Apple, Spinach, and Blue Cheese Nachos

IMG_4245This is not your average nacho and I know a number of readers are going to turn up their nose before they even read the post.  Nachos are typically a fan favorite, but blue cheese is definitely a love it or hate it food.  I never really hated it, but I definitely did not consume it often and really still do not.  However I do think blue cheese works well with certain foods and apples are one of those.

I have a weakness for a couple types of food.  You know the types of foods that no matter what you are willing to eat.  Sort of my own type of comfort foods since I have never been a meatloaf and mashed potato type of girl.  We have already established in previous post my love for pizza, or anything resembling pizza.  If you did not realize that here are a few of my pizza creations BBQ Chicken Pizza, Swiss Chard Naan Bread Pizza, Grilled Peach and goat cheese pizza.

Another love of mine is mexican food.  I have not posted that many mexican type foods aside from tacos and my mention of taco salad that we eat quite often.  We probably eat more mexican food in the winter, but I eat it year round.  I love nachos.  Typically my nachos are classic in nature containing beans or meat for protein, diced onion or pepper, and topped with cheese.  There used to be a favorite local restaurant of mine that served nachos as an appetizer.  Their appetizer nachos were not your typical nacho.  I remember ordering the spinach dip ones multiple times and I think they may have had a thai chicken one as well.  Recently I have thought about that restaurant and how their uniqueness in nachos is not found at many places.  I am not sure I have ever come across another restaurant they put such a twist on the mexican staple chips and dip.

Well my thoughts of that restaurant might have been the inspiration for this dish or maybe it was my yearning to use up the blue cheese I had in the refrigerator and the thought in the back of mind that I really should eat something healthy… fruit.

Nachos are one of those foods that I love because I can give you a recipe, but really you make what you need.  On the particular day I created this dish, I was home alone and it was one of the first cool days so I wanted a warm lunch.  Since then I tried it on Little Miss Mixture for a quick weeknight dinner.  Individualizing and making a plate full, whether a small plate for one or a large one to share with others, nachos are a go to type of food in a pinch.

Apple, Spinach, and Blue Cheese Nachos

White Corn Tortilla Chips

1/2 Cup Fresh Baby Spinach*

1/2 Granny Smith Apple

3 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese

2 oz. Mozzarella cheese

Arrange nachos on a microwave safe plate.  (Note nachos can also be done in the oven, but I chose the microwave to decrease the cooking time for melting the cheese in order to keep the apples crisp.)  Chop the spinach and apples and arrange on top of the tortilla chips.  Sprinkle with blue cheese and top with mozzarella.  Microwave on high 30-45 seconds.  I served Trader Joe’s corn salsa along side for a cool, yet spicy contrast.

* You could substitute arugula or chard for the spinach.

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Monday Mixture

IMG_4234Okay I feel the need to write since Mr. Mixture keeps referencing things I can put on the blog.  Yes ,I am calling him out on this.  I have not written recently and there is no specific reason for my lack of writing, except I have not been in the mood to write, and wait I have been trying to work on some other random projects around the house and for the family.  Wonder if Mr. Mixture or Little Miss Mixture would notice if I forgot to do those other things?

Apparently Mr. Mixture is not the only one as some other family members seem to miss my post showing up in their inbox.  How great it is to feel missed and loved.  So here it is an update of things that have been going on in the life of “Let’s Have Mixture.”

1. What We Are Eating – yes here it is an account of all the food we have been enjoying.  Even though I have not been snapping photos and writing post, I have been busy in the kitchen this month with some old favorites as well as some new meals.

Week of 10/5

Sunday – Enchiladas

Monday – Spinach Ricotta Pizza

Tuesday – Ham & Cheese Homemade Hot Pockets, Fruit Salad

Wednesday – Leftover BBQ and Pizza from our weekend festivities

Thursday – Leftover Enchiladas and Salad

Friday – Tony’s De Napoli (NYC)

Saturday – Mercer Kitchen (NYC)

Week of 10/12

Sunday – Catch (NYC)

Monday – Pumpkin Ravioli with Sauteed Spinach in Brown Butter Sauce

Tuesday – Spinach Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Bacon

Wednesday – Scrambled Eggs and Fruit Salad

Thursday – Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich on Challah Rolls, Cauliflower with cocktail sauce

