Pesto Flatbread in 15 minutes

I don’t know if there’s a legit definition or distinction between what constitutes a pizza versus a flatbread. To me, I use flatbread means fewer toppings, it might not have a sauce, or is on a puffy dough/crust. This flatbread has only a few ingredients and is on naan to be the crust. It also comes together in no time at all, but that’s just a bonus. Get ready, this recipe even will track the time for you!
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Flatbread

Ingredients:
~1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
2 naan
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 tablespoons pesto

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
First 5 minutes: roast the tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in the oven for 5 minutes. They should burst and be juicy.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Flatbread
Pop the naan into the oven for a few minutes too…maybe 3 minutes to warm through and begin to toast.
Take the naan out and spread with tomato sauce onto them, then top with shredded mozzarella and dollops of pesto.
Add the tomatoes on top. (you’re at about 7 minutes in at this point…we’re timing here!)
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Flatbread
Return to the oven for 5-7 minutes to melt the cheese, warm the pesto, and ensure the naan has crisped a bit….this brings you to ~14/15 minutes!
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Flatbread
Serve and enjoy!

I didn’t count your oven preheating time, but depending how crunchy you want the naan to be, or not to be, then there you have it, 15 minutes! Mine took longer for a few photo ops, and I’ll pop it into the toaster oven for lunch-time reheating, but it was a fantastic reminder how just a few ingredients can make really great food. I whipped 2 of these up to pack for lunch for work but I’d definitely eat them for dinner or as an app for a party!
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Flatbread

If it isn’t snowing where you are (#overit) “roast” the tomatoes on the grill in a cast iron pan and grill these flatbreads! I had some jarred pesto, but I love this roasted kale pesto I’ve made before if you want to use that! Another alternative is to spread pesto all over instead of tomato sauce and just have tomatoes be the topping!

Everything Bagel Seasoning

I looooove everything bagels and am so glad Everything Bagel Seasoning is having a moment. I make it myself so I can have some for a few servings, or make a bunch to have around. It is so easy and customizable – go heavier on the flavors you like best! I use it on eggs, rice, toast, and anything breakfast! Just the other day I made a breakfast sandwich on an croissant with eggs, cheese, tomato, and sprinkled some everything bagel seasoning. SO good.

The Three Bite Rule - Everything Bagel Seasoning

Everything Bagel Seasoning

Ingredients (for ~2 tablespoons of seasoning):

1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Add everything into a small dry skillet over medium-low heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Bagel Seasoning
Cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure nothing burns.
Let cool and enjoy!

I like a mostly even ratio for the poppy/sesame/onion/fennel and half ratio for the salt/pepper/garlic powder. The toasty flavor is 100% necessary. The crunch it adds is also unparalleled.

Everything Bagel Seasoning is so breakfast, but is an ideal combo for anything. I’d totally top popcorn with it too! The dried minced onion & sesame seeds are what I keep an eye on in the pan to ensure nothing burns.

The Three Bite Rule - Everything Bagel Seasoning
This seasoning MADE this breakfast-inspired risotto and it took avocado toast with a poached egg to a whole other level.

Packing Lunch

I had a really awesome perk of lunch provided at my last job so I’ve re-entered the lunch packing world in this new role. Plus, the little one eats more and more for lunch now so here’s a round up of our favs. My lunches always seem to be some-assembly-required. I need more ideas. What am I missing?

For me:
leftovers- especially my beloved rice bowls that are sometimes paired down when in lunch form.
sausage_arugula_bowl_dress_590_390

Mexican-ish lunches- rice, corn, salsa, half an avocado, quesadillas are always things I look forward to mid-day. Trader Joe’s tamales & 60-second grain packs make easy-to-pack lunches.

I’ve stashed these soups as a handy back up and then pack up hummus & crackers, a biscuit, etc.

Quiche is pretty handy for a few days worth. I haven’t made one in a while, but need to!
The Three Bite Rule - Mushroom & Sun Dried Tomato Quiche

Discovering a toaster oven in another office kitchenette was game changing for a quesadilla, panini, individual pizza etc. The key is foil since who knows what others have warmed up!

For the three-year-old:
We found these Bento-ish boxes on Amazon that have made packing lunch easier. He eats it all cold so it all gets packed together. We were surprised & impressed by the quality.

