Loaded Cheddar Apple Nachos {Sponsored Recipe ReDux}

I received free samples of Cabot Cheese mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes. I was not additionally compensated for my time.

Wowza. When Cabot Creamery tasked us with creating a lightened-up appetizer fit for game day and red carpet parties, I never dreamed that I’d create something as delicious as these Loaded Cheddar Apple Nachos. But I did guys, and I would love nothing more than to share the recipe with you.

It all started when two packages filled with Cabot cheese arrived at my doorstep…so basically the best gift you could ever receive. At first I was a little overwhelmed with all the cheese, but then I snapped back to reality and realized that there is no such thing as too much cheese. It was time to create a delicious recipe.

loaded_cheddar_apple_nachos

It’s all about the cheddar here, guys. I fell in love with Cabot’s Legacy Collection Alpine Cheddar. To me, it’s almost reminiscent of an aged Parmesan.

I also learned that Cabot’s cheddar cheeses are naturally lactose-free (can’t wait to tell all my lactose intolerance clients and friends)!

Even more awesome is the fact that Cabot Creamery is a family-farmer owned cooperative of more than 1,200 farms located throughout New England and New York. One-hundred percent of Cabot’s profits go back to their farmers. Can’t ask for anything better than that!

cabot_cheddar_cheese

I really do have to pat myself on the back for this recipe. It combines sweet and savory, lots of texture from the toppings and is warm and gooey and perfect for game-day parties. I hope you enjoy!

Loaded Cheddar Apple Nachos

Servings: 2-3

If you don’t have walnuts, use almonds or pecans. Don’t like cranberries? Try tart cherries or raisins. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup if you’re avoiding grain sugar. I used the ever-so-fast microwave method to make the apple chips, but if you’d rather bake them, you can cook each side in a 200 degree oven for about 1-1.5 hours.

loaded_cheddar_apple_nachos_baked

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium apples, such as Gala or Honey Crisp
  • 2 oz. Cabot Farmers’ Legacy Collection Alpine Cheddar, grated
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

loaded_cheddar_apple_nachos_ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice apples thinly using a mandolin or sharp knife. They look prettiest when you slice horizontally, though they are harder to control, so feel free to slice vertically if that’s easier. Don’t worry if you don’t get a perfect slice — slivers work just as well here.
  3. Line a large, microwave-safe plate with parchment paper. Working in rounds, lay apples on parchment paper in a single layer. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until edges of apples start to curl. Flip slices over and microwave another 1-2 minutes. Lay apples out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and let sit. They will start to harden the longer they sit. Make sure to keep a close eye on the apples to ensure they’re not burning (ruined a few slices this way).
  4. Once all the apples are “chip-ified,” arrange them on the parchment-lined baking so that they overlap slightly. Sprinkle with cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon, sugar and then finish with grated Cabot Alpine Cheddar.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly toasted.

loaded_apple_nachos_unbaked

loaded_apple_nachos_baked

With all that cheese awaiting me in the fridge, there are bound to be more recipes coming. In the meantime, check out other Recipe ReDuxers’ Cabot cheese creations:

Quick and Easy Recipe: Warm Green Bean, Pomegranate and Sweet Potato Salad {Sponsored Recipe ReDux}

I received free samples of Libby’s new Vegetable Pouches mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Libby’s and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

With the cooler weather, I’m craving all kinds of fall- and Thanksgiving-themed foods. But who has the time to cook all the squash, potatoes, beans and turkey? Not this girl.

I’m all about the quick, simple meal using quality ingredients — and culinary shortcuts — to yield tasty, good-for-you dishes. So when the folks at Libby’s Fruits & Vegetables challenged us to create delicious appetizers, soups, salads or side dishes in 10 minutes or less using Libby’s Vegetable Pouches as the hero ingredient, I was ready to get cooking.

warm_thanksgiving_salad

Libby’s Vegetable Pouches are pretty snazzy little things. They’re microwaveable (DONE IN ONE MINUTE!), which means fewer dishes for moi to clean (this whole not having a dishwasher thing is really getting old). Libby’s is the first to offer ready-to-heat vegetables in pouches. I don’t have to feel bad about throwing the package away, either — I’m a hippie like that — because pouches use 75% less energy annnddd waste is easily compressed, reducing space in home disposal and landfills. An added bonus is that the pouches are made with BPA non-intent materials.