Friday – Sandwiches on the go before Homecoming Football Night

Saturday – BBQ Chicken Pizza

Week of 10/19

Sunday -Pizza @ a Camp Open House

Monday – Collard Wrap with Tuna Salad, Veggies and Naan bread with Garlic Hummus

Tuesday – Srirachi Chicken over Couscous

Wednesday – Waffles and Sautéed Maple Syrup Apples

Thursday – Little M and a sitter had Macaroni & Cheese and Veggies with Ranch Dip

Friday – Dinner out before the Lower School Football Game

Saturday -Collard and Black Bean Soup with Cornbread

Week of 10/26

Sunday – Tacos

Monday – Raisin Challah French Toast

Tuesday – Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad

Wednesday - Leftover Collard & Black Bean Soup, Cornbread and Salad

Thursday – Chicken and Shrimp Fried Rice

Friday – Halloween Pizza Party in the neighborhood

Saturday – Braised Short Ribs over Polenta, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Apple & Blue Cheese Salad, Turtle Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

2. New York City Eats – Recently we went on a trip to the Big Apple.  Being the foodie family that we are, we are always searching for good eats when we travel.  We started and ended our time in the city at a favorite – Shack Shack.  Who can resist a good hormone free burger, chicken sausage, and caramel shake when it is a block and a half from your hotel.

For lunch one day we happened upon a great food court where we enjoyed sandwiches from Num Pang, based on a recommendation.  The sandwiches were more than just a sandwich and definitely hit the spot.  Little Miss Mixture and Mr.Mixture like cupcakes, so it was hard from them to pass up Sprinkles.  The infamous cupcake shop out of Los Angeles lived up to the hype for this family.  We each got a mini cupcake and they were so moist and full of flavor they left us wanting more.

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What I love about NYC is how easy it is to find good food and a variety of it.  Some of our meals were healthier than others, but all were very good.  We enjoyed different settings from a family style italian restaurant, to a kid friendly spot, to more eclectic choices that focused on sushi and seafood tapas.DSC_0929

 

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3. GOTR – I have done it, I have signed up for my first ever race.  Little Miss Mixture is participating in the Girls on the Run program and it culminates with a 5K.  I began training about five weeks ago to be her running buddy.  Unfortunately I have learned the cooler weather is not a big motivator for me, which does not fair well since our race is in early December.  Wish me luck as this is definitely a bucket list item.

4. Girls Rock – Little Miss Mixture got to celebrate her birthday with several different groups of people in her life.  She took cupcakes to school, we had a family gathering, and she had a sleepover.  The one cake she wanted was a cookie cake for the family celebration.  She was very specific on what she wanted, so we placed an order.  On the day of her birthday, we were less than thrilled with the purchased cake.IMG_4060

Luckily I had all the necessary things at home from making cupcakes to turn this not so great creation into one that did in fact rock.  Honestly though regardless of how it looked.  It is hard to go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie cake.

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5. Package sizes – I try not use use a lot of processed products, but there are a couple of recipes I find it necessary.  We have a favorite cake that calls for Devils food cake mix and caramels.  Last year I noticed the size of the cake mix box had decreased based on the recipe.  This year I decided to give my hand a try and make the cake from scratch, but I still needed the caramels.  I have always used Kraft and I like the bits that can be found seasonally, but I was unable to locate them.  I grabbed a bag of the individual wrapped squares as the recipe simple stated one 14oz package, but as I started at a bowl that looked low in volume, I realized the current bag size is 11oz.  I cannot recall what the cost of the bag used to be, but I am sure it is more now and you get less.  Be careful during this baking season as you will need to purchase more packages to make sure your recipes came out correctly.

On other note two stores in the same shopping center are selling this package at different prices.  One local based large chain grocery store seems to think it is worth $.75 more than another major retailer.  #thingsthatannoyme  The change has even confused one of the retailers in their marketing.  Look closely here they are selling a 13oz package, but the actual picture shows differently.

Caramels

6. Halloween candy while this sits in the pantry and probably gets untouched.

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I am scanning recipes on how to use the candy in a way it may get consumed or just not tossed in 6-8 months.  Here Are some great ideas I pinned this weekend.  I also love the idea of using the candy in non edible ways – science experiment, decorate gingerbread houses.

