Meatball & Creamy Spinach Calzone

I needed something really good to redeem myself after Tuesday’s post. This calzone was really great ANNND really easy. The filling was already made so this calzone was just assembly. Perfect for this time of year!

The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone

Ingredients:

1 ball of pizza dough
~6 meatballs (I used these really good chicken meatballs)
1 package of frozen creamed spinach
1 tomato, chopped
¼ red onion, chopped
8 oz shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400-degrees.
Cook the meatballs and creamed spinach according to the directions on the package. Then slice the meatballs.
Lay the pizza dough onto the pizza stone or pan off center (so what will be the bottom is centered).
Layer on: cheese, meatballs, creamed spinach dollops, tomato, and onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
Repeat. Repeat. (it needs to seem over-filled).
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
Fold the rest of the dough over the top and pinch closed. Slice a few slits into the top to vent the calzone.
Bake 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone

I loved this one. It was so good, not over-complicated, and so easy. I really appreciated the ingredients just hanging out for the precise moment I was ready to make dinner. Creamed spinach is a great go-to freezer item. I have thrown it onto pasta as a sauce, or into deep dish pizza, and now into calzone!

The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
See what happens if you are too hungry to be patient? haha it is OK, it tasted good, inside or out of the calzone.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
This weekend is the C Family xmas so stay tuned on instagram for some goodies and I’ll be back next week with some holiday festiveness that is simply delightful.

Zucchini Risotto Boats

This isn’t going to be my signature dish. Really. I’m not being modest. This wasn’t great and I’m not sure where it went wrong. That can be where you come in…Thoughts? Suggestions?

I saw this on the menu of Local 149 (and it is still on their menu) so people must like it, right?

The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:

2 zucchinis
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup broth (chicken or veggie)
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
shredded mozzarella or Parmesan to sprinkle over the top

Directions:

Prepare the risotto: toast the rice; warm the broth with the wine together; incrementally add the liquid to the rice until absorbed and continue adding until the rice is fully cooked.
While the risotto cooks, preheat the oven to 375-degrees, half the zucchinis, and place skin-side down on a baking sheet.
Bake the zucchini for 15 minutes.
Add in Parmesan, chopped parsley, salt and pepper to the risotto and remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
Remove the zucchini from the oven and scrape out the inside fleshy part of the zucchini to form the boats.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
Chop up the inner fleshy parts and add to the risotto.
Spoon the risotto into the boats.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
Bake for 10 minutes, then top with shredded Parmesan or mozzarella.
Return to the oven until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
I thought this would be so good! It was OK. It wasn’t great. I served it alongside some chicken sausage and dinner just seemed lackluster. I like the risotto. I didn’t really care that cutting the zucchini meant the risotto sort of fell out. The zucchini seemed like a good texture. The risotto wasn’t the creamiest I’ve ever made, but it tasted good.

It wasn’t like I had an amazing dish I’m comparing to from a great chef. What gives? Am I just being nitpicky? They just don’t always turn out the way you plan. I cut my losses and tossed the leftovers when I accepted that we wouldn’t choose them amongst treasures in the fridge. I’ve been all about the bass desserts lately and I’ve been taking in the plethora of Christmas movies on TV so my spirits stayed merry & bright despite a dinner disappointment.

Ham and Cheese Rolled Rosetti

Now is when I should be sharing the deliciousness from my lovely baby shower. Somehow I didn’t take a single photo. I brought my camera and didn’t get photos of people OR of food. #amature It was really wonderful. I loved every minute. It was so nice to be surrounded, and supported by everyone. My mom made my favorites: punch; her caesar dressing; 2 quiches with eggs from their hens; pasta with optional baked shrimp (not optional for me!); brownies from scratch; real cheesecake with 2 topping options; butterscotch cookies shaped into ducks to take home. Yum. Loved it. Loved every minute and felt so loved. I can’t believe I didn’t take any photos with people!

Instead I do have a fun dinner to share. I saw these “rosetti” rolled lasagna on a Diners Drive-Ins, and Dives episode and thought it sounded so fun! Now, would be a good spot for the link but I can’t find it online. Pasta looking like roses? How cool is that?!?! I liked that it wasn’t traditional lasagna fillings either. It seemed like a good weeknight meal. Spoiler alert: it took a little bit longer to assemble than I planned. Easy and do-able but give yourself more wiggle room than I did!