He often has leftovers of a few things…quite similar to his dinner plate.
Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule
Sandwiches of salami/turkey or cream cheese & jelly or pita with hummus or a quesadilla. Or a bunch of things maybe some leftovers, some beans, with a cheese stick or yogurt put into a pouch

Plus a veg like tomato/carrots/tomato/edamame/broccoli and fruit like apples/strawberries/blueberries/clementines etc.

He can’t have peanut butter so that is his lunch of choice on the weekends at home. Wednesday is Pizza Day at daycare and is a wonderful mid-week break from packing up.

Mr. J is on his own for lunch but has his own pizza-day from his fav food truck.

What are go-to lunches for you or for a little one? 

Cuban Sliders

Cuban sliders were the perfect answer to some leftover pulled pork! This was leftover from the new Blue Ribbon BBQ location near our house for my birthday! It was so good with BBQ sauce but for leftover pork, transforming it is the best. Pork is just too easy to do that with! Some went into quesadillas, some have become tacos in the past, on pizza, in a panini, and the list goes on.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Sliders

Cuban Sliders

Ingredients:

~1 cup pulled pork
2 slider rolls
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
~6-8 pickle chips
3 tablespoons yellow mustard (I mixed yellow mustard and & sweet golden mustard BBQ sauce)
(sliced ham would make this a true cuban)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees. Warm the pork through.
Slice the buns, spread mustard onto the top and bottom. Layer the pickles then the pork onto the rolls.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Sliders
Sprinkle the cheese on and pop them into the oven for ~5 minutes until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Sliders
Serve and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Sliders
These were so good! The mustard and pickles took it from barbecue to a Cuban sandwich. These would be fun cut into smaller pieces if using bigger, oblong rolls as an appetizer.

French Onion Deviled Eggs

I just have too many variations to save them for gatherings so these were a mini batch for a weekend snack. That’s the beauty of deviled eggs- make a little or a lot! Seriously, I made 2 eggs, so 4 halves. These babies were packed with flavor…so much so that I toned it down for the recipe below. I stole a tiny bit of onion soup mix from a packet, but have a pretty good work around too for a homemade version.
The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Deviled Eggs

French Onion Deviled Eggs

Ingredients (for 2-4 people – double for a party):

2 hard-boiled eggs, cooled
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon yellow mustard or dijon
1/4 teaspoon French Onion Soup mix (see alternative & uses for the leftovers below)
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons crispy fried onions (see uses for the leftovers below)

Directions:

Halve the eggs and pop the yolks into a bowl or food processor then add in the mayo, mustard, soup mix, and blend very well.
The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Deviled Eggs
Add a touch of salt & pepper and mix well and then taste it. Add more salt & pepper if needed, or more mayo to mellow it out if too strong.
Spoon into the bottom corner of a zip top bag (I use a glass to hold it open & upright).
The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Deviled Eggs
In a dry pan, toast the crispy fried onions over medium heat, watching not to burn.
Snip the bottom and pipe into each egg half. Fill each to be level with the egg, then go back and pipe into a circle on top so each one has enough.
The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Deviled Eggs

Go easy on the salt until tasting it if using mix.

French Onion Soup mix alternative: equal parts onion powder, garlic powder, minced dried onion, salt, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. If using part of a packet, the remaining can easily become dip/stuffing seasoning/burger seasoning/roast potato seasoning. If using part of crispy fried onions container, the remainder is fun as a mac & cheese topper (here!) or we’ve put them on hot dogs with BBQ & cheddar. Both ingredients are SO great for a Onion Dip Burger (excuse the 6-year-old photos I really should re-shoot).

Sausage Burger on a Pretzel Bun

This quickie burger blew. my. mind. The pretzel bun + mustard + sausage shaped-like-a-burger was just so amazing. I whipped it up for lunch one day when I realized we had one, lone pretzel bun in the freezer annnnnd a half of a green pepper hanging out in the fridge. The stars aligned because we always have sausage links in the freezer and onions are usually a staple too. Ta-da!
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Pretzel Burger

I made this inside on the stove in about 10 minutes, but will absolutely repeat for the grill. Also, I’ll repeat since this wasn’t a family dinner with the 1 pretzel roll we had…sorry Mr. J! It was amazing! Don’t be like me – make a bunch! Share with others!

