Spinach Squares

I mixed up these spinach squares last weekend thinking they’d be a good thing to pack for the little one’s lunch. Thennn I also munched it for my quest for savory breakfasts. I also was reminded that my mom makes this as an appetizer…such a multi-functional food! There are so few ingredients and I liked that they weren’t so eggy that it seems like square quiche. The trick making them so good is quality cheese and is that they get baked in a butter bath.

The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Squares
The little one liked it a few times, but seemed to tire of them. That’s a trend for him: a few meals something is good, then he kind of passes on it. If we give it a break, it is all good awhile later. I’ll probably pop some into the freezer.

Ingredients:

3 tbs butter
3 eggs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed well
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
optional: 1 small onion & 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
In a 13×9 baking pan, melt the butter by putting both into the preheating oven.
In a mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer), add in the eggs, cheese, spinach, milk, flour, baking powder, and salt.
The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Squares

Stir well to combine.
Pour into the buttery baking pan.
The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Squares
Bake 30 minutes.
Let cool, slice and enjoy at room temperature or warm!

The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Squares

I used more butter but thought maybe there was a bit too much (gasp!) it pooled a bit one mine so next time I’d use 3 tbs (as suggested above). I love these! My mom’s are a bit thicker and more fluffy…mine seemed a touch dense but I still liked them! Use the good cheese…these have so few ingredients they’re worth it!

Easter Carrot Shaped Cheese Ball

This cheese ball has been awaiting the blog debut for. a. year. I made this last year for Easter and thought it was just so adorable. It takes 10 minutes to mix together and 5 minutes to look cute. Voila! Serve with some wheat thins and some carrots for the best of both worlds! I don’t make too many super theme-y foods for aesthetics but this one tastes so food as proof it isn’t just about looks! This carrot shaped cheeseball goes with your Easter brunchy foods, your Easter lunch spread, or an Easter dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Carrot Cheese Ball

Ingredients:

8oz package cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbs Parmesan cheese
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 cup orange cheddar, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley
1 cup green onion, chopped
carrots
crackers (strong enough for cheese dipping)

Directions:

With a hand or stand mixer, mix together cream cheese, sundried tomatoes, Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
The Three Bite Rule - Carrot Cheese Ball
Add in green onion (I originally had less sundried tomato and thought it needed more). Then mix well.
The Three Bite Rule - Carrot Cheese Ball
Refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
The Three Bite Rule - Carrot Cheese Ball
Before serving, form into a carrot shape on a plate. Press cheddar around the outside and wipe away any from the plate.
Position the parsley under the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Carrot Cheese Ball
Serve with carrots and crackers. Enjoy!

This was so good and just so darn cute. I loved how easy it was to mix quickly, let the flavors combine, and then just a quick assembly before eating. Choose the crackers appropriately…ritz will crumble under the pressure.

There are some easy alternatives depending on what cheese ball flavors you fancy…caramelized onions & roasted red peppers; bacon and ranch mix; basil and garlic; jalepeno; or whatver combos you love. Go forth! Make a cutesy cheese ball!

Hot French Onion Dip

Warning: this is not the most photogenic dish I’ve ever made, but it was really too tasty not to share. You can’t miss with caramelized onions. Add fontina and I’m yours. I made this dip for the Superbowl and served it with some bread. My only thought was that half would probably have been plenty for two of us. Mr. J and I barely made a dent! It was pretty decadent but so perfect for a chilly winter night. Leftovers might be pretty good in a rockstar grilled cheese!

The Three Bite Rule - Hot French Onion Dip

Ingredients:

2 medium onions, chopped
1 pkg french onion dip
1/2 cup chicken/beef/vegetable broth
1/4 cup red wine
6 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
1 cup gruyere cheese
1 tsp dried thyme
ground black pepper

Directions:

In a heavy pan over low heat, caramelize the onions in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Stir regularly and be patient. Cook for about 30 minutes until they get soft, light brown, and sweet.
The Three Bite Rule - Hot French Onion Dip
Bring to medium heat and add in the onion soup mix, broth, and wine. Stir well.
The Three Bite Rule - Hot French Onion Dip
Bring to a low boil for about 5 minutes.
Add in cream cheese, sour cream, and stir until it is all melted and incorporated. Then add cheddar cheese just until melted and then put it all into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Hot French Onion Dip
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Shred gruyere onto the top and sprinkle thyme & pepper over the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Hot French Onion Dip
Bake for 15-minutes, or until melted.
Serve with bread. Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Hot French Onion Dip
This was so good, and addicting. It was sort of a meal in itself with the bread. Mr. J made wings so we only made it so far with our sports-snacks.

