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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Save the Salt for the Margarita Glass

Mexican food is always a go to in our house.  With Cinco de Mayo just over a week away, I thought I would share our favorite taco recipe.  Tacos are a great meal since everyone can adapt them to their own taste and they provide a good serving of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants depending on your chosen toppings.

Armed with the following ingredients you can have a healthy made from scratch taco dinner ready in under 30 minutes.  I am not a salt person and though every recipe calls for it the only time I tend to use salt is when baking and even then I may not use the entire amount.  I have never had a problem with salt except I see no reason to add the extra sodium to your diet and so many recipes and foods can be enjoyed just as well by adjusting the seasonings and omitting the salt.  I save the salt for where it is enjoyed on the rim of a margarita glass to accompany my mexican dinner.

In order to make these tacos you need to take a minute to get your taco seasoning ready.  Here is my basic recipe.  It is perfect for seasoning about one pound of meat.

Taco Seasoning

1 Tbsp chili powder                                                  1/4 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp garlic powder                                               1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp onion powder                                               1 1/2 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, ground                            1/2 tsp black pepper, ground*

In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients and set aside.  

* I use rainbow pepper since that is my standard black pepper mix in the house

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Tacos

1 lb. ground meat ( beef, chicken, or turkey)

Taco Seasoning Mix

2/3 cup water

1 Tbsp olive oil

In a medium size skillet pour the olive oil and heat over medium to medium high temperature.  Add your meat and brown, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks.  Meanwhile you can begin preparing your toppings.  Once the meat is brown you add the taco seasoning mix, 2/3 cup water and stir to coat the meat.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the rest of your dinner is ready.

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In several small bowls place your toppings on the table or a designated area in the kitchen so everyone can build their own taco.

 

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Toppings:

Spinach or other dark green, torn or cut into small strips or pieces

Diced pepper – any color or combination of colors

Diced onion

Cheese – I am lazy so it is not shredded in our house, but rather cut into small pieces about 1/4-1/2″ in size

Diced Tomatoes

Guacamole or chopped avocado

Salsas, and Sour Cream – as far as salsa we use a store bought generally.  It is great when made fresh, but we use salsa on a lot of items and finding ripe tomatoes to make it can be difficult certain times of the year.  There are a lot on the market many of which have very few preservatives or none at all.  We also enjoy corn salsa, a product from Trader Joe’s that is a staple in our refrigerator.

You can use whatever type of taco shell you prefer though the soft Whole Wheat/Whole Grain are the healthier option.

Taco

Everything is ready and set out, so call the troops to dinner and have everyone build their own and enjoy.  Kids love this because they get to help make their dinner.