Sausage Burgers on Pretzel Buns with Peppers & Onions (for 2)

Ingredients:

2 Italian sausage links, casing removed
2 pretzel buns
1/2 green bell pepper
1/4 onion
2 tablespoons mustard
2 slices provolone cheese (optional)

Directions:

Slice the pepper and onion into the same size pieces…so slice the pepper and then slice in half again. Saute the onions for 2 minutes in a drizzle of oil, then add in the peppers and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Form the sausage link into a circle shaped patty and pan fry in the same pan as the peppers/onions. (No real culinary reason other than to not have 2 pans to wash!)
Flip to cook through and add the peppers & onions in to keep warm until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Pretzel Burger
While the sausage cooks, toast the pretzel bun until warmed through. Spread on the mustard.
Add the provolone to the burger, if using.
Serve the burgers topped with peppers and onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Pretzel Burger
Enjoy!

I really loved this. Maybe it was the simplicity. Maybe it was a 10 minute meal that was so good and just came together at the right time. That pretzel bun with the mustard was just at traditional match. 1 sausage link formed into a circle is quite thin so it cooked really quickly. Yay! I didn’t have any provolone around but thought the stretch of some mild cheese would be amazing.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Pretzel Burger

Toasting it was necessary. Both sides can have soapboxes for whether all burger buns need to be toasted, but pretzel buns need to be treated like soft pretzels.
The. End.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Pretzel Burger

 

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

Hints of warmer weather bring smoothies back into the breakfast rotations! I love a frozen element in them so I give them a reprieve for the winter. This one is delicate but has slightly tropical flavored from the pineapple and coconut almond milk. I wish it were delightfully yellow, but pineapple + yogurt + milk = mostly white. I added in some ground flax seeds so mind the brown flecks.

The Three Bite Rule - Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

Ingredients (for 1, as a meal)

~3/4 cup Greek yogurt in vanilla or coconut
1 cup frozen pineapple
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 cup coconut almond milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
water, if needed

Directions:

Add yogurt, pineapple, flaxseed, coconut almond milk, and almond extract to a blender.
The Three Bite Rule - Pineapple Coconut Smoothie
Blend together thoroughly. Add a splash of water if needed for desired consistency.
The Three Bite Rule - Pineapple Coconut Smoothie
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Pineapple Coconut Smoothie
I loved the subtlety in this smoothie. It was filling from the yogurt but that could be skipped and the pineapple could be increased if it weren’t functioning as breakfast – well, it was second breakfast at 8am before heading to work after a piece of banana bread with the fam at 6:30am.

My fav dietitians told me to grind the flax seeds or the nutritional benefit is really wasted. Good to know, right? I store it as seeds and pop through the coffee grinder before using. I used coconut almond milk because I really love the flavor and don’t love regular milk alone. I only get it a few times a year because it a) costs more; b) has less protein than regular milk; c) it also has more sugar then regular milk; d) it is delicious in coffee! It is a treat and it hits the spot as dessert sometimes.

I’d imagine a bit of mango would have colored this nicely too. I almost grated some fresh ginger in, but I was trying to keep it simple. The touch of almond extract is perfect here. I totally tasted it and thought it was a great pairing.

February 2018 Recap

February felt like the last stint of true winter around here. A few warm days has me thinking spring is ahead. I’m sooo ready for more and more daylight after work! Also…the beginning of March brings my birthday! Bring on the cake!

But first, I’m fitting in all the wintry meals on my list. I made this Breakfast Inspired Risotto with bacon, white cheddar, everything bagel seasoning, and an egg. I loved this and will likely make it again asap!
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Risotto
#MeatlessMondays have continued and these Tomato Basil Polenta Bowls were a big hit, especially with the toddler! I cooked most of this in advance which made for an even faster weeknight meal. It’d be a great one to make for a crowd or for 1-2 servings.
The Three Bite Rule - Tomato Basil Polenta Bowls
I made another hot chocolate that was like a turtle candy with nutella, salted caramel, almond extract, and chopped pecans. Yum!
The Three Bite Rule - Turtle Hot Chocolate
I have a few recipes lined up for March. Stay tuned for another deviled egg variation, another souped up hot chocolate, a smoothie, a burger, and we’ll see what else. I haven’t made too many things just to pack as lunch so maybe I’ll do that too.

