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.