Chicken BLT Grain Bowl

It has been awhile since I shared some grain bowls and today I have a healthier twist still with some indulgent flavors. These have chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, and quinoa. The little bit of bacon adds great flavor and the small amount of chicken gets bulked up with an equal amount of mushrooms.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken BLT Grain Bowl

Chicken BLT Grain Bowl

Ingredients: (for 4)

3 cups quinoa prepared or other grain
1 teaspoon ranch dressing mix
8 oz portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lg chicken breast or 1 1/2 cups shredded roasted chicken
1 tomato, chopped
2 cups lettuce, or greens, chopped
4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
1/4 cup ranch dressing

Directions:

Prepare the quinoa (or grain) and stir in the dry dressing mix.
Saute the mushrooms in butter and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until golden – about 5 minutes over medium heat. Then remove from the heat.
Spoon the quinoa into 4 bowls then top each with mushrooms, chicken, tomato, lettuce, and bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken BLT Grain Bowl
Drizzle with ranch and enjoy!

I loved this. Quinoa is not my fav grain but I do like variety so I prepped some to have around- and with the flavors of bacon and ranch, it seemed like any grain would be fine! I normally go for brown rice or farro- I like the bite of those.

I love grain bowls to get some fresh and rich bites all together. These are also a great way to stretch a small amount of chicken, or lots of small amount of veggies! I also love grain bowls for personalization. Not into mushrooms? Throw in some zucchini. No greens on hand? Swap for avocado. This is great packed for lunch, if you go somewhere, or lunch/dinner at home.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken BLT Grain Bowl

Cape Codder Burgers

These burgers combine the cranberry and touch of lime flavor of a cape codder drink – minus the vodka. The burgers are ground pork or ground chicken would work well too with dried cranberries in them with a lime aoli. The more subtle ground meat flavor is perfect to let the cranberries and lime shine!
The Three Bite Rule - Cape Codder Burgers

Cape Codder Burgers

Ingredients: (for 4 burgers)

1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 lime (juice & zest)
1 pound ground pork
salt & pepper
4 burger buns
1 cup lettuce

Directions:

Drop the dried cranberries into some water – just enough to submerge for 20 minutes, or overnight.
Mix together the mayo, lime juice, zest, salt and pepper. Chill until serving or make ahead of time.
The Three Bite Rule - Cape Codder Burgers
Add the hydrated cranberries to the ground pork with salt and pepper. Mix well.
The Three Bite Rule - Cape Codder Burgers
Preheat the grill and form into patties.
The Three Bite Rule - Cape Codder Burgers
Grill the burgers, flipping once for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Pork should reach 160-degrees with a meat thermometer- take them off the grill around 150 and let them rest for 3-5 minutes while they finish cooking.
Serve on burger buns with lettuce and the lime aoli.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cape Codder Burgers
These were fun! I liked the cranberries in the burger instead of being a sauce. The kids ate them as-is. The little guy has taken to deconstructing burgers eating the patty and the bun separately. I never make turkey burgers – they end up so dry but that’s an option if you really like them. I think chicken and pork are much more juicy!

Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes

Why have I never stuffed a tomato before! I do not love stuffed peppers – the idea is great, but I’m never that into them. Risotto stuffed tomatoes are delightful! I also used grocery store tomatoes and saved great garden ones for raw eating!
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes

Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 shallot or 1/4 of an onion
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 cup broth/wine/water (liquid amount should be what the arborio rice dictates + add some salt if not using broth)
2 teaspoons pesto
4 small tomatoes, insides scooped out
1 cup white cheddar, shredded
1 tablespoon parmesan (optional)

Directions:

Prepare the risotto with the shallot/onion, rice, and broth/wine/water combo and add in the tomato centers and juice- I used the pressure cooker, or cook it on on the stove top.
When it is cooked through, stir in the cheese and the pesto.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes
Sprinkle the hollowed tomatoes with salt and pepper then spoon the risotto into them. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan- or more cheddar.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes
Put the tops back on and bake for 10-15 minutes- until the tomatoes are cooked through and the outside is soft (like soft enough to tip over!)
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Risotto Stuffed TomatoesEnjoy!

We had these with grilled Italian sausages and green beans- and we had some additional unstuffed risotto. They were so good and a great change for us! A great big heirloom tomato with lots more risotto would be delicious! Or try it into a half of a zucchini- also with the flesh scooped out and cooked into the risotto.

No pesto? Add in a sprinkle of herbs. Or cook with a few glugs of white wine (1/4 cup). Or a few tablespoons of tomato sauce. Just be sure you add something with flavor. Stuff your fav other favorite grain instead or speed it up with couscous or orzo!

August 2020 Recap

August seems like a blur. Other than the little lady’s birthday, I’m always pretty ready to skip right over it. It is often too hot and I’m ready for fall. This year is a little funky – to say the least. All the days feel pretty similar. I think the last 2 weeks I’ve had a few things to look forward to and that helps a lot. We did a beach day, and my bookclub has been meeting outside the last few months, and I ate outside at a restaurant, and I like the friend zooms we’ve had.

I made fish tacos with mango sauce, which were so good! I love the ease of frozen breaded fish and the speed can’t be beat! They are fun in the rotation for variety and the kids eat them a little deconstructed, but they were a hit.
The Three Bite Rule - Fish Tacos with Mango Sauce
Cornbread is a bit hit or miss but THIS soft cornbread is a total winner. It is soft (duh) and has pieces of corn. We had it with BBQ pulled pork and the leftovers I griddled (per Mom’s suggestion) and then I drizzled with some hot honey. It was super addicting! I loved hearing a few folks already made it and loved it too!
The Three Bite Rule - Corn Bread with Hot Honey
Hawaiian Hot Dogs were super fun for some variety too. I mean, at this point in the summer we’ve all had all the grilled things. This also turned us onto grilled pineapple too.
The Three Bite Rule - Hawaiian Hot Dog

The Baby Girl:

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She’s 2! Her birthday was fun – we spent the afternoon swimming and making pizzas at her grandparents house. She loves singing “Hap Birt-day” and this girl can put away some pizza! She got a trampoline and she loves it! We gave her some doll house furniture, a book, and some bath bombs. She loves rainbows, reading her own books, and pb&j remains her fav lunch. She loves corn on the cob. She’ll keep a mask on for ~5-10 minutes.

The Pre-K Guy:

He’s starting virtual kindergarten soon! Who knows what that’ll be like! He can occasionally be convinced that we don’t all have to play the same things together 24/7. He is super into spiders at the moment. Legos are his fav. I had to laugh when he decided he wouldn’t be able to keep a secret from C so he couldn’t know what gifts she’d get for her birthday. He has surprised me lately being more into meat- BBQ chicken, and sausage, and burgers. He’s very into corn on the cob. Both kids love tomatoes from the vine and are lucky to snag cherry tomatoes from their grandparents’ garden on the way from the pool.

This Year’s Goals:

Year of beauty/self-care – New facewash may have been the culprit to breakouts so I didn’t introduce anything new this month.
Prep intentional sides and veggies: Yes! Some farmer’s market purchases nudged us out the box.
Eat more fish: we had fish tacos and are prob due for our fav salmon. I’m awaiting a deal on lobsters.
Blog some series: no series but we’ve been a little better with variety
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: I got some baby toys out of here!
Share more books on instagram: yup
Prioritize workouts: I’m nearing the end of a lifting/high intensity interval training one. I liked it a lot!
What I’m reading: I read The Idea of You, which wasn’t good. I actually listened to an interview by the author on a podcast because I wondered what everyone else liked about it! Then I read The Girl with the Louding Voice and let me tell you, it is so wonderful. The writing is magical and there’s great intrigue and heartbreak and encouragement for the characters. 
What I’m listening to: 
a podcast here and there but I’m behind on all that I’d normally catch on my commutes.
What I’m watching: 10 years late to the party, we started watching Modern Family and it is so fun! We watched the movie Richard Jewell and it was captivating.

