Crockpot Meatballs

My little one is 2 years old! How did that happen so quickly?! For his birthday dinner we made his favorites: pasta, meatballs, and cake! I made meatballs to cook in the sauce which was a first for me. I mixed them, balled ‘em up, and dropped them into the sauce to cook on their own. They were great!!

The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Meatballs
I normally like the crispy exterior of cooking meatballs, and I thought I might miss that. These turned out very juicy from cooking in the sauce. I was relieved they stayed together and would totally make them this way again. These meatballs being pork meant that there wasn’t excess oil that I’d expect if they were beef.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground pork
3 links Sweet Italian Sausage
1 cup breadcrumbs
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cup baby Arugula, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups tomato sauce

Directions:

Mix together the breadcrumbs and the milk, then add all the ingredients into a bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Meatballs
Using your hands, mix everything together until well incorporated.
Roll into balls about 1.5 inches wide. Add into a crockpot with tomato sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Meatballs
Cook on high for 2.5 hours. Stir occasionally.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Meatballs
Meatballs are always a hit here. We all liked them and I’m glad to have some leftovers. These could cook on the stovetop too, rather than the crockpot. The size of the crockpot was great for 1 even layer of cooking though.

Italian Grain Bowls

My new fav dinner are these grain bowls! I made Falafel Bowls and was chomping at the bit to make another! I am obsessed with the toppings, how filling they are, and having a bite of this, with a bite of that! Roasted veggies with raw veggies with cheese and meatballs. Yes. Yes. Yes.
The Three Bite Rule - Italian Grain Bowl
My base was cracked wheat, but risotto/rice/orzo would all be good. I topped them with roasted asparagus, chopped tomato, fresh mozzarella, and meatballs with a drizzle of pesto. Seriously, I could eat this weekly. The little guy loved it too!

Ingredients:

1 cup cracked wheat
1 1/2 cup water/broth
1 bunch asparagus or a large zucchini
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
6 meatballs
tomato
fresh mozzarella
2 teaspoons Parmesan
3 tablespoons pesto or marinara

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
In a medium pot, bring cracked wheat & broth to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Trim the asparagus and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Roast for about 15 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Italian Grain Bowl
Heat the meatballs (mine were frozen turkey meatballs).
Slice the tomato and asparagus.
Assemble the bowls with cracked wheat, tomatoes, mozzarella, meatballs, and asparagus. Sprinkle with parmesan.
The Three Bite Rule - Italian Grain Bowl
Drizzle with pesto and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Italian Grain Bowl
This is suchhh a fast and hands-off dinner. It’d be a great use for leftovers. Add in whatever you like: roasted peppers; olives; zucchini; eggplant; mushrooms; etc. You could swap the pesto for alfredo or marinara.

Stir It Up Holiday Mixology Challenge

We had family was here for New Year’s Eve which seemed the perfect opportunity to whip up some holiday cocktails! Stirrings offered some mixers and rimmers. Cheers! I used Peach Bellini Mix with sparkling wine and then swapped it out with ginger ale to be the mocktail version. I loved this and would totally make these again.

I hope your “resolution” was to spend more time with friends, or treat yo’ self, or eat more brunch, or host more often. This cocktail totally fits into all of these! I think a pitcher would be perfect next time!

Holiday Cocktail Challenge - Bellini
I love Peach Bellinis and I wanted to bring them into the evening…they seem to always be stuck at brunch! I rimmed the glass in lemon drop sugar and featured Peach Bellini mix, a splash of pomegranate juice, and sparking wine. It was so good! I made 2 drinks and this was definitely the winner!

Holiday Cocktail Challenge - Bellini

Ingredients:

lemon drop sugar
2 oz Peach Bellini Mix
1 oz Pomegranate Juice
6-8 oz Sparkling Wine or Champagne

Directions:

Wet the glass with simple syrup or a sliced lemon and then rim it with the lemon drop sugar mix.
Mix together the Peach Bellini Mix and the juice and pour in to the glass.
Top with the sparkling wine.
Enjoy!

