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.

Ingredients:

~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

Directions:

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.

Dippers:
crusty bread, cut into cubes (I used ciabatta)
broccoli, lightly steamed
mushrooms
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.

Ingredients:

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)

Directions:

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Pork and Vegetable Spring Rolls

On vacation to Bermuda, Mr. J became OBSESSED with a pork and vegetable spring roll. I think he ordered it almost every night. I recreated them for Dad & Mr. J’s combo birthday/father’s day meal. Our theme was “best of vacation” foods.

The eggroll wrappers are from the produce section of the grocery store. They feel like fresh pasta and are easy to use. There are about 20 in a package and I made them all. They were easy to make in advance and bake for a few minutes when it was time to eat.
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Ingredients:

3/4 pound ground pork
10 oz cole slaw mix (or chopped cabbage)
2 tbs garlic, chopped
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbs cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 package eggroll wrappers
1 tsp cornstarch & 2 tsp water

Directions:

Fry pork in a large pan until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes over medium heat.
Drain excess oil off the pork and add in the cabbage and garlic to the pan.
Add in sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce.
Mix well and cook another few minutes. The cabbage quantity will shrink up.
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lay out wonton wrappers. Add about 3 tbs of the filling onto each one. Brush the edges with the cornstarch/water mix.
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Fold the point in the front over the filling, then fold the side points inward towards the filling. Then roll the whole thing over, continuing to wrap the sides towards the center.
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Place the spring rolls on a baking sheet, sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 5 minutes at 375 degrees.
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Then flip and bake another 5 minutes.
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I sprayed them and flipped them often. I wanted them crisp all the way around. They also could be pan fried, but I thought baking would keep them from being oily or greasy.

Sesame oil and rice wine vinegar are ingredients I try to keep around. They take any Asian-inspired dishes to the next level and they never go bad. They are good for vinaigrette on salad or a stir fry.  I have another dish to blog for you next week that uses them…stock up now!

I served them with a chipotle orange ginger barbecue sauce. They were a hit!

Pizza Dip

One drizzly day here in Boston suddenly became the absolute perfect night for personal dips for dinner. That’s right. I planned that dinner would be us each to have our own ramekin of dip and we would double-dip until our hearts content…yes, this was the plan. I’m too structured to pretend that I came up with this one on a whim. It just got flipped during the week to a cool rainy evening and was perfect. I loved it. What other dip should be for dinner?

I was wooed into this idea when I saw a white pizza dip on How Sweet It Is. Her blog is gorgeous, she is gorgeous, and her recipes keep me inspired. I wanted a few more flavors like pepperoni and garlic. I also wanted ricotta instead of provolone which leans more towards lasagna. I also had pinned a lasagna dip with a few more ingredients. Mine is a mish-mosh of the two.

Ingredients:

1 pt cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 yellow onion, chopped
olive oil, salt & pepper
½ cup ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbs garlic, chopped
¼ cup pepperoni, chopped
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
french bread for dipping (I didn’t want leftover bread so I chose a roll for each of us)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees while you half tomatoes and chop onion.
Place tomatoes and onion on a baking sheet and top with a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle some salt & pepper over the top too.
Roast tomatoes and onions for 10-20 minutes depending how you like the tomatoes. They release lots of moisture and char a bit. The skin shrivels a bit too.
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While tomatoes are roasting chop basil and pepperoni.
Mix up ricotta, ⅔ cup of the mozzarella (saving some for the top!), Parmesan, garlic, and pepperoni.
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Remove tomatoes from the oven and mix into the cheese mixture also adding the basil. At this point I also added the last smidgeon of truffle butter I had, but that’s of course not necessary.
Spoon the cheese & tomato mixture into ramekins sprayed with non-stick spray or into a pie dish (if serving as a regular dip).
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Pop the dish(s) into the oven to bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, top with remaining cheese, and return the dip to the oven also putting the dipping bread into the oven.
Bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese melts.
Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving.
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I loved this. I thought it was perfectly cheesy with differing textures and very simple. I added pepperoni but it could use any cooked meat or sausage you have, or it could easily be vegetarian. I had leftover dip so I boiled some pasta and the dip became sauce on pasta for lunch the next day. Bam!

It was a fun alternative to pizza or pasta with some of the same flavors. I also think the garlic, onion, and pepperoni could easily be skipped if you didn’t have any. I do not think dried basil could replace the fresh basil. With so few ingredients, the fresh basil is totally necessary.

 

Spinach and Artichoke Pockets

I love creamed spinach as an ingredient. It has tons of flavor and is great for a sauce and for serious color. I used it in place of sauce in deep dish pizza. This time I thought it would help make spinach and artichoke dip. I baked it into puff pastry pockets to turn dip into dinner!

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Ingredients:

1 pkg creamed spinach
2 cups artichoke hearts
2 tbs garlic, chopped
1 tbs cream cheese
1 cup fresh spinach
4 slices fresh turkey/4 chicken tenders, pre-cooked
1 cup shredded mozzarella/shredded monterey jack
salt & pepper
1 sheet of puff pastry

Directions:

Sautee artichoke hearts in a large pan over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Add creamed spinach, garlic, cream cheese, and fresh spinach to the pan. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Chop and add pre-cooked turkey/chicken, cooking for another 3-5 minutes.
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Roll out puff pastry from ¼ inch thickness to ⅛ inch (sheet should almost double in size)
Cut puff pastry into squares. Lay out if forming into pockets. Or lay into ramekins/muffin tins.
Fill each with spinach/artichoke mixture.
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Add shredded cheese and fold/close.
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Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
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This was such a fun and different kind of dinner. I made these pockets into ramekins so I didn’t have to worry if they exploded. Smaller ones would be fun for a party.
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The turkey I had wasn’t in tip-top shape (it lived in the freezer for a bit) so I figured it’s only use could be cooked into something. It added a bit of protein but wasn’t a crucial addition.