The Little One:

Feb was kind of rough for getting outside. We ended up with some rain and snow. Days he can get outside are always better. He’s very into puzzles so we got some for his rewards for potty training. He really likes them! I made a crock pot chicken & dumplings dinner that he really wasn’t interested in. We didn’t make it a big deal and eventually he tried it on his own and ate enough to be dinner. Phew! I know he doesn’t love dishes where everything is cooked together but I was really proud that we didn’t prod him and he tried it, and liked it enough, when he was ready. This month he ate more eggs than usual and still loves pb&j. He’s been doing this funny thing when we start talking about breakfast that he wants meatloaf. I have no idea when he last saw it!

This year’s goals: 

Year of the candle: I got this cool geometric ceramic one
Cook more appetizers/snacks: 
I made Caprese Sliders
Taking time to blog thoughtfully:
lack of daylight is rough.
Journal the cute moments of my little one: I didn’t capture too many this month. 
What I’m reading: 
 I read Miller’s Valley and am into my bookclub book. 
What I’m watching:
All Olympics, all the time.

 

Caprese Sliders

These little veggie sliders are so fun for an app or as lunch. They’d be great for a vegetarian option to build-your-own-slider bar. I can see these going quickly a a party as a filling appetizer or on a lunch spread. Little sliders are perfect alongside a few soups!

The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Slider
Swap the pesto for basil leaves, or mix the pesto with a touch of mayo for a lighter flavor. I love pesto all the time, so I went full out, on each side of the bread. The tomatoes could be roasted in advance to speed it up even further. I only made a few so I popped my tomatoes into the toaster oven and melted the mozzarella in there too.

Caprese Sliders (for 2 sliders)

Ingredients:

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 slider rolls, or dinner rolls
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 fresh mozzarella ball

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Add the tomatoes and vinegar to a baking dish with a sprinkle of salt & pepper, and roast for 5-10 minutes until they split.
Slice the mozzarella and slider rolls.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Slider

Spread the pesto onto the inside tops and bottoms of each rolls.
Spoon the tomatoes onto each roll and top with a slice of mozzarella onto each.
Bake for 5 minutes until melty.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Slider
Add the top roll and enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Slider

Bahn Mi Bowl

For as much as I don’t usually want foods to touch, I’m 100% on board for foods that go together served in a bowl. Bring on all the bowl meals! Build your own! Love it! I made these bahn mi bowls as a quick dinner that could have been made more perfect, but speed is the name of the game here. I figured out the best cheat workaround to not pickling veggies for 24-hours in advance!
Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule

I’d totally make these with leftover pulled pork too! I skipped pickling the carrots mostly because I forgot. My workaround? Pickle juice! A few spoonfuls of pickle juice from our fav local pickles was exactly what this needed. That touch of tart flavor was perfect.

Quick & Easy Bahn Mi Bowls for 3-4

Ingredients:

3-4 thin sliced pork cutlets
1 cup brown rice
2 cups broth/water
3-4 thin pork chops
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (optional)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1/4 cup pickle juice

Directions:

Marinate the pork in the soy sauce and rice vinegar overnight, or before cooking.
Cook the rice with broth or water. (I cooked mine in the pressure cooker).
Pan fry the pork in the marinade over medium heat until cooked to 145-degrees using a meat thermometer- just 3-4 minutes on each side.
Chop the carrots and cucumbers into matchsticks. Then slice the pork and chop the cilantro.
Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule
Pour the cooked marinade into the rice and mix. (Only from the pan, not any from the raw pork.)
Stir together the Sriracha and mayo.
Spoon rice into each bowl, then add sliced pork, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, and sriracha aoli. Then drizzle with pickle juice.
Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite RuleEnjoy!

This was fun for a speedy dinner. The pork is soooo fast to cook just being careful not to overcook. Overcooked pork is tough and tasteless. I meant to pickle the carrots but forgot until it was literally time to make this- thus my pickle juice being added on there. Rice in the pressure cooker is so amazing. Brown rice cooks in no time and I love how soft and sticky it gets. It makes great leftovers or can be on a roll or as a bowl.

The little one liked it since he is 100% game for rice, any day of the week.
Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule