Monday Mixture

Things have been a whirlwind for the past few weeks and though it is summer and things are suppose to slow down.  Hence the lazy days of summer, it does not appear I am coming up for air quite yet.  Rather I am trying to catch my breath between last minute trips, dance recitals, swim meets and practices, and getting some work done around the house.

Regardless of how busy things get one thing remains constant, we eat.

1. What we ate this week June 8 – June 14

SaturdayFancy Grilled Cheese w/ basil pesto & Fruit Salad

Sunday – BLT Burgers and Creamed Corn

Monday – Red, White, & Greens Pasta

Tuesday – Taco Salad

Wednesday – Pretzel Chicken, Fried Potatoes, and Spinach, Raspberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Thursday – Packed Dinner of PB & J, Fruit, Chips (Swim Meet)

Friday – Leftovers

2. I had a small get together to attend this past week.  When you have a food blog and you tend to bake and cook quite a bit, I think you feel the pressure more than you should as to what to take.  The host requested a light appetizer, dessert, or bottle of wine.  It is the summer season and S’mores just speak summer taste, so I decided to make S’mores bites.  I made this recipe first last fall when I threw a 40th Party for Mr. Mixture.  They were simple, quick and easy to make and a perfect one bite.

Well things did not go as planned this week as they were an epic fail and with everything else going on I just did not have the time to put something else together.  So what does a mixture lover decide on, you guessed it my mom says ” it is your signature.”  Perfect I decided.  A simple yet satisfying mix of flavors sweet and salty.

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3. Pistachios – Last week I published Crack open some Goodness because as you know we like all varieties of nuts around here.  Funny thing happened as my parents recently returned from a cross country trip and brought us flavored pistachios.  Now we are all familiar with roasted nuts and different candied or coconut coated nuts, but these are unique.  The pistachios are from New Mexico and the flavors we received were Garlic & green chile, two levels of Red Chili – hot and XX hot.  I enjoy making my own nuts, but this is something I am not sure I can duplicate without altering.  The nuts are not roasted and they are still shelled.  This is an east coast southern girl has never seen before.

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4. Meatless Monday – Meatless Monday is a movement that was relaunched in 2003 as a public awareness program.  It actually began with President Woodrow Wilson during war times to encourage people to decrease their meat consumption, a staple food.  Today’s movement has been gaining momentum since it started appearing more routinely in the media since 2009 encouraging a meatless meal to improve health and help the environment.

Just like all groups and websites you must meet some criteria to be recognized as part of their movement.  Well take a look at my sidebar Let’s Have Mixture has new bling.  A meatless monday badge. You can also find my blog listed here.

Can you pledge to have a meatless meal every monday?  Start with trying it for one month, or throughout the summer.  You can browse recipes on this site and many others by the #meatlessmonday

5. Coming Soon

       What do you do with a recipe that fails?  

Toss it?  Eat it?  

Recipes for your Vitamix or Blender 

My all time favorite lunch

 

 

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Pimento Cheese

It’s a southern thing.

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I remember having pimento cheese as a child and yes it was the completely processed type, not the type mom made from scratch and I liked it.  Orange and creamy with little red bits in it.  It is not a food that has been a staple in my life by any means as I have probably gone years without it, but every now and then I get a craving.  I always enjoyed it when I have had it.  I like it on crackers, on a sandwich with cucumber, or as a treat in a grilled sandwich.

As I have decreased the processed foods in our house for the last several years I have not given in the the craving for pimento cheese.  However, I recently got that craving again after having been out with some friends and they ordered an appetizer that included pimento cheese. Pimento cheese as an appetizer was new to me.  Indeed I grew up in the south, but I do not recall having it as anything other than an alternative to peanut butter, tuna, or deli meats for lunch.

Well the appetizer was unique in that not only was the pimento cheese clearly not completely processed and might have even been fresh made as I could make out the pieces of shredded cheese.  This cheesy concoction was paired with guacamole and called Double Dip.  Brilliant! Take a southern staple and add an adored mexican staple put them together on a tortilla.  Ta da whether created to appeal to different people who frequent the restaurant, or to expand people’s taste our food and our area have blended to cultural foods together.  Love it!

So now the craving for pimento cheese was only teased because double dip was an appetizer and not a well balanced meal I ordered all for myself, though the thought has crossed my mind in the last few days.  It would make a nice colorful meal for me – cheese, avocado, corn chips… I could think of worse.

Wanting to satisfy the craving, I began researching recipes.  I kept finding recipes that included Dijon mustard and fresh garlic.  I love garlic but my first attempt at homemade pimento cheese left me with a bitter bite of minced garlic, not the flavor I wanted.  So I combined a couple of recipes and came up with something that very much resembles the flavor from the restaurant and the flavor of the pimento cheese I grew up with.

Pimento Cheese

Ingredients

8 oz Sharp White Cheddar cheese, shredded
3 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
3 oz Pimentos
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
6 Drops Hot Sauce (Texas Pete)
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions
1. Place cream cheese in a glass bowl and allow to sit out until room temperature. This will make ease at mixing all ingredients. You can microwave cream cheese for about 10-15 seconds. The softer the cream cheese the easier to mix.
Cream cheese mixes best and blends to a creamy consistency if whipped with electric mixer for a few minutes.
Add shredded cheese to cream cheese and mix well.
Add pimentos to the cheese mixture. There is no need to drain, but do not allow too much liquid to mix with the cheeses.
Add all seasonings and mix to taste. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.
Note if using for sandwiches this makes approximately 4 – 6 servings. For appetizer or small bites it can feed more.

