Mexican BLT with Taco Spiced Mayo

The cutest & tastiest taco joint just opened near my work. The owners are so lovely and the tacos are getting RAVE reviews. I’ve had shrimp tacos, chicken tamales, and a pork torta. All have been fantastic…I dream of the torta. I saw their special for a Mexican-inspired BLT and totally copied the idea. Theirs also had an egg and avocado, which would be great, but I was on a mission for a fast dinner. Thanks Chilicates!

Mexican BLTs for 2

Ingredients:

bread or rolls
2 tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp taco seasoning
~4 tbs refried beans
3-4 slices of bacon, halved
1 large tomato
butter lettuce or greens

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Bake the bacon on a sheet pan, with a (non-stick sprayed) wire rack on top of it. Bake 15 minutes, or until crispy.
While bacon is cooking, slice tomatoes, lettuce, and toast the bread. Then mix together mayo with taco seasoning.
Spread one slice of toast with refried beans and other side with Mexican mayo.
The Three Bite Rule - Mexican BLTs
Assemble the BLTs.
The Three Bite Rule - Mexican BLTs
Enjoy!

I loved the slight tweak on this BLT. Do you bake your bacon? It makes cooking it sooo much easier, plus it cooks totally flat! The bacon grease is well contained and you don’t even have to flip it. This is definitely my preferred method. I love not needing to babysit the bacon.

The Three Bite Rule - Mexican BLTs

What I Ate: Hummus & Cucumber Toast

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.

Seriously, I feel guilty sharing something as basic as this breakfast, but I am seeking inspiration. I’m on a bfast quest for some weekly fun not sweet breakfasts. Come along!

Why does all the breakfast have to be a) sweet or b) eggs? Answer: it doesn’t. I’m making myself get creative and vary week-day breakfasts that aren’t sugary.
The Three Bite Rule - Savory Weekday Bfast Quest

I layered my English muffin with hummus and a couple slices of English cucumber. I love the English ones because they’re not as seedy as regular one.  I can see myself eating this before/after a morning workout or as a light late dinner after a work event too. I like the creaminess of this while not being cheese. I wasn’t striving for dairy-free but this fits that bill if you’re needing that. On the other hand, a sprinkle of feta on top would add some salt if you wanted more flavor!

Avocado toast would probably be my daily breakfast of choice but avocados are so dang expensive on this side of the country. Plus, they sometimes escape me and are brownish mush.

Disclosure: My real-life breakfasts are often eaten right off the cutting board while I buzz around getting ready. Breakfast-on-the-go is for real. This would easily sandwich-ize if you were taking it out the door with you. I have a new car so I do not take my breakfast on the go anymore!

Sweet Corn Risotto with Arugula

HAP-py New Year! I didn’t exactly make it to midnight. I kept dozing, Mr. J dutifully would gently wake me and I was drowsy/cranky/confused. Dec 30th (a “school-night”) and Jan 1 I had no trouble at all getting to being awake at midnight. Ohh well. Christmas is packed away and the little one now points and says “oooo” at the snowmen I pop into place where Santas once stood. 2016 is going to be fun & tasty, I can feel it.

Ohhmygosh. I’m so excited. I got a pressure cooker for Christmas and I broke it out the other night for risotto. I know, I too thought they were only helpful for big pieces of meat until talk at lunch enlightened me. Risotto in 6 minutes? Sign me up! Spoiler: it was awesome…slightly longer than 6 minutes, but I pretty much dumped it in and let it do the work. Isn’t she pretty? 710RlNjhJ6L._SL1299_ This risotto would work perfectly in a pot on the stove as well. It has Parmesan cheese, corn, and chopped arugula. The Three Bite Rule - Pressure Cooker Risotto

Sweet Corn Risotto with Arugula (serves ~4)

Ingredients:

2 tbs butter 1 tbs garlic, smashed or chopped 2 cups arborio rice 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth) 3 cups water (or sub white wine) 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 1-2 cups Arugula, chopped 1-2 cups corn

Directions:

In a pressure cooker (see below for stovetop directions*), saute the garlic in the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add in the rice and stir well, cooking for about 2 minutes until the rice gets a bit more opaque than white. Add in the broth and water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. While rice is cooking, cook the corn and chop the arugula. Release the pressure. The Three Bite Rule - Pressure Cooker Risotto Stir in parmesan, corn, and arugula. The Three Bite Rule - Pressure Cooker Risotto Enjoy! *For stovetop risotto: In a medium pot warm the broth and water over low heat. Melt the butter and cook the garlic over medium heat. Add in the rice and cook for a few minutes- until the rice gets opaque versus white. Add in the liquid 1 cup at a time. Wait for it to absorb and then add another cup. Repeat for all the liquid – likely 30 minutes.

The Three Bite Rule - Pressure Cooker Risotto
I loved this. It was cooked PERFECTLY. It was creamy but not mush. The corn was living in my freezer but had been cut off the cobb awhile back. The chunks still connected make me smile…like finding a double Cheez-it! I chopped the arugula really well partly because the baby was going to eat it too, and partly because I love using it like an herb! I’d use wayyy more next time.

The baby loved the risotto! He ate quite a lot. Mr. J and I did a his/hers entree and shared risotto. He had grilled steak and I had grilled salmon with some dijon/lemon/garlic/salt/pepper. Poof. Insta-dinner.

Ringing in the New Year

Or moreso lounging in the new year. I’m not so into New Years, and never really have been. I was happy to earn $100-bucks babysitting back in the day for NYE. #highschoolfortune This year I’ll be enjoying sliders & shakes at home in my yoga pants. That worked out so well last year we decided it must become tradition! Though, last year I was about to pop myself and this year it can be a boozy shake! I cannot fathom why people stand out in Times Square alllll day to keep their spot. Or those who will be spending $400 for Olive Garden (no bottomless breadsticks). Both options are beyond me.

What do you do? Party? Get fancy? Go away?

An Apps & Zerts party is fun, a la Tom Haverford
apszerts
A PJs & Pearls Party a la Carrie Bradshaw?
screen-shot-2014-11-03-at-10-25-50-pm

2015 was so wonderful and though I’m excited for what’s to come, it’ll hold a special place in my heart and I’ll be sad to see it end. The little is asleep by 8 so it’ll just be another day to him, maybe it should be to us all. I love to set goals for the year. I think there’s always room for improvement and I definitely need the reminder of the goals so it isn’t suddenly July before I remembered things I wanted to do.

2015′s goals:
The Year of the Earring: always a favorite yearly item.
make more salad dressings: this was my best goal of the year.
factor more time into how long every-day tasks/trips will take: this is an on-going quality for me to improve on
recreate restaurant menu items: ehh. I didn’t do this every month, but it’s a fun one when you’re needing a whats-to-make moment
be more adventurous with my reading selections: I read more than I thought I would. I learned I need a book or too much time passes before I seek one out.
use the crockpot more: This didn’t make me love the crockpot more, but I made a few things.
seafood once a month: I should be eating more fish.

So, what’s up for 2016? The little one turns 1 in a few weeks! Hello, theme party! He’s walking all around the house, from room to room. He feeds himself and eats pretty much everything. I love to see his little personality more and more. He’s a curious, determined, and giggly guy.

2016 Goals: 
The Year of the: Seasonal Decor
do something a different way
drink more water
make more interesting side dishes
cook more soups & sauces
watch more movies
make working out a higher priority

Catch ya in 2016! I got a pressure cooker and the pasta attachment for my stand mixer…watch out world!

Ham & Cheese Puff Pastry Pinwheels

Don’t be sad that Christmas is over. I have the perfect use for your leftover holiday ham. This is ideal if you’re in weird limbo of brunch/lunch/dinner over the next few days.

I love the holidays but now I can’t even comprehend that there’s only 3 weeks until my little one turns one. Crazy. I need to catch my breath over here. How do I have a one year old? Sometimes when I go into his room I picture my burrito-wrapped-babe and there he is standing up lifting his arms to get picked up.  Anywho, I can’t wait for his birthday. CAKE!

