product from the included Amazon links, I am paid a nominal fee. (really nominal!)

 

 

Oil-Free Vegan Arugula or Basil Pesto

I went a little arugula crazy at the farmer’s market last Saturday. The market we visit almost every week has the most amazing organic produce vendor, Worden Farms. The bag of fresh, organic arugula is a steal at $4.00, but sometimes I have trouble finishing the bag before it’s past its peak!

So…here I am experimenting with some recipes and I thought, how about a creamy pesto, similar to the white bean and basil pesto that I make? I wonder how it would taste if I subbed the arugula for the pesto, Well…let’s find out, shall we?

Oil Free Arugula/Basil Pesto

  • Servings: Makes One Cup of Pesto
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Ingredients:

  • One 15 1/2 ounce can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • One lemon juiced. (Zest is optional if you want extra lemony flavor)
  • 1 cup of arugula OR Basil (very tightly packed)-I may have used closer to a cup and a half
  • 4 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 3-4 T. of nutritional yeast
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. Aleppo pepper
  • 1 T. water

Directions: Add all of the above ingredients to a food processor and blend well. Stop and scrape down as needed. Depending on your processor, you may need to adjust the water if you want your thicker or thinner. Mine was just right with one tablespoon of water. Chill your pesto and serve with veggies or serve as a sauce with pasta. Enjoy!

This is a great alternative to a creamy vegetable dip. It’s completely guilt free because you aren’t adding any oil. The cannellini beans add a creamy, smooth texture and the nutritional yeast gives it just enough cheesy flavor without overpowering it.

Arugula ranks among the top 20 foods on the ANDI scale (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index). It is considered a cruciferous vegetable in the same family as broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts. It is also high in nitrates which has shown to be helpful in lowering blood pressure and with only 10 calories in 2 cups, you are getting a lot of bang for your buck!

Let me know how you like this by leaving me a comment. If you make it yourself, please tag me @heidicooksplants on Instagram!

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

Gossip Girl Waffle (Fries)…and an ode to Rufus Humphrey

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been lately, I was immersed in a complete Gossip Girl binge-watching frenzy. What started out innocently when I scrolled through the Netflix menu turned into a months long obsession of Blair, Serena, Chuck, Nate, Dan and the rest of the gang. My every spare moment was taken with wondering who Gossip Girl was and when will (s)he be revealed.  SPOILER ALERT: It was Dan Humphrey!!! I even downloaded 10 episodes to watch on my tablet while I was on a 5 day cruise.

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I know I’m extremely late to the party where all manner of GG is concerned. The show began its run in 2007 and lasted for 6 seasons.  Thank you, Netflix, for allowing me to peer into the lives of Manhattan’s Upper East Side and giving me more than a mere glimpse into their complicated and seriously dysfunctional lives. Between all of Blair’s schemes, underage drinking, dating crises and cynical plots were the waffles!

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Waffles seemed to be the star of almost every episode. During season one, Rufus had waffles ready for Dan and Jenny as they made their daily trek to their exclusive private school from their humble Brooklyn loft. In subsequent seasons, after Rufus finally married Lily and he moved into her luxurious penthouse, waffles were always on the brunch table. It became a running joke, pretty much, that everyone involved in a Humphrey breakfast was consuming waffles.original-22033-1425680648-47

I love a good breakfast waffle as much as the next gal, but today I’m giving you a much better option. And believe me, these are appropriate for breakfast too, if you want. I present to you…Oil Free Waffle Iron Fries

Oil Free Waffle Iron Fries

  • Servings: 4-6
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This is a pretty simple recipe. You will need Yukon Gold potatoes. I usually buy a 5 pound bag so I always have them on hand. You first need to wash the quantity of potatoes that you would like to have. I suggest baking a LOT of potatoes, because once you taste how delicious these are, you won’t want to share!

Bake the potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The cooking time depends on the size of the potatoes. When the potatoes are almost done, heat up your waffle iron.

Once the potatoes are done, you place a potato on each side of your waffle iron. My iron only has two plates, so I place one potato on each side. Next, close the lid and smash the potato so that the lid closes completely. Now you wait patiently. The key here is NO PEEKING. Let the potatoes cook for at least 8-10 minutes. Carefully lift the lid and remove your “fries”.  Continue until you have used all your potatoes.  If the potatoes are large, you can cut them in half before you press them into fries.

Enjoy with ketchup or your favorite condiment.

These waffle fries are Oil Free, Fate Free and absolutely delicious. They make a great side dish or you can make a whole meal out of them, as I typically do, adding some green vegetable and perhaps a side of beans.

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Snap a pic of your waffle fries and tag me @heidicooksplants on Instagram. I know you’ll love these as much as I do!

XOXO, Heidi Cooks Plants

P.S., Dorota is still the best character on the show, just sayin’

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Air Fryer Wonton Chips-4 ways

I love chips and I’m not choosy. Give me a potato chip, tortilla chip, pretzel, or sweet potato chip. You name it and I’m there. But, since I’ve been following a WFPB way of eating, I really try to avoid the chips and crackers because we all know it’s just empty calories and no one can ever eat just one. So now you can make these today and enjoy this guilt-free snack while you watch the Super Bowl (or Netflix)!

Enter my beloved air fryer. I just knew there must be some way to make a fat free, oil free yet tasty chip to replace my greasy, calorie-laden kettle chips. While scrolling through the grocery store the other day I spotted a package of wonton wrappers and I quickly looked at the ingredient list and I decided this could be my new chip material. So, I hurried back to the “test kitchen” to see what I could come up with.

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I began with some lofty ideas about making little dessert wontons stuffed with chopped apples and my chocolate hummus, but that didn’t exactly work out as planned. With a few more tries, I came up with 3 chip varieties that anyone can make. The seasoning I used could be adapted to any cuisine. I made some plain, some sweet and some savory. These take just minutes to prepare and are an easy and satisfying snack when you are craving that crunch.

Air Fryer Wonton Chips

  • Servings: varies
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Ingredients:

  • One package of wonton wrappers
  • Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • Zatar seasoning
  • 1 T. sugar mixed with 1 t. china cinnamon
  • Everything but the Bagel Seasoning
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:   Set your air fryer to 350 degrees. On a flat work surface, lay out 4 wonton wrappers and brush just the tops with the aquafaba. Sprinkle with seasoning and lay the 4- 8 sheets on the air fryer rack. (This really depends on the size of your air fryer racks). My most successful chips have come out when I slightly overlap each wonton on the rack. When you kind of form a “ring”, they will cook as one piece. When they cool off, you can break them apart. ** You use each seasoning separately to make the flavor you want***  Cook for about 6 minutes, shaking and looking once to make sure they don’t burn. Every machine is different––mine took about 6 minutes. They tend to stick together, but it’s easy to separate the chips once they are done. Continue with the quantity of chips that you desire, sprinkling with your seasoning of choice. I made some plain (salt and pepper), some cinnamon sugar, some with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning and some with the zatar seasoning.

These would also be delicious served with hummus or guac or even salsa. The next time I make these, I think I’ll use some smoky seasoning to serve with chili. Make them your own with the seasonings and flavors that you like and you will never have to reach for the Lay’s (or Cape Cod Kettle Chips).

I hope that you give these a try. Please tag me on Instagram @heidicooksplants and let me know how you like them. See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi