April 2016 Recap

April whizzed past me. I didn’t cook a ton nor did I get to blog much. I kind of spent the month either super busy at work, trying to keep up with everything, plus a sweet little vacay to Florida.

I was sooo into the cherry “cheesecake” yogurt breakfast I made. It was really good and prepping in advance, made for a more lovely breakfast on a weekday!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheery "Cheesecake" Greek Yogurt Parfait
These Baked Monte Cristo pockets felt like the best-fast-dinner-ever. I was so happy with them. They added some fun-ness, variety, and an insta-dinner that I know I needed to get back into the groove. Weeknight dinners with minimal prep are the best!
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo

Next month I’ll totally get back to normal and back into the kitchen once I come up for air at work!
2016 Goals:
The Year of the: Seasonal Decor ehh. nothing in April.
do something a different way: hmm. I’m not sure I did this.
drink more water: yup, I’m on it.
make more interesting side dishes: nope, nothing right now
cook more soups & sauces: I made lasagna soup!
watch more movies: you know, I don’t think we watched any!
make working out a higher priority: yup! I did an kick-boxing on demand & fit in a few morning walks before the alarm!

Baked Monte Cristo Pockets

As a kid, one of my restaurant memories with the fam was to a pub that was a bit of a drive so it wasn’t a last minute trip. It was something we planned for and looked forward to. I remember my mom choosing French onion soup and my dad choosing a monte cristo…both choices we didn’t make at home. I had some leftover ham from Easter in the freezer and some sliced turkey so I wanted to try a monte cristo that I didn’t have to fry.

The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo
Ingredients: (makes 4)
1 pkg of 8 croissants
4 slices turkey
2 slices ham
1/4 cup shredded swiss
1/4 cup strawberry jam

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Pop the croissant package and unroll the dough. Roll it out a bit, or press it to be more thin with your fingers. Split the dough into 4 squares, not the perforated triangles.
Lay a slice of turkey and a little ham onto each of the 4 squares of dough.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo
Sprinkle a little cheese onto each, and spoon a few drops of jam onto each as well.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo
Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the bottom over the fold to close it.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo
Cut a few vent slits into the top.
Bake for 10 minutes, or as long as the croissant package instructs.
Serve and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo
I liked these. They also were so quick to assemble and bake which made me love them even more! Seriously: 5 minutes of assembly + 10 minutes of baking = dinner in a jiffy. The babe ate one chopped up and I toasted one for a breakfast one day!

Lasagna Soup

I was feelin’ lasagna but wanted to speed it up and not have to bake it forever. This soup was quick and hit all the flavors I wanted! I went a tiny bit heavy handed with the red wine, so I cooked it down a bit to mellow that out. The dollop of ricotta allowed me to gently swirl it around to melt with the meaty bites and the wavy noodles.

The Three Bite Rule - Lasagna Soup

Ingredients:

2 Italian Sausage links
4 lasagna noodles
28oz can Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes
1 tbs garlic, minced
3 tbs cup red wine
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tbs Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbs ricotta cheese

Directions:

In a large skillet, remove the casing and cook the sausage over medium heat. Break up the pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook just until cooked through.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add in the lasagna noodles.
Drain the sausage and add it to a heavy pot with the canned tomatoes, garlic, wine, and Italian seasoning over medium heat.
When the pasta is al dente, drain and cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/2 inch pieces (think spoon size).
The Three Bite Rule - Lasagna Soup
Stir well and reduce heat. Taste and add salt as needed and Parmesan.
The Three Bite Rule - Lasagna Soup
Serve with a dollop of ricotta. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Lasagna Soup
This is totally the speedy way to have the taste of lasagna without all the steps. I made this just before vacation so I also appreciated not having a lot of leftovers, or filling up the freezer. I have a serious love affair with ricotta so this was right up my ally. I would also try it in individual ramekins with ricotta at the bottom and mozzarella on the top. How fun would those be?!

Crepes with Ham & Marsala Mushrooms

I do exist! The last two weeks were a mad-rush to get ready for our trip, then 5 lovely days in Florida, and a busy return. I opted for some sleep and a return to reality instead of blogging. I’m sure you can imagine.