Tip: the pouches will be available nation-wide come the new year and can currently be found in select Walmart stores.

green_bean_pomegranate_sweet_potato

But none of the aforementioned perks matter if it’s not tasty, right? Lucky for me (and you all), Libby’s Vegetable Pouches are delicious and come in five popular varieties – sliced carrots, sweet peas, cut green beans, mixed vegetables and sweet corn.

I chose the cut green bean variety as the star of my warm green bean, pomegranate and sweet potato salad.warm_thanksgiving_vegetable_salad

This salad is a GAME ˆ CHANGER. It would be a welcome addition to any Thanksgiving table and it takes LESS THAN TEN MINUTES TO MAKE! Not to mention it is no-bake (a microwave is the only cooking vessel you need), since oven space is quite precious on Thanksgiving. Plus, with “exotic” sounding ingredients like pomegranate, rosemary and cinnamon pecans, you’ll appear to be the best, most knowledgable chef around.

Recipe: Warm Green Bean, Pomegranate and Sweet Potato Salad

Enjoy this while it’s still warm, or refrigerate and eat cold. This would be delicious served alongside chicken or turkey — or eat it by itself! It’s really that good. If you don’t have pomegranates around, you can swap them for dried cranberries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 pouch Libby’s Cut Green Beans
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils (seeds), or the seeds from one medium pomegranate (use the pre-seeded version to save time — I find them frozen at Costco or fresh at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 1 tsp. butter, preferably grass-fed
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey (look for an ethically harvested variety — find out more about the honey/bee issue here)
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

ingredients_warm_green_bean_salad

Directions:

  1. Poke holes in sweet potato using a fork. Microwave sweet potato for 2-3 minutes. Flip sweet potato over and microwave for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until it feels soft.
  2. While the sweet potato cooking, melt butter in a small skillet, add pecans and cinnamon and stir for 2-3 minutes to toast.
  3. Prepare pomegranate. The best way to do this is to roll the pomegranate on the counter before cutting it — you should feel and hear the seeds loosening up. Then, inside a metal or glass bowl (the juice could stain a plastic bowl) cut the pomegranate into quarters and dig out the seeds. Or, use pre-prepared pomegranate seeds to save some time.
  4. When sweet potato is done in the microwave, swap it out for the Libby’s Cut Green Bean Pouch and cook according to package instructions.
  5. While the green beans are cooking, cut the sweet potato into small cubes.
  6. Drain heated green beans and add to a large bowl along with remaining ingredients (including toasted pecans). Toss and serve warm.

green_bean_pomegranate_sweet_potato_salad

Voila! Enjoy this super-easy, amazingly delicious salad!

 

Bourbon Old Fashioned Reduction Over Bruleed Stone Fruits {Recipe ReDux}

Mmm, booze. Who doesn’t enjoy a cocktail every night on occasion?

Well, the folks at Recipe ReDux challenged us to go beyond the cocktail and use our favorite alcohol as a recipe ingredient:

From plain Jane vanilla extract to fancy-pants elderflower liqueur, we like to keep a little liquor in the kitchen. Show us how you like to cook, bake or mix-it-up with spirits, extracts and other alcohols. A splash of vodka makes summer sauces shine – and liqueurs brighten desserts: What’s your healthy recipe with spirit?

Bourbon_Peaches_Plums

I thought of about a thousand and one different recipes that I wanted to make, most of which involved raki, an unsweetened, anise-infused alcohol (similar to the Greek ouzo) that is the national drink of Turkey (where my dad is from).

After a failed search for raki, however, my plans changed. It became all about the bourbon, specifically, Maker’s Mark.

