Culinary Inspiration

So you scored a great deal on a new kitchen toy on Black Friday. Now what? There’s no doubt we’re in a new era of innovative kitchen appliances. Instead of unnecessarily specific kitchen tools like fondue pots and egg cookers taking up precious space in your pantry, there’s a variety of popular new appliances on the market that can be used in multiple ways to make meal prep easier. But getting used to a new kitchen gadget can take some testing and experimentation. Lucky for you, we’ve got four new recipes to help you think out of the box oven to make the most out of your versatile new kitchen toys!

Air Fryer Apple Walnut Handpies

Air fryers were the hot new appliance of last year’s holiday season, and the hype is not slowing down. It’s easy to see why. They can quickly cook a lot more than just fries without oil, so the result is often a little better for you. There’s no shortage of recipe ideas online for dinners and side dishes, but one of the most under-utilized uses for an air fryer is to create simple and delicious desserts. These Apple Walnut Hand Pies are a great place to start! The no-fuss style of this portable, single-serve take on traditional apple pie, is great for kids, serving guests at a large dinner party, or even as a host gift. Using simple ingredients—apples, walnuts, fresh cranberries, cinnamon and sugar—an airfryer will help you pull off this decadent dessert without a hitch, cooking them evenly and crispy.

Instant Pot Cilantro Walnut Chicken

Pressure cookers like the Instant Pot have been popping up on registries and wish lists for a few years now. And for good reason. This sleek tool is user-friendly and speedy, offering convenience and simplicity all in one appliance. When you’re ready to start playing around with your new pressure cooker, break out this Cilantro Walnut Chicken recipe. The hearty, buttery flavor of walnuts balances perfectly with the tangy freshness of the cilantro. You can count on the appliance to thoroughly cook the chicken, without drying it out. And you’ll spend more time enjoying your favorite holiday activities, and less time supervising a meal in the oven!

Slow Cooker Mini Mexican Meatloaves

The slow cooker has been a go-to kitchen helper for busy families for decades. The ways it can be used are constantly evolving, making it a time-tested staple for any home kitchen. Update the nostalgic family favorite, meatloaf, with this recipe for Mini Mexican Meatloaves. This combination of California walnuts with salsa verde, and ground beef creates a flavorful and zesty dish. Perfect on their own or served with any variety of your favorite toppings, these individual loaves are an easy set-it-and-forget-it option for a weeknight win! Since the slow cooker does the heavy lifting, you’ll have a few hours free to get those holiday errands done.

Spiralized Chicken and Walnut Zoodles

A spiralizer will quickly become your new favorite toy because it turns fresh veggies into faux noodles. Not only is a spiralizer great for anyone watching carb intake, but it’s also so much fun to use that you can easily convince the entire family to help with meal prep! Zucchini and carrots are particularly perfect for passing through a spiralizer. You can top them with all your favorite pasta sauces, like Walnut Pesto or meat-free Walnut Bolognese. For something with a little more kick, try making a Chicken and Walnut Zoodle Bowl with curry vinaigrette. Swapping noodles for spiralized veggies is a great way to supplement the rich meals that are common this time of year, or just to sneak some more veggies into your diet!

Whether you’re in the market for kitchen gadgets to give as gifts or you’re just ready to upgrade your own, add these convenient tools and recipes to your list. Explore our full collection of walnut recipes for more mealtime inspiration, and find more tips for how to have a stress-free holiday season!

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