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!

Honey Mustard Dressing/Dip

The little one loves all dip-able things and loves honey mustard the most. I don’t always make it, but it is seriously the easiest dressing to make. Quite awhile ago I brought it to a dip party with soft pretzels from the freezer section and they’re so fun since nobody has them all the time. This combo is the perfect app.

This time, I whipped some up for a weeknight dinner, along with some cucumbers and chicken sausage and it was a hit…likely because it isn’t something we have often!

The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard
Honey Mustard Dressing (for ~3/4 cup)
Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 teaspoon mayo
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dijon/whole grain mustard (optional)

Directions:
Whisk together the honey, mustard, juice, mayo, garlic and dijon.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard
Or add into a jar and shake.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard
Taste and adjust as necessary. Refrigerate until serving, for about a week.
Enjoy!

I like the dijon in there for more of a mustardy kick but I don’t always include it. The consistency is like dressing, and my leftover was used as salad dressing. Adding more mayo will make it thicker, more for use like a dip, and mellow out the sweet honey and the strong mustard. Those freezer soft pretzels need to be stocked in my freezer more often. They’re so fun and bake for ~4 minutes!
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard

Marsala Mushroom Toasts

I’m back! I had a few dishes I wanted to make and blog last week but I didn’t quite get to them. Now they’re all ready so buckle up! Today’s toasts were such a fantastic and balanced lunch and would also be great on little toasts for an appetizer.
The Three Bite Rule - Marsala Mushroom Toasts

Marsala Mushroom Toasts

Ingredients: (for 2)

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons marsala wine
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 slices of thickly sliced bread
1 cup greens, chopped (I used a spinach & kale “juicing blend”)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 teaspoons ricotta (or cream cheese)
salt & pepper

Directions:

Heat a pan to medium heat and melt the butter. Add in the mushrooms and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Stir to caramelize on each side for about 3 minutes. Add in the marsala and worcestershire sauce. Stir until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Marsala Mushroom Toasts
Toast the bread, ensuring it gets brown but soft enough to bite through. Bake in the oven if making a whole batch.
While the bread toasts, remove the mushrooms from the pan and use the same one for the greens. Saute the greens in a drizzle of oil for about 2-3 minutes with the garlic and some salt until just wilted then remove from the heat.
Spread the ricotta onto the toast, then add greens, then add mushrooms.
The Three Bite Rule - Marsala Mushroom Toasts
Finish with kosher salt, sea salt, or a drizzle of oil. I had truffle sea salt.
Enjoy!

The marsala flavor here was so great with garlicky greens, and creamy ricotta. I liiiiive for ricotta but if it isn’t your jam, go for cream cheese, or goat cheese, or whatever you like. Any kind of mushrooms would be great here. Marsala could get swapped with cooking sherry or a touch of balsamic vinegar- go for big flavor, the mushrooms will soak it up with the butter. Yum! I had this for lunch but would also go for a little more subtle flavors to be a fun savory breakfast too.

This was a great little lunch using a bunch of ingredients I already had around. The greens are a mix I use for smoothies. Once they’re on the verge of hanging out in the fridge too long I pop them into the freezer. Then I break them off in chunks. I found really awesome rosemary olive oil bread in the discount area so I knew it had to be toasts. Earlier I took the little one to the zoo and had a banana and cheese stick at our zoo picnic so when I got home I was ready for something more.

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!

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).