I will admit that I generally only like to drink clear alcohol (e.g. vodka, gin) but for desserts, bourbon can’t be beat for the amazingly rich, deep flavor it lends.

Now I love a bourbon caramel sauce over bread pudding (see my recipe for Bourbon Caramel Cake Pudding), but I wanted to lighten it up. I promise you, you won’t even miss the bread pudding on this recipe.

I don’t even like Old Fashioneds, but when you reduce all the ingredients to a sauce…perfection!

Bourbon Old Fashioned Reduction Over Bruleed Stone Fruits

You’ll want to put the sauce over EVERYTHING — ice cream, pancakes, waffles, into coffee, etc. Feel free to use whatever stone fruits you have on hand.

Old_Fashioned_Reduction

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 stone fruits, such as plums, peaches or nectarines
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon, such as Maker’s Mark
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 orange

Directions:

  1. Set oven to Broil.
  2. Cut stone fruit in half lengthwise (along the pit, like you would an avocado)
  3. Remove the pits
  4. Lay, cut side up, in a casserole dish. Peaches_Plums
  5. Sprinkle cut side of fruit with 1/4 cup sugar.Peaches_Plums_Sugar
  6. Broil for 5-10 minutes (make sure to check constantly), until you get a nice golden crust on the fruit.
  7. While the fruit is in the oven, add bourbon, 2 Tbsp. sugar and orange juice to a small saucepan. Heat on medium until the mixture reduces to about 1/4 cup.
  8. Drizzle “bruleed” fruit with Old Fashioned Reduction.

Bruleed_Fruit

Old_Fashioned_Reduction

Bourbon_Peaches_Plums

Check out more delicious, boozy creations from fellow Recipe ReDuxers by clicking on the link below.

Drinks: Ginger Beer Refresher {Recipe ReDux}

Super-refreshing, spicy and sweet all at once, ginger is definitely a favorite of mine. Despite this, I had mostly confined ginger to food applications. No more. After drinking my first Moscow Mule — and admittedly many more since then — I have been telling myself ‘I have to buy some ginger beer.’

So when I found out this month’s Recipe ReDux theme: “Beverages are Hot!”, I instantly knew the time was right to drink the proverbial koolaid. And while I’m all for an alcoholic cocktail, today I went with a non-alcoholic version (it was, after all, only 8 a.m. when I made this).

*In case you didn’t know, ginger beer does not generally contain alcohol. It tastes similar to ginger ale, but is brewed with real ginger and often times citrus fruits as well. To me, it tasted like a slightly spicy, though mostly sweet, ginger soda.

gingerbeer_mandarin_mint_refresher

But what to mix with ginger beer? There were so many delicious flavor combination ideas: mandarin, blueberry, strawberries, berries of any kind, mint, lemon, lime, mango…and the list went on and on.

ginger_beer

Somehow, I made a decision — no small feat for the indecisive type (clearly me): mandarin and fresh mint!

And thus the Ginger Beer Refresher was born!

Recipe: Ginger Beer Refresher

Yield: 1 cocktail

I made this virgin but it would be amazing mixed with vodka or rum. Let’s be honest, I’m going to make this again tonight before I go out. Would also be delicious if you swapped the mandarin for blueberries.

ginger_beer_cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) ginger beer (I used Reed’s, which was on the sweeter side)
  • 1 mandarin orange, such as a halo, segmented
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves, torn
  • Ice cubes as needed

ingredients

Directions:

Place mandarin segments and mint in a glass and pour in ginger beer. Using a spoon, straw, or muddler, poke at the mint and mandarin to infuse the drink with more flavor.

ingredients2

pouring_gingerbeer

Enjoy!

ginger_beer_refresher

Super-easy, no?

Check out more amazing drink recipes from Recipe ReDux-ers by following the link below!

Wild Blueberry, Mint and Feta Farro Salad {Recipe ReDux Sponsored Post}

As you may know, I’ve gone wild blueberry crazy this week (not much different than most weeks).

