Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Remember that part of This is Us with the nachos? Beth and Randall are sleep-deprived new parents eating nachos and Randall inadvertently eats all the best chips? I felt deeply for Beth – for her wanting to have somebody who will save a best bite for her- literally and metaphorically. The bottom of the plate of nachos can be such a letdown so, I’m here to tell you to make it in layers. LAY-ERS. Nacho unevenness can be cured. This is precisely why I like to make them at home and rarely order them out!

The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Ingredients (for 1 meal-2 appetizer servings)

2 breaded chicken tenders or popcorn chicken
~4 cups of chips (seriously, how do you measure chips? eyeball it)
1/4 cup salsa con queso sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup hot sauce
~2 green onions
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing

Directions:

Bake the chicken tenders until cooked through & crisp (according to the package, unless making your own).
While chicken is cooking, lay ~1/2 the chips onto a baking pan and drizzle half the salsa con queso sauce, half the shredded cheese, and half the tomatoes. Bake for ~5 minutes to melt the cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Nachos
Chop the chicken and toss with hot sauce. Add about half onto the first layer that baked.
Then top with remaining chips, remaining queso, shredded cheese, tomatoes, and chicken.
Bake for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with green onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Nachos
Drizzle with blue cheese dressing.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Nachos
I love nachos fully loaded- lots of stuff on every bite. These were a fun twist with some favorite flavors and a great use for some leftover taco-night ingredients for something totally different!

The tomatoes are for juiciness and to get a little veg in there. I abhor celery but you could always add that. Add avocado, shredded lettuce, shredded carrots, or whatever you like on top at the end- just make sure every bite has a little something on it!

Broccoli & Cheddar Puff Pastry Pinwheels

Anything inside puff pastry is delicious (and easy) but broccoli and cheddar are such an ideal match. I roasted the broccoli for those delicious roasty bits with some gooey cheddar. Yum. These were some lunches for me and I think they’d be a good brunch addition or a heavy app.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels

Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels

Ingredients:

1 sheet of puff pastry (sold in a tube by crescent rolls or folded frozen by pie crust)
1 large broccoli head
~1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 teaspoon Mushroom Umami seasoning (optional)
Salt & pepper

Directions:

(Defrost the puff pastry if frozen, or open to get to room temperature if using refrigerated dough)
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Chop the broccoli into florets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for ~10-15 minutes- until a little brown and toasted and cooked through.
While the broccoli roasts, roll out the dough. Spread cream cheese onto the dough, sprinkle cheddar on top, and add broccoli. Sprinkle with umami seasoning (if using).
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels
Roll up keeping the roll really compact.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels
Cut into 2 inch slices using a sharp or serrated knife to not squish the roll too much.
Place onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or start with the timing and temperature on the package. Add more time if needed to cook to golden brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels

Enjoy!

I loved these. The roasty broccoli is perfect and gives a nuttiness. They puff a bit while baking but aren’t enormous. I packed 2 to be lunch at work with some salad. Do not pack if microwaving these beauties. That would destroy all the crunch and microwaved broccoli is not good. Broccoli and cheddar puff pastry pinwheels neeeed to be baked or toasted to warm up. These could easily be dinner alongside something else or these would be great as an appetizer too!
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels

Cheeseburger Turnovers

These cheeseburger turnovers are an appetizer turned into a main dish! Follow how my mind worked: I started out with the idea of a cheeseburger eggroll but then decided I really didn’t want to fry anything so I went with crescent dough. I then the more I thought about tiny ones made me think that it’d be way faster to make fewer but big turovers/pockets. Thus, my cute app became dinner! There’s a key ingredient to make them so much more fun than burger filling into pastry….

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Turnover
I put tater tots into them! Those become such a fun and a bit unexpected bite! Like burgers & fries! I prepped and partially baked these in advance, then just warmed to eat come dinner time! I loved these burger pockets and would totally make them again. Maybe next time they’ll even get to live out life as an appetizer!

