Queso Smothered Chicken

In an effort not to have the same taco-night each week, I wanted something a little bit different but still quick & easy. This fit the bill perfectly! I used queso as the sauce on some taco-spiced chicken and served it over a bed of black beans. The chicken was very hands off – just seasoned and popped into the oven. I liked the black beans as the base to make this really filling, with a slight cruch to the peppers, spiced chicken, and smooth & cheesy topping.

The Three Bite Rule - Queso Smothered Chicken

Ingredients:

6 chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
3 tbs taco seasoning
1 can black beans, rinsed
1/4 of a lime, squeezed for juice
lime zest
1/2 bell pepper
1/2 cup queso blanco

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
In a baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray, lay out the chicken. Sprinkle with half the taco seasoning. Flip the chicken pieces over and sprinkle with the remaining taco seasoning.
Bake for 20-30 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Queso Smothered Chicken
In a medium sauce pan, warm the black beans over medium-low heat. Add a splash of water, squirt of lime juice, and a little lime zest.
Add the peppers to the black beans and stir well & often, cooking for about 5-10 minutes or until the peppers cook a bit.
Check that the chicken is cooked through. Then spoon queso over the top and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Queso Smothered Chicken
Spoon the beans onto a plate.
The Three Bite Rule - Queso Smothered Chicken
Place a piece of chicken on top.
The Three Bite Rule - Queso Smothered Chicken
Enjoy!

I loved this. It had all the flavors and textures I wanted. I have nothing against tortillas and we LOVE taco-night here but this was a really great tweak on the usual. My little one tried black beans and he approved! Have you had queso blanco? It is perfect for this.

Today is my Sis’ bday! We’re celebrating with a Mexican fiesta! Ole!

Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta

Chicken Cordon Blue is the best of all the flavors. Chicken. Yum. Ham. Yum. Swiss. Yum. I put it together as a pasta dish and loved it. The ham with the swiss are such great flavors together.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta
I used breaded chicken cutlets I had made another time and froze. Then I used a sauce packet. Having these two elements pretty ready helped this come together quickly.

Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

2 breaded chicken cutlets
8 oz rigatoni pasta
1-2 cups ham, diced
creamy garlic sauce
1 cup shredded swiss

Directions:

Bring salted water to a boil.
Heat the chicken in the oven until warmed (or cooked through).
Cook the pasta until al dante.
Heat a skillet to medium heat and pan fry the ham until caramelized and golden on each side.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta
Warm the sauce through and add in the swiss over low heat. Stir well and keep warm.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta
Mix together the pasta with the sauce and the ham.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta
Slice the chicken and add it to the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta
I loved this! The swiss flavor can be strong so I went a little bit on the lighter side for that. I liked the chicken being crispy and on the top rather than mixed through. This was so fast to put together. I could have made the sauce from scratch but this was quick. I could have breaded and pan fried the chicken for this but it was a great use for some leftover.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta

Serving like this, you really only need a small amount of ham and a small amount of chicken. I made enough for a leftover serving for lunch the next day. Perfect!

Tomato Basil Chicken Cutlets

Let’s talk about when dinner doesn’t go exactly according to plan. This one was one of those instantly needing to change the course of action. I had plans for a different topping, along the same idea of a breaded cutlet with a chopped, fresh topping. I started slicing into an avocado and muuuuush. I attempted to scrape the brownest avocado away but really, it was beyond use. That’s really sad because avocados cost a fortune right now. It was time to regroup, the chicken was cooking and I needed a plan b. pronto.

The chicken is coated in mustard and breaded with panko, thanks to the mustard idea from Ms. L. The cutlets were frying and my strawberry avocado topping wasn’t going to work out. I chopped the few little tomatoes we had in the garden and grabbed as many basil leaves as I could. Basil is not our strong suit over here. It was great, a quick recovery and meant we were eating pretty soon after.