I hope you enjoyed catching up on what Let’s Have Mixture did throughout the month of October.  I will try and post more this month as we continue to enjoy fall and its flavors.

 

I am just going to Shake, Shake, I Shake It…

IMG_3925Shake it up that is.  I so wanted to name this salad Shake it Off Kale Salad, but really it just did not seem to make sense.  However since Little Miss Mixture is a Taylor Swift fan, I have heard this song almost as much as Let it Go recently and I cannot seem to get it out of my head.  So as I was standing in the kitchen shaking my salad this is exactly the beat the salad was created to.

I have posted a couple of kale salads now and each one is different.  That is what is so great about kale and some of the other greens. They have versatility.  I have been a fan of spinach for this reason  for a decade or so, but when we began eating kale a couple of years ago I was skeptical.  It took being a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group where week after week I got bunches of greens for me to get comfortable with them and really start to enjoy eating them and cooking with them.  The thing I love most about kale is how it stands up to dressings and marinades.  I find the longer it marinates the better it taste.  Do you know what that allows you to do?  You can literally prepare a kale salad one day and enjoy it off and on throughout the next 3-4 days.

That is exactly what I do with a couple of kale salads that we enjoy.  Here is one that I put together the other day.

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Shaken Kale Salad

1 Bunch of Kale

1 Apple, cut into chunks

1/4 cup Dried Cranberries

4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Honey

3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1/4 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

Place all ingredients in a glass bowl with a tight fitting lid.  Shake well.  Place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours.  Remove from refrigerator and shake a few times.  Enjoy.

* Since the dressing includes lemon juice the apples hold up well.  Though I do like to add some for extra crunch by the third day.IMG_3924

 

Similar related salads

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Spinach, Apple, Mushroom Salad

Kale Salad with Walnuts

Kale Salad with Walnuts

Simple Kale Salad

Monday’s Mixture

IMG_4011Well another week has flown by and can you believe it we are almost in October.  It seems my mind has been on other things recently and I have not been able to sit down and write.  However that does not mean I have not been cooking up a lot of things.  In fact just the opposite one day last week that is all I did aside from driving carpool… I cooked.  We had a couple really nice meals and I was so caught up in entertaining and getting things together that it completely slipped my mind to take pictures.  Clearly being a food blogger has not been my top priority.

We are in the midst of the busiest fall week for our family three birthdays and an anniversary and this year to the holidays are falling right in the middle as well.  Needless to say our days and nights have been busy.  I will try and link to some of the recipes we enjoyed and others I will have to recreate and post with pictures at a later time.

1.  What We are Eating ( September 21 – 26th)

Sunday – Super Nachos

Monday - Leftovers, we needed to clean out the fridge and make room for the anticipated holiday food

Tuesday – Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Quesadillas

Wednesday – Chicken Matza Ball Soup with Challah, Kale & Apple Salad, Noodle Kugel, and The Baked Brownie with Vanilla Ice CreamIMG_4012

Thursday – Brisket (epicruious.com), Sweet Potato Casserole, Salad, Challah, & Apple Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Friday – Repeat of Wednesday/ Thursday just the three of us (Brisket, Kale & Apple Salad, Sweet Potato Casserole)

Saturday – Another busy weekend that included dinner out

2.  Pumpkin Spice – I am very much a fan of pumpkin flavor as I have always enjoyed a good pumpkin pie.  In recent years pumpkin flavor has become so popular it is everywhere.  I will admit I do enjoy pumpkin products – pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin dip, and pumpkin soup.  But how far is it going to go with this pumpkin obsession?  Have you seen some of the products on the market recently?  Pumpkin Spice Oreos, and M &M’s.  This is where I draw the line some things are just better in their original form.

I did, however, grab a bag of pumpkin seeds for mixture this weekend and popped one in my mouth this morning.  I did not realize when I purchased them they were pumpkin spice flavored pumpkin seeds.  They are fine and I am sure Little Miss Mixture will enjoy them, but they do not taste like pumpkin seeds rather they taste like cinnamon sugar crunch.

3.  Shoes – Did you know that shoes can grow a mold?  What else is this.  With the changing of the season and the cooler weather moving in, I started to move clothes around in my closet.  I do this each season.  I put the sandals and whites up high and bring down the sweaters and boots.  Apparently after the downpour I was caught in during pick up a few weeks ago my sandals, though they felt dry, were in fact still damp.  This is what I found when I went to move shoes around.  Luckily it had only been a few days and they cleaned up well.

How odd.  Now I am rethinking whether I like keeping them in the clear shoe boxes or not.

 

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Luckily it had only been a few days and they cleaned up well.

How odd.  Now I am rethinking whether I like keeping them in the clear shoe boxes or not.

4. Beer – If you recall about two months ago, Mr. Mixture and I visited some local breweries and did some sampling.  We visited Triple C first and by the end of our afternoon I had forgotten which beers I enjoyed at their brewery.  This weekend we attended a function where Triple C was on tap.  I am not sure which beer out of the four was the most popular of the night, but both Mr. Mixture and myself enjoyed the Smoked Amber.

5. Birthday Party – Little Miss Mixture has a birthday this week and like may little girls she has specific ideas on what her birthday should entail.  Here are some of the ideas she has us working on her to make her birthday special.  What did we do before the internet and Pinterest for ideas, tutorials, and pictures?

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Be sure to check back next week to see how we made the birthday special.  What our go to fall mixture snack is and some recipes of what we have been eating.

Happy Monday! Happy National Coffee Day!

 

*Pictures via Pinterest, Real Life, Real Estate, Real Dana, fortandfield.blogspot.com, food.com

Meatless Monday: Cottage Peach Smoothie & What we Are Eating

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When it comes to making breakfast for the family, I really try and ensure it is balanced.  I know there are a lot of smoothie recipes and people who use their vitamix and juicers to make a nice beverage, but when I make a smoothie I want it to be of high nutritional content.  This is one reason you will never find a smoothie recipe I create that uses water.  As a dietitian in a nursing home you start to learn a lot about puree food.  One of the most important factors in serving puree is to ensure you give your customers the most bang for their buck.  Appetites vary so you want to make sure even the smallest appetite is getting an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.  Water is great at thinning food when you need to change the consistency but it also lessens the nutritional content.  I prefer to use juice, dairy, or dairy alternative beverage.  This was how I taught cooks and dietary aides to make puree, and I use the same concept when I feed my family a liquid meal.

In addition to a nutritional beverage I sometimes add some yogurt as well.  I love greek yogurt but I know it has a tanginess that is not always ideal in all smoothies.  The other day I found some of the peaches we picked this summer in the freezer and decided it had been a few weeks since we had that summer flavor.  When I think of peach smoothies, I tend to think sweet as they are a sweet fruit especially when perfectly ripe.  As I began to add ingredients to the Vitamix, I was torn between greek yogurt or just using fruit in addition to the almond milk.  Then it caught my eye – cottage cheese.  Recently we discussed that I have a new found love for ricotta cheese and you find it in a lot of recipes where it is made to be sweet, but cottage cheese, I was not sure.  Of course then I realized I have a great kugel recipe that calls for cottage cheese and one of Little Miss Mixtures favorite things is cottage cheese with applesauce and cinnamon, so I figured it could not be too bad.  It definitely was not bad in fact it was really good. The cottage cheese helped to thicken the smoothie slightly while of course increasing the protein and calcium content as well.

As I sit here writing about this I realize how nice these same flavors would be using apple or pumpkin instead of peaches.  A perfect Fall flavored smoothie.

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Cottage Peach Smoothie

1/4 cup Almond Milk, Vanilla

1/3 cup Cottage Cheese

1 fresh banana

1 cup Frozen Peach Slices

1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon

 

Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Remember liquid on the bottom and frozen on top when using a Vitamix. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

 

What we are eating (September 14 - September 20) 

Sunday – Leftovers

Monday – Roasted Mushroom & White Bean Puree (Cooking Light)

Tuesday – Ground Chicken Tacos with homemade Taco Seasoning

Wednesday – A version of this Chopped Salad 

Thursday – Patty Melt with Waldorf Salad

Friday – Ham & Swiss Sandwiches, Organic Trader Joe Corn Chips, Fruit

Saturday – Night Out

Thanks for reading and have a great week.  Looking for some more Smoothies that are packed with protein.  Check these out.

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Protein Packed Smoothie

IMG_3192Protein Power Green Smoothie