Apple Cinnamon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

apple, cinnamon, and cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches

Grilled cheese, man. Nothin’ like it! I’ve tried new variations through the years, and have never found a version I didn’t like. But I’ve never tried the sweet/savory style of grilled cheese until now, and I gotta say— I think I’ve found my go-to comfort food! It’s got that crispy, buttery crust, oozing cheddar, and the crunch of a sweet apple, with the delightful addition of my apple’s favorite companion— cinnamon!

Whether you actually grill your sandwich, or toast it (which I prefer), this isn’t your standard diet fare. But who cares? It’s so good. I did make mine with Horizon Organic‘s cheddar cheese and organic apples, so I feel good about the ingredients. Their cheddar is mild, but flavorful. The perfect balances cheese for a picky eater like me. (Yes I said, me! I’m pickier about cheese than my kiddos. Ha!)

apple, cinnamon, and cheddar toasted cheese sandwiches

apple cheddar grilled cheese

  • Horizon Organic cheddar cheese (either sliced or shredded)
  • Apple of your choice thinly sliced (I used gala apples)
  • Butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Bread (I used raisin bread, but brioche would be great too!)

apple, cinnamon, and cheddar toasted cheese sandwiches

STEP ONE: Thinly slice your apple and sauté with butter and cinnamon until tender crisp.

apple, cinnamon, and cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches

STEP TWO: Spread a layer of cheese on a slice of bread, then arrange a layer of the cooked apples. Top with another layer of cheese.

apple, cinnamon, and cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches

STEP THREE: Spread a light amount of butter on the outside of your bread slices and toast on a skilled over medium/low heat until golden and crispy.

apple, cinnamon, and cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches

If you couldn’t tell already, I absolutely love this take on grilled cheese. The girls, though? These plain Janes are a little trickier to win over. Lucy insisted she would not like it, but next thing I knew, her plate was clean. Mama mission accomplished!

sweet and savory grilled cheese sandwiches

apple, cinnamon, and cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches

Do you have any favorite “weird” grilled cheese recipes? My other favorite is colby jack cheese with carmelized garlic and onion, sliced jalepenos, and sliced tomatoes. Weird grilled cheese without the weird additives, thanks to the organic ingredients in Horizon Organic’s cheese! Check out their website to find a product at a store near you.

If you want more recipe ideas like this, follow Horizon Organic on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. And be sure to sign up for their newsletter to hear about new products and discounts!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine.

Kiddo-Approved Cheesy Mac Meals

mac and cheese mix-ins

So, what’s a mom to do when she has no kitchen, four mouths to feed, and no kitchen? Lately, as we’re in the thick of our kitchen renovation, I’ve been feeling a bit like a college student again. Our home isn’t too different from my old dorm, except we have a full-size refrigerator (thank God!), but just like nineteen-year-old me, we’re still making all of our meals in the microwave, when we’re not eating fresh foods straight from the grocery store or refrigerator. We don’t have a sink, oven, range, or dishwasher, and let me tell ya— we’re all getting tired of deli sandwiches.

But I remembered something from my past that I knew my kiddos would enjoy— microwavable mac and cheese! We lived on that stuff in college. These days I have a little bit higher nutritional standards, so I decided to use Horizon Organic Cheesy Mac and add some mix-ins to transform a cup of microwavable mac into a decent, kid-approved meal.

mac and cheese mix-ins

In the good ol’ days when we had a kitchen, mac and cheese was a decadent side dish to accompany a full, well balanced meal. Now mac and cheese is the main course, I told Lucy we were going to add some things to make it more nutritious. She told me, “I am not going to like any of them! I don’t like stuff in my mac and cheese.” And like a true mom, I said, “Well, I guess you’ll just be hungry then!” (Ha! The things our parents said that we now hate ourselves for saying.) Oh well. It didn’t matter anyway, because the kids couldn’t get enough of the mac meals.

I didn’t want to be too adventurous with our mix-ins, because this was the first time they’d had anything extra in Lucy and Juniper’s mac and cheese, and I didn’t want to blow the whole thing with one wrong move. So I played it save and mimicked the flavors from meals I knew the kiddos already enjoyed.

Because we don’t have a kitchen, I had to prepare these mix-ins at my mom’s house. I then portions out the prepped ingredients into freezer bags for easy reuse at our kitchenless house. Hanging out at mom’s gave me a great chance to catch up on laundry too. (6 loads done in one day, baby!)