Ham & Cheese Puff Pastry Pinwheels

Don’t be sad that Christmas is over. I have the perfect use for your leftover holiday ham. This is ideal if you’re in weird limbo of brunch/lunch/dinner over the next few days.

I love the holidays but now I can’t even comprehend that there’s only 3 weeks until my little one turns one. Crazy. I need to catch my breath over here. How do I have a one year old? Sometimes when I go into his room I picture my burrito-wrapped-babe and there he is standing up lifting his arms to get picked up.  Anywho, I can’t wait for his birthday. CAKE!

These ham spirals go together quickly and feature salty ham, buttery puff pastry, and mustard. It is definitely a perk of this that you only need a small amount of ham and a small amount of cheese…whatever is leftover from your apps and your ham!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel

Ingredients: (3-4 meal servings, ~6 appetizer servings)

1 sheet puff pastry
2-3 slices of ham, chopped into cubes
1 cup shredded swiss/cheddar
1/4 cup grain mustard
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 tbs butter
water
1-2 tsp poppy seeds

Directions:

Defrost the puff pastry sheet at room temperature (40 min) or in the refrigerator (4 hours).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out the puff pastry and top with cheese and ham- being sure to get the filling all the way to the edge.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Roll the puff pastry and pinch the end to close the roll. Then slice into 1-inch pieces.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and lay the pinwheels face up. Leave some room for them to puff up and expand.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
In a small pan, over medium-low heat, heat mustard, cream cheese, butter, and a splash of water (about 2 tbs or more if needed).
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Pour the sauce over the pinwheels and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Then bake for 30-40 minutes, until toasty and puffed up.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Serve & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
These were dinner one night but the ham has me thinking they’d work well for brunch too. You could put each one into a muffin tin for individual servings.

Lobster Cakes

I made some lobster cakes as a play on a crab cake. They were so good and though I plopped mine onto a salad, they would be great as an appetizer too!

The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes

Ingredients:

1 cup lobster meat, chopped
2 tbs mayo
1 tbs grainy mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
4 chive sprigs minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions:

Mix together the lobster meat, mayo, mustard, and garlic gently to not pulverize the lobster.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Add in the chives and green onion stirring gently.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Heat a large skillet with vegetable oil to medium heat.
Form the mixture into 2-3 patties and roll them in the mixed breadcrumbs.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
To check the oil temperature, drop a few breadcrumbs into the oil and see if they sizzle immediately. If they do, then add the patties in to cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Try to let them really crisp on the bottom before flipping so you only have to flip it once.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Remove from the oil and let them drain on paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Serve on their own or on top of salad! Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
This is the best lazy-man’s lobster. It gets crunchy on the outside but is all lobster on the inside. There really isn’t much filler in these bad boys. I ended up adding a 2nd to my plate. I couldn’t resist!

Can you believe I fried them? I never fry things! They’d be good in the oven, if it isn’t too hot to have your oven on. ;)

I served it with honey mustard dressing that is just so easy and worth making yourself:
2 tbs honey
2 tbs dijon mustard
tiniest dab of butter (tiny as in 1/2 teaspoon – this makes all the difference)
shake it up and enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Make your own honey mustard dressing. It is perfect to make a tiny bit for one or two servings or double/triple/quadruple this and have enough for a while.

Burrata Bar & Crostini

My August event is a lovely Garden Party. I wanted the burrata bar but got out voted for a raw bar. Bahh. That isn’t my thing but I couldn’t get the burrata bar out of my head! I was all too happy to bring home a little buratta-ball-baby to become the star of dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
I could have gone on and on with toppings but decided it needed to be somewhat reasonable. This would be so fun for easy prep for happy hour party.

