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

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Peach Watermelon Smoothie

Image 3I promised summer recipes this week and I am not sure you can get more summer than a recipe that involves peaches and watermelon.   You also cannot get much easier than a fresh breakfast in less than 15 minutes.

So many fruits these days are available year round in the stores. But luckily for us there are some items that are not quite as easy to transport long distances. Thus peaches are rarely seen in the depth of winter, even here in the south.

However in between late June and August the peaches are abundant at the local stores and the farmers markets. I prefer to buy any local produce at the farmers markets, but in this case I went straight to the source. We are still enjoying the peaches that we picked ourselves in July. Of course peaches have a short shelf life, so our enjoyment of them now is taking them from the freezer. They still have a great flavor and in the case of a smoothie, in order to get the right consistency you need something frozen.

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There are quite a few smoothie recipes out their that incorporate ice to get a smoothie cold and slightly slush like, but as a dietitian and having a background working with puree food, I just cannot do it.  I see no reason to water down anything and decrease the nutritional value.  If I want a icy type item sure, but when it comes to breakfast and trying to get nutrients into my family I will always use frozen fruit.  In the case of this smoothie, I needed very little liquid as I knew the watermelon would provide plenty, but I wanted to add some creaminess so I grabbed the milk container.  Almond milk would also go nicely with this combination of fruit, adding a nutty undertone and keeping it dairy free.

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This morning I whipped up this smoothie for us to enjoy.

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Peach Watermelon Smoothie

1/4 cup Skim Milk

1 Cup Watermelon, in chunks

1/2 banana

1 1/2 cups frozen peaches

Blend and enjoy.

* Please note this measurements are approximate and yielded about 20 ounces.

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Peach Cobbler Muffin

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I have been staring at a counter full of peaches this week and trying to come up with uses for them before they start to attract fruit flies or get mushy.  We have enjoyed fresh peaches in our oatmeal, grilled peaches in our salad, peach sorbet, and we just ate some.  Plain and simple.  I set to work the other morning to freeze quite a few, using this method.  Besides enjoying the taste of a peach smoothie somewhere in the midst of late October or November, I have found several other reasons to freeze the peaches.  There are some great beverage recipes that use frozen peaches that I hope to enjoy in the next few weeks in addition to breakfast smoothies.

Knowing Little Miss Mixture has a sweet tooth, I offered to let her assist with baking a peach pie or cobbler, but she wasted muffins instead.  I really liked this idea as we are nearing the end of summer, which means earlier mornings and the need to have a quick breakfast before school.  Muffins, like pancakes and waffles freeze well and are a pleasant surprise on random mornings as we head out the door.

Yesterday afternoon we made blueberry muffins, using this recipe that I found a few months ago.  It is amazing the flavor that fresh blueberries provide.

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Next up was to make a batch of peach muffins.  I recall making a peach muffin several years ago that had a streusel type topping, but I could not find the recipe, so I took the basic blueberry recipe concept and made some changes.  I love cinnamon especially when it is paired with peaches.

 

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I used brown sugar rather than white sugar and added cinnamon and nutmeg.  The muffin batter was thinner than the blueberry batter as it was hard to avoid peach juice getting into it, but the muffins cooked up nicely and once cool they were perfect.  In fact if you closed your eyes you may not know if you were eating a muffin or some cobbler.

Peach Cobbler Muffins       Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 3/4 Cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 11/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 Cups all – purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup peaches chopped, fresh or frozen (if frozen, don’t bother defrosting)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with 10 liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray.
  2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat well, then sour cream. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined.
  3. In a small bowl mix chopped peaches with 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon. Coat the peaches well and allow to sit for a minute for excess juice to drain.
  4. Gently fold in your peaches, trying not to allow all the drained juice to get into the batter. Spoon or scoop the dough into the muffin tin.  Filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full.  Don’t forget to fill the empty muffin cups about 1/2 full of water so your pan does not burn.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Let cool on rack and serve.  Be sure to enjoy at least a bite when they are warm as that is when they are definitely at their best.
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Grilled Peach, Goat Cheese, & Arugula Salad Pizza

IMG_3528The other night I had some friends over and I seem to always over think the food thing, but that is just who I am.  I knew it would be a small crowd, but I find often this is the only chance I get to try what may be considered more girly type foods or appetizers and desserts.  Don’t get me wrong Mr. Mixture is typically game for trying most things, but I know there are certain foods that I enjoy more than he would.  I could easily make a dinner out of cheese, crackers, and other pick me up type things.  Add a glass of wine and a sweet bite and I am a happy girl.

To make myself happy, I put out some food and decided I would make a simple dinner for the family that I could use for my guest as well.  I had thought about making a basic pizza as we love pizza and really have not had one in awhile, but then I got creative and things got more appropriate for a ladies night.  I had some grilled peaches that I had planned to use for a salad, but then our menu got moved around a bit, so I decided a pizza with peaches would go perfect with some good friends and wine.  I figured Little Miss Mixture would enjoy it as her dinner as well.

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Grilled Peaches, Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad Pizza

1 Pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s)

2 oz. Arugula Pesto (optional – this could be substituted with olive oil)

3 Grilled Peaches, Halved and sliced

2 oz. Goat Cheese

2 oz Mozzarella Cheese

6 oz Arugula

1 Tbsp. Balsamic Dressing

1 tsp. Olive Oil

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Prepare pizza dough as per package directions.  I always allow dough to set out in order to get to room temperature so it is easier to roll.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees and allow to heat for 15-30 minutes with pizza stone.  This will help to cook the dough thoroughly in a shorter time when it is placed on a hot pizza stone.

Roll out pizza dough and transfer to hot pizza stone that has been prepped with about 1 tsp. olive oil.  Place pizza dough in preheated oven until it begins to rise and start to turn golden.

Remove pizza dough and brush with arugula pesto.  Dollop the goat cheese around the pizza dough and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese as well.  Place grilled peaches around the pizza dough and return to oven.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Meanwhile toss arugula and balsamic dressing together.

Remove pizza from oven and top with arugula salad.  Slice and serve.

IMG_3530IMG_3523IMG_3526Well the pizza was a success.  Everyone enjoyed it including Mr. Mixture who arrived home late and was hungry.  Lucky for me since I have way too many peaches from our family adventure peach picking this weekend.  Looks like we may be seeing this again soon.  Might be perfect for our next meatless monday meal.

Mixed Greens with Grilled Peaches & Chicken

DSC_3170Mixed Greens with Grilled Peaches & Chicken

Ingredients

2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp garlic clove, minced
1 Pinch salt & pepper
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Peaches, halved and peeled
1/4 Red onion, sliced
3 Cups Mesculan Mix
1/2 Avocado
1/2 Red Pepper
Goat cheese
Corn, grilled and cut off the cob
4 baby bella mushrooms, sliced

Dressing/Marinade

2/3 Cup Olive oil
4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 Cup Balsamic vinegar
1 Peach, peeled, cored

Directions

Marinate chicken prior to cooking in garlic, pepper, and oil or you can use a small amount of the dressing.
Dressing
Combine oil, mustard, vinegar, and peach in food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Over medium heat, grill chicken about 5 minutes on ach side. Grill red pepper and corn. Brush peaches with dressing and grill about 2 minutes, brush the other side and grill an additional minute or two. Top mesclun mix with chicken, peaches, onion. Top with dressing

* the recipe for the dressing/marinade has been doubled as I like to have enough to marinade the chicken and it keeps well an is a versatile balsamic dressing.