Cheeseburger Turnovers

Ingredients: (for 4)

1/4 bag of tater tot crowns (the flat disks, or regular ones will work too)
1/3 pound ground beef/chicken/turkey
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tube crescent dough (mine was a single sheet, or pinch seams together if using crescent triangle dough)
~1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped (they’ll stay together better than a big tomato chopped)
~3 pickle spears, chopped
~1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

Bake the tots according to the package.
Saute the ground meat until it is cooked through seasoning with worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Then remove the meat and saute onions in the same pan until they are translucent and getting golden.
Chop tomato and pickles.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Turnover
Unroll the dough and slice into 4s. Top with cheese, ground meat, tots, onion, tomato, pickles, and more cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Turnover
Fold it and pinch or use a fork to close all the edges together.
Poke holes onto the top to vent and bake for ~15 minutes (bake according to the crescent dough packaging). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds a few minutes before they finish cooking.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Turnover
These are so fun and a great dinner to prep ahead of time! I almost did a special sauce drizzle inside – maybe next time. If you like these, then you’ll love Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Turnovers or Chicken Parm Turnovers. I made the Chicken Parm Turnovers as mini apps for a holiday party and they were a hit!

Making fun dinners in advance is the story of my life right now. I want dinners to be varied but that time between daycare pick up and dinner is a rush. Throwing dinner in to warm up while I get to change out of work clothes, cuddle the baby before she’s ohh-so-ready for her post-daycare nap, play or at least converse while the preschooler plays, encourage hand-washing, and dodge the dogs who are underfoot to be fed- is in-ter-est-ing to say the least.

Game Day Snacks

I’m mostly into the Superbowl for the snacks and commercials so my home team playing is just a perk. I did watch to see who would go to the superbowl! If you haven’t planned your snacks, get on it! I have quite a list and need to narrow down a bit! We aren’t having a crowd so I’m still assessing what snack food we want to have. Our preschooler looooves when we have snacky dinner- as in, not a traditional meal. Maybe we’ll have something with him and then more when kiddos are asleep an hour into the game!

Nachos seem like a must-have so loaded waffle fries is a definite way to kick it up:
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries

Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs will be gone before you know it, and are a good snack to make ahead of time or to bring since they don’t need reheating! Seriously, people chuckle when they see deviled eggs yet they’re always gone before I know it whenever I bring them somewhere. I’m sure I’ll make some since they are easy to just make a few of.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
Skip the veggies with hummus and put this Greek Dip together- no cooking required! Layer hummus on the bottom, top with chopped cukes, tomato, feta, and Italian dressing and pita chips or wheat thins to dip. It is a crowd pleaser and couldn’t be easier. Packing tip: bring the hummus, chopped veggies & feta, and dressing all separate and assemble in 1 minute when you arrive at your viewing party.
greek_dip_plate_590_390

I’m thinking about pigs in blankets (after finding mini chicken sausages! score!) and a dip seems necessary. What else, well, only time will tell!

A whole bunch of flatbread-ish pizzas on naan are great for a crowd. Build-your-own anything is fun- build your own sandwich/panini would be a festive option. I’d love to do build your own nachos with queso in a crock pot if I were hosting a group! Happy snacking!

What I Ate: Loaded Nacho Waffle Fries

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.

You neeeed this super easy and fun dinner in your rotation for December. It is delicious, a great use of leftovers, and couldn’t be easier. What else could you look for from a weeknight dinner!? We have something Mexican about once a week so I popped a small portion of pulled pork into the freezer for occasions such as this. Add gather some queso sauce, tomato, avocado, green onion, salsa, and cheese onto waffle fries and you’ve got yourself a meal!

Taco night gets recreated for a whole different feel. I’m working to ensure foods aren’t always the same for my little one…I don’t want him thinking tacos are always one way, or cheese is always in string form, etc. Having tacos/burritos/quesadillas/etc help ensure he sees ingredients he’s familiar with in another format so it is still approachable. I took a similar tactic for a recent salami & cheese calzone being his fav sandwich flavors. I have adventurous eaters in our family, but doesn’t everyone just want a crowd-pleasing, slam-dunk of a dinner in the rotation, right?
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries

Pssst. These would totally fill a group for a weekend lunch, after sledding, as a quick meal before some festive holiday gathering, or watching a game (<- jeez, I sound like I host football parties non-stop. I just like how those games bring out the snacks!).