 

Fish Tacos with Mango Sauce

I loooove fish tacos but they’re a dish best served in the moment- they’re not as great as takeout. Making them at home actually works surprisingly well! These scream SUMMER! A little mango cream drizzle was amazing for these! I used frozen breaded fish or grill or sear or bread your own! I tucked some broccoli slaw underneath for a fresh crunch. They were crave-able. I like fish tacos for variety- since I’d be happy to eat tacos weekly and these are easy to make just what you need – for 1 person or we have 4 of us eating them!
The Three Bite Rule - Fish Tacos with Mango Sauce

Fish Tacos with Mango Sauce

Ingredients: (for 4)

1 cup mango (I used defrosted frozen mango chunks)
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayo
1/2 lime juice & zest
8 fish fillets (I used frozen breaded fish)
1 cup slaw
8 tortillas
8 pieces of fish

Directions:

Blend together the mango, sour cream, mayo, zest, lime juice and some pepper in a food processor or blender. Add a splash of water if needed to get it smooth and well mixed.
The Three Bite Rule - Fish Tacos with Mango Sauce
Chill until serving – can be made ahead of time.
The Three Bite Rule - Fish Tacos with Mango Sauce
For the tacos, bake or pan fry the fish.
Mix up the slaw and spoon on top of the tortillas. Add the fish on top.
The Three Bite Rule - Fish Tacos with Mango SauceDrizzle with mango sauce and an extra squeeze of lime. Enjoy!

I loved these! The mango sauce was nicely sweet from the mango and enough tartness from the lime to balance it out. Our 5-yr-old ate the slaw separately and dipped into the mango sauce on the side too. The 2-yr-old man-handled her tacos but ate a ton. Fish sticks work well for smaller tacos.
The Three Bite Rule - Fish Tacos with Mango Sauce
Frozen breaded fish is ideal for me since I hate frying things and it just pops into the toaster oven without much effort! The mango sauce would be great on any fish or on shrimp or on chicken. Avocado would be good on these or they’d be great in a bowl!

Picky eaters? Or is cooking fish daunting? Try these – the crunch makes them approachable and baking them makes it less intimidating. Having them as one filling option on taco night can be fun – or surf and turf with each one getting 1 fish taco and 1 meat taco.

Leftover fish/as in more fish hanging in your freezer? Great! I love these fish tacos with lemonade slaw or you know my love for a bowl runs deep and crispy fish is fun as a bowl or pomegranate pear salsa over crispy fish is a great elevated but easy one!

Soft Cornbread with Hot Honey

My mom makes several cornbreads and this one is by far my fav- it has real corn and is so soft but not crumbly. The rest of the fam looooves one with dill and sour cream and onions but my heart is with this one. There’s real corn flavor and I can’t get enough of it. Make a half batch to go alongside your BBQ and then griddle some the next morning with a drizzle of hot honey- you can thank me later. Only make a whole batch if you have enough eaters- it lasts about 5 days refrigerated but spoils in 2 days at room temperature. This would be great in times of potlucks whenever that happens again?
The Three Bite Rule - Corn Bread with Hot Honey

Corn Bread with Hot Honey Drizzle

Ingredients: makes 9×9, ~6 servings

1 1/2 Boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
1 stick softened butter + 2-4 tablespoons to pan sear before serving
8 oz sour cream
8 oz can creamed corn
8 oz canned corn or frozen corn
2 eggs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Mix together the muffin mix, butter, sour cream, creamed corn, corn, and eggs with a stand or hand mixer until incorporated.
The Three Bite Rule - Corn Bread with Hot Honey
Pour into a 9×9 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 35 minutes until set and the edges brown.
While letting it cool, mix together the honey and hot sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Corn Bread with Hot Honey
In a medium skillet, melt butter and sear each cut side of slices of cornbread.
Drizzle with hot honey and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Corn Bread with Hot Honey

It freezes well or freeze the remainder of the creamed corn and the save the half box of corn muffin mix. Next time you want to whip some together you’ll be well on your way! A whole batch would be 3 boxes of corn muffin mix- everything doubled and that makes a 9×13 so that would take a huge number of cornbread lovers!

