Potato Bar

I was inspired to make dinner out of potatoes after seeing lots of potato skin-football food and after making candied sweet potatoes for tacos. A few years ago mashed potato bars were all the rage at weddings costing a fortune for such basic ingredients. I figured with a few toppings it could easily be dinner.

Baked potatoes are so much faster than I really thought they’d take. I spread out a few toppings and it was such a fun dinner. This would be great for guests. Everyone getting to customize their own keeps everyone happy.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Bar


2 potatoes
frozen creamed spinach
1 cup shredded cheddar
4 strips bacon, chopped
sour cream


Microwave potatoes for 4 minutes then bake potatoes for 20 minutes at 400-degrees.
Pan fry the bacon until crisp.
Heat the creamed spinach until warmed through.
Rub the potatoes in olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Lay out the toppings and enjoy!

The potatoes were filling but not super heavy. The creamed spinach was a perfect sauce and took no effort.

The Three Bite Rule - Potato Bar
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Bar

Chicken Parmesan Cups

Let’s start Monday off gently. This is not going to overwhelm your brain. We had houseguests early last week and I wanted to throw some dinners together on Sunday so we could leisurely visit and not put anyone to work. My thought for these Chicken Parmesan Cups were that it seemed like less work than serving Chicken Parmesan and anything in serving size portions is fun. I was going for a crowd pleaser and something I was pretty familiar with making.

Chicken Parmesan Cups - The Three Bite Rule
Chicken Parmesan Cups
Yield: 12 muffin cups, ~5 people
Time: prep ~20 min, cook ~20 minutes


1 sheet of puff pastry
sprinkle of flour
5 chicken tenders
1 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 350-degrees and defrost puff pastry to room temperature.
Cook the chicken until fully cooked through.
When cool enough to handle, chop up the chicken and set aside.
Chicken Parmesan Cups - The Three Bite Rule
Spray a muffin tin or 12 ramekins with nonstick spray.
Lightly flour a surface to roll out the puff pastry. Roll to about 1/8 inch thick and cut it into 12 squares, about 3×3 inches each.
Lay the puff pastry into the muffin tin.
Chicken Parmesan Cups - The Three Bite Rule
Divide the chicken into each cup, spoon sauce over, and top with cheeses. (I had some extra puff pastry so I put another mini 1″ square on top)
Bake for 20 minutes, or until puff pastry puffs up and get golden brown.
Chicken Parmesan Cups - The Three Bite Rule
I loved these. They made serving way easier. I tossed a salad together an poof, dinner was ready. These would be super simple to serve to a crowd since they almost could be eaten by hand.

Suggested adaptations: 
chicken parmesan cups + baked eggplant = dynamic duo of parm
chicken parmesan cups – tomato sauce – cheese + pot pie fillings (corn, carrots, celery, gravy, etc) = chicken pot pie cups
chicken parmesan cups + ricotta = chicken “lasagna” cups

Crispy Pizza Rolls

I love appetizers for dinner. I make pizza all the time but I was thinking of something different and decided on putting the best favors into eggroll wrappers. They’re kind of pizza kind of lasagna, kind of just Italian flavored. I don’t know what box to put them in!
The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Rolls


1/2 pound Italian sausage, removed from the casing
1 cup ricotta
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella
eggroll wrappers


Pan fry the sausage, crumbling it and cooking it all the way through and sprinkling with dried oregano. Then drain on paper towel.
Lay the eggroll wrappers out and on a diagonal, to opposite corners, top with mozzarella, ricotta, sausage, and sauce.

The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Rolls
Fold the opposite corners in and fold the bottom across the filling. Then roll toward the top corner. Be sure none of the filling escapes out the edges.
Pan fry in shallow oil or spray with nonstick spray and bake. (I baked at 375-degrees flipping on all sides).
Let cool 5 minutes. Serve with more sauce for dipping.
The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Rolls
These freeze well too, then pop in the oven when you need lunch, dinner, or a hefty appetizer. I should have more of these things prepped & hanging out in the freezer. I really loved having some as a what-to-have-for-lunch on a weekend day. I’m currently working on going through the freezer so I can clear room for ready made stuff, though this babe is just past halfway so I have a little time for January freezer prep.

suggested adaptations:
pizza rolls – sausage + chopped pepperoni = pepperoni pizza rolls
pizza rolls + green peppers + onions + mushrooms = loaded pizza rolls
pizza rolls – sausage + veggies = vegetarian pizza rolls

Puff Pastry Dinner Turnovers

I love grilling season, and extending grilling season into the other seasons. I do sometimes think that I need to vary it up. This was a good way to do that without turning the oven on. I popped these guys into the toaster oven!
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers


2 sheets of puff pastry dough (or crescent roll dough)
1 1/2 cups (1 package) of frozen creamed spinach, defrosted and heated through
1 – 1 1/2 cups ham, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar


Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
Pan fry the ham until warmed through and crisp.
Cut each puff pastry sheet into four equal squares.
Spoon some spinach into the center from two opposite corners.
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
Add some ham, then tuck the two opposite corners over one another.
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
Fill four puff pastry squares with spinach & ham, fill other four with ham and shredded cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
Bake 8-10 minutes until pastry is crisp and lightly tanned. (Bake less if you plan on baking them another time to use later or freeze.)
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
These were so good and so quick. Definitely a good alternative to everyday dinner. I served them with some salad.

They were great as breakfast too. I froze a few we didn’t get to immediately and they just needed a quick defrost before toasting. I’d like them as apps if they were a bit smaller. I would pop them in muffin tins to form their own cups. I had the spinach, ham, and puff pastry in the freezer. These are a great way to use some leftovers.

Suggested adaptations: 
sliced meatballs + marinara + shredded mozzarella + puff pastry = meatball turnovers
turkey deli meat + crumbled bacon + ranch + cheddar + puff pastry = turkey bacon ranch turnovers
creamed spinach + artichoke hearts + roasted red peppers + provolone = spinach & artichoke turnovers
tapanade + feta + diced tomatoes + chopped peppers + puff pastry = Mediterranean turnovers
raspberry jam + brie + puff pastry = cheese plate turnovers
prosciutto + brie + sliced green apples/pears = Italian appetizer turnovers

What I Ate: Orange Pomegranate Salsa

‘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.

Were you missing the #whatiate series from Fridays? I have a few I need to do now that I’ve regained momentum so stay tuned for more!

We’ve had some hot days, and I’m so thankful for everyday that isn’t a thousand degrees or humid. Some nights dinner’s theme is “how to cook without turning on the oven”. That’s where this came in. I had an event at work and was lucky enough to take home some of this salsa. The food demo encouraged cooks to use these raw salsas over fish, poultry, and beef. Done!



Oranges, peeled, chopped
Pomegranate seeds
Onion, chopped
Fennel bulb, chopped
Lime juice
Parsley (to add at the end)


Chop & combine everything except the parsley.
Let sit 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Add parsley just before serving.

I marinated & grilled some chicken and served it all over brown rice. Dinner is done.
The Three Bite Rule - Salsa

I love the crunch and tartness of the pomegranate seeds with the oranges. This is great as a salsa to dip with or as a sauce. I know I get stuck thinking summer sauces are BBQ or teriyaki but a cool raw one is really fun. I’ll have to mess around with some other salsa ingredients!

Rosemary Focaccia

This was the year to mess with bread. I figured the worst that could happen would be a bread flop, and it may take a few attempts. I decided that focaccia would be the first attempt, since it wasn’t critical to the meal. It came out great, not perfect, but delicious nonetheless. It made a lot. I didn’t want to mess with halfing the recipe. Maybe next time!

I used Anne Burrell’s focaccia recipe and topped it with fresh rosemary. It was good. I wonder if it would have raised a bit more if I had given it a bit more time. You can’t rush yeast. It does it’s thing slowly, but surely.


1 3/4 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1 tbs sugar
5 cups flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt + 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped


Leave lots of time, focaccia needs about 2 hours to rise.
Combine water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Let it sit for about 15-minutes in a warm place until frothy & foamy.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
My warm space was the oven on low, venting on the stove top where the yeast was resting.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
With a dough hook attached to the stand mixer, mix flour, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt, and yeast on low until combined. Then mix on medium for 5 minutes.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and need by hand a few times.
Drizzle olive oil into the sides of a bowl. Put the dough ball into the bowl, turn over once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour, doubling in size.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
Add the 1/2 cup olive oil to a sheet pan. It seems like a lot, but Anne Burrell says that’s what makes focaccia so good. Add the dough in and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan.
Turn the dough over to coat well with oil.
Poke finger marks into the dough each an inch away from the other holes and sprinkle with salt and rosemary.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
Let it rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake 20-25 minutes.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
I cut the rise-time a bit short and would have liked it to be more airy. It was a bit dense.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
I loved the rosemary flavor. It was crunchy and moist. I really liked it and will try it again, when I’m not trying to rush it for dinner time.

I served it with gnocchi with tomato sauce.