Loaded Nacho Waffle Fries

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

3/4 bag frozen waffle fries
~1 cup pulled pork (or pulled chicken or taco meat)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup salsa con queso
1 avocado, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup salsa

Directions:

Bake the fries according to the package.
While they bake to a crisp, pan fry the shredded pork to brown a bit and warm the queso.
Sprinkle the shredded cheese on the waffle fries and return to the oven to melt.
Drizzle some queso onto the fries and top with pork.
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries
Serve and offer the toppings of tomatoes, avocado, green onions, and salsa as a top-your-own station, or top the whole platter and let everyone dig in.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries
These are plate and fork nachos, which are the very best kind! They are truly loaded and so filling- as in, ours were on salad plates instead of dinner plates! Loaded waffle fries are definitely enough to be a meal. Our toddler thought it was a super fun dinner! I’d argue that the baked fries aren’t really a far reach health-wise from the rest of it being a taco or regular nachos. These are more filling so plan portions accordingly!

This uses up the remainder of queso and a small amount of pork & cheese so it reminded me not to underestimate what can become a meal! Vegetarian-ize them swapping pork with black beans and saute some bell peppers or add whatever toppings would go in your tacos!

Pumpkin Shaped Cheddar Cheeseball

This adorable (and seasonable) appetizer is a year in the making. I made this forever-ago but didn’t get to blog it soon enough and then it seemed weird to encourage anyone to shape food into a pumpkin shape once the mindset is onto the next holidays! It is so stinking cute, super easy, and delicious.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Cheese Ball

Pumpkin Shaped Cheese Ball

Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
3/4 cup orange cheddar
1 cup Cheez-Its (Cheddar Grooves are really great for this)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper
Stem from a bell pepper
crackers to serve

Directions:

Bring the cream cheese to room temperature.
In a food processor (or pounded in a ziplock bag), pulverize the cheez-its. Then remove most of it, leaving ~1/4 cup in the food processor.
Add in the cream cheese, cheddar, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and salt & pepper.
Remove and form into a ball, wrapping in plastic wrap. In the wrapped ball, make pumpkin-like ridges from the top to bottom, about an inch apart. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Cheese Ball
Before serving, unwrap and roll it in the remaining cheez-it crumbs.
Add the bell pepper stem and serve with crackers.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Cheese Ball
Enjoy!

I loved this, and it is show-stopping cute. I like the simplicity of it but it isn’t shy on flavor. I brought it to a get together and just rolled the crumbs before serving. I’ll totally make this again. Orrrr make this cute carrot one but shape it like a pumpkin. So festive! This one is so fitting for October AND November.

Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Turnovers

These little buggers are so cute and delicious. Crescent rolls are getting stuffed with, yup, you’ve guessed it, chicken, bacon, ranch, and cheddar. They became an instant dinner with the help of pre-cooked bacon and some rotisserie chicken. Serve these with some salad and they’re dinner like a hot sandwich, or on a big platter with ranch as an app! They are an ideal weeknight dinner or a fun one for kids to help assemble.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Turnovers

Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Turnovers

Ingredients:

1 can crescent rolls (8)
4 strips of cooked bacon
1 cup roasted chicken, shredded
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons ranch dressing
1 teaspoon ranch dressing powder mix

Directions:

Preheat the oven according to the crescent roll instructions, then shred the chicken and chop the bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Turnovers
Mix the chicken with the dressing.
Unroll the crescent dough into the perforated triangles. Top the wide part of the triangle with chicken, bacon, and cheddar. Then carefully roll towards the point.
Sprinkle ranch powder on top and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment, a baking mat, or sprayed generously with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Turnovers
Bake 10-15 minutes, as directed by the crescent packaging.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Turnovers

These are a great use for leftover chicken if there isn’t a lot of it and they reheat well in the oven or toaster oven. Pop any leftovers into the freezer for another day’s  quick lunch or game-time snack….though, I don’t think you’ll have any leftovers!

Light Lemon Dip for Fruit

On my quest for more appetizers up my sleeve, I went lemon-y for a dessert/fruit/brunch-ish dip and it couldn’t be easier. I love that it can be prepped ahead of time, or mix it up and eat it immediately! I wanted to go all-out and make a huge board overflowing with dippers for it, but then again, I’m 36 weeks pregnant, hot, always tired, and I wasn’t feeding a huge crowd. This hit the spot with just strawberries and some graham crackers to dip.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Fruit Dip
Lemon Fruit Dip (serves ~8-10)
6 oz cream cheese (softened is helpful, not required)
4 oz vanilla Greek yogurt
4 oz Cool Whip
1 pkg lemon pudding mix
1 tablespoon lemon juice
lemon zest from half a lemon
2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
dippers: fruit slices; vanilla wafers; graham crackers/animal crackers; fruit as kebabs; cookies; etc

Directions:
Add all the dip ingredients into a bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Fruit Dip
Whip with a mixer (or food processor or blender).
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Fruit Dip
Taste and add more fresh lemon juice if desired, or thin it a bit more with additional yogurt/cool whip if desired.
Enjoy! Or refrigerate until serving.