 

Hawaiian Hot Dog

Talking about Hawaiian pizza got me thinking about iconically Hawaiian flavors like pineapple, teriyaki, and pork. Let’s add ‘em to a hot dog! These hot dogs were so fun and a great change of pace – especially since we won’t be heading to Hawaii anytime soon! We fell in love with the grilled pineapple and grilled more just to eat too.
The Three Bite Rule - Hawaiian Hot Dog

Hawaiian Hot Dogs

Ingredients (for 4 hot dogs):

4 hot dogs
4 King’s Hawaiian Hot Dog buns (or potato rolls)
3 pineapple rings
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 onion
1/2 cup greens (I used baby kale but spinach, arugula, collards, cilantro, or parsley would all be great)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce

Directions:

Sprinkle the pineapple with brown sugar then grill the pineapple and hot dogs.
While those are grilling, chop the onion and greens.
In a separate small bowl, mix together the mayo and teriyaki sauce.
Warm the buns the last minute of grilling.
Chop the pineapple and mix together with the onion and greens.
Assemble the dogs with the bun, the hot dog, the pineapple/onion/greens and drizzle with teriyaki mayo.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Hawaiian Hot Dog
I loved these. The freshness of the greens and the crunch of the onion was necessary. Those came the 2nd time around when I made these. Honestly the King’s Hawaiian Hot Dog Buns weren’t any better than our grocery store potato bun rolls.

Loaded hot dogs are so fun. For our ‘home 4th of July’ we made dogs with dill relish, french onion dip, and crispy onions. I also love dogs with blue cheese dressing and bacon. These crescent dogs, 3 ways are super fun too. I never can get my hands on pretzel buns again, but these Fall Dogs with Apple Slaw topped with apple, arugula, and onion with white cheddar and dijon is to-die-for. Burger toppings work well for dogs too!

July 2020 Recap

July wrapping up has me wondering what the fall will be like- along with the rest of the country. We don’t know what school will be like for kindergarten. Returning to daycare will be a change too. I’m working remotely and I’ve settled into that. July normally would have been a summer vacation week to the beach but this year we just went for a day. It was good for what it was. I don’t feel like I’m mourning what “should have been”.

In the kitchen this month. I went with a lettuce-less salad series. Lettuce is my least fav part of salad so I strove for salads that are fresh and cool and packed with flavor and texture without any greens. Also, whip up some easy chocolate mousse.

This peach, tomato, and mozzarella salad has a balsamic drizzle and was DE-LIGHT-FUL. The kids loved it and it turned Mr. J onto peaches! It was great and we’re already due for a repeat.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach & Mozzarella Salad

Another one was purple cabbage, carrots and peanut sauce with so much flavor and crunch alongside our sesame noodles & edamame. Brown sauce isn’t photogenic but peanut sauce is so great and this isn’t one to miss.
The Three Bite Rule - Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Sauce
We also had this watermelon, mint, and cucumber salad as a relish or topping for grilled chicken. It was so juicy and crunchy and perfect. I chopped ours tiny- for topping and for a 2 year old. It could easily be bigger chunks for a side.
The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon Mint Relish

The Pre-K Guy:

He’s becoming such a strong swimmer! He would have had a summer of swimming lessons at daycamp but here we are. I’m amused to see his monochromatic outfit choices. He looooved getting library books for the first time since March! He’s into the sandbox and puttering around the driveway with tools and discarded remnants from Mr. J’s projects. Go Jetters is his show of choice for the moment. Snacky lunch is the current fav and cherries!

