May Recap

May was bussssy. My event was amazing, we broke the 22-year fundraising records. It was awesome. Then there were a few trips to Maine and a few busy weekends. I took a break after not feeling overly proud of my latest meals. I did have a few goodies in May.

I started with a his/hers topped Caesar Salads hers with grilled shrimp, his with grilled steak.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Baked Gnocchi was a great freezer/pantry meal, especially fitting on a pre-spring cool night. I was thinking baked ravioli but I found some frozen gnocchi and got a quick meat sauce together.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
I loooved this twist on chicken & waffles, making it into a panini.

One of the best meals of the month was an Asian inspired salad with peanut butter chicken. It has some great flavors with the peanut butter, oranges, and edemame. Yum.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

P.S. Happy Birthday to my Momma!


Let’s check on my goals: 

Buy myself flowers more often - The Year of having-more-flowers is going strong, this month was the iris.
send more mail – I sent some mother’s day cards
make some Pinterest pins a reality 
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class
make more cocktails – hmmm, no special cocktails to share. June seems right for something lemonade-inspired.

Next week has some legit recipes. Stay tuned!

Who is Making Some Good Stuff

I’m back!  Haha sort of. I’m easing my way back into blogging and seeing what I come up with. Buckle up. It might get crazy. I think that’s the beauty of this. I do what I want. I was feeling in a rut so I might change it up a bit now and then. I know, crazy. It is Tuesday and I’m posting. What will the world come to? Or maybe I’m the only one who knew my own schedule.

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I haven’t really been making anything amazing, but I wanted to share a few folks who are and maybe a few other fun goodies.

First of all, I’m newly obsessed with this:
Raspberry Chocolate Greek Yogurt. It is so good. I had it as dessert the other day, tossing in just a few raspberries I had. It was unbelievable. Raspberries might be my least favorite berry. My nephews would be in shock since they love ‘em, exclusively. I’m noshing some blueberries right now as I write this and wishing I had some strawberries…that’s how low raspberries rank to me.

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I never choose yogurt for dessert, since it normally is my bfast, but I saw some fun flavors that seemed really desserty. Caramel Macchiato, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Toasted Vanilla Coconut I’m coming for ya. I wish I bought more than one of these guys.

Next, these Chicken Parmesan Cupcakes by Plain Chicken are just too cute, and sound delicious. How come mini foods are so much more fun? I’m thinking some apps for dinner are in order.

Onto dessert, again…This sounded too good to be true: Chocolate Oreo Peanut Butter Dream Dessert by Seeded at the Table
Seriously. Unreal. Check out her blog, it is lovely and this sounds amazing. I want to be friends.
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I saw these two ingredient sandwiches and they sounded so fun. Now I want to have a crustini party. Who’s in? These would be fun for a brunchy spread or for when it is too hot to really cook, or to appeal to all palates. I think “less is more” is a great summery food motto. Unless we’re talking that dessert with every good flavor in the world (oreo + pb + whipped cream + butterfingers, see above).

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Hmmm. What else.
This BLT loaded guac dip sounds ahhh-mazing.
This Spinach & Artichoke & Bacon Stuffed Pretzel might be my next “cooking with yeast” adventure
This make-your-own dressing guide is foolproof
This Chocolate Mousse-Covered Strawberry Pie seems like a non-baker like me to could make it

In other news…
Mr. J is a building machine. Since constructing the compost bin, he has reconstructed our saggy wooden window box, and now he’s working on a table for photo mat cutting and a squirrel feeder. Don’t ask about the squirrels, apparently they’re stealing from the birds.

The Bachelorette just started and I love this gal. I hope she doesn’t go as crazy as a few of her suiters went after meeting her for an hour. #drama

The teaching kitchen students at my work made the most unbelievable fried chicken. It was like late afternoon snacking dream.

The pups have their annual exam soon. Dun dun dun! No, it’ll be fine. Bailee will be in panic mode, but she lives in a highly excitable state. Windsor will be well behaved and won’t mind at all…especially since it involves a car ride.