Pimento Cheese Recipe print out

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Turkey, Cheese & Spinach Quesadilla

Turkey, CHeese & Spinach Quesadilla

What do you have for lunch on the weekends?  

Looking for an easy dinner?

Have you ever noticed that foods do not come in the amount you need?

We do not eat a lot of packaged items, but I have not yet ventured into making my own soft shell tortillas as yet.  As a family of three we always seem to be left with an odd amount of items left over.  Maybe this does not happen in some families, but the few items we purchase like hamburger buns or tortilla shells leave me distraught.  I do not like to waste food and tortilla shells typically get used for quesadillas, but I found a package with three last week and was determined to use them rather than toss them.

I was inspired to make lunch on Saturday.  Truth is we did not have bread and there were no real leftovers, so I had to come up with another option as Little Miss Mixture and Mr. Mixture will quickly go for their old standby sandwiches Peanut Butter & Jelly for Mr. and Peanut Butter, Honey, & Raisin for Little Miss if I do not have a suggestions or plan. Thus I decided to make a lunch quesadilla.

Turkey Cheese & Spinach Quesadilla

1-2 Whole Wheat Tortilla Shell

1-2 slices Nitrate Free Roasted Turkey

Colby Jack or Munster Cheese

Handful of baby spinach, washed

Yellow Mustard

Olive Oil

In a skillet pour about 1 Tbsp of olive oil and heat.  Meanwhile prepare your quesadilla – Put a small amount of mustard on the tortilla shell and layer cheese, turkey, spinach, and slightly more cheese.  I find it sticks together best if there is cheese to hold it together on both sides.  Fold the tortilla shell in half, or top with another shell depending on how much you are making.

Turkey, CHeese & Spinach Quesadilla

Sauté on both sides until cheese is melted and tortilla shell is lightly golden.  Slice and Enjoy.

This proved to be a winning recipe and was in fact requested as a dinner this week when I poised the question ” what can we have for easy dinner on Thursday?”  Well easy enough everyone was happy and I plan to serve this to Little MIss Mixture after dance class along side a salad for dinner.

My kind of comfort food

Fancy Grilled Cheese

Yesterday I spoke to soon.  I indicated Spring had sprung, but then I stepped outside and it was another cold and wet day. Let me remind you it is now early April and I have had enough. We had a glimpse of spring, almost summer with temperatures in the upper 70’s to low 80’s and then what happen not even out of the 50’s, overcast, with periods of rain. I can remember days in March when we wore tank tops and one spring break I broke out the sprinkler it was so warm. Not so this year each week for the past few weeks we have had a glimpse of spring and then old man winter shows himself again. Weather like this does not help me motivate to get out of my desk chair and workout, but it does wonders for my dreaming of cheesy goodness. The dog desperately sits by the window dreaming that I will take her for a walk. Sorry but under 60 and wet that is not happening the most you get is a quick jaunt to relieve yourself.

I have always been a weather checker, not sure that is a phrase, but you understand. When it was the weather channel I would wait for local on the 8, now a days I check my phone, ipad, or whatever is handy to see the next ten hours or ten days. When I begin thinking about meals for the week, which I am constantly doing but typically focus on it on one or two times a week for the next 4 days or so.  I always need to know the weather. This week again it showed cold and wet though never leaving the 50’s was colder than expected.

I am a big grilled cheese fan and can have it a number of different ways, but remember I said my daughter was adventurous with food. She is, but ironically she was not a fan of grilled cheese until I made it fancy. So now when she asks for grilled cheese she expects it to be on the lines of something like this
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Basically a fancy grilled cheese on this particular evening consist of multi grain bread spread nicely with arugula pesto on piece of bread. I love pesto but to lather both slices of bread with this spicy concoction could be a little overpowering. Depending on your cheese taste, Little Miss Mixture prefers Munster to Fontina each sandwich receives a slice atop the pesto and one on the other slice. Before closing the sandwich top one slice of cheese with some Caramelized onions. Close and toss into the cast iron skillet that has butter simmering and cook until perfectly browned and cheese melts.
Flip to ensure both sides are nicely browned, almost burnt if like me you are trying to manage the kids, the dog, and getting the final items for dinner this will happen without trying. Enjoy warm.

The pesto that apparently transforms a regular grilled cheese sandwich into a fancy grilled cheese and a food Little Miss Mixture will eat is simple. I must warn you if you are compelled to measure everything and get anxiety reading about recipes that require a dash, pinch, or to taste, stop reading now. Go find a blog that may be better suited for you. I am not a person who measures. On occasion the first time I make a recipe I measure, or at least some of the ingredients, but as a general rule I do not measure. In fact I am believer that you can bake and not measure perfectly. More about that another day.

So if you want to enjoy a Fancy Spread here is a basic guideline. This recipe was adapted from http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/arugula_pesto/

Arugula Pesto 

1 1/2 – 2 cups Arugula
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbsp (small handful) Walnuts
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese

Toss all ingredients into a food processor or vitamix and blend until desired consistency. NOTE: If using Vitamix be sure to put the olive oil in first and the arugula on top and slowly increase your variable speed. Taste and season with pepper and salt, if you must – this is a rarity in my recipes. I only use salt in a handful of items such as baking that I feel it is necessary. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. Pesto can also be frozen in small batches for use at a later date. I find the small mason jars are fabulous for putting just under 1/2 cup and thawing whenever you want a fancier sandwich.