I loved the peach and pomegranate together. Both flavors got to shine. I liked the not-super-sweet wine with some bubbles, but go as sweet or dry as you like. There are also a ton of variations on this:
Peach Bellini mix + cranberry juice + sparkling wine
Peach Bellini mix + pomegranate juice + club soda
Peach Bellini mix + peach puree + ginger beer or ginger ale
Peach Bellini mix + Polar’s Pomegranate Dry Soda

Holiday Cocktail Challenge - Bellini
Mixers totally elevate the cocktail from my norm concoction from the liquor cabinet! I didn’t go all out with garnishes but drop a slice of peach or frozen peach in, and maybe a drink umbrella. You deserve it! I have another one I was into, but was a bit too boozy for the others. I’ll share that one another time too!

Follow Stirrings on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest for fun recipe ideas. Did you MA folks know Stirrings was founded in Nantucket? Find them at liquor stores & grocery stores like: Roche Brothers, Hannaford’s, Kappys, Yankee Spirits, Wines & More, Total Wines & More, Lukes!

Full 3 Bite Rule Disclosure: Stirrings offered me 2 mixers & 2 rimmers to enter a cocktail challenge for a monetary prize. My thoughts, opinions, words, and love for a fun cocktail are entirely my own. Fingers crossed!

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

I baked! Hazzzah! One of our family get togethers included Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and a birthday! Mr. J made a pistachio cake but since I didn’t plan any other desserts I decided to sneak a cookie into the schedule. These were such a winner. I was nervous the whole time but they worked! Using cake mix made it so easy.
The Three Bite Rule - Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients:

1 box red velvet cake mix
2 tablespoons flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 powdered sugar

Directions:

Mix together the cake mix, flour, eggs, oil, and vanilla with a mixer.
The Three Bite Rule - Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Roll the dough into balls and toss in a bowl of the powdered sugar.
The Three Bite Rule - Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
Place the cookies onto a baking sheet and cook for about 10 minutes. (They won’t look crinkled until they puff and then set.)
The Three Bite Rule - Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
I loved these! They were super cute, so good, and perfectly cooked. Now I want to try other cake mixes! Lemon seems Easter-y. Funfetti would be festive anytime! I’ll totally make these again. Making red velvet from scratch costs a fortune for how much red dye. Cake mix makes these cookies so easy. Success!

Hashbrown Bake

This weekend was another family holiday get together and the food was endless. I mixed up these hashbrowns so I could prep ‘em in advance, and pop ‘em it into the oven when we got breakfast going. These are ideal before hosting breakfast or brunch! It was perfect to be out of the way while Mr. J whipped up eggs for our party of 5 adults and 3 kiddos.
The Three Bite Rule - Hashbrown Bake
I made one in a 12″ circular pan and another 9×9 for the freezer. A 9×13 would work too!

Ingredients:

1 pound of hashbrowns (defrosted only for a few minutes, able to be broken apart a bit)
1 small white onion, diced
1 can cheese soup
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups cornflakes

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees (if serving immediately).
Saute onions in a little olive oil until translucent and cooked through.
Stir together the soup, sour cream, and 1/4 cup of the butter.
Add in the hashbrowns, cheddar, and onions. Then stir well.
The Three Bite Rule - Hashbrown Bake
Pour into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Press down a little to make it even.
The Three Bite Rule - Hashbrown Bake

(If not serving right away, cover and refrigerate. To serve, add the topping and bake in the next few days, or cover and freeze.)

If baking and serving right away: melt the other 1/4 cup of butter, and mix in the cornflakes. Stir and spread over the top of the potatoes.
Bake for 40 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Hashbrown Bake
I liked this for the cheesy factor and the crunchy topping. I’m glad there’s one stashed away! This 12″ dish was more than enough for the 5 adults. This would be fun in a bunch of individual ramekins for each person.

