Three Bean Fiesta

The name ‘Bean Salad’ completely deceiving. My mum gave this recipe to me after raving about it. Then Mr. J was the one raving…he said it was the best side dish ever. This bean salad can be a side or served with tortilla chips as a dip. I got it prepped one morning so it would marinate all day and we had it for dinner.

I got the largest lime I’ve ever seen straight from Florida (thanks Aunt S & Uncle B)! I really wanted to put that to good use so I used it to marinate chicken with honey for a Mexican twist before Mr. J grilled the chicken.
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We are making up for lost time when the grill sat in the garage for 2 years before moving so there’s year-round grilling happening here. Also, my mum made me some taco seasoning for Christmas. I was super excited since I use it all the time and have only ever found it in packets so this jar was a big deal to me.

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The taco seasoning when on some brown rice and poof, we had a fiesta (served in fiestaware of course)!
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Ingredients:

½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can white beans, rinsed
1 can black eyed peas
1 can Mexican corn
½ cup red onion
1 red or green pepper, chopped

Directions:

Heat oil, vinegar, and sugar until gently boiling.
Pour liquid mix over beans, peas, corn, onion, and peppers.
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Let stand overnight (or 9 hours while at work).
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Serve with tortilla chip scoops as a dip or as a side.
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I subsititued white for red onion, since I had it on hand. I didn’t have any peppers so I chopped some tomatoes just before serving. I also didn’t have any black eyed peas so I just went with the other 2 beans. Three cans of beans would be a ton anyway.
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I liked the sweet/tart balance. We ate it a few times but I can see it keeping better if the onion & tomato/pepper was added just before serving.

It was a super easy side and was a pretty healthy one! I’m sure this will have a regular rotation in our house. I’d throw it on salad or tacos or the leftovers drained into soup or chili.  Ohh how fun would a chili bar be at a party?! The wheels are churning here for housewarming parties!

Please Sir, May I have S’more

I know, I know, s’mores were so last summer. All summer I just kept thinking I should make one of the many s’mores cookies or s’mores bars out there but I never got to it. This was a good one to flex my baking muscle though! They were a shortbread cookie with a layer of chocolate and a layer of marshmallow. They were topped with a little cookie crumble.
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I made these for my bookclub ladies when I also served them calzones and I knew my colleague Ms. K deserved one after breaking some hearts at work for the youth program.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2  cups chocolate chips
3 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degree F. Spray an 8 inch square baking pan.
Beat butter and sugar until well blended in large bowl. Add egg and vanilla; beat well.
Slowly add flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt, beating until blended.
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Press half of dough in prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.
smores_baked_590_390Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked layer then sprinkle with marshmallows.
Scatter bits of remaining dough over marshmallows, forming top layer.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes or just until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. 16 bars.
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I liked that these weren’t overly sweet but the gooeyness of the marshmallows made these a fun treat. They’re also a great cookie bar I think everyone would like.

Pumpkin Pasta Perfection

I’ve made this simplified pumpkin pasta a few times since I first saw Rachael Ray make it but I hadn’t made it for real in awhile. This time I used leftovers and it wasn’t quite right. I made it for real just before moving since it only requires a few ingredients and the leftovers are pretty great too.
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I like the pumpkin puree since it coats like a sauce on pasta on it’s own and with just a few other ingredients this pumpkin pasta is a winner. It’s a nice pre-fall or mid-winter treat. I carefully avoid the overly pumpkin time in mid-November.

Ingredients

8 oz pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 pound pasta (something short)
2 sweet sausage links
1/2 cup chicken stock (or veggie stock)
4 tbs heavy cream

Directions

Boil water for the pasta.
Remove the sausage from the casing and brown in a skillet.
Mix pumpkin puree and stock over medium-low heat until heated through.
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When pasta is almost cooked drain and put it into a flat pan so it is only about one noodle deep
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Add in the sauce, sausage and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until the pasta is cooked al dente.
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Gently mix in heavy cream just before serving.

I chopped some fresh rosemary over the top too. I thought it was woodsy and I had some on hand. Sage would be good too. I sprinkled a little nutmeg in as well.
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I love this dish. It’s rich and flavorful but so simple. I think it’d be a great for guests.

Such a cheap dinner!

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta

1/2 lb pene pasta: $0.75
1 can pumpkin: $1.79
2 sausage links: $1.42
chicken broth: 4 oz. chicken stock: $0.05 ($2.99 jar/25 cubes=11 cents per cube/cup)
heavy cream: $0.16
total = $4.17 and serves 3-4 ($1.39 per serving)

Grown Up Caramel Corn

A few folks got edible gifts from me this year. Everybody always says they have too much “stuff” so I was hoping they would enjoy a treat that would be gone and they wouldn’t be trying to find a spot for it in their house.

I spotted a caramel corn online and thought it sounded really good and I thought it sounded like a snack with some class. This one featured crazins, orange, and pecans. I improvised a bit. I was impressed with the outcome! I didn’t quite envision the popcorn to come out crunchy without being sticky and soggy but it did!

Cranberry Pecan Caramel Corn (adapted from The Novice Chef)

Ingredients:

2 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 tbs jelly (I used apple)
1 teaspoon vanilla1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
In a large bowl mix the popped popcorn, cranberries, and pecans.

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Over medium heat stir the butter, brown sugar, and honey until butter melts. Stir in jelly. Bring to boiling over medium heat. Boil at a moderate, steady rate for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda (mixture will foam up).
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Pour the syrup mixture over the popcorn mixture in bowl; stir to coat well.
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Transfer to a large baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Remove from the oven and let it cool. If you want clusters leave it; if you want bite sized pieces then spread it out to cool.
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Bites This Week

Want a preview of what’s to come on The Three Bite Rule this week?

You can see some high-end caramel corn
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you can whip up an unexpected pumpkin dinner
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and who can forget dessert?
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Stay tuned!

Even More Calzones

I hosted bookclub for some super fun ladies and I was racking my brain about what to make. Mr. J and I were on the verge of officially owning the house and I wanted to host despite the boxes all over and Christmas gift wrapping station. There’s a core group each time we get together and a few others come and go so I was looking for a crowd pleaser that would be easy for me to enjoy the crowd while dinner was almost ready. I went to my trusty signature calzones.

I knew I could make these and cook them 75% the night before, which would allow me to visit with them. It also meant most of my cleanup was already done!

I made a broccoli and cheddar one in wheat dough and prosciutto, apple, and brie. I started with carrots and hummus since all other apps were seeming to compete with the calzones and I served some salad and we finished with s’mores bars.
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Ingredients

1 ball of pizza dough
6 slices of prosciutto
1 granny smith apple
6 oz brie

Directions

Spread room temperature dough out.
Core and chop apple into thin slices.
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Roll prosciutto into logs and chop chiffonade.
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Slice brie.
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Layer brie, apple, and proscuitto. Layer and layer until you think there’s too much and keep going.
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Close the dough around the filling and make a few slices across the top.
Brush with egg wash for a shiny outside.
Bake 375 degrees for 40 minutes on a pizza stone or lined baking sheet.
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I freeze the brie to make it easier to slice. 15-25 minutes should be enough to cut through. I chiffonade the prosciutto because it can be tough to bite through when the pieces are too big. Let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing so the filling doesn’t ooze out.

Check out just how crazy the filling looked and then when baked it looks like the right amount. That is my prime suggestion for calzones.
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I usually put sage in, but I forgot it when grocery shopping. I wasn’t sure if it would be everyone’s taste so I thought the broccoli one would be well liked too. Now, How many pennies?

Here’s the costs for the Proscuitto Brie and Apple Calzone:

Pizza dough: $1.50
1 Granny Smith apple: $0.79
1/4 pound Prosciutto: $1.68
6 oz brie: $4.99
total: $8.96 or $2.24 per person for 4 servings

Guest Post: Buffalo Bites

Today I have a fantastic guest blog post for you! This post comes Dana of Nosh. We went to college together and I’ve been loving her blog (like this pineapple salsa recipe! and this edamame salad recipe! and this stuffed peppers recipe!) I’m super psyched to try this one myself! I cannot believe I don’t have any buffalo chicken recipes on the three bite rule!

Here’s Dana:
I’m trying (key word) to lose a few lb’s before my July wedding, and in doing so, I’m naturally craving the worst foods on the planet.  This recipe is surprisingly low-fat (5 wonton wrappers is only 100 calories, and the chicken is boiled in plain ‘ol water and then baked, so no extra fat there…plus wait til you see the coleslaw!) but still tastes like an indulgence.  The wontons would make a great app (oh hey, Superbowl) and the coleslaw is a healthy side made with my favorite Greek yogurt (you can’t even tell it’s good for you!).  Hope you enjoy these and much as I do…and thanks again to Emily for the opportunity to cross over to another awesome blog!

BUFFALO CHICKEN WONTONS

(this recipe makes a TON of wontons.  You can either cut down the amount of chicken you use or if you don’t want to make all of the wontons, you can make as many as you want, freeze the remaining wonton wrappers, and have a buffalo chicken sandwich for lunch the next day with the remaining chicken!  Probably awesome on a salad, too.)

Ingredients:

1 package Nasoya wonton wrappers
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 bottle Frank’s Red Hot (I used Buffalo flavor but i’m sure the Original is just as tasty)
1/4 c. Light Ranch dressing
1 egg white OR water


Directions:

Boil chicken in water (or chicken broth) for 15 or so minutes until cooked through.  Remove from water and set in a bowl.
Once cool, shred with a fork and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Here’s the shredded chicken with the buffalo sauce…this was perfect on a sandwich the next day (said my fiance) and scooped up with celery stalks (said me).
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Mix Red Hot and Ranch dressing in a bowl and pour over pulled chicken, mixing to coat.
Arrange wonton wrappers on a sprayed cooking sheet.  Place about 1/2 a teaspoon of chicken into the center of each wrapper. Using the egg wash or water, lightly brush two sides of the wrapper and bring up into a triangle to meet the other half of the wonton, pinching to secure.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until crispy, flipping once.
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I sprayed the pan with olive oil cooking spray, so there was no need for a brush of oil or anything prior to baking.
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Pre-baked
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you want a cheesier, creamier, not as healthy wonton, try adding a bit of cream cheese to the chicken mixture.
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Gorgeous color on the wontons!


Greek Coleslaw

(this recipe is adapted from Ellie Krieger’s recipe found here.  Of course I didn’t measure anything TOO accurately, and I left out the caraway seeds.)

Ingredients:

1 package Dole shredded coleslaw mix
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani 0%)
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 c. mayonnaise (I used Hellmans Olive Oil mayo)1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and add to coleslaw mix.
Stir to coat.  Season with salt & pepper.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to let “sauce” absorb into coleslaw.

oh heeeey, awesomely healthy wontons and sweet scrumptious coleslaw…don’t mind if I do…
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Would you like to be a guest blogger? Email emily@thethreebiterule for more details!

Swappin’ Cookies

I think this is the last of my holiday items to catch you up on. Do you have today off? Great! Make some of these cookies! If you’re working today then just stay tuned this week for a guest blog recipe post and a calzone!

I love all the cookies that come along with the holidays. Growing up I don’t think I realized how lucky I was that Mum made so many cookies, from scratch. I thought everyone was so lucky.

Normally when cookie swaps are mentioned everyone groans and isn’t into consuming more calories this time of year so I think I haven’t been to one since 2008? Wow.
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Ms. L invited me to one at Flour that is also a fundraiser for Cradles to Crayons. I’m so glad I took on the challenge but brining cookies to Flour Bakery? Talk about pressure! Let’s also talk about the recipe I chose considering I don’t bake very often: Apple Oatmeal Toffee Drop Cookies. Go ahead, you can laugh.

I made a sugar cookie base thinking I’d make some more cookies soon afterwards…what was I thinking? During packing, buying the house, and preparing to move all during the holidays, I had no time.

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used granulated brown sugar)
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup quick oats
1 green apple, chopped
1/2 cup toffee bits

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
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Cut in butter and sugars together.  Add egg and vanilla, and mix until well incorporated.
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Add oatmeal and apple and stir by hand until combined.
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Form dough into ping-pong sized balls. Form an indent on the top and fill with toffee bits (see the top row). Cover the toffee with the dough from the sides of the well (see the bottom row).
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Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown. Then transfer to a cooling rack.

I made a double batch since we were asked to bring 2-4 dozen. These suckers had lots of butter, brown sugar, and oatmeal. I mixed in granny smith apples but filled them with toffee bits. I think the apple did a lot to keep them soft and the toffee melts so much faster and might leave these with burn toffee oozes if it isn’t stuck in the middle.