Rosetti Ham & Cheese Rolls - The Three Bite Rule

Ingredients:

1/2 pound of curly lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup alfredo sauce
1/4 pound ham
1/4 pound fontina cheese

Directions:

Bring salted water to a boil for the pasta.
Warm the tomato and alfredo sauce together over low heat.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cook the pasta according to the package, being careful not to overcook.
Chop the ham and cheese.
Lay out the pasta and top with ham and cheese.
Rosetti Ham & Cheese Rolls - The Three Bite Rule
Roll up each piece.
Rosetti Ham & Cheese Rolls - The Three Bite Rule
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.
Slice each roll in half.
Rosetti Ham & Cheese Rolls - The Three Bite Rule
Stand up each piece with the flat edge down into the dish.
Rosetti Ham & Cheese Rolls - The Three Bite Rule
Spoon sauce over the top.
Rosetti Ham & Cheese Rolls - The Three Bite Rule
Bake for 15 minutes.
Then broil for 5 minutes.
Rosetti Ham & Cheese Rolls - The Three Bite Rule
Reduce heat to 350 and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake until the cheese melts.
Rosetti Ham & Cheese Rolls - The Three Bite Rule
I loved this. It was cheesy and lightly tomato-y. I’ve made lasagna rolls which felt like a pain with no benefit. These were fun and really easy. I liked that the flavors were different and it didn’t take hours to make. The assembly didn’t really take too long but I didn’t have everything chopped and ready for when the pasta was ready. Don’t be like me…it isn’t that much to chop.

Chicken and Wild Rice Bake

I made this chicken and wild rice dinner and loved how quick it was for something a bit different. I don’t make rice that often but maybe I should! It was saucy with tender chicken, and flavorful with some crunchy rice bits. This would be a good make-ahead one.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken & Wild Rice

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 oz wild rice
6 oz brown rice
3 tbs olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 cup flour
salt & pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 white wine (optional)
2 cups arugula

Directions:

Cook rice according to packaging. (I used half wild rice half brown rice or use all of one type.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large skillet to medium heat-high heat.
Add in olive oil, shallots, garlic, and chicken tossed in flour. Flip the chicken after cooking about 3 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken & Wild Rice
Add in the chicken broth & wine increasing the temperature to high. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken & Wild Rice
Whisk well to incorporate the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Reduce heat to low and cover to thicken.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and layer in the rice, then the chicken, then top with arugula.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken & Wild Rice
Add a bit more flour to thicken sauce if desired.
Spoon the sauce over the chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken & Wild Rice
Bake for 30 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken & Wild Rice
Enjoy!

I loved how tender the chicken was and the rice with a good but simple sauce. The arugula was for color and freshness but the peppery flavor was a really welcome addition. I served it with some roasted cauliflower since the oven was already going and it is a no-fuss side. I try to minimize sides if the main dish is more labor intensive.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken & Wild Rice
I’d make this again and getting the rice prepped would speed it all up. It didn’t take that long but maybe minute rice would help too. I’m thinking chicken and wild rice soup should follow.

Brussels Sprouts Pizza

Seriously, I may never run out of random pizza toppings. I was trying to come up with something fall-ish and vegetarian. I remembered drooling over How Sweet It Is’ short ribs pizza and decided I could Emily-ify it…aka, beef-less. Scheduling in a few meat-less meals helps highlight the veggies annnnd it is gentle on the grocery budget.

The Three Bite Rule - Brussels Sprouts Pizza
I love butter and mustard flavors with brussels sprouts so voila! That became the sauce.

Brussels Sprouts and Caramelized Shallot Pizza

(adapted from How Sweet it is)

Ingredients:

