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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Simple and Stunning

Isn’t that what every girl wants to hear?

Tomato Mozzarella

Unfortunately the compliment was not exactly toward me.  It was referring to the above pictured salad.  Not exactly the compliment I was expecting, but I will take it.

It is not quite tomato season, but there is nothing better than a simple salad during the peak of the season when the tomatoes are bursting with flavor.  In my first trip of the season to a local farmers market, I got a little ahead of myself.  I knew the tomatoes were not perfect, but seeing the fresh herbs ready for planting and some tomatoes that actual had color and a couple varieties, I could not resist.

I enjoy cooking, but I am most happy with an easy fresh meal that does not require twenty plus ingredients and a laundry list of steps requiring I begin the meal two hours before we want to eat.

This salad is in fact simple and can be stunning with a variety of tomatoes or with the national colors of its country’s origin scattered or stacked on a plate.  Perfect for a weeknight meal or a dinner party.  This salad is comprised of 5 simple ingredients.  Though consider the freshness and quality of your ingredients as that will have an impact on the overall flavor.  The salad can be made in a variety of ways, but here is my version.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad   (Serves 2-4)

2-3 Large Tomatoes

1 Lb. Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella

4-5 Fresh Basil Leaves

Olive OIl

Balsamic Vinegar

Ground Black Pepper

 

Cut the tomatoes and mozzarella in 1/2″ thick slices.  Wash, dry and cut or tear basil leaves into 2″ inch strips.  I prefer the basil to be manageable to eat rather than serving the entire leaf.

Tomato Thick Slices

 

Mozzarella

The salad can be put together on individual plates or one serving platter.  Drizzle the plates/ platter with olive oil.  Just enough to provide a light base.  Assemble your salad starting with tomato then mozzarella.

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I throw a few basil strips amongst the layers, ensuring the top layer has some as well.  Build the salad to your desired height (typically 3 alternating layers).  Drizzle with a small amount more of olive oil.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Finish the salad with some fresh ground pepper.  Serve and enjoy.