Crostini Components:

Buratta
Herbed butter
Prosciutto wrapped melon
sundried tomatoes
balsamic reduction
African blue basil
tomato
Prosciutto

Mr. J lightly grilled the bread and it was go-time.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar

Besides the buratta being amazing on its own, I absolutely loved buratta with tomato, basil, and balsamic.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
The melon with the prosciutto didn’t really need to go on crostini but the salty and sweet and crunch is so lovely with a schmear of herbed butter.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
I mixed butter, garlic, fresh oregano, and fresh thyme. This is also perfect for garlic bread or to jazz up the outside of a grilled cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar

Loaded Potato Skins with Extra Seasoning

Woah! A real recipe! I know, I know, contain yourself. I’m back at it…sort of.

For the Superbowl I was wanting to make something that would be do-able with Baby T dictating my schedule. I thought of potato skins and thought they’d be good since they’re sort of football shaped, and I could do most of the prep earlier and just pop them in the oven when it was game-time. I added one not-so-secret ingredient to kick them up a touch and it was great!

Mr. J loooves his sports snacks and I’m really only into the Superbowl for the snacks (and commercials – my fav was the Budweiser Clydesdales and the puppy…I was in tears). We had a spread of these, veggies with ranch, guac & queso with tortilla chips. Perfection!

The Three Bite Rule - Potato Skins

Ingredients:

6 potatoes, baked
4 tbs butter
1 tbs French Onion Soup Mix
6 strips of bacon
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar

Directions:

Half then hollow out the potatoes leaving some potato around the skin.
Melt the butter. Mix the butter and soup mix together.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Skins
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Cook the bacon until crisp and drain the excess grease. Chop into small pieces.
Brush the butter/seasoning mix over the potato halves on a baking sheet.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Skins
Sprinkle with shredded cheese and top with bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Skins
Bake at 375-degrees for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the potato crisps.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Skins
Enjoy!

I baked the potatoes earlier in the day. I always forget how long they take to bake. I could have gotten them started in the micro to speed it up. I saved the innards thinking it’d become mashed potatoes for a side dish or lunch. Being home everyday and feeding myself lunch has been interesting…these potato skin leftovers became lunch a few times!

I liked the additional seasoning and think it’d be easy enough to use a spice rub or any seasoning mix you have around. I didn’t salt/pepper them since the seasoning had plenty of salt. Next time I’d be sure to brush it on more evenly…some had more flavor than others. I know pre-packed soup mix isn’t the healthiest but I’m considering making (and blogging) something with a newborn to be a win. #winning

Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla

Happy almost Halloween! I don’t have a spooky-themed dinner, but this would be easy to whip up before taking little ones trick or treating, or would be quick to throw together between handing out Reeces. I get about 3 trick or treaters but I make sure to have good candy or the ones I get will never come back! And, just like hosting a party, you should serve what you’re happy to have leftover for yourself.

I tell ya. The apples are never ending. These past few weeks I’ve been trying to add them anywhere that made sense. Here they got to provide the crunch and were perfect with the melty cheese. This dinner is quick and easy. It would be great as a panini too.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla

Ingredients: (for 2 quesadillas)

3 slices of bacon
4 flour tortillas
1 large apple, sliced
6 oz manchego cheese

Directions:

Pan fry the bacon until crisp, then drain and chop.
Heat a griddle or large pan to medium and spray with non-stick spray.
Lay the tortilla and top with sliced cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla
Add sliced apple, and chopped bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla
Top with the 2nd tortillas, lightly spray with non-stick spray and flip once. (this helps it to brown evenly)

Serve with some honey mustard for dipping!
The Three Bite Rule - Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla
The cheese was more of a splurge but for this very few ingredient dinner, it was worth it. Mixing manchego with cheddar might have enabled these to be cheesier.

Suggested Adaptations: 
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – Manchego + cheddar/brie/gouda/cheese of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – apple + pear/roasted sweet potato/other fruit or veggie of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – bacon + proscuitto/ham/turkey/other protein of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – bacon = vegetarian option

The Three Bite Rule - Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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