Whereabouts

I’m here, I’m here. I’m giving my noggin’ a break. I have some posts to work on but I wasn’t feelin’ it so I figured I’d take a little hiatus and come back jazzed and ready to go.

Maybe next week.

I just had a big event at work, a few weekends away from home, and an all-weekend volunteer commitment. I’ve been a bit un-enthused about what I’ve cooked and meal planning has gone by the wayside a bit. I was feeling at a level 5 for the posts I haven’t done yet, and figured I can call the shots and come on back when I’m feeling it for 100%.

I didn’t want to just get posts up for the heck of it. I usually am protective of my schedule of 3 per week, even when I’m away traveling or work is nutty. I think I just want to enjoy the spring and get revitalized.

A few topics you can look forward to….

  • I’m fitbit obsessed. I’ll prob share about it
  • a veggie-centric pasta
  • a oldie, but goodie that deserved a re-do
  • some summer bucket list foods
  • Mr. J made an impressive compost bin so I’ll keep you posted how that’s going
  • a fun adventure this weekend!
  • we have tomatoes, cukes, and herbs planted, ohh my!
  • and more ;)

Any requests?

What I Ate: Chicken & Waffle Panini

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

Chicken and waffles are such a fun dinner and I was thinking it could become a panini using the waffles for the bread. These are easily adaptable. I used white cheddar, tomatoes, onions, and some buffalo aoli.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

Ingredients:

2 frozen waffles, per sandwich
2 slices sharp white cheddar, per sandwich
2 chicken tenders, per sandwich
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onions
2 tbs mayo + 1 tsp hot sauce  + dash of garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Bake the chicken until cooked through.
Toast the waffles until defrosted and lightly toasted.
Slice the onions and add to cold water.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

Whisk together the buffalo aoli, or add your fav spread like honey mustard, ranch, or a drizzle of maple syrup.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
Keep the oven warm after the chicken is cooked.
Assemble the sandwiches with waffles, the spread, chicken, sliced cheddar, sliced tomato, and sliced onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
Put them back into the oven, flipping once, until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
This was so fun. The nutty waffle was perfect with a little spice. Arugula would be good in here too. The onion bath keeps them from overpowering the sandwich, with just a subtle onion flavor.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

Roasted Garlic Chicken

I love roasted garlic but rarely have the patience for it to roast fully. Like so roasted that it is soft and spread-able. Like 40 minutes+ roasted. It was super garlicky, but not in an intense way. When the garlic fully roasts it gets beautifully mellow and sweet.

I sprinkled some fresh thyme over the top and served it on a bed of couscous with some roasted asparagus. It was simple, yet flavorful. I seriously should roast whole garlic gloves more often. I just might buy a bunch and see how the timing is to do it in the crockpot. I’ll be somebody has done that on Pinterest.

The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken

Ingredients:

1 bulb garlic
2 tbs olive oil
4 chicken thighs (bone in or out)
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce (optional)
salt & pepper

Directions:

Far in advance of wanting dinner, (40 minutes before starting to make dinner), preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375-degrees.
Cut off the skinny pointed top of the garlic bulb, exposing the inner cloves.
Lay it in the center of a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bring opposite corners of the foil to meet, closing the foil together around the top. (You want to be able to open it without flipping it over).
Bake for 25 minutes.
Peek inside the foil. Some of the outer cloves are getting darker tan/brown versus the center still pretty white).
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Close it back up, and bake for another 20 minutes.
To see if it is done, poke a fork at the individual cloves. Each should be very soft.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Each clove will pop out and totally lose shape when squished. Keep the oven on.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Squish the garlic into a paste with the back of a spoon, or a fork.
Prep a large heavy skillet to medium heat with the vegetable oil.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken, then dredge into the flour, salt, and pepper. Shake off any excess.
Add the chicken to the pan, cooking for 4-5 minutes on each side. The chicken should get a little bit of a golden crust.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Remove the chicken and put in a baking dish.
In the pan the chicken was cooked in, spoon out excess oil, leaving any brown bits from the bottom. Over medium low heat, add the chicken broth scraping the brown bits off the bottom. Add in the garlic paste.
Add in the worcestershire sauce, salt pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat off. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until internal chicken temperature reaches 165-degrees. Some thighs vary in size considerably, and the timing can differ if they are bone in or boneless.

