What I Ate: Asian Inspired Meatballs

What I Ate is a Friday series that is so easy (but delicious!) that it doesn’t really require a recipe! Check out the category (to your right) to see other super easy ideas.

Did you cook your tuckus off for Thanksgiving and now it is time to adapt to the winter season? These Asian inspired meatballs are super easy and work with any pre-made meatballs.

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Ingredients:

12 turkey meatballs (3 meatballs per person)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp honey

Directions:

Defrost meatballs (or make your own!)
Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and honey over medium-low heat.
Stir well, then add meatballs.
Cook for about 10 minutes then turn to low so it can thicken.

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Serve over rice and top with some green onions.  They have a nice sweet/salty flavor. The brown sugar and honey help thicken it up and poof! You’re done and clean up is pretty minimal.

Bolognese

Let’s continue on with the very non-thanksgiving-y foods, shall we? I messed around with a bolognese-like sauce. It isn’t truly a bolognese but I’m not Italian, so I figure I can get away with it. I cooked my meat sauce very low and slow and it was thick and delicious. It seems close enough, right? Even if I didn’t serve it with a wide flat noodle?
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I made a lot and froze leftovers. I’m thinking I came up with about 8 servings-ish.

Ingredients:

¾ pound ground sausage
½ pound ground turkey
1 onion, diced
1 tbs garlic, diced
1 (6oz) can of tomato paste
1 cup kitchen ready, peeled canned tomatoes
⅓ cup red wine
½ cup water (if needed)
1 tbs italian seasoning
1 tbs salt
1 tsp grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Brown the sausage over medium heat and drain.
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Brown the ground turkey over medium heat.
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Cook the onions until translucent.
In a large stockpot or dutch oven, over medium-low heat, stir the onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, wine, and spices.
Add the 2 meats and stir occasionally.
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Cook over medium low heat covered for 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.
Add some water if it is too thick for your liking and sprinkle in the parmesan.
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Serve over pasta or in your favorite lasagna.
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I loved it. I think it had just the right amount of texture and a good ratio of meat-to-tomato. I of course used pork and turkey, but any 2 ground meats would do. I thought it was a good use of some leftover ground turkey hanging out in my freezer. Since I’m cooking for 2, I end up with leftovers that really needs to be cooked into something (like lasagna or tacos, etc) since it isn’t fresh anymore.

Chicken Spinach and Artichoke Nachos

You read that right. I took everything good about nachos and spinach and artichoke dip and married it. Happily. Ever. After.
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I had a bunch of apps on my ever running “to make” list of ideas so a few became dinner one night.

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh spinach, chopped fine
1 pkg frozen artichoke hearts (not jared in oil)
8 oz cream cheese (or plain greek yogurt)
½ cup prepared alfredo sauce
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 chicken breast, shredded
8 oz shredded mozzarella
multigrain tortilla chips

Directions:

Cook chicken breast and shred when cooled slightly.
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Add artichoke hearts, cream cheese, alfredo sauce, and garlic to a large large saute pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Once the cream cheese is melted, add the chicken and ½ cup of the shredded cheese.
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Stir the dip well, turn the temperature to low, and begin layering chips, dip and shredded mozzarella. Make one layer with about ⅓ of the dip, cheese, and chips.
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Melt in the oven at 375 degrees until melted.
Layer more chips, dip, and mozzarella.
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Melt in the oven at 375 degrees until melted.
Top with remaining.
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Trust me. The layers melted before more layers are crucial. If you layer, layer, and layer and then melting will mean your bottom layers aren’t going to be melted and the top will be cooked too much.
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I had some leftover chicken and sundried tomato alfredo pasta with lots of leftover chicken. I shredded it up which made for a wayyy better use of the leftovers than I planned!
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Thankful and Full

Are you still feeling full of thanks? I’m feeling ever so thankful lately. I love this season of thanks, kindness, and giving.

Mr. J and I spent some time last weekend handing out turkeys and Thanksgiving fixings with our local food pantry. It was a wonderful day and felt so good to know 130 deserving families in our area would have a meal to share with their families. They were so thankful. I was brought to tears when one woman I was helping to her car told me she hadn’t turned her heat on yet.

The food pantry had a great system in place and I was thrilled to see how much the recipients got. In addition to the turkey, they got to choose a pie, then they got a roasting pan for the turkey filled with sides. I was glad we could help since we’re so lucky ourselves. I’ve never been hungry and it breaks my heart to think about it.

My sis and I are signed up to deliver baskets to critically ill patients in a few weeks. My office has taken on filling these wish-list baskets before, and Mr. J and I did some last year. Community Servings delivers 395,000 meals to critically or chronically ill patients and their families annually. They offer nutrition counseling and hands-on job training. Their mission is inspiring. I love how much they fill gaps real people face and how genius they are in using what they already have to help others.
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It is lovely to read facebook posts expressing gratitude rather than complaints. I have so much to be thankful for and I this season is a great reminder of how lucky many of us are.

