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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

Breakfast Flatbread with Everything Bagel Spices

I was still on the quest for a great breakfast pizza. This time, I decided to hard boil the egg and feature the sausage and cheese with the seasoning of an everything bagel. Bagel pizzas would actually be great for this!

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Flatbread

I’ve made a few breakfast pizzas, but today’s might be the best. I made this one way back when with eggs dropped on top. I made this one with a hashbrown crust. I made this one with scrambled eggs.

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough
3 tbs cream cheese with chives
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
6 breakfast sausage links
3 eggs, hardboiled
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp dried onion

Directions:

Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400-degrees.
Pan fry the sausage links until cooked through. Drain, then slice into 3-4 pieces per link.
Roll out pizza dough with a little flour until 1/4 inch thick.
Spread cream cheese on top.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Flatbread
In a dry, flat pan, toast the spices over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Flatbread
Top with cheese, sausage, chopped hard boiled eggs, and toasted spices.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Flatbread
Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the thin crust is crisp.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Flatbread
Top with chopped chives or green onions.

I loved this one. I hadn’t done a crust this thin before but this was thanks to Mr. J to roll it out while I prepped the toppings. It was nice to have the cracker thin crunch to keep it a bit lighter. I used half the dough I normally use. Instead of sauce I used just a touch of cream cheese.

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Flatbread

Frozen Breakfast Burritos

I whipped up these breakfast burritos to freeze so I could have them on hand for whenever the mood strikes. I love savory breakfast options and this packs a punch without a lot of work. I wanted them to be a smart portion and healthier than fast-food breakfast so I opted for turkey sausage, getting a veggie in there, and mostly eggwhites.

The Three Bite Rule - Frozen Breakfast Burrito

Ingredients:

1 cup egg beaters
2 eggs
8 oz turkey breakfast sausage
2 cups arugula or spinach
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
6 wheat tortillas, 8″

Directions:

Heat a medium skillet to medium high heat, then fry the sausage. Once cooked, let it cool.
Whisk together the egg beaters and eggs, then cook in a large skillet over medium low heat. Once cooked, let it cool.
Assemble the burritos with greens, eggs, sausage, and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Frozen Breakfast Burrito
Fold the sides in and roll the burrito closed. Then wrap in plastic wrap to freeze.
The Three Bite Rule - Frozen Breakfast Burrito
To eat, defrost in the fridge overnight, or microwave on defrost for 1 minute. Toast in the oven or toaster oven.
The Three Bite Rule - Frozen Breakfast Burrito
The arugula is a big flavor. I might use spinach next time.

suggested adaptations: 
bfast burrito + pepper jack cheese + salsa + black beans + corn – greens = Mexican Breakfast Burrito
bfast burrito – sausage + bacon – greens + herbs + a schmear of cream cheese = fancified bfast wrap
bfast burrito – cheddar – sausage + goat cheese + tomatoes + basil = vegetarian bfast wrap

Easter Brunch Ideas

Spring is in the air and Easter is on the calendar. Here’s a quickie round-up of make-and-take brunch ideas or ideas if you are hosting your own Easter festivities.

The first rule of brunch, is not to make everything more complicated than it needs to be. Each thing you serve cannot be the most special thing ever. It is hard to make eggs, and waffles, and hashbrowns, and toast…unless you are in a diner. If you’re making something eggy, or pancake-y then do something easy with it like fruit you’ve prepped in advance, or muffins that are already made, or bagels with spreads that are ready to serve.

Quiche is a great brunch item that you’ll make in advance. Voila! Brunch is served! I made quiche lorraine recently and loved it. bacon + swiss cheese = delicious. Ms. L makes a killer tomato, basil, goat cheese quiche.
The Three Bite Rule - Quiche Lorraine
Going somewhere? Make your own granola and serve it with yogurt. I loved this maple peanut butter granola over coffee Greek yogurt, or vanilla, or coconut. It is very pack-able.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola

Make-your-own
this is the easiest way to serve a crowd and everyone will get what they want. It makes it fun and easily customizable for all ages.