Superbowl Snacks: Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls

These are the PERFECT appetizer. There’s crunch! There’s bacon! There’s freshness in the greens! There’s warmth with cool ranch! Soooo good! Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls are not “spring rolls” in any traditional sense, but are such a fun treat that I’m sure everyone would like. They’d be easy to prep and cook partially and then warm in the oven when the big game starts.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls


2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 oz dry ranch mix (1 packet)
2 cups arugula
4 green onions
3 slices of bacon
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
Wonton wrappers


Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
In a large pan, fry the bacon until crisp, then remove to paper towels to drain. Leave the bacon drippings in the pan over low heat.
Warm the chicken in the bacon dripping pan.
Add in 3/4 of the dry ranch mix to the chicken, mix well, and then remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls
Chop the arugula, green onions, and bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls
Mix in the chicken once it has cooled a bit also adding the cheese to the arugula and bacon. (if the mixture is too hot, the cheese will melt and get all stringy)
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls
Sprinkle in the rest of the dry ranch mix, then stir well.
Lay out the wonton wrappers. Spoon about 3-4 tablespoons of filling onto the wrappers, across the middle at an angle.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls
Roll them up, folding the bottom point up across the filling. Fold the sides in towards the middle. Roll towards the far point, tucking the edges in as you roll away from you.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls
Lay the rolls on a sheet pan with the point facing the pan. Spray, drizzle, or brush with olive oil.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls
Then bake for 10 minutes.
Flip over and bake another 10 minutes to ensure all sides get crisped. Pan frying in oil is an alternative.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls
Serve with ranch dip or dressing.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls
I used some of a roasted chicken for this, which really made this app really easy to whip together. I grabbed a deli roasted chicken and used half for a chicken pot pie. Then I took the rest of the chicken off the bone and froze it, to bring it to life for this! I used the bones to make broth for the chicken pot pie with some leftover too.  For this spring rolls I used all the filling and most of the wonton wrappers I had. I figured any we didn’t eat could easily freeze or reheat in the oven.

This uses a surprisingly small amount of bacon so I warmed the chicken in the bacon drippings for some more bacon flavor and to get some moisture into the chicken. The chicken was already cooked but I wanted to warm it to better incorporate the ranch flavor.

suggested adaptations: 
Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls – wontons + croissant dough or puff pastry = Chicken Bacon Ranch Rolls with less crunch but more doughiness
Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls – ranch + smokey dry rub + BBQ Sauce for dipping = Chicken Bacon BBQ Spring Rolls
Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls – arugula + spinach/cabbage/sprouts = Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls with more mild fresh flavor

Cheese Fondue Party

Cheese fondue is just as delicious as it sounds. I hosted a winter sunday girls gathering featuring an afternoon of chit-chat, fondue, and crafts. Not many were interested in the crafts so maybe cookie decorating would be more popular :-) It was nice to get a few ladies together especially during a busy time of year. I figured late afternoon snacks on a Sunday would fit into busy schedules. Some shared fondue ended up being so addictive that we ate more than I thought our smaller group would!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue

Mr. J and I got a fondue set last year and actually hadn’t tested it out until now. It was awesome for the “party” and I repeated it again for New Year’s Eve. It is an electric induction cooktop. We used another one that was gas lit and was wayyy more dangerous. I’d suggest either a baby candle lit one for chocolate fondue or some sort of electric one. A crockpot would work well too.

The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
I googled some cheese fondue tips. Turns out cheese fondue really is a mix of multiple cheeses and thinned out with another liquid.


~3/4 pound jarlesburg cheese
~3/4 pound gruyere cheese
1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
2 tbs garlic, minced
2 tbs dijon mustard
salt & pepper


In a large pot heat broth, wine, garlic, and mustard over medium-low heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
Shred cheeses and toss with cornstarch.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
Slowly add cheese into the hot liquid in small batches, stirring continuously.
Keep adding until totally incorporated and melted.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Transfer into fondue pot or crockpot over low heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
Dip, dip, and dip!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
This was so addicting and we loved it. It started out seeming kind of runny but was thicker as it cooled. It still remained totally dip-able. I feared it might be one big hunk of cheese.

crusty bread, cut into cubes (I used ciabatta)
broccoli, lightly steamed
salami slices or grilled chicken sausage
green apples

The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
Like most parties, I got swept up and forgot to grab any photos until lots was already gone (minus restocking the broccoli). The broccoli and apples were perfect dippers in my mind being a bit lighter, but the bread was ohh so delicious.

The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
We also did a chocolate fondue (melted semi-sweet and whipping cream) with pretzels, sea salt blondies, and crispy vanilla cookies. I couldn’t find strawberries even close to being fresh but that would be in my dreams.