Wild_Blueberries

But they are just so delicious and packed with nutrients. Do you know the difference between wild blueberries and regular, cultivated berries?

First off, wild blueberries have never been modified or messed with, meaning they are the same berry that existed 10,000 years ago. Which is pretty awesome.

Besides that, they have a more intense flavor and color, are smaller and thus you get more berries per pound and they have a higher concentration of beneficial phytochemicals — twice the antioxidants as compared to regular blueberries! Which means major health benefits (see laundry list below).

Wild_Blueberry_Farro_Salad

Wild Blueberries are the subject of hundreds of research studies looking at potential benefits to humans including:

  • Brain health
  • Anti-aging
  • Heart health
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Cancer prevention
  • Reducing oxidative stress
  • Preventing UTIs
  • Eye health
  • Most Wild Blueberries are frozen at harvest, locking in their intense blueberry flavor and antioxidant power
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries are just as nutritious as fresh and may even retain their nutritional value longer
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries are available year-round; they can be used right out of the freezer – no thawing required
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries offer consumers the most convenient way to have the Antioxidant Superfruit at hand at all times.
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries make it easy to get your “Daily Dose of Wild Blue”
  • Frozen Wild Blueberries are an excellent value, they offer consistent quality, ease of use, high antioxidant content, health benefits, less spoilage, affordability.

Learn more about the benefits of wild blueberries here.

And with that, let’s talk recipes. Healthy food is only good for you if you actually eat it, and while wild blueberries are delicious on their own, they also lend themselves well to both sweet and savory applications. Check out my recipes for Wild Blueberry Truffles and Wild Blueberry, Avocado and Corn Salsa for more inspiration.

And if you are looking for more ways to use wild blueberries (clearly you should), they pair well with honey, mint, cilantro, basil and lemon, to name a few.

Recipe: Wild Blueberry, Mint and Feta Farro Salad

Farro is one of the oldest cultivated grains — enjoyed for roughly 5,000 years. It has a texture similar to barley with a nice, nutty taste. Like wild blueberries, farro is delicious in sweet and savory applications. Plus, it’s packed with fiber, protein and a wealth of other nutrients.

Makes: about 4 cups (serving size 1 cup)

*By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Farro_Wild_Blueberry_Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup semi-pearled farro
  • 1 cup wild blueberries
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/4 large lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Prepare farro according to package directions (generally requires about 25-35 minutes of cooking).

Gently mix prepared farro with remaining ingredients, being careful not to smash the wild blueberries.

This salad is delicious hot or cold. Serve with vegetables (cauliflower “rice” below) and fish or chicken (BBQ chicken was especially yummy).

Wild_Blueberry_Farro_Salad_with_BBQ_Chicken

Nutrition information (for 1 cup farro salad): Calories 229; Fat 4 g; Carbohydrates 40 g; Fiber 7 g; Protein 8 g; Sodium 330 mg

More delicious wild blueberry recipes — follow the link below!

Breakfast Dilemma Solved

Banana Pumpkin Omelet

Hello and welcome to my new website, danaartinyan.com! I’m excited for a new look and simpler name. And please email me at dana.artinyan.rd@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or post ideas. Thanks!

The Sweet or Savory Breakfast Dilemma

I’m sure you’ve had this happen. You’re at a restaurant or at home trying to decide: do you want the sweet pancakes, waffles or French toast? Or are you in the mood for a delicious omelet (e.g. the savory breakfast option).

I believe I solved this issue today when I made a Banana-Pumpkin-Cinnamon Flourless “Crepe.” This is basically a sweet omelet. I was inspired by the egg mixture that you dip bread into whilst making French toast. Why couldn’t I make an omelet like this? And before you get grossed out thinking about an omelet with fruit in it, let’s review all of the sweet applications for eggs: the aforementioned French toast, soufflé, meringues, any baked good…

Is it making sense now? Trust me, this was absolutely delicious with just the right amount of natural sweetness from the bananas and cinnamon, yet not overly sweet, which is usually what you find with a waffle, French toast and the like.