Apple Cheesecake Dip

It is almost Thanksgiving and I have an easy 3 ingredient dip/dessert for you to have on hand if you’re worried about what you’ve planned to make. Or maybe you need one more thing to keep the masses fed.
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I saw this apple cheesecake dip on pinterest and thought it sounded awesome. It is one of those foods that just can’t LOOK as good as it tastes. I added it to a dinner of appetizers and it was awesome.

Apple Cheesecake Dip

Adapted from Cooking Classy

Ingredients:

8oz cream cheese
¼ cup caramel ice cream topping
¼ cup toffee pieces
apples for dipping

Directions:

Allow the cream cheese to soften slightly.
Beat cream cheese, caramel sauce, and toffee bits.
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Serve with sliced apples.

This has such great flavor for just a few ingredients. I liked the apple dippers but graham crackers would be good, or animal crackers.

The original recipe has the apples dipped into the cream cheese dip and then into crushed graham crackers. I added the toffee in the dip instead for a pop of crunch.
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This is a crowd pleaser and a super easy one to whip up. Something about it says fall to me, but apples are available all the time so I’m not sure where my season-ness is coming from. I definitely recommend this dip for an easy appetizer or light dessert. I love to be sure there are a few simple items when I’m hosting for an easy check mark on your list.

Tip: a few drips of lemon juice will help the apples not to brown. Prep the dip and refrigerate until you serve it. Slice the apples when you’re ready to eat!

(Plus, this one got Mr. J eating some fruit. Shhh! Don’t tell him!)

Atlanta Eats

To celebrate Sis’ birthday we jetted off to Atlanta for the weekend. It was a fun-filled, sight-seen, deliciously-eaten weekend. Remember last year we went to Charleston?

We went to Juke Joint for a local dinner and were pretty surprised how much fun the jazz was. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been into jazz but it was so fun with our southern dinner!
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I hemmed and hawed between a few entrees but just kept coming back to the fried chicken. I got to pick two sides so I went with mac & cheese and fried green tomatoes. When in the south…fried and fried and cheese!
atlanta_juke_chicken_590_390 The chicken was so good and actually unlike any I’ve ever had. It had the slightest sweetness to the crunchy batter. The mac and cheese wasn’t amazing, but good for a few bites. The fried green tomatoes had a little red pepper aoli and goat cheese. Ohh my word. It was a great meal.

Sis chose the grilled pork with peach barbecue sauce. Hers came with garlic mashed potatoes and bacon baked beans. The potatoes had a very genuine garlic flavor. They weren’t kidding. It was really garlicy and really good.
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Our drinks were fun. She went with the Miss Ceeley’s Fruit Punch. How could you go wrong in the south with a drink named that?! It came in a mason jar and had lemon moonshine and pineapple. Makes me want to sit on a porch!
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I got the Sneaky Sneaky with sweet tea vodka, lemonade, and lemon. It didn’t taste like alcohol at all. Very sneaky sneaky indeed. Sweet Tea Vodka needs to make it to the north.
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Our lunch/dinner another day was at a super cute bbq place. It was packed at 3pm which definitely is a testament to the food. Apparently Fox Bros.  is ranked #1 bbq in Atlanta. Wow!

We both got pulled pork and loved it. The bbq sauce was super tangy and vinegary. I got onion rings and she got tots, just so we’d have some variety.
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It was a warm day and sweet tea with bbq felt like just what we were supposed to be doing.

We had a fun weekend and we were glad to see a city very different than our own. I don’t think we’re in a hurry to get back, but it we loved the history (we toured CNN! MLK Jr. sites, Olympic Park, etc) found it super clean, friendly, and of course we thought the food was fun. What more could we ask for?

What I Ate: Top Your Own Oatmeal Bar

What I Ate series is a Friday post that was fun and/or delicious but doesn’t require a recipe. These guys are easy to whip up and can make your Friday fun and delicious. Happy Friday!

My office has the best appetites! We decided to have an oatmeal bar and it was a fun and quick meal to share. I brought in oatmeal and everyone brought fun toppings. We use hot water from our water cooler. It was easier than our usual elaborate potluck.

I offered anyone who doesn’t-do-oatmeal could bring-their-own cereal or yogurt/etc and enjoy our toppings. I had pumpkin butter, cinnamon chips, and a dash of cinnamon on mine. It was very festively fallish.

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I mayyy have thought it was more fun than anyone else. Trust me, it was awesome. Don’t listen to my colleagues.