Post-Easter, I used some leftover ham for crepes with swiss cheese and a little creamy marsala mushroom sauce. It was so good! This was leftover that wouldn’t ever even seem like leftovers.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Marsala Mushroom Sauce
Ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tbs butter, melted
1/2 onion
2-3 slices of ham, chopped
1/2 cup shredded swiss
1 1/2 cup baby portabella mushrooms
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbs Marsala wine
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tbs cream cheese

Directions:
Add crepe batter to a blender: egg, milk, water, flour, and melted butter. Blend for 15 seconds. Then refrigerate while prepping the filling.
In a large skillet, saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil until soft and translucent over medium heat.
Add in the ham and cook for about 5 minutes to continue to caramelize the onion while warming the ham through. Then remove from the heat.
1 egg 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup water 2 tbs butter, melted
Slice the mushrooms and add to the still-hot pan with the broth, marsala, worcestershire, and cream cheese. Bring to high for a few minutes and then lower the heat to thicken a bit.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Marsala Mushroom Sauce
Cook the crepes in very thin pancakes in a large skillet, sprayed with non-stick spray, or with an electric crepe maker. Cook each crepes for about 3 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Marsala Mushroom Sauce
Assemble the crepes with some ham & onion filling, a sprinkle of cheese, and marsala mushrooms.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Marsala Mushroom Sauce
Fold the edges over themselves. Serve and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Marsala Mushroom Sauce
I loved these. I haven’t made crepes in forever and they’re such great vehicles for any filling! I loved the ham cooked like lardons with onions and mushrooms! The babe ate his a bit deconstructed. He was very into the ham…for several meals!

Cherry “Cheesecake” Breakfast with Greek Yogurt

I’ll always pick savory breakfast over sweet BUT I was inspired by all the yogurt flavors out there and I did pretty well to give the impression of Cherry Cheesecake without too much sugar. It’s just a fruit topping (thickened, without sugar), vanilla Greek yogurt, and a crumble as the crust (with some sugar). I prepped the crumble and the cherries on Sunday and this made for a delightful Monday morning.

The Three Bite Rule - Cheery "Cheesecake" Greek Yogurt Parfait
Another way to speed this up even more, would be to use granola for the crumble.

Ingredients:

2 tbs butter
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups dark cherries, pitted (frozen & chopped)
1 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp water (or skip and substitute 2 tbs fruit jam)
1 1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt

Directions:

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Then add the oats, flax seed, and brown sugar. Stir.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheery "Cheesecake" Greek Yogurt Parfait
In a small saucepan, add the cherries and cornstarch mixture (or substitute fruit jam) over medium heat. Stir and cook for 5 minutes until gently bubbling. Remove from the heat and let cool.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheery "Cheesecake" Greek Yogurt Parfait
Stir the crumble until coated and spoon onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper to cool and harden.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheery "Cheesecake" Greek Yogurt Parfait
When the crumble is cool and not tacky to the touch (20-ish minutes) break into chunks. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag until serving.
Serve the crumble on the bottom, some vanilla greek yogurt, and cherries on top. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheery "Cheesecake" Greek Yogurt Parfait
I loved this. I wish I had more cherry mixture and more crumble! I ate it twice and was so happy to wake up to it. This definitely feels like a treat! It has the impression of dessert, but I kept the cherry mixture tart and tasting like real cherries without any sugar. The crumble had a nice nuttiness without costing $1,000 for lots of nuts. I’d probably toast some and add them next time. It seemed a bit more filling than just yogurt for breakfast.

Winner winner with a cherry on top.

March 2016 Recap

March was awesome. My birthday was great. Work has been so busy but I also know April is only going to get crazier. The little one is busy, active, and loving the toddler class at daycare. I am not loving that they make glitter crafts almost weekly. What. The. Heck. Who gives toddlers glitter? I thought I had years before that would happen.

I’m glad it feels like spring is coming though we’ve had a random mix of temperatures. I’ve been mixing the “have to eat the last wintery foods” with “bring on lighter and fresher flavors!” I have probably never been so ready for an April getaway we have planned to take the little one to Florida. I’m sad Downton Abby is over but we’ve really gotten into The People V. OJ Simpson show. The last week we’ve been super sick so I think now all of us are on the mend. So-over the runny noses x3.

One of my favorite things I made this whole month was a Nutella Cafe Au Lait that I didn’t really plan on, but was SO fun. I totally have to froth milk at home more often. Try it, 30 seconds of shaking in a jar and 30 seconds in the microwave.
Nutella Cafe Au Lait - The Three Bite Rule
Another fav was, hands down, this caesar asparagus. So good. I’d eat just this and be so happy.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Asparagus

2016 Goals:
The Year of the: Seasonal Decor My sis stocked me up with some Easter decor for my bday! I don’t even know what April should be.
do something a different way: I’m making sure not to apologize for things I’m asking for. At work I found I often started emails apologizing for things I am following up on because the other person never responded. Have you seen the commercials?
drink more water: I’m doing OK drinking more, I could always improve.
make more interesting side dishes: yes! This Caesar Asparagus was the best side. I tried a fried mashed potato cake that failed miserably.
cook more soups & sauces: I made chimichurri on shrimp for a salad.
watch more movies: we watched The Martian, Zero Dark Thirty, The Big Short, and Steve Jobs.
make working out a higher priority: ehh, not really but now that it is light out later, I’ve fit in a few more walks.