Protein Breakfast

Banana-Pumpkin-Cinnamon Flourless “Crepe”

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg + 1/3 cup egg white
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (or about 2 “shakes”)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Directions:

Beat egg and egg white with vanilla and cinnamon until fluffy. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a small omelet pan. When oil is melted, add egg mixture to pan. Distribute slices of banana evenly in egg/omelet mixture. Put a lid on it and cook until omelet sets. When omelet is fully cooked, fill it with half of the pumpkin puree. Fold the omelet in half and drizzle remaining pumpkin puree over the top. Sprikle with cinnamon if desired. You can also add a drizzle of honey on top, though I didn’t feel it was necessary.

Pictured with a piece of Manna Cinnamon Date Bread (this stuff is amazing!).

This protein-rich breakfast will keep you full and also satisfy your sweet tooth. Plus it also contains potassium (banana, pumpkin), vitamin A, vitamin C and even a little iron – all from that delicious, fall-like pumpkin.

Banana Pumpkin Omelet

Smoothie Time

What’s delicious and refreshing, takes one minute to make, has hidden veggies and brings all the boys to the yard?

SMOOTHIES!

Banana Berry Smoothie.

Banana Berry Smoothie…and Flowers!

Okay so technically, milkshakes bring the boys to the yard…but that’s neither here nor there.

I absolutely love smoothies for several reasons:

  1. They’re an extremely quick supplement to a meal or even a meal replacement. To make it a meal replacement, add oats and about 1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter (to make the calories more appropriate).
    • Having a smoothie in place of one meal/day is a great way to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
  2. You can throw whatever you have on hand into the smoothie.
  3. They are extremely nutritious, when made with the right ingredients.

In my mind, smoothies must include two main ingredients: fruit and dairy (milk or yogurt). However, there are ways to take your smoothie to the next level, nutrition-wise. Since smoothies tend to be either a post-workout snack or a part of my dinner, I always add protein powder. Some of my favorites include:

  • Swanson Whey (Vanilla flavor – it’s more versatile): 90 calories and 20 grams of protein. That’s pretty unbeatable. Plus, I like this one because it is less sweet than other varieties. Also comes in a grass-fed version.
  • Tera’s Whey (Plain or Vanilla – the Vanilla is pretty sweet so I like the Plain better): midwest-based (read: local), sustainable practices and fair animal treatment, no growth hormones, grass-fed (plain flavor) and just a nice high-quality, small batch product. 110 calories and 22 grams protein per serving.
  • Designer Whey (French Vanilla flavor): made with Stevia (more natural sweetener) and contains 18 grams of protein per scoop (for 100 calories). Because of the Stevia, this one is a little sweet, which is good or bad depending on your taste. I think it’s nice for masking veggies and other more bitter ingredients.

Besides the protein powder, I like to sneak in a little kale, which is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of calcium and potassium. If you don’t have kale, spinach works well too.

**Tip: make a habit of keeping frozen fruit on hand. I use the frozen fruit in place of ice to keep things cold/frozen without diluting the flavor.

So, when you put the whole smoothie together, it looks something like this:

Banana Berry Smoothie with Kale

Banana Berry Smoothie with Kale

Fruit: about 1 cup total. I used a frozen mixed berry blend and about 1/3 of a frozen banana.

Kale: about 1/2 cup (make sure it’s rinsed)

Milk: about 1 cup

Protein Powder: 1 scoop

Other: splash of vanilla extract and sprinkle of cinnamon

Alternate smoothie ideas (you can add 1/2 cup of kale to any of these):

  • Banana oatmeal: 1 frozen banana (add ice if using fresh banana), 1/4 cup oats, 1 cup milk, protein powder and cinnamon.
  • Berry almond: 1 cup frozen berries, 1 cup milk, protein powder, almond extract.
  • Pumpkin: 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, 1 cup milk, protein powder, sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice and ice.
  • Banana mango: 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1 cup milk, protein powder.