1/2 ball of pizza dough
2-3 shallots, sliced thin
2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced thin
3 tbs cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
3 tbs butter
2 tbs dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 cups shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat the oven and pizza stone (if using one) to 400-degrees.
Roll out or form the dough into a very thin circle and bake for about 8 minutes (until lightly cooked and starting to brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Brussels Sprouts Pizza
In a medium-high skillet, caramelize the shallots with a tablespoon of olive oil for about 5-10 minutes.
When the shallots are golden brown, remove them from the pan and add in the brussels sprouts.
Deglaze the pan with the cider vinegar, cooking for another 3 minutes.
Melt the butter, garlic, and mustard and whisk together. When the dough is cooked, spread on the dijon butter sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Brussels Sprouts Pizza
Top with cheese, then shallots.
The Three Bite Rule - Brussels Sprouts Pizza
Then add on the brussels sprouts.
The Three Bite Rule - Brussels Sprouts Pizza
Bake for 15 minutes until the dough crisps and the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Brussels Sprouts Pizza
Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Brussels Sprouts Pizza
The stretchy cheese with the touch of acid in the brussels sprouts and the buttery mustard flavors is perfect. I loved this one and can’t believe I’ve never put brussels sprouts onto a pizza before! This would also be a good use for leftover brussels sprouts.

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Gouda & Brown Butter Sauce

I wanted to spread out the pumpkin goodies. Sometimes it gets overdone when November is jam-packed with only pumpkin baked goods, drinks, and goodies. I also wanted some great cheese in there.

The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 pound pasta (I used penne)
1 cup shredded gouda
1 1/2 cup pumpkin
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg)
1 cup shredded Monterey jack
1/2 stick of butter
2/3 cup of breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until it foams, and then starts to brown.
Add in the flour and stir well as it forms a paste. Then add in the milk and cook for another 2 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Cook the pasta until al dente.
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Add in the grated gouda and pumpkin.
Drain the pasta and mix together with the sauce, and jack cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and spoon in the pumpkin mac and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Melt butter and mix in the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
Top with the crumb topping and bake for 20 minutes. Broil the last 2 minutes if it hasn’t browned enough.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
This was subtly pumpkin but had great fall flavors that were far enough away from everyday mac & cheese to feel fun. The brown butter sauce added a nuttiness and the parmesan on top was a good salt component.

I had more sauce than the quantities above so I froze the rest. Someday it’ll be insta-pumpkin-mac. It was pretty thick and I may add some chicken stock to thin it out a bit. That helps mac & cheese have real flavor without being milky without highlighting the cheese.

The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

November Recap

Holy. Moly. November is over. HOW did that happen. I can’t get over it. October and November are the craziest months at work and I feel like I blinked and the turkey has passed. I’m now 34 weeks preggers…out of 40. Wowza. The last 4-ish months have flown by. I haven’t been cooking quite as much but I have a few favorites from November in case you missed them. This month the blog turned 4 years old!

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup came out great. It was a nice comforting fall meal without being heavy.
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
I cooked so much with apples in October & November. I added some apples to refrigerated cinnamon rolls. This was such a great way to amp up a ready-made item. Barely any cooking for an instant treat.
Apple Cinnamon Rolls - The Three Bite Rule
One dish meals are so great to keep in your back pocket, especially at this time of year. I used some prepared sundried-tomato pesto for a chicken pasta dinner to take this simple pasta dish to something more special and a flavor we don’t have all the time.
The Three Bite Rule - Sundried Tomato Pasta with Chicken

Let’s check on my goals:
The Year of the Flower continues! Mr. J got me some yellow ones that have lasted for.ev.er.
send more mail – ehh. I missed this one.
make some Pinterest pins a reality - Not so much, though the baby-room decor ideas are multiplying on a private board.
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class – um nope. I’m not adding in any super new exercises at this point. I have just been working and relaxing. That’s it.
make more cocktails – umm no cocktails for me until January ;) I had an idea that I didn’t quite get to. Maybe December.

Bump update:
Mr. J has gotten all the room stuff done. All of it! He also was working like crazy to build a shed and clear out lots of room in the garage. We now can get to both sides of both car for future carseat loading and there’s room to dance park a stroller. The room is super cute. Here’s a sneak peek, and there should be a full reveal later. We picked daycare, a pediatrician, and took a birthing class. The babe is now as big as a honeydew!

I’ve had crazy heartburn that comes and goes and I’ve slept ok. I blame some of my restlessness is the biggest work event of the year. Who knows. I feel so full so quickly that I’m not really even craving anything right now. I miss wine though. Next month I’ll probably address the freezer contents and see what I want to prep. Any suggestions?

December will be crazy but I’m excited. I love the holidays but just didn’t want to be rushed though my work event for Thanksgiving. I see peppermint, and cockpot meals, and hot chocolate in my future for December!