After microwaving each bowl of Horizon Organic Cheesy mac, there was still plenty of room to add mix-ins. (No need to dirty another bowl! Hooray!) I stirred in the extras while the girls asked if it was time for lunch. I told them they’d have a chance to choose their favorite combination of mac and cheese as I began arranging them on the table to take pictures, but before I could finish, the girls commandeered the cups and began chowing down. Lucy’s plan to not eat “mac and cheese with stuff in it” didn’t go over so well. How easily her plan was foiled!

mac and cheese mix-ins

Now that I know they like mac and cheese with mix-ins, I’m going to add more veggies next time! Here’s what we did this time, and what I’ll add in the mix next time.

  • ITALIAN STYLE- Spicy Italian sausage with diced green peppers. I had meant to include red peppers too, but I forgot my pepper at home! Next time I’ll add chopped spinach too.
  • TACO STYLE- Seasoned ground beef with chopped tomatoes. Next time I’ll add black beans, or whatever beans I have around.
  • POT PIE STYLE- Shredded chicken with peas. Next time I’ll add cooked carrots.
  • VEGGIE STYLE- I added chopped broccoli and riced cauliflower when microwaving the pasta. The riced cauliflower was practically invisible when added, so I added a lot of it! Next time I’ll probably make this the exact same way.

mac and cheese mix-ins

mac and cheese mix-ins

Do you like adding mix-ins to your mac and cheese? Or are you a purist? I love thinking of new flavor combinations and discovered a new favorite today— the spicy sausage with peppers. So good! We’ll probably bring back this lunch routine long after our kitchen renovation is complete.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine. Get more snacking and meal ideas at Horizon’s Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram pages too!

Easy Strawberry Banana Popsicles

strawberry banana popsicles

Have you made a summertime bucket list yet? Popsicle making is the perfect summer activity to put at the top of your list. It’s the perfect way to usher in the month of June, and at least here in Ohio, it’s not hot enough yet that popsicle eating becomes a race against the sun.

I partnered with Horizon Organic to create this super easy recipe that uses ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Because these popsicles are for our kiddos, I wanted to use organic whole milk, and for bonus points, used Horizon’s milk that has DHA Omega-3 added, which supports brain health.

strawberry banana popsicles

creamy strawberry popsicles

All you really need to make these popsicles are strawberries, bananas, and milk. But adding lemon juice to the mixture will help prevent the banana content to brown as you wait for each layer of the popsicle to freeze. And if you prefer your popsicles on the sweeter side, you can certainly add honey, maple syrup, or your natural sweetener of choice. But this time of year, strawberries should be sweet enough already! And the bananas add more sweet flavor and creamy texture.

creamy strawberry popsicles

strawberry banana popsicles

Creamy Strawberry Popsicles
Yields 10
No-sugar-added popsicles that are simple to make and delicious to eat!
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Prep Time
2 hr 5 min
Prep Time
2 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Horizon Organic whole milk- divided into 3/4 and 1/4
  2. 3 C strawberries
  3. 2 small to medium bananas
  4. 2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
Instructions
  1. Blend the first 3/4 milk with your bananas and one cup of strawberries. Pour out 1 1/2 cup of this liquid into a measuring cup, leaving the remainder in the blender. Add the rest of the strawberries and milk to the remaining liquid, blend, and pour into another measuring cup.
  2. Fill the bottom of each popsicle mold with about 1/2 tablespoon of the darker liquid. Allow to freeze for 30 minutes. Then add a little less than 1 tablespoon of the lighter liquid, trying to make the stripes equal in size. Freeze for 30 minutes. For the next stripe, you can add a full tablespoon , but before freezing, add your popsicle sticks. Freeze for 30 minutes, then create your last stripe, and add any mix-ins you want to this last layer.
Notes
  1. Don't forget to add the popsicle sticks after the second stripe has frozen!
Making Nice in the Midwest http://makingniceinthemidwest.com/
strawberry banana popsicles

I made one round of plain strawberry banana pops, and another round where the last stripe was crumbled up graham snacks with milk poured over it. Those didn’t set up in time to include in the post. But I’ll share how they turned out later!

strawberry banana popsicles

strawberry banana popsicles

The girls were unbelievably excited about their special treats, and I felt pretty good about giving these popsicles to them, as they’re a much better choice than ice cream or other sweets. We all agreed that popsicles feel special, particularly because we only eat them in the summer time.

I had fun making these popsicles look pretty with the stripes, but if you don’t want to bother going back into the kitchen to pour each stripe, these are equally as delicious when you combine all of the ingredients at once and simply pour it all into the molds. I would just recommend starting with freezing an inch of the mixture in the bottom before adding your popsicles sticks and then the rest of the liquid to freeze.

strawberry banana popsicles

strawberry banana popsicles

I think it would be so cute to make patriotic pops for the fourth of July, making one stripe with blueberries to make them red, white, and blue. They’ll be in our summer rotation, that’s for sure!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine. Be sure to follow Horizon on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to get more fun ideas for summer snacking!

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