December 2016 Recap

Happy almost 2017! December went by quickly. I think I did well to enjoy it. November is so busy that I always want to slow down and appreciate the season. I didn’t cook as much as usual, but I made a few fun things. Mr. J’s treat of the month was chocolate dipped potato chips. So fun!

One of my favs this month were these Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs for a party. I loved them and they were gone so quickly! I’m making them again for this weekend’s family festivities.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
I focused on easy & fast dinners last week during a busy time:
Chicken sausage + roasted red peppers + pasta with ricotta as the sauce
The Three Bite Rule - Ricotta Pasta
And falafel bowls over a bed of couscous
The Three Bite Rule - Falafel Bowl

The Little One:
He loved our Christmas trees, lights on lots of houses, and Santa! He loved cookies, and has been really into avocados lately. He doesn’t love foods all cooked together…like chicken pot pie. Christmas was really fun. He definitely understood opening presents. He got so much that we held on to a few things from us to now be birthday gifts in January. His favorites were: the cheapest matchbox firetruck you can ever imagine from visiting Santa; a felt eye mask that came with his super hero cape; a stuffed Elmo; and dinosaurs.

Monthly goals:

Year of the Pajamas! I’m going to stay with the year of the seasonal decor again. I got a few items for Christmas and I’ll go to snowmen/white for January. Bring on the snowmen!
do more dinner prep more in advance: I prepped for sausage stuffing and for Jess’ chicken & brussels sprouts pasta.
read more: I read Maine and Secrets of a Charmed Life
cook more fish: ehh. I’m struggling with this one.
focus on clothes that I really like: I grabbed this peplum top for $15 and loved that it was a bit more cranberry-red than pink. I want more dresses but they’re always hard to find.
monthly grocery store ingredient: a rotisserie chicken was the answer to a what’s-for-dinner.

Now I’m getting ready for family Christmas #2. We’re hosting and are looking forward to ringing in the new year with the fam of 8! I have a cocktail recipe to come & I hope to share this year’s rendition of my NYE tradition. Catch ya in 2017!

Maple Bacon Baked Brie

For Christmas we had apps all day instead of lunch/dinner. I made this baked brie in puff pastry with a maple, bacon, and caramelized onion topping. It was good, but a touch too sweet. Do as I say not, as I do!
Baked Brie with Maple Bacon & Caramelized Onions
I love baked brie but it needs to be served hot, and had a chance to set for a few minutes…otherwise all the brie oozes and is gone in a second!

Ingredients:

1 sheet of puff pastry
1 wheel of brie
1 cup caramelized onions (made ahead of time)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs maple syrup
3 strips of bacon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Pan fry the bacon until crispy and let cool.
Mix up the onions, bacon, syrup, and brown sugar.
Baked Brie with Maple Bacon & Caramelized Onions
Unfold the puff pastry dough and put 1/3 of the filling in the middle, and put the brie on top. Spoon the rest of the filling on top of the brie.
Baked Brie with Maple Bacon & Caramelized Onions
Fold a corner of the puff pastry over the top, and keep folding around in a circle getting to the end.
Baked Brie with Maple Bacon & Caramelized Onions
Put onto a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Brush with maple syrup (or eggwash). Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with crackers to dip.
Baked Brie with Maple Bacon & Caramelized Onions
Enjoy!
Baked Brie with Maple Bacon & Caramelized Onions
I used a bit more brown sugar & syrup than I probably needed so I decreased it for the recipe above. I like the oozy cheese with the bacon and the onions. Anything in puff pastry is a winner in my book!

Speedy Dinner: Falafel Bowls

I’m obsessed with the “bowl” concept for dinners. Do not get me started about the smoothie bowls…those I do not get it. I was wanting falafel and thought making it as a bowl over a bed of couscous instead of as a salad would be fun and winter comforting instead of cool and summery. I looove this for a weeknight dinner or as a build your own!