These ham spirals go together quickly and feature salty ham, buttery puff pastry, and mustard. It is definitely a perk of this that you only need a small amount of ham and a small amount of cheese…whatever is leftover from your apps and your ham!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel

Ingredients: (3-4 meal servings, ~6 appetizer servings)

1 sheet puff pastry
2-3 slices of ham, chopped into cubes
1 cup shredded swiss/cheddar
1/4 cup grain mustard
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 tbs butter
water
1-2 tsp poppy seeds

Directions:

Defrost the puff pastry sheet at room temperature (40 min) or in the refrigerator (4 hours).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out the puff pastry and top with cheese and ham- being sure to get the filling all the way to the edge.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Roll the puff pastry and pinch the end to close the roll. Then slice into 1-inch pieces.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and lay the pinwheels face up. Leave some room for them to puff up and expand.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
In a small pan, over medium-low heat, heat mustard, cream cheese, butter, and a splash of water (about 2 tbs or more if needed).
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Pour the sauce over the pinwheels and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Then bake for 30-40 minutes, until toasty and puffed up.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Serve & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
These were dinner one night but the ham has me thinking they’d work well for brunch too. You could put each one into a muffin tin for individual servings.

Green Goddess Dressing

I don’t know why Green Goddess may have been a thing of the 70s. I made it with some leftover herbs and it was such a hit. The secret ingredient is totally what separates good homemade dressing from the ehhh-home-made dressing. The next time you buy some herbs for something, plan to whip up some Green Goddess dressing. Diversify your veggie tray for a gathering or make dip for 2, like I did!

The Three Bite Rule - Green Goddess Dressing

Ingredients:

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup chives
3 tbs tarragon
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp anchovy paste
salt & pepper

Directions:

Blend everything together.
The Three Bite Rule - Green Goddess DressingServe or chill then enjoy!

The anchovy paste is such a secret ingredient. Seriously. Everyone loves my mom’s Caesar dressing and that is absolutely what makes these dressings taste better but it is a flavor you just can’t quite put your finger on. I wasn’t feeling the salad so I served this as a dip alongside dinner. It was so much more fun than salad!

The Three Bite Rule - Green Goddess Dressing
Happy Holidays! I’ll be back after Christmas with a perfect use for some leftovers. I can’t wait for our 2nd family Christmas and then Christmas morning at home. I’m still working on the menu for Christmas day. Enjoy!

Apple and Cheddar Panini with Apple Butter

On very rare occasions I venture out for lunch. I’m lucky to get homemade lunch & salad every day at work. I know. So lucky. I have to realllly be in the mood to spend $8 on a sandwich when there’s free & delicious homemade lunch at work. The local coffee/sandwich shop has  very delightful, yet very expensive, panini with cheddar, apple, bacon, and pumpkin butter. I recreated at home using apple butter. This isn’t THAT different than one I’ve made before, but apple + cheddar in a panini is just goooood.

The Three Bite Rule - Apple Butter Panini

Ingredients:

4 slices of good bread
2 tbs apple or pumpkin butter (sub pumpkin puree if you don’t find one of the butters)
2 tbs stone ground mustard
3 slices sharp white cheddar
2 slices of American cheese
1 green apple, sliced

Directions:

Preheat the panini press, grill pan, or griddle to medium heat.
Assemble the sandwiches with apple butter on one side and mustard on the other. Top with cheese, apple, and other cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Butter Panini
Spray the panini press with non-stick spray or a brush of olive oil.
Cook about 4 minutes, or until cheese melts and outside gets crisp.
Slice & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Butter Panini
I can’t believe I forgot to put the bacon in it. That’s such a great touch on the panini from the restaurant. I think it was still good. The apple butter was so great with crisp apples and melty cheese. I think that a little bit of American cheese made this ohh-so-gooey and delicious.