I’m not sure if I’d make a hot-pot broth to cook meat in, but I’ll definitely do cheese fondue again. It was the EASIEST party food I’ve ever done. I mean, honestly, it was largely uncooked foods. I am sure I wouldn’t mess with one lit with gas again. Let’s all just be thankful that I didn’t burn the house down.

Just you WAIT to see what I did with some leftovers!

Roasted Onion Jam

I gave fewer food gifts this year. I’m not always sure how well they go over. Everyone used to get one but it meant a few things to make in the final few days of holiday prep and food might not really be a gift to everyone. I know Momma R likes them, so she got onion jam this year. It was really simple and packed with flavor. I thought this could have a million uses and figured it would be something new since I’ve made Bacon Jam before. Don’t worry. Go ahead and pin the bacon jam recipe or bookmark it. I’ll wait.

Ok, welcome back. How amazing is bacon jam? Well, I have no words. One of my favorite things to eat, ever. The bacon jam requires a few more steps and I figured onion jam would be super versatile and would be easy enough to do while I had other things cooking. I gave it as a gift with a spreader and now I’m thinking it would make a nice hostess gift in a basket with some appetizer plates or with a baguette or something. How fun, right? I’ll have to remember that ;-)

This is also super easy to make and let it do it’s own thing. I roasted the onions while I had other stuff in the oven, but this could easily be prepped in stages popping it into the fridge until the next time you had a few minutes. It would be pretty easy to do on the stovetop too. The hardest part is not crying while slicing up the onions.


3 white or yellow onions
1 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbs garlic, chopped
1 tbs fresh thyme
2 medium roma tomatoes (remove the seeds if you’re into the esthetics)


Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Chop onions into slivers (or chunks).
Roast the onions, butter, and olive oil in a baking dish, or a sheet pan that has sides.
Onions will roast for 30-45 minutes or they can cook in a dutch oven to speed the process up.
Once the onions are golden brown and caramelized, add them to a large pot over medium heat with the vinegar and brown sugar.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Onion JamCover and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
By now a lot of the liquid will have reduced. Taste it. If you think it is too strong add some water (about a quarter or half cup).
Now add the tomatoes (optional) and thyme.
Cover and cook for another 20 minutes over medium heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Onion Jam

Turn off heat and allow to cool at room temperature.
I liked how chunky and “rustic” it was but you could give it a pulse or two in a food processor if you wanted it smoother.
Store in a glass jar. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Onion Jam
The flavors in this onion jam are unbelievable. It’s quite sweet from the brown sugar (and caramelized onions) but tart from the vinegar. A little goes a long way. I think it would be fantastic on a burger or in grilled cheese. It could go on a flatbread or just as a dip…I picture it warm or room temperature, spooned on top of some warmed cream cheese. I would love it as a spread on a sandwich or panini. Onion jam could even get stuffed into chicken breasts before baking them. Don’t even think for a second I wouldn’t put a few dollops onto pizza or pasta. The possibilities are endless.

Whip this up for company. You can do all the work (and clean-up) days in advance and then it will make hosting your meal super easy. It would freeze well too so make a double batch and you’ll thank yourself later.

some suggested adaptations:
this onion jam recipe – thyme + rosemary/chives/fennel/oregano/whatever herbs you like = you own fav flavors
this onion jam recipe – tomatoes + roasted garlic cloves = different flavor
this onion jam recipe – apple cider vinegar + balsamic vinegar = less acidic taste
this onion jam recipe – tomatoes + sun dried tomatoes/roasted red peppers/tomato sauce = a more pantry-ready option


What I Ate: Sweet Pumpkin Dip

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.

It is Pumpkin Week here. Check out my Pumpkin French Toast and my Pumpkin Risotto. This is too easy to share, but it is just such a fall delight and very addictive.

I’m not a big baker so this sweet dip hit the spot. It also isn’t the worst sweet treat to eat. I whipped this up, refrigerated it until I was ready, and then packed it for an Octoberfest party. Now that’s easy.

The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Dip


1, 15-oz can pumpkin
1, 15-oz container non-dairy whipped cream
1 box vanilla pudding mix (regular, cook to serve)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice


Whip everything together.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Dip
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Dip
Serve with graham crackers for dipping.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Dip
I like this dip. The flavors and ease are definitely the high points. It is delightfully light and fluffy. I didn’t even think about dipping apples until now, but how great would that be?! I spread this onto toast one morning and couldn’t get over my genius moment. Whip this up for Thanksgiving when everyone needs something to munch on.

This is basically a quickie pumpkin mousse. Sprinkle some graham cracker crumbles on the bottom and top with a dollop of whipped cream and you’ve got dessert.

Should we keep talking about pumpkin? One more day! Tomorrow is something out of the ordinary for The Three Bite Rule and I want you to see it.