This totally hit the spot for being fresh and bright but creamy and very dip-able. I didn’t think of it fast enough, but any leftovers would be great between graham crackers like an ice cream sandwich then wrapped individually in plastic. Leftovers of everything would make fun individual trifles!
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Fruit Dip
I added the yellow since the lemon powder isn’t all that yellow and I wanted it to pop. This is an easy one to prep the night before and bring to a summer gathering or to serve when guests arrive! My little one was napping when I served this but he tasted when I made it and liked it. I think it’d be an easy excuse for a dessert!

Go all out and make a huge & beautiful board of fruit, cookies, and treats and share with me!

Bacon, Cheddar & Ranch Garlic Bread

This delicious dish skates the line of garlic bread or maybe even a flatbread. This is so good and so easy. Share with others – everyone will love this. We ate it for dinner with some salad but I can definitely see it being a fun app or side.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon, Cheddar, Ranch Garlic Bread
The garlic cooks in the bacon drippings and butter meaning the full flavor of the bacony-tidbits goes onto this. It mean the crunchy brown bits from the pan soak into the bread.

Bacon, Cheddar & Ranch Garlic Bread

Ingredients:

~6 strips of bacon
1 loaf Italian bread or baguette
4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons dried Ranch seasoning
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon chopped chives or parsley (optional)

Directions:

Chop then pan fry the bacon until crisp. Spoon onto paper towels to drain, but reserve the grease in the pan.
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees. Slice the bread and pop it into the oven while the oven preheats- just to start to warm through.
Add the butter and garlic to the pan with the bacon drippings. Cook over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes.
Spoon over the bread and then top with ranch seasoning, cheese, and bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon, Cheddar, Ranch Garlic Bread
Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese melts and the bread gets golden around the edge. Optional: Sprinkle chives over the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon, Cheddar, Ranch Garlic BreadSlice into 1 inch slices. Enjoy!

This was a really fun one. We had it for dinner with some salad and it totally hit the spot. I loaded up the bacon because, well, it is bacon! The little one ate all the bacon off his pieces first, then ate the rest.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon, Cheddar, Ranch Garlic Bread
I had the bread in the freezer and always freeze bacon, so this was easy to pull together.

Breakfast Deviled Eggs

The deviled egg variations are endless! I whipped these up for a staff coffee social at work. I put a cream cheese & everything bagel twist on traditional deviled eggs and they were great! My trick to prep ahead, without them too far pre-prepped, was doing it in stages. I hard boiled the eggs, then another time I mixed up the filling and left in a closed zip-top bag, then piped the filling and added the topping just before serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Deviled Eggs

Breakfast Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

1 dozen eggs
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons minced chives (optional)
1 tablespoon Everything Bagel Seasoning

Directions:

Hard boil the eggs and then let them cool in ice water.
Peal the eggs, slice in half, and pop the yolks out into a bowl. Add in the mayo, cream cheese, mustard, chives, salt, and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Deviled Eggs
beat the filling or mash with a pastry blender.
Spoon the filling into a zip-top bag into a bottom corner. (I open the bag over a tall glass to hold it up.)
Snip the corner with scissors and pipe the filling into the egg halves. (I fill each just to the top of the egg, then go back to top them off.)
Sprinkle them with everything bagel seasoning.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Deviled EggsEnjoy!

I loved these! They were a good mix amongst fruit, coffee cakes, biscotti, quiche, and bagels. These are a great bite with everything else everyone will nibble on. The crunch on top was so perfect. I wanted to add a little bacon on there but wasn’t sure about how many vegetarians might be in the mix and I didn’t want these to be too much.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Deviled Eggs
Here are my other Deviled Egg Variations:
French Onion Deviled Eggs
Caesar Deviled Eggs
Greek Deviled Eggs
Taco Spiced Deviled Eggs
Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
Sour Cream & Onion Deviled Eggs

Next week I have Mr. J’s 8th annual birthday burger to share and let me tell you, it was a gooood one!