Baking a double batch and filling each cookie was a test of my patience. I tried to just go slow and make them all perfect. They came out awesome but baking cookies is hard work! I had 2 trays going and my apt oven was terribly uneven. Two timers, fifty million cookies, and creative cooling racks I was done and ready for the swap. (Mine are in the middle in the back).
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There were some awesome cookies at the swap. I had to admit there were a few I thought were below par. I’d never bring chocolate chip cookies to a swap unless they were perfectly cooked and the best ever…these weren’t.
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I was hoping Joanne Chang would talk more about baking, about Flour, about holiday cookies, etc. She talked about why they hosted this event again but I would have liked to hear about her cookbook or her favorite goodies. She had made Butter Breton Cakes that she was testing for her next cookbook.  They were reallllly good.
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Mac & Cheeses at a Great ‘Places’

Just before Christmas I was lucky enough to get a seat at a Mac & Cheese Tasting at Church near Fenway. Google Places hosted this exciting opportunity as a reward for folks who wrote reviews for Google Places. I tell ya, Google can take over the world and I’d be a-OK with it.
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I saw the offer as a tweet and I posted a few reviews. I went with places that didn’t already have hundreds of reviews. I love to give my opinion but I don’t like to rehash the same thing everyone else has said.
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The dinner was super fun and I was joined by two lovely ladies who love mac & cheese almost as much as I do. It was doubly exciting since one of Church’s culinary directors is Laura Henry-Zoubir of Regal Beagle and I’ve seen her on Chopped.

We tasted 5 mac & cheeses, family style, and got to select 2 craft beers. Google gave us cute goodies including a google places beer glass, drink stirrer, coozie, bottle opener, and lip chap (as some folks would call it ;) .

I have to admit, when I saw the first skillet I thought it might not be enough for all 20-ish people there! Boy was I mistaken…we had seconds and it just kept coming.
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The first one was mozzarella, Romano, basil and a balsamic tomato relish mac and cheese. It was so good. I loved the roasted tomatoes and that they were mostly whole chunks. I didn’t really taste much balsamic but the basil was flavorful.
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The next was goat cheese, winter squash, Spicy IPA Pepitas, and sage. It was amazing. This was totally my favorite and I’m not always on board with goat cheese. I wish this was a scratch & sniff.
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Then they broke out the truffle oil. Cue a communal swoon. We could smell it coming. This one had truffle oil, mushrooms, and Pale Ale Vermont cheddar cheese.
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Now they brought out the spice. The next was Monterey Jack, poblanos, and chorizo. Ohh boy. This was definitely spicy but I liked it. I think there was a good deal leftover, maybe because we had already had 3 mac and cheeses already.
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The last one had braised beef. I couldn’t eat this one, but I hear it was good. I had already eaten plenty.
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We had a good time and it was a nice crowd. I still can’t believe how much that one (albeit massive) skillet served! Maybe it was wise to not have all 5 flavors on one plate.

Multiple Christmas Dinners

Christmas probably seems like a long time ago for you, but for Mr. J and I, it was a whirlwind and feels like it just happened. We really tried not to wish Christmas away while awaiting our closing date and moving day. Christmas is a multi-day, multi-state, multi-family celebration for Mr. J and me. We coordinate our travel plans to spend time with his family in Maine and with my family in Greater Boston. It’s so fun, quite tiring, and there’s many meals. Here’s my recap of how those days were enjoyed through the meals.

At my family’s holiday, we are all about the traditional foods year after year. Apparently we cannot (or will not) break a few of these food traditions. On Christmas eve the R family has soup (clam chowder)
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My dad madee an amazing antipasto salad. He’s not really the cook in our family so we were impressed!
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My mum made the cutest cheese ball I’ve ever seen.
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On Christmas morning, we have coffee and a cheesecake-like coffee cake while we start gifts. It had apricot jelly and almonds on it.
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During a gift break, we have brunch with this casserole assembled the night before. It has rice, ham, cheese, eggs, and asparagus. It’s creamy and delicious.
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Christmas dinner was a surprise this year. Turducken! I was sooo excited to try it. We weren’t overly impressed and I think their suggested cooking time was way too much.
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We weren’t sure it would feed the 7 adults attending so we had a few heftier sides like this awesome shrimp dish (just shrimp, butter, and ritz).
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We had a Yule Log since it’s Dad’s favorite.
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In Maine Mrs. S recreated my failed apple bacon stuffed French toast. Amazing. It was so thick, sticky, and had plenty of crunchy bacon. I loved it and I knew somebody else could do it right.
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For lunch/dinner we had a cool ramen and cabbage salad. I’ve never had one with grapes and I loved it.
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We had some crockpot dishes that were good for feasting throughout the afternoon. The turkey meatballs we delicious.
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I wish I got a shot of the cake balls. I mean I ate enough of them there really wasn’t an excuse not to get a photo.

Christmas was really fun and we are always so grateful to make it to both families.