Caesar Asparagus

I know. I can admit. I’m caesar dressing obsessed and after making Caesar Brussels Sprouts, I thought it would be really good for roasted asparagus. It was! I jazzed up some creamy caesar dressing and added some hard boiled egg, but you could totally make your own caesar dressing. I loved it and could have had just that for dinner!
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Asparagus

Ingredients:

1 bunch asparagus
1 egg, hard boiled
1/4 cup creamy caesar
2 tbs grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 tsp minced garlic
cracked fresh pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Trim the asparagus then drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet.
Roast for 15 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Asparagus
In a jar, add caesar dressing, 1 tbs of parmesan, anchovy paste, garlic, and pepper. Shake well.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Asparagus

Lay the asparagus on a serving plate. Drizzle the dressing over the top, and the remaining Parmesan.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Asparagus
Chop the hard boiled egg and sprinkle over the top.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Asparagus
I loved this. The tiniest bit of anchovy paste makes this dressing so. much. better. Trust me, nobody will know what it is, but that tiny touch is necessary. Plus, it lasts forever in a tiny tube in your fridge. I love the salty, peppery dressing with the just-roasted asparagus and egg. It was such a great side dish and a sign that spring is on the way!

Spinach Squares

I mixed up these spinach squares last weekend thinking they’d be a good thing to pack for the little one’s lunch. Thennn I also munched it for my quest for savory breakfasts. I also was reminded that my mom makes this as an appetizer…such a multi-functional food! There are so few ingredients and I liked that they weren’t so eggy that it seems like square quiche. The trick making them so good is quality cheese and is that they get baked in a butter bath.

The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Squares
The little one liked it a few times, but seemed to tire of them. That’s a trend for him: a few meals something is good, then he kind of passes on it. If we give it a break, it is all good awhile later. I’ll probably pop some into the freezer.

Ingredients:

3 tbs butter
3 eggs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed well
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
optional: 1 small onion & 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
In a 13×9 baking pan, melt the butter by putting both into the preheating oven.
In a mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer), add in the eggs, cheese, spinach, milk, flour, baking powder, and salt.
The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Squares

Stir well to combine.
Pour into the buttery baking pan.
The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Squares
Bake 30 minutes.
Let cool, slice and enjoy at room temperature or warm!

The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Squares

I used more butter but thought maybe there was a bit too much (gasp!) it pooled a bit one mine so next time I’d use 3 tbs (as suggested above). I love these! My mom’s are a bit thicker and more fluffy…mine seemed a touch dense but I still liked them! Use the good cheese…these have so few ingredients they’re worth it!

Easter Carrot Shaped Cheese Ball

This cheese ball has been awaiting the blog debut for. a. year. I made this last year for Easter and thought it was just so adorable. It takes 10 minutes to mix together and 5 minutes to look cute. Voila! Serve with some wheat thins and some carrots for the best of both worlds! I don’t make too many super theme-y foods for aesthetics but this one tastes so food as proof it isn’t just about looks! This carrot shaped cheeseball goes with your Easter brunchy foods, your Easter lunch spread, or an Easter dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Carrot Cheese Ball

Ingredients:

8oz package cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbs Parmesan cheese
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 cup orange cheddar, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley
1 cup green onion, chopped
carrots
crackers (strong enough for cheese dipping)

Directions:

With a hand or stand mixer, mix together cream cheese, sundried tomatoes, Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
The Three Bite Rule - Carrot Cheese Ball
Add in green onion (I originally had less sundried tomato and thought it needed more). Then mix well.
The Three Bite Rule - Carrot Cheese Ball
Refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
The Three Bite Rule - Carrot Cheese Ball
Before serving, form into a carrot shape on a plate. Press cheddar around the outside and wipe away any from the plate.
Position the parsley under the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Carrot Cheese Ball
Serve with carrots and crackers. Enjoy!

This was so good and just so darn cute. I loved how easy it was to mix quickly, let the flavors combine, and then just a quick assembly before eating. Choose the crackers appropriately…ritz will crumble under the pressure.

There are some easy alternatives depending on what cheese ball flavors you fancy…caramelized onions & roasted red peppers; bacon and ranch mix; basil and garlic; jalepeno; or whatver combos you love. Go forth! Make a cutesy cheese ball!

You have guac to be kidding me

Sometimes I just need taco night with the good chips AND the good guacamole! For some reason this week has been a doozy already. I’m just too pooped to whole-heartedly share a post I had planned on. Stay tuned! I’ve been munching for bfast, the little one eats it for lunch, but mom makes it as an appetizer. I’m postponing in exchange for this evening’s stroll with the little one and the pup followed by tacos wrapped up with this week’s OJ Trial episode.

Isn’t this print adorable? So fun!

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