The Three Bite Rule - Falafel Bowl

Ingredients:

falafel (mix prepared as instructed – I bake mine! or warm frozen ones, or make your own)
couscous (prepared as instructed)
roasted red peppers
cucumbers
tomatoes
feta
Italian dressing
white beans or chickpeas
hummus
creamy caesar or greek dressing

Directions:

Make or heat your falafel and cook the couscous.
Chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and mix in a little Italian dressing.
Spoon couscous into bowls and top with falafel, roasted red peppers, beans, hummus, and cuke/tomato/feta.
The Three Bite Rule - Falafel Bowl
Drizzle with caesar dressing. Enjoy!

I loved this for a bite of this with a bite of that. I’ll totally make these again. The dressing/sauce seemed necessary to bring it all together. A bite of this, and a different bite of that was so fun. Falafel is also a great item to make in advance to speed it up!

I’ll see you after Christmas! I’ll have some tasty treats to share…one celebration is cheese fondue I’m hosting, another is a day of appetizer grazing! I’ll be prepping for the NYE celebrations with family for bfast/lunch/dinner/and treats! Stay tuned and follow along on insta!

Speedy Dinner: Pasta with Chicken Sausage in Ricotta

‘Tis the season to totally need speedy dinners! This pasta dish involved so few ingredients. I often want leftovers for the little one, or for Mr. J to take for lunch, or for the night of the week that is “anything goes” on our menu- other times I know we just won’t get to it so I’d rather not have any left!
The Three Bite Rule - Ricotta Pasta
Need a bigger serving? Add in another sausage and some more pasta.

Ingredients: (for ~4 servings)

1/3 pound of pasta
3 chicken sausages
1 cup roasted red peppers, sliced
1 cup ricotta

Directions:

Boil salted water for the pasta.
In a large skillet, pan fry the chicken sausages (either whole, or sliced) to golden brown (about 5 minutes, flipping. Most chicken sausages come fully cooked so check your packaging and cook through if using a raw product).
The Three Bite Rule - Ricotta Pasta
Add in the roasted red peppers just to warm through.
Drain the pasta when cooked al dente and add into the skillet or into a large bowl with the sausage and red peppers. Stir in the ricotta until coated and warmed.
The Three Bite Rule - Ricotta Pasta
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Ricotta Pasta

I loved the ricotta serving as a cheesy sauce without many ingredients. There are tons of ways to customize this so have at it!
+ pesto
+ other roasted veggies/olives/etc
- chicken sausage and use roasted chicken or go meatless!
- cook in brown butter and serve with a dollop of ricotta instead of serving it mixed in!

Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs

I’m discovering that the twists on deviled eggs is endless. I whipped up these bacon ranch deviled eggs for an annual holiday party. The hostess has a revolving door of party-goers, kiddos, and snacks to no end. I thought it’d be best to bring a ready-to-eat treat. The app that needs no oven-reheating time is here! A little while ago, I made these Sour Cream & Onion Deviled Eggs another time I sought a snack to bring that wouldn’t need to be reheated.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
I had all the ingredients on hand which is even better annnnd you can prep ‘em in advance or in stages. I boiled the eggs and later fried the bacon while mixing up the filling. I upped my game by acquiring a pastry tip from my mom.

Ingredients:

12 eggs
3 strips of bacon
1/3 cup mayo
2 tbs yellow mustard
2 tbs ranch dressing
1 packet (1 oz) ranch dressing mix

Directions:

Boil water for the eggs. Then allow them to cool and peal them.
Pan fry the bacon until crisp. Then remove and drain. Chop 24 bigger pieces for the topping. Finely dice the rest.
Slice in half, carefully popping the yolks into a bowl. Then add in mayo, mustard, ranch, and ranch mix (don’t add in the bacon yet, like I did).
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
Using a hand mixer, or whisk, stir well until totally smooth.
Then add in the bacon crumbles and mix to combine.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
Spoon into a ziplock bag, into a bottom corner. Snip off the tip and pipe into the egg white halves.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
Top with the bigger pieces of bacon you saved.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
Enjoy!

I looooved these. They were gone surprisingly quickly at the party! I had quite a few people tell me they liked the bacon in there. I’ll totally make these again. Though, I also have a few other variations in mind…stay tuned!