Meatball Panini

This week you may need a non-Thanksgiving-y meal and this is a great one to also not contribute to your leftovers.

The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
Ingredients: (for 2 sandwiches)
6-8 meatballs
2 tbs pesto
1 cup arugula, chopped
4 slices of provolone cheese
4 slices of wheat bread

Directions:
Cook or reheat the meatballs and slice.
Spread one side of each sandwich with pesto. Then layer on half the cheese and arugula.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
Add on the meatballs. Then top with remaining cheese.
Preheat a panini press, a grill pan, or a large skillet to medium-high heat.
Top the other slice of bread with marinara.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
Grill each panini (flip if using a skillet) until crisp on both sides.
Slice & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
I loved this one. I found some new chicken meatballs that were soooo good. They were such a find. I actually might whip up a bunch of these and freeze them to live in the freezer until I need an insta-dinner.

What I Ate: Apple Cinnamon Rolls

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

I “made” these with pears at the pear-picking-party during the pear cook-off and then of course I’m still using the huge supply of apples we picked. It is a great tweak on a pre-made breakfast option. I love it. Also, work is so nuts right now that I can’t even think beyond about 4 ingredients. I’ll re-surface after Thanksgiving. Is it Black Friday yet?

The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients: (makes as many rolls as come in the package)

Refrigerated cinnamon rolls with frosting
2 apples chopped
2 tbs brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Add the chopped apples to a flat pan with brown sugar over medium heat.
Cook 5 minutes until softened, but not mushy.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Pop open the cinnamon roll can and place into a sprayed baking dish.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Spoon the cooked apple over the top.
Using a knife, press some apple chunks into the cinnamon roll layers.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Bake 20 minutes (or according to your cinnamon roll package).
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Spread the frosting over the top. (Tip: dab it out of the package then spread when it starts to melt a bit)
Apple Cinnamon Rolls - The Three Bite Rule
Yum. These are fantastic. The apple flavor is so good with the cinnamon in the roll. The frosting is really non-negotiable. Trust me. Don’t skip it. They’re gooey and soft with apple for texture and sticky sweet frosting.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cinnamon Rolls
You could always make your own cinnamon rolls, but aren’t you too hungry for that in the morning? I know I am! Cook the apples in advance and you’ll be on your way even faster.

Make it for Thanksgiving with some dried cranberries getting rehydrated with some cider or orange juice with the apples & brown sugar. Or cook up berries and use that instead of apples!

Greek Chicken Pizza

This was one of those oops moments and times that I had to channel my inner Tim Gunn…make it work! I really meant this to be a calzone. Earlier this month we were celebrating sis’s bday with a calzone dinner and this one just could become a calzone. I was having dough challenges and as I started to get frustrated but had to remind myself sometimes it just doesn’t go how you want, but as long as it is still edible, then it can still be a success.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Chicken Pizza
The challenge was that I was trying to rush the defrosting of the dough. Some things you just can’t rush. That’s kind of my soap-box lesson of the day. I was getting a hole-y dough with frozen lumps that just wasn’t working out. I plopped it onto the pizza stone hoping it would “cook” enough to keep the shape so I could fill it then fold the crust over. No dice. Where it plopped it stayed and pizza it became.

Ingredients:

1 large zucchini
2 tbs fresh oregano
3 cups chopped baby spinach
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup feta
1 (or 1/2) ball of pizza dough
2 small chicken breasts, or 3-4 chicken tenders marinated in Italian dressing.

Directions:

Preheat the oven and pizza stone (if using one) to 400-degrees.
Chop the zucchini and sauté for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until cooked through, before getting squishy. Then add in the fresh oregano at the end.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Chicken Pizza
Add in the tomatoes, feta, and spinach.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Chicken Pizza
Cook for another 3 minutes.
Spread out the pizza dough onto the pan and bake for about 5 minutes. Cook just enough to go from doughy to lightly crisped.
Cook or grill the chicken until cooked through. Then slice into chunks when cooled.
Top with marinara, then mozzarella, then with the veggies and chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Chicken Pizza
Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust crisps and the cheese melts.

This was a good pizza. It wasn’t drastically different than some of my others but these are fresh, veggie-centric flavors I love. I really wanted it to be a calzone, but I’m also thinking the “filling”/toppings would be good with pasta or in a pita.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Chicken Pizza