Any other apps turned dinner ideas out there?

Cobb Salad Dip

How do you do New Years Eve? I have a great fresh and filling dip for you to bring to a party or to your next football party. I always avoided going out to bars on NYE. It seems like it has to be such a plan. It is overpriced and crowded.
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I’m too old for that. Last year we moved and watched the ball drop from our new house. Most years Mr. J and I had been able to walk over to our friends’ annual party. This year it is a bit further but I’m excited.

Ingredients:

12 oz plain Greek yogurt (or half Greek yogurt/half sour cream)
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
1 cucumber, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
6 oz gouda, chopped
2 eggs, hardboiled, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 box of wheat thins

Directions:

Mix yogurt and ranch dressing mix until combined. Let chill for a few hours (or overnight) before serving.
Chop veggies into small bite size pieces.
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Spread ranch onto a platter or plate.
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Top with chopped veggies, eggs, cheese, and bacon (I was out of bacon and used pepperoni).
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Serve with crackers for dipping.
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I like this one because it is fresh and crisp and has all my favorites in one place. The Greek yogurt adds such a good  tang while being packed with protein and calcium. This dip is the perfect party way to eat some veggies.

Cobb Salad Dip is convenient to chop the veggies and whip up the ranch dip then assemble on site. It is one of the easiest ones to prep in advance and pack it to go.

What I Ate: Asian Inspired Meatballs

What I Ate is a Friday series that is so easy (but delicious!) that it doesn’t really require a recipe! Check out the category (to your right) to see other super easy ideas.

Did you cook your tuckus off for Thanksgiving and now it is time to adapt to the winter season? These Asian inspired meatballs are super easy and work with any pre-made meatballs.

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Ingredients:

12 turkey meatballs (3 meatballs per person)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp honey

Directions:

Defrost meatballs (or make your own!)
Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and honey over medium-low heat.
Stir well, then add meatballs.
Cook for about 10 minutes then turn to low so it can thicken.

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Serve over rice and top with some green onions.  They have a nice sweet/salty flavor. The brown sugar and honey help thicken it up and poof! You’re done and clean up is pretty minimal.

Chicken Spinach and Artichoke Nachos

You read that right. I took everything good about nachos and spinach and artichoke dip and married it. Happily. Ever. After.
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I had a bunch of apps on my ever running “to make” list of ideas so a few became dinner one night.

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh spinach, chopped fine
1 pkg frozen artichoke hearts (not jared in oil)
8 oz cream cheese (or plain greek yogurt)
½ cup prepared alfredo sauce
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 chicken breast, shredded
8 oz shredded mozzarella
multigrain tortilla chips

Directions:

Cook chicken breast and shred when cooled slightly.
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Add artichoke hearts, cream cheese, alfredo sauce, and garlic to a large large saute pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Once the cream cheese is melted, add the chicken and ½ cup of the shredded cheese.
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Stir the dip well, turn the temperature to low, and begin layering chips, dip and shredded mozzarella. Make one layer with about ⅓ of the dip, cheese, and chips.
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Melt in the oven at 375 degrees until melted.
Layer more chips, dip, and mozzarella.
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Melt in the oven at 375 degrees until melted.
Top with remaining.
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Trust me. The layers melted before more layers are crucial. If you layer, layer, and layer and then melting will mean your bottom layers aren’t going to be melted and the top will be cooked too much.
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I had some leftover chicken and sundried tomato alfredo pasta with lots of leftover chicken. I shredded it up which made for a wayyy better use of the leftovers than I planned!
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Apple Cheesecake Dip

It is almost Thanksgiving and I have an easy 3 ingredient dip/dessert for you to have on hand if you’re worried about what you’ve planned to make. Or maybe you need one more thing to keep the masses fed.
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I saw this apple cheesecake dip on pinterest and thought it sounded awesome. It is one of those foods that just can’t LOOK as good as it tastes. I added it to a dinner of appetizers and it was awesome.

Apple Cheesecake Dip

Adapted from Cooking Classy

Ingredients:

8oz cream cheese
¼ cup caramel ice cream topping
¼ cup toffee pieces
apples for dipping

Directions:

Allow the cream cheese to soften slightly.
Beat cream cheese, caramel sauce, and toffee bits.
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Serve with sliced apples.

This has such great flavor for just a few ingredients. I liked the apple dippers but graham crackers would be good, or animal crackers.

The original recipe has the apples dipped into the cream cheese dip and then into crushed graham crackers. I added the toffee in the dip instead for a pop of crunch.
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This is a crowd pleaser and a super easy one to whip up. Something about it says fall to me, but apples are available all the time so I’m not sure where my season-ness is coming from. I definitely recommend this dip for an easy appetizer or light dessert. I love to be sure there are a few simple items when I’m hosting for an easy check mark on your list.

Tip: a few drips of lemon juice will help the apples not to brown. Prep the dip and refrigerate until you serve it. Slice the apples when you’re ready to eat!

(Plus, this one got Mr. J eating some fruit. Shhh! Don’t tell him!)