Eggplant Parm in Puff Pastry Pockets

Yes to breaded eggplant. Yes to Parmesan. Yes to puff pastry. I love all these things so I was secretly psyched for a cooler drizzly day to whip up this dinner. Ohh so good. I liked how quick these were and all the flavors I wanted while still feeling different. Puff pastry is so foolproof. Fill it with anything and you’ll have a happy dinner.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parmesan in Puff Pastry
Also, let’s discuss my sous chefs: note how they flank where I stand at that neon-green cutting board. It is so nice they want to be a part of everything, but sometimes I just need some room. I fear the babe will think their names are Bailee Move and Windsor Move. They are cute though, aren’t they?
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Ingredients:
(for 1 sheet of puff pastry making 4 pockets)
~12 slices of breaded eggplant (3 slices per pocket)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 grated Parmesan

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the eggplant until crisped, flipping once. (I cooked mine the night before to speed it up).
Roll out the puff pastry until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut into 4.
Top with a slice of eggplant, a few small dollops of ricotta, some shredded mozzarella, and a slight drizzle of tomato sauce (not too much! it’ll get soggy!) Add another eggplant slice and keep the layers going…3 slices per pocket. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parmesan in Puff Pastry

Pinch together opposite corners and keep tucking the puff pastry underneath. Cut a few slits into the sides to vent.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parmesan in Puff Pastry
Bake 25-35 minutes. Check at 25 minutes – mine needed a few more minutes to get golden brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parmesan in Puff Pastry
Enjoy! Serve with some tomato sauce for dipping if desired.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parmesan in Puff Pastry
I really loved this. The crispy, buttery, flakey outside with the eggplant and all the cheese inside – ohh so great. The little one likes the breaded eggplant and gobbled it up a dinner and lunch in a row. Yes! Winning all around!

Have a happy Memorial Day weekend!

Pizza with Kielbasa & Sweet Potato

I’m always ready for a new pizza. I ran through Delish’s unconventional pizzas and was so ready for kielbasa, sweet potato, and red onion and I added a buttery mustard sauce. It was so great. I’ll always love pizza dough but using naan is just so much faster on a weeknight.

The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Sweet Potato Pizza
Ingredients:
2 naan breads
1 sweet potato
1/2 turkey kielbasa
1 cup Monterey jack cheese
3 tbs butter
3 tbs dijon or grain mustard
1/4 cup red onion

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees and preheat pizza stone if using one.
Cook the sweet potato either baking it, pealing & boiling it, or microwaving it.
Heat a skillet to medium heat.
Melt the butter and add the mustard. Mix well, add some salt & pepper, and spoon onto the naan.
The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Sweet Potato Pizza
Bake for 10 minutes to toast the bottoms a bit.
Add the sliced kielbasa to the pan to warm through and caramelize the edges.
Slice or chop the sweet potato and the red onion.
Remove the naans from the oven, top with cheese, kielbasa, sweet potato, and red onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Sweet Potato Pizza
Bake for 15 minutes until the crust crisps and cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Sweet Potato Pizza
I loved this. The mustardy sauce with the kielbasa was so spot on. Naans are the perfect individual serving. They are doughy and get a bit crisped. The baby loves sweet potato so we were all too happy to have half a leftover sweet potato.

Feeding the Little One

Mr. J and I definitely have a little eater. Maybe he’s taken cues from us, or the pups who eat all that is served in one sitting, or his genes, or he’s just himself and is hungry, interested, and into food at this moment. Right now we’re taking the approach of just keeping serving varied foods and he’ll eat it or not but there aren’t other options at that meal. T has several teeth coming in so texture or mouth-feel could be a part of his current trends. Here’s what he’s been loving, or not into lately:

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Into: feeding himself with forks & spoons.
It is pretty hysterical to see him speed up the fork usage by manually putting something onto the fork- after several attempts to spear it hasn’t worked. Baby + spoon + yogurt = a true testament to how challenging aim is. He’s so proud of himself!