This was so good. I loooved the garlic flavor.I got my garlic going in the toaster oven just to see how the timing went. It was such an energy efficient way to give the garlic a heads up, long before I needed the oven going for anything else!
 The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
The thyme added a touch of freshness. I honestly had it around. I wouldn’t have purchased a whole bunch just for this. Yum. I’m ready to have this again. I almost abandoned the chicken once the garlic was roasted….if I’d only had a baguette and all this roasted garlic, I would have been set for life!

The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken

Crabcakes with Remolade Sauce

I had my Momma over for lunch so I figured we’d have something only the two of us would like. I mixed up a couple of crabcakes and some remolade to be dressing, serving it over salad. It seemed springy and fresh. The remolade would be easy to make in advance. The crabcakes would be pretty fast fried, but baking them is easier, and keeps them from being greasy.

Plus, you’ll want to put the remolade on ev-ry-thing.

The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade

Ingredients for crab cakes:

8 oz crab meat
3 tbs chopped white onion
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
3 tbs mixed breadcrumbs & panko
2 tbs chopped parsley
1-2 tbs mayo
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Ingredients for remolade:

1 cup mayo
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tbs paprika
1 tsp grill rub
1 1/2 tsp horseradish
1 tsp pickle juice (or relish)
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Add crabmeat, onion, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, parsley, mayo, dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade
Gently mix together until combined.
Form into patties and bake 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 10 more minutes.
While the crabcakes are baking, mix together the remolade.
The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade
Blend together. Taste, add more horseradish or hot sauce to taste.
The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade
Toss together mixed greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade
Drizzle remolade, or use to dip.
The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade
I loved the kick in the remolade without being spicy. The horseradish was perfect. Real remolade has cajon or creole  seasoning, but I substituted since I hate one-time ingredients.

What I Ate: Cuban Panini

This wasn’t the most authentic cuban sandwich, but it was such a great tweak on the everyday. The pickles and mustard are totally what makes this special.

The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Panini
I also love pickles so this was right up my ally. A real cuban would have roasted pork but this was good for a quick meal.

Ingredients:

sliced bread
ham
swiss cheese
Provolone cheese
sandwich sliced pickles
mustard

Directions:

Heat a grill pan or panini press.
Assemble the sandwiches with mustard on both bread slices, ham, swiss, provolone, and sliced pickles.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Panini
Grill on both sides until cheese melts and everything gets heated through.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Panini
It was almost a ham & cheese but the mustard and pickles are where the different flavors come from. Mr. J doesn’t like pickles, GASP…I know. His was a bit less of a cuban panini but salty and cheesy nonetheless.

Baked Gnocchi with Meat Sauce

I was scrounging around in the freezer to see what I could come up with and this just all came together. I had a bag of frozen gnocchi and I found some ground sausage. I whipped up some meat sauce and added ricotta, parmesan, and some fresh mozzarella. It was meant to be! This would be great with gnocchi or tortellini, or ravioli. I could have done the same thing with a tubular shaped pasta as baked “ziti”-ish.

I always keep tomato sauce around. My fav is plain crushed tomatoes. It has a fresher flavor than jarred sauce and doesn’t have lots of weird stuff in it. It’s handy and if I can’t use it a few ways than I pop the rest in the freezer.