Feta & Herb Crusted Salmon

My garden herbs are still kind of hanging on, likely because it has been 50-degrees! I used them with some feta for a Greek-inspired salmon or the topping would work nicely on chicken as well. I cooked it on the grill or it could be popped into the oven as well.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Salmon

Ingredients:

1 salmon fillet
1-2 tbs crumbled feta
1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Directions:

Chop the feta and herbs and mix together with a little pepper (the feta will provide enough salt).
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Salmon
Preheat the grill or oven.
Make a foil packet sprayed with a little non-stick spray.
Place the salmon onto the foil and top with the feta/herb topping.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Salmon
Close up the foil and cook until your desired doneness.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Salmon
The herbs flavor cooked in really well. It was a his/hers dinner so Mr. J grilled some steak while I had salmon. With some roasted broccoli and some creamy white beans, dinner was really quite hands-off. It was a good reminder that the salmon I had hanging out in the freezer would defrost quickly and cook quickly with only a few ingredients. What a perfect use for some leftover fresh herbs you have from something else!

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Salmon

Texan Burger on Texas Toast

What MAKES this burger not your average burger, is the vehicle the Texas toast provides. I never have Texas toast but I was obsessed with this idea and it took a few weeks to come to fruition. Texas Toast bakes up surprisingly soft and easy to bite through for a burger! My toppings could probably get more amped up a bit, but dinner was fast approaching. The burger gets BBQ sauce in it, and on it, with some meat rub, onion, and some great flavors. I topped the bread-shaped patties with colby jack cheese and a bbq sauce/ketchup smear.

The Three Bite Rule - Texan Burger

Ingredients:

4 slices of cheesy Texas Toast
1/4 pound ground beef/chicken/pork
1/4 white onion, diced finely
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp yellow mustard
2 tbs dry rub
2 slices colby jack cheese

Directions:

Mix the meat with onion, bbq sauce, liquid smoke, worcestershire sauce, and mustard.
The Three Bite Rule - Texan Burger
(we did his & hers patties of beef=his & ground chicken=hers)
The Three Bite Rule - Texan Burger
Form into thin oblong patties, keeping in mind the size of the Texas toast.
Dust the outside with the rub.
Bake the Texas toast according to the package (likely 8-12 minutes).
Grill until cooked through, being careful not to overcook.
Top with cheese & sprinkle some more rub onto the burger.
The Three Bite Rule - Texan Burger
Mix together 1 part bbq sauce & 1 part ketchup.
Assemble the burger with chopped lettuce, pickles, burger, and BBQ/ketchup sauce.
Enjoy!

I was a bit fearful that the bread would be too crusty and thus hard to eat since it is also so thick! It wasn’t at all! Yee-haw! I loved the smokey flavors and how juicy the burgers came out being. I’m telling you, liquid smoke goes so nicely here. Get some.  It’ll take your chili to the next level.
The Three Bite Rule - Texan Burger

Yum. We loved this. I have the other half of the Texas toast package so we’ll see where that goes. It seems like just the perfect snack…just saying.

Pork Tacos with Pomegranate Molasses and Pineapple

I looove pork tacos. I decided to sweeten the filling whilst on my never-ending quest to find my favorite salsa. I might need to be making my own. Hmm. Different story for a different day. I added some fresh pineapple and some pomegranate molasses. I love that stuff on brussels sprouts. Ahhh: stay. on. topic.

The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pork Taco

Ingredients:

pulled pork shoulder (a great use for leftovers)
2-3 slices of fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
flour tortillas
shredded white cheddar
lettuce
white beans
salsa/pico de gallo
guacamole

Directions:

Saute the pork with pineapple and molasses over medium heat. The goal is to warm the pork through and soften the pineapple a bit…about 5 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pork Taco
Taste, and add more pomegranate molasses, if necessary.
Fill the tacos with the pork/pineapple, lettuce, cheese, white beans, and salsa.
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pork Taco
Top with guac, and enjoy!

I loved the sweetness to these tacos! The pineapple was a nice touch of sweetness and tartness. The fruity touch was so great, and different than flavors we typically have. I added in some white beans, partly because I had them and it felt like they’d go. The little one eats beans but I’m always trying to use them before they get slimy.

I found my favorite guacamole and now I’m wanting better salsa. I want fresh salsa. It’s often too thick or too sweet. I like restaurant-style salsas. Sal-sa. I’ll have to work on that. Aren’t the taco stands so cute? I love my tacos upright.