Not into: grilled cheese at Gram & Pops house 
Huh? I thought you were part mouse always wanting cheese! Quesadillas are often a staple for him so this surprised me.

Into: grilled sausages & grilled herbed potatoes
Sometimes he passes over meat, and grilled/charred pieces but he was into both of these the other night!

Not into: tortellini
Long-shaped pasta is always a hit, farfalle was gobbled down recently, but both hot tortellini and tortellini salad were no-gos this time. Who ARE you?

Always into: fruit – all.the.fruit, sweet potatoes, muffins, corn, beans, raw tomatoes, cucumbers

Hit or miss right now: green beans, avocado, eggs, deli meat, pickles, some foods if he has them in close succession.
mixed results so they’ll keep appearing and we’ll continue to see what happens.

Ramen Burger

Get. Ready. For. This.

I made the ramen burger and it was AWESOME! Yes! SHOUTING! It was so great! Yay! The crispy ramen buns stayed together and had the perfect toasted sesame flavor. The burgers had green onions and teriyaki. So good.
The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Burger
When I started thinking about a) I haven’t blogged in forever and b) what should the come-back meal be? I went high! RA-MEN BURG-ER. This video/tutorial is the best.

Ramen Burgers for 2

Ingredients:

2 packages Chicken ramen
2 eggs
1/2 pound ground meat (I used pork)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbs teriyaki marinade
1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 green onions, diced

Directions:

Boil water for the ramen and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then drain and rinse with cold water.
Whisk the eggs with a fork.
Add the noodles and 1 chicken flavoring packet to a large bowl. Mix/toss together until well coated.
The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Burger
Spray 4 patty-sized containers with non-stick spray. (Don’t forget this. I did and went back and washed, dried, and sprayed the containers to then put the noodle mix back in. Safe>Sorry)
The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Burger
Press the noodles down and cover with plastic wrap. Press or weigh the noodles down. I stacked my toddler’s bowls and lightly weighed the top noodles down. Refrigerate 20+ minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Burger
For the burgers, mix together the ground meat, garlic, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce, and green onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Burger
Form into patties and then grill the burgers.
Heat a skillet to medium high heat and pour some sesame oil. Pan fry the ramen buns for 2-3 minutes per side. Flip just once.
The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Burger
Serve with more chopped green onions and teriyaki sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Burger
It was really good! I think the sesame oil was really the key. I had some black sesame seeds which were also really good. I loved the flavors and was so excited the ramen worked! The craze is totally worth it.

Success!!

Food Inspiration

I haven’t blogged or cooked interesting things lately, BUT I’m getting back on track now that I’m tiptoeing out of the post-event craziness. 800 guests bidding on 62 complex auction packages then having dinner at 80 locations does not clean itself up. I’m tying up some hypothetical bows and have wrapped up a lot this week.

This week doesn’t count as amazing food, but I’ve been flying solo for a few days and had an evening meeting cancelled so this week has been all over the place. I’ve eaten a few food groups and the baby has eaten varied things. Hey, we’re clean, I have exercised, and we all feel rested, and I emptied the dishwasher…so bonus points to us.

Here’s what I hope is in my future for food & drinks:

I looooved Saloniki #newGreek a few weeks ago. I want to play with making some of the sauces at home…like the eggplant one!
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‘Tis the season for rose! I want to sip this rose sangria, or something like it on the deck.

I love this blueberry topped pizza idea and would probably tweak the cheeses. It reminds me of this blueberry & brie stuffed waffle I made awhile ago.  The little one would LOVE this since his obsession with blueberries runs deep.
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I’m obsessed with trying to make a ramen burger. I love ramen, especially from my low blood pressure days when the cardiologist was trying to up my sodium intake! Best 17-cent dinner money can buy.

I might test out all the onion cutting hacks and report back what actually works for me.

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.