The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi

Ingredients:

frozen or refrigerated gnocchi
28 oz Pastene kitchen ready tomatoes
12 oz sweet Italian Sausage
6 oz fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ricotta

Directions:

In a large pan over medium-high heat, brown the sausage until cooked through, about 7 minutes breaking it up into smaller pieces.
Drain and return to the pot. Add in the tomatoes, cover, and reduce heat to low.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Boil the gnocchi according to the package, they will raise to the top when they’re cooked.
Ladle some sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
Gently toss the gnocchi with some sauce, and spoon half into the baking dish. Sprinkle half the Parmesan and dollops of half of the ricotta.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
Ladle some more sauce in, the rest of the gnocchi, the rest of the ricotta, and the rest of the Parmesan.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
Sprinkle in some basil/thyme/Parsley and then ladle in a little more sauce.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Add sliced mozzarella and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi

Ohh wow. I loved this. It had great flavor and texture. The cheesiness was so great, and varied from the ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella. I only had a small amount of mozzarella so that went onto the top. I almost always have ricotta kicking around…ricotta is a typical breakfast on toast with sliced avocado.  I love the sweet sausage in the sauce.

Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

This salad is sooo easy and only took a few special touches to make it something special. This Asian-inspired salad is the perfect meal to make dinner seem different. If you cook and shred the chicken in advance, this would be a 10 minute meal! I also might skip the chicken on the salad and grill some sesame garlic wing to go with this.

The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

3 chicken tenders, each cut in half
8 oz Broccoli slaw
2-3 tbs sesame soy vinaigrette (bottled or 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tsp soy sauce whisked together)
1/4 peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 cup edemame, shelled and cooked
orange segments (or packaged Mandarin oranges with no sugar added)
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup crispy wonton strips (found in the produce area, or make your own)

Directions:

Bring a pot of water to a low boil. Then add the chicken. Cook for about ten minutes. Check that it is cooked through, if not keep cooking.
Toss broccoli slaw with dressing in a large bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken.
In a small pot add the peanut butter on low, stirring occasionally until melted.
Stir in the soy sauce, and remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Toss the shredded chicken into the peanut sauce to coat well.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Top the salad with orange segments, edemame, cashews, crispy wonton strips, and chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
I loved this. I could eat this regularly. The chicken feels kind of heavy and thick from the peanut butter, but the sharpness of the broccoli slaw dressing balances it. The sweet oranges are bright with lots of crisp texture from the nuts and wonton strips. The broccoli slaw was a welcome change from other greens. I love it.

This is such a cheap one, especially since it uses very little chicken.

Cost breakdown of Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken:

(cost per quantity that was used)
broccoli slaw: $2.00
chicken tenders: $2.50
edemame: $0.25
packaged oranges: $1.00
cashews: $1.50
wonton strips: $1.00
total = $8.25 for 3 servings, or $2.75 per person

You might be able to grab the edemame from the salad bar, which would make it super cheap without any leftovers. The wonton strips aren’t totally necessary with the nuts so you could skip one or the other if you wanted to simplify a bit.

I’ll totally make this again.

Quick Cinco de Mayo Menu Ideas

It is already Cinco de Mayo. Here are a few ideas you can throw together in a jiffy IF you want to be all themey today and hadn’t already thought about it. My themey-ness is limited because my brain is about maxed out in preparedness for a huge work event on Thursday. Ease and auto-pilot are the names of the game this week. I do love how quick tacos can be though…

Here’s what I wish I were serving ;)

Flautas filled with beef, chicken, pork, veggies, etc: They’re super quick and easy to prep. They’re a great appetizer or main dish. I love the crunch + cheese in one cute little roll-up. Mix up some ranch + taco seasoning for a creamy drizzle with a kick!

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Flauta
Grilled Pineapple Salsa: this is so easy, you could also grill some pineapple and just add that + black beans to your regular ole jar-o’salsa. Serve it with chips or on top of some chicken. Your call.
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If you’re celebrating a bit later, you neeeed to mix up this bean dish. They’re sweet & tart and I hesitate to call it bean salad because that isn’t quite what it is, but bean dip isn’t quite right either. It needs to marinate for a few hours, or overnight. I make this often, as a side dish or to add onto tacos, or with chips. It keeps a few days and is great on a salad. Try it, you’ll convert everyone.
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Go beyond your average tacos by using pulled pork
The Three Bite Rule - BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos
Or if tortillas + cheese + eggs are all you can will yourself to grab for a fiesta then Huevos Rancheros it is!
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I love taco pizzas like this or taco pizzas like this
or taco inspired burgers are great

adios!