The Toddler Girl:

Her tiny voice singing is just so dang cute. She loves wheels on the bus, happy birthday, itsy bitsy spider and I can’t get enough of it. Her strength and determination is shining through once in a while – maybe I should stop telling her she’s about to be two? She loves jelly, peaches, and yogurt. Her impressions repeating what somebody just said, in their tone is also amusing.

This Year’s Goals:

Year of beauty/selfcare – I got new facewash – so exciting! haha
Prep intentional sides and veggies: Yup! All the salads!
Eat more fish: ehh I don’t know that we had much fish this month
Blog some series: salads, sans lettuce!
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: I didn’t but should get back on that.
Share more books on instagram: I’ve shared the collections I pull for the kids and what I’m into.
Prioritize workouts: I finished barre blend. Then I got going on a lifting one. It is too hot to run this week but I’ve tended to do ~2 miles once a week.
What I’m reading: I finished The Secrets We Kept for bookclub and loved how many topics are represented, then read Girl Woman Other and was so captivated and connected to the characters, and The Wife Between Us which was a thriller but actually lighter in terms of thought required. I’m just finished Beyond Belief: My Secret Life inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape which is a bit lengthy and too many details included and lacked enough personal reflection for me- I preferred Leah Remini’s book for an overview of Scientology and for a personal experience. 
What I’m listening to:
a podcast here and there but I’m behind on all that I’d normally catch on my commutes.
What I’m watching: we just watched the Last Dance docu-series about Michael Jordon and the 1990s Bulls. It was so well done and fascinating – despite the fact that I don’t follow basketball and I had no idea all these players were on the same team! We watched the movie The Way Back and thought it was great.

Lettuce-less Salad Series: Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Sauce

This salad is a great side or it eats like a meal too. It miiiight not be the most picturesque but I couldn’t not share it. Think crunchy purple cabbage and carrots with peanut sauce and some shredded chicken- or skip the chicken. Either way, it is great and so fast.
The Three Bite Rule - Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Sauce

Cabbage & Carrot Slaw with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients: (for ~4-5 as sides, or ~2 as a meal)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 inch grated ginger
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
2 large carrots, shredded
~1 cup roasted chicken, shredded (optional)

Directions:

Shake the sauce together in a jar (or whisk together in a bowl) the soy sauce, peanut butter, ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Refrigerate until serving or make and serve.
Mix the cabbage and the carrot.
Drizzle in the peanut sauce and mix well. Add in the chicken – if using- and stir gently.
The Three Bite Rule - Cabbage Slaw with Peanut SauceEnjoy!

I loved this! Know that brown sauce – like peanut sauce – is not beautiful but so tasty. We had it with sesame noodles and edamame- that’s on the regular rotation here. This slaw was great for a crunch and for the peanut flavor. My 5-year-old pb lover liked it and ate a bunch. My ~2-year-old pb lover only ate a little.

There you have it, my salads without lettuce:
this cabbage and carrot slaw with peanut sauce
Watermelon Mint Salad
Peach, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

Lettuce-less Salad Series: Watermelon Mint Salad

All these lettuce-less salad series will not be exclusively with fruit, but this was too good not to come next. Also, we bought a whole watermelon and the kids are just not as into it as other fruit so finding all the ways to use it was necessary. I chopped it up really finely to use the salad as a relish/topping, but it would be great on the side!

The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon Mint Relish

Watermelon Mint Salad

Ingredients: (for 4 as a side, for 6 as a topping)

1 cup watermelon
1 cucumber
1/2 shallot
~10 mint leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Directions:

Chop the watermelon, cucumber, shallot, and mint and add to a bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon Mint Relish
Add in the olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice plus some salt and pepper and chili powder. Stir well and chill until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon Mint Relish
Enjoy!

This salad is so fresh and light and flavorful. It could be spiced up with jalapenos or other peppers. It would be great as salsa with chips too or in larger pieces as a side. We had it on top of grilled chicken this time.

The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon Mint Relish