Boston Austin Foodblogger Swap

Once upon a time, food bloggers in Boston and Austin TX decided to swap goodies. The first swap was in 2011 but I somehow I missed that one. When I saw it come along again I was all over it.

Here’s the scoop, each blogger said they were interested and then were matched to an interested blogger in the other city. We exchanged a few emails about likes/dislikes and with a $30 limit we were off!

I forgot to snap a photo of what I sent. Luckily my swapping buddy is a more timely blogger than I, so enjoy her photos of what I sent (and her blog!) There was some pressure we both felt to share our region’s cuisine…well, that which was ship-able.

I got bean chips, popcorn, doggie treats for my pup, salsa, a marinade, pickled blueberries, cheese pins, stationary and a lovely cookbook. Yes. I got all that (and a bag of chips)!
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The chips are totally interesting. They were definitely tasty with salsa. I honestly had no idea why I wouldn’t want corn in my chips, but upon reading more, corns are linked to a few health issue, and beans provide lots of fiber, protein, omega 3s etc.
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I’m psyched to get something marinating in the new sauce and I’m totally intrigued by the pickled blueberries. I found the popcorn totally addicting. It has a serious kick and a lovely sweetness between the two popcorn flavors. I couldn’t stop myself. It is such a good combo.

The pup LOVED his armadillo & Texas shaped treats! (He hasn’t mastered the treat-on-nose trick or I’d have snapped a pic.

The cheese week buttons cracked me up. How clever are they?!
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She outdid herself. I was so impressed and thrilled to get such great swap items!

2nd Blogaversary

Can you believe The Three Bite Rule is TWO YEARS OLD now?!?!?! Craziness! How do you like my fancy redesign? My Mr. J is so talented and put in tons of work to get it ready. I’m thrilled and I love it!

I’ve felt greatly improved this year and I hope you felt that too. I’ve had another busy year and this blog has been a consistent part of my regular routine. My blog has made me more well rounded and I’ve met (in person and via the blogosphere) and I have had some really cool experiences thanks to the blog.

304 posts since I started 2 years ago
1514 photos since I started 2 years ago

Reflecting on last year’s goals:
1) website techie stuff: CHECK! I wanted better indexing, a pinterest link, double tweets. visit: www.thethreebiterule.com if you’re viewing via email or via reader. My redesign is AMAZING!
2) photos improved: CHECK! like thiscompared to this
3) more guest posts: CHECK! I had 6 this year, and I did 2 for other bloggers
4) prepping posts in advance. I did this, and it is hugely helpful for my sanity. I went to 2 posts (instead of the usual 3 when I was busiest but I’m glad I could keep it as part of my routine.
5) giveaways: CHECK! I only had 1, I’d like to greatly increase this for year 3
6) more unusual stuff: CHECK! restaurant recreations, crafts
7) move to a new house w/ a better kitchen: CHECK! love my new kitchen!
8) preview of coming attractions Nope, I only did this once
9) host more: ehh. sort of. I’d still like to host more.
10) be more creative: a few dishes I was really proud of coming up with, but I’ll keep at it.

Superlatives:

most traveled: Portland’s Holy Donuts
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so good I could drink it up: Apple Cider Sangria
Apple Cider Sangria

most views & most comments: Thanksgiving Side & Giveaway
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party animal: party theme favs were a tie apps & zerts and muffin tin challenge
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most likely to succeed: Bacon Jam
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Jam

class pet: Floutas with chipotle ranch
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Flauta
What do you want to see in year 3? My goals are:

    • more giveaways
    • more tips & techniques for some of the stuff I do best
    • more comments (that means you!)
    • more foodie crafts & reading
    • better photos & more time spent to get nice shots

Take a peek around. Enjoy the redesign. I’m glad to have a great index now and if you don’t already, follow on facebook/twitter/pinterest so you don’t miss a thing!

What I Ate: Pulled Pork Tacos

Today’s What I Ate post features my use for some leftovers. Like all What I Ate series editions, it isn’t recipe worthy but it made me really happy and was a great way to jazz up the leftovers.

Have you ever cooked a pork butt? It is hefty. I haven’t seen smaller ones than 3-ish pounds. That’s a heck of a lot of servings. The good news? It freezes well, reheats well, and has some alternative possibilities. It is pretty cheap too. It might be my favorite crockpot item. Woah.
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I used some pulled pork to make tacos and I loved every bite. I made pulled pork (like this crock pot pulled pork post from way back when) and we ate it a few times as bbq pulled pork, or on rolls. Then I served it with crunchy taco shells, black beans, and some slaw.
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Hello taco!

The slaw was red cabbage mixed with some shredded carrots, cider vinegar, veggie oil, and a dash of sugar.  It was perfect, easy, and cheap. I loved that it felt reinvented and wasn’t exactly how we had eaten it before.

Any inspired leftover revamps to share??