build your own BLT bar:
bacon vs. canadian bacon? 2 lettuces, tomatoes, different breads, different spreads, avaocados, sprouts? you name it. It’s the perfect between breakfast & lunch. Maybe there are fried eggs to lean towards breakfast? Maybe there are cheeses? you. name. it.
Avocado BLT
Build your own yogurt parfait bar: 
granola, toasted coconut, strawberries, bananas, dried cranberries, walnuts, brown sugar, + whatever else you have.
Yogurt Parfait Bar
Salad bar: 
this takes the every-day side to a whole new level. Warm up a honey-baked ham, grab some good rolls, and spread out a salad bar and you’re done! Edemame, chickpeas, hardboiled eggs, cheese, and lots of veggies make it fresh and a meal in its own. Plan a salad bar as part of your meal or for those get the evening munchies hours after brunch.
The 3 Bite Rule - Salad Bar
Build your own grilled cheese:
give some bread options, a few cheeses, and then a few other add-ins will please all palates. I love a good grilled cheese. American cheese and cheddar have me easily won over on a grilled cheese. Prep some bacon, tomato slices, mustards, caramelized onions, ham, or whatever you love. You need a grill pan ready or a panini press.
grilled cheese with balsamic onions
pizza grilled cheese
bacon grilled cheese with peach compote

Build your own breakfast sandwich would be like my dream come true:
bagels, croissants, biscuits with cheese options, and a panful of eggs sounds like my idea of a good time. My fav bagel place does breakfast sandwiches with slices of egg and cheese omelets. That’s an easy way to make a bunch for a crowd. Offer bacon, sausage, ham, arugula, and tomato slices. Add some tortillas, black beans, and salsa for breakfast burritos.

Whip up a blender-ful of creamsicle smoothies. This is my favorite smoothie and I think everyone would love it. Add some champagne for a twist on a mimosa, or a splash of vanilla vodka for a spiked brunch bevvie
The Three Bite Rule - Creamsicle Smoothie
Lastly, the hands-down easiest festive breakfast is a cereal bar. Some milks and everyone brings a cereal and you have an instant cereal party. It is a fun pot-luck with no-cooking required.

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

Bananas are so deceiving. I mean the skin can be such a faker. Sometimes it loooooks like it is getting squishy and then you peel it and find a pretty fresh banana. I had bananas that looked like they weren’t going to make it another day so I planned to add them to some weekend pancakes. The skin was all speckled with brown spots. I peel the banana to find that it is pretty hard. What a fake-out!

Well, I decided to see what would happen if I warmed them up a bit with a few seconds in the microwave. Voila! Instantly overripe bananas. Problem solved.

Ingredients:

1-2 bananas
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chocolate chunks (or chips)
pancake mix
ground cinnamon
vanilla extract

Directions:

If the banana isn’t somewhat soft and overripe, microwave for 30 seconds.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Mix up the pancake batter. Add a touch of vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Preheat a grill pan or flat skillet to medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray.
Prep or chop the nuts, bananas, and chocolate.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Ladle pancake batter onto the hot pan and evenly sprinkle banana, walnut, and chocolate chunks onto the pancakes. Wait for them to bubble and then flip.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Flip once.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Sprinkle with remaining nuts & banana chunks. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
These were great. The nuts were definitely the best touch. I think the crunch was what made these so good. I added the nuts, chocolate, and bananas in after it was on the griddle because I wanted them to be evenly distributed. I figured in the batter it might come out uneven. The chocolate gets messy when it melts, but wiping the spatula solved that.

This would be great as waffles too. I add the cinnamon and vanilla to ensure the boxed mix tastes like the opposite of a box.

P.S. Is it amusing that the CHUNKY monkey pancakes are following a book about French women not getting FAT?

Blueberry Pie Smoothie

I’ve been on a savory breakfast kick for awhile with quiche lorraine, and veggie strata, and quesadilla quevos rancheros but I figured it is time for seasonal smoothies again. I tried something different and added graham cracker to mimic the pie crust. Ohh wow. Such a fun addition.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup blueberries
5 oz blueberry Greek yogurt
1/2 apple or banana, frozen & chopped
1 graham cracker, crumbled

Directions:

Add blueberries, yogurt, frozen fruit, and graham cracker to a blender.
The Three Bite Rule - Blueberry Pie Smoothie
Blend and enjoy! Add a splash of milk if it is too thick.
The Three Bite Rule - Blueberry Pie Smoothie
The graham cracker in there was a new one for me. I loved how much it changed the smoothie. It totally reminded me of pie. I’ve seen smoothies with oatmeal. Maybe I’d try that next?

