food

Healthier Mac & Cheese Bites Courtesy of the LG Air Fry InstaView ThinQ® Range

I’ve been thinking about getting a new air fryer for a while now. I have a first generation one that doesn’t hold much capacity wise, but I love the effect it has on food by making it crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside without all of the grease and cals from a traditional deep fryer. Earlier this month, I was invited to check out the latest technology from LG, the Air Fry InstaView ThinQ® Range, and it was super cool!

The Air Fry InstaView ThinQ® Range was made for someone like me who likes to have the newest of the new but would love them all in one place. I like my countertops as clean and clear as possible and the best thing about this range is that it’s a full-size regular oven (6.3 cubic feet), then with a click of a button, the whole thing turns into a high-quality Air Fryer.

I went to LG’s test kitchen to try it out and was honoured to be able to cook with Food Network host and author, Anna Olson! Though it was a bit weird to cook with someone all masked up and socially-distanced, we followed the protocols and she was such a delight, it ended up being an awesome afternoon. Anna shared one of her favourite comfort food recipes – mac and cheese – but to show the true power of the LG Air Fry InstaView ThinQ® Range, we turned that delicious mac and cheese into even more delicious air fried mac and cheese squares! Instead of plopping the panko-breaded squares into a vat of oil, we simply placed them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and popped them into the air frying oven. How does it work? The oven circulates hot air at a fast speed so that you get that crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside texture. In around 12 minutes they were perfectly crispy on the outside and when pulled apart, deliciously creamy and cheesy on the inside.

The LG Air Fry InstaView ThinQ® Range has some other cool technology that people have grown to love from LG like the InstaView feature which I got a total kick out of. When you want to check on how your dish is cooking, you simply knock on the glass of the oven and the light comes on! This feature allows you to check on the progress of your dish by simply knocking on the glass to turn on the oven light, so you don’t need to open the door or lose any oven heat until the dish is done!

It also has a great Easy Clean® feature that cleans your oven – just spray the oven with water and it will be clean in 10 minutes, without the use of harsh chemicals. AND it can use the LG ThinQ® app to connect with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so you can monitor and connect to your range from any room in the house.

Overall, I loved this range because it marries the newest technology with amazing functionality. As it gets colder and we want to indulge in those yummy comfort foods, it’s nice to know there’s a way to enjoy what you love without the extra calories!

The LG Air Fry InstaView ThinQ® Range is now available to purchase. Click here to learn more about the range. 

Let us know if you end up trying this at home by tagging us here, Cowes!

xx

Coco

This is a paid partnership with LG Canada. All opinions are my own. 

Chef Anna Olson’s Mac ‘N’ Cheese Bites Recipe

Makes one 8-inch (20 cm) square pan

Serves 24

Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus chillingCook Time: 35 minutes

Squares:

2 cups (300 g) uncooked tubetti pasta

3 Tbsp (45 g) butter

3 Tbsp (25 g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) 2% milk

1 Tbsp (12 g) Old Bay seasoning (or 2 tsp celery salt)

1 Tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard

4 cups (360 g) coarsely grated old Cheddar cheese

4 thinly sliced green onions

Crust:

1 cup (150 g) all-purpose flour

2 large eggs, lightly whisked

2 1/2 cups (200 g) panko breadcrumbs

2 ½ Tbsp butter or vegetable oil

  1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch (20 cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. For the squares, cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture smells slightly nutty but has not changed colour, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the milk in 3 parts, beating well with a whisk and letting the mixture thicken between each addition. Whisk in the Old Bay seasoning and the mustard.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cheese in 3 parts, whisking between each addition until the cheese has melted. Stir in the green onions.
  6. Spread the mac ’n’ cheese into the prepared baking pan. Cover the surface of the pasta directly with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature before chilling until set, at least 2 hours.
  7. For the crust, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper and place a cooling rack overtop. Toast the panko in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes, then stir in the butter until melted. Set aside to cool. Arrange the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate bowls for dredging. Turn the pan of chilled mac ’n’ cheese out onto a cutting board and cut into 24 portions.
  8. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan generously and evenly. Dip each square in the flour, coating it fully and shaking off any excess. Dunk into the eggs and then the breadcrumbs and carefully set each square in the sauté pan, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart (you may need to work in batches).
  9. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side until evenly browned, then transfer to the baking tray and repeat with the remaining squares.
  10. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, to ensure the cheese has melted all the way through. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

Make Ahead Tip: You can chill the mac ’n’ cheese mixture for up to 1 day or remove it from the pan, wrap it well and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before portioning, breading and pan-frying. You can also bread and pan-fry the portioned squares up to 2 hours ahead of time, chill and then warm them through in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes to avoid pan-frying while your guests are milling around.

Dress it Up: For a decadent appetizer, perfect for the holidays, stir in 6 oz (180 g) of cooked lobster pieces into the mac ‘n’ cheese before chilling it.

The LG Air Fry InstaView ThinQ® Range toasts up each square evenly on all sides and the heat penetrates right through, melting the cheesy centre perfectly.

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