I used frozen green apple. Whenever I have fruit nearing it’s end or if I won’t get to it in time, I chop it up and freeze it for smoothies. I just add it to the same smoothie fruit container. The flavors don’t really mix that much and I usually use multiple fruits in my smoothies anyway.

Fruits that freeze well: apples, all berries, bananas, pears, grapes, cantaloupe. I wouldn’t freeze them and then defrost them, but they work well for smoothies.

What I Ate: Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros

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.

I took a twist on one of Mr. J’s signature dishes, huevos rancheros. It was good, but I think I might like the regular method better. I whipped out the big griddle to do the quesadilla and egg at the same time.

The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros

Ingredients:

2 taco-sized tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheddar, monetary jack, or pepper jack cheese
1 egg
salsa & guacamole

Directions:

Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray. Bring heat to medium heat and lay one tortilla down and top with cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros Then lay the other tortilla on top.
Cook for about 3 minutes.
Spray top tortilla, and carefully flip the whole quesadilla.
In a separate pan, heat to medium and fry the egg.
Top quesadilla with a sprinkle of cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros
Serve with salsa, guacamole, and the egg.
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros
I love the yolk with the tortilla and cheese. Seriously, the yolk is like nature’s sauce. I also could eat guac or avocado for breakfast daily. Have I told you lately how much I love savory breakfasts?
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros
I probably will stick to the single layer/traditional way. I think the super crisp tortilla that is almost blistered into crispness is better.

Do you ever do that? Take a regular dish you love and amp it up, only to decide it was better as-is?

Kale & Portobello Breakfast Strata

Again, I’m on the quest for not-sweet breakfast ideas. I wanted to try to make something that wasn’t all that egg-y. I love eggs but breakfast seems to be either sweet or eggs or fruit. That’s it. I figured I’d try to make something not heavy on the eggs, just for a challenge.

This veggie strata isn’t all that authentic – I went light on the eggs and light on the bread. It is really heavy on the kale and mushrooms to make it filling. I liked it, but wouldn’t eat it weekly. I made a ton and froze a few slices once I got tired of it.

Google helped me come up with a name for this. There’s a fine line between quiche (traditionally has crust, more egg than other ingredients) versus frittata (crustless, often has potatoes)  versus strata (crustless, with bread in it).

The Three Bite Rule - Kale & Portobello Strata

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 small onion, chopped
3 cups kale, deveined and chopped
1 pt portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup swiss cheese
3 slices of light wheat bread, cubed
salt & pepper
2 tbs grated Parmesan

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
In a large bowl, add kale and mushrooms.
The Three Bite Rule - Kale & Portobello Strata
Add in the onions, cheese, and bread.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, garlic powder. Add in salt & pepper to taste.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Strata with Kale & Portobello
Add the egg mixture into the veggie mixture, stir well until evenly coated.
Pour the mixture into a large baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray in a thin even layer. (mine didn’t all fit so I put the remainder into a smaller ramekin.)
Sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake for 30-minutes.
Let cool and serve a room temperature or slightly warmed.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Strata with Kale & Portobello
This made about 8 very sizable servings for me. It seemed like a ton. There’s only 3 eggs and 3 slices of bread in the 8 servings. It would be an easy way to use whatever veggies you have around. I’m lucky that work not only provides lunch daily but there’s a salad everyday, but who doesn’t need more veggies daily? I liked that it definitely seems different than quiche or eggs. It was good to start the day with a serious serving of veggies for a savory breakfast.

Mushrooms are a great way to bulk up the quantity of food, without adding anything bad. They’re great fillers to meatballs or to make salad more filling or burritos or anywhere to reduce the meat without feeling hungry afterwards.

What else should I whip up for savory but easy breakfast?

Maple Peanut Butter Granola

I cringe every time I see the price of granola at the grocery store. It’s like $4-something per box, and that box is definitely smaller than the Cheerios! I googled around to see if there were any tricks for granola. Turns out, it is just super easy. Wait till you see the price per serving!

I went with peanut butter, maple syrup, salted sunflower seeds, and oats. I was hesitant to use lots of pricey nuts until I figured out cooking times…next time! I loooove all things peanut butter. I got some maple peanut butter for xmas and it wasn’t my favorite brand on it’s own so I thought I’d amp up the maple-ness with it for granola.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola

I can’t wait to try some other variations. It was the perfect not-too-sweet granola to top coffee greek yogurt!
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups oatmeal (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.
Over medium low heat in a small pot, melt peanut butter and maple syrup together. Stir occasionally.

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
In a large bowl, mix oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, and sunflower seeds.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
Add the vanilla into the maple peanut butter and remove from the heat.

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
Mix the peanut butter mixture into the dry mixture with a spatula. Combine well.

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
Spread onto a baking pan lined with a baking mat or lined with parchment paper.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
Bake for 15-20 minutes. I did 15 minutes and let it cool. (It wasn’t the crunchiest it could be so, I’d bake for 20 minutes next time.)

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
Let cool completely and break into crumbled chunks. Store in an airtight container.

I love this. I didn’t make a huge batch because I needed to see how it went. Next time I might double it or increase it a bit. I do like the idea making small batches different each time to test ‘em out. The peanut butter with cafe latte Greek yogurt was great. I loved it with coconut and vanilla Greek yogurt too.

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
It’s pretty good for a sweet treat in addition to breakfast. I’d love some chocolate chunks or mini chips and more nuts next time!

cost breakdown: 
2 cups of old fashioned oats = $0.53
1/2 cup sunflower seeds = $0.42
1/2 cup peanut butter = $0.40
1/2 cup maple syrup (I don’t buy the real stuff) = $0.50
total = $1.85 for about 6 servings or $0.30 per serving.

that’s insane. THIRTY CENTS per serving. annnnd you know what’s in it. It could go up a lot depending on what goes into it. But I’d love walnuts or almonds and a 1/2 cup of those is not going to put this close to a $1 per serving. I think I’m likely to end up with more like 8-10 servings since it’s just a sprinkle onto of my yogurt. Case closed. I’m making my own from now on.

Quiche Lorraine

Let’s chat about breakfast. I loooove weekend brunch but it seems like all quick breakfast items are sweet (yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, muffins), or really doughy (bagels, muffins, toast). I’d be happy with a bagel regularly (#everythingbagelchivecreamcheese), if it were at all nutritionally balanced. My January self-imposed cooking challenge would be savory breakfast.

The Three Bite Rule - Quiche Lorraine

Quiche is super easy to make and I can eat from it for awhile. I figured whipping this up on a weekend would carry me through the week. I dare say I could throw this together in the morning while jumping in the shower when it bakes. It also wouldn’t be crazy to make at night.

It makes a good lunch or dinner item too. This week and last week were busy with work events at night and it is great to come home to a light bite.

Ingredients:

pie dough, defrosted
3 slices of bacon
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup light cream
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
salt & pepper
10 oz swiss cheese, shredded

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Fry the bacon until crisp then drain on paper towel and chop.
Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, cream, mustard, cream of tartar, salt, and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Quiche Lorraine
Spray a tart pan, or springform pan, or pie pan with nonstick spray.
Lay the pie dough into the pan pinching together any cracks.
The Three Bite Rule - Quiche Lorraine
Sprinkle in the cheese and bacon onto the crust.
The Three Bite Rule - Quiche Lorraine
Pour in egg mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Quiche Lorraine
Bake 30-40 minutes at 350-degrees.
Let cool 5-minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Quiche Lorraine
It puffs up a little but sets solidly. I really love how simple it is. The bacon flavor and swiss are perfect together. I appreciate the flavors and the subtly of the bacon with the swiss with the mustard. Yum. I used a surprisingly small amount of bacon. It was a good practice of restraint not adding tons of bacon, and just enough to taste it. I think frozen crust rolled up seems significantly better than the pie crust that comes in a tin.

The Three Bite Rule - Quiche Lorraine
I last made quiche a few years ago with a bacon, spinach, and mushroom quiche. Think quiche isn’t your thing? I made Tomato Ricotta Pie that is along the same lines. I like the lightness of quiche and need to make it more often. It doesn’t take any longer than other breakfasts because of the advance prep, I just needed an idea.

Quiche makes for some variety since a usual breakfast for me is yogurt, a smoothie, or an English muffin.

suggested adaptations: 
quiche lorraine + spinach/arugula + tomatoes/onions/mushrooms – bacon = vegetarian quiche
quiche lorraine + smaller pan = deep-dish quiche

Hmmm. I wonder what my next “year of the self-imposed-cooking challenge” should be.