Tomato Basil Chicken Cutlets - The Three Bite Rule

Ingredients:

chicken cutlets, 1-2 per person
3-4 tbs dijon mustard
1-2 cups panko breadcrumbs
~1 cup vegetable oil for frying
~4 cherry tomatoes
1 tbs fresh basil leaves
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
splash of olive oil

Directions:

Mix mustard and a splash of water together in a shallow bowl large enough to dip the chicken in.
Spread the breadcrumbs with some salt & pepper onto a plate.
Bring a frying pan with the vegetable oil to medium heat.
Dip each chicken cutlet into the mustard, then the breadcrumbs.
Pan fry the chicken a few minutes on each side, ensuring the chicken cooks through.  Then remove and keep warm in the oven.
Chop the tomatoes and basil. Add the vinegar and olive oil and stir.
Tomato Basil Chicken Cutlets - The Three Bite Rule
Serve the chicken with a few spoonfuls of the tomato basil mixture. Enjoy!

Once I knew it was heading towards tomato and basil, I decided to serve it with some orzo since it cooks so quickly. It may not have been quite was I was going for but I was really happy with this regroup. Have you seen The Next Food Network Star? I regularly see one guy not being able to regroup, which is sooo important when cooking. I was determined not to be like that.

My breading didn’t stay on perfectly…that could be from the mustard instead of using egg, or my lack of patience frying. The topping hid any bald spots pretty well.

How do you regroup? Do you end up saving the dish in the end, or is it time to order pizza?

Roasted Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries

One of the many perks of work is that we get scratch-made lunch everyday. It is family style and there’s salad. Every day! I know, so lucky! It is always a hot lunch but the other day, before the long weekend, we got some really amazing chicken salad. It was full of apples and dried cranberries. I put mine on top of my salad and was loving it. I was eating thinking,

“this is just so good.”
“I love the add-ins. I could make this.”
“I should make this.”

My sis brought over dinner of a roasted chicken with a Caesar salad kit for the perfect instant dinner. I used some leftovers for this chicken salad and it wasn’t just any chicken salad. You’re bananas if you think I would ever put celery into my chicken salad. Blech. This one gets crunch from radishes and some sweetness from dried blueberries.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries

Ingredients:

(for 1 serving)
1-2 slices of a roasted chicken, chopped
1 radish
2 tbs dried blueberries
1-2 tbs mayo
splash of milk

Directions:

Chop the radish into a fine dice
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries
In a bowl, add the chicken, radish, blueberries (and walnuts would be good!)
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries
Mix in a small amount of mayo and stir to combine. Add the splash of milk to ensure it is wet enough. Then add more mayo, if needed.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries
Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Enjoy!

I put some on a sandwich loaded with arugula. Use good mayo for his. I like The Ojai Cook’s Lemonaise. The blueberries provide a sweet chewiness. My radish was from the farmers market. Those are zesty! Radishes from the grocery store have nowhere near the same flavor. It added the perfect zip and crunch. I didn’t have any apples and was using what I had on hand. The radish was my stroke of genius for the day.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries

Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken

I grabbed some baby bok choy at the farmer’s market without a plan for it. I went to trusty Pinterest and found a fun raw use for it on Culinary Hill. I tweaked the dressing by adding some stronger flavors of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. We added some grilled teriyaki chicken for a really great speedy dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Get some chicken on the grill, shake up some dressing in a jar, and then chop up a few veggies. Poof. Instant dinner with some great flavors.

Ingredients:

adapted from Culinary Hill
2-3 chicken thighs, marinated in teriyaki
2 baby bok choy bunches
2 large radishes
2 tbs sesame seeds
3 tbs brown sugar
1-2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup almond slivers

Directions:

Grill the marinated chicken until cooked through, brushing with some teriyaki at the end.
Chop the bok choy, discarding the bottom pieces.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Chop the radishes into a small dice.
Toast some sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Watch carefully to toast them without burning.
In a small jar, add brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Shake vigorously. Taste and adjust as necessary.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
In a large bowl, add the bok choy, radish, and toasted sesame seeds.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Add in some dressing and toss. Sprinkle with almonds.
Top with chicken to serve. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
I liked the mild flavor of the bok choy. The almonds were pre-sesaoned with salt and pepper near the croutons. I might have toasted them if they were regular almond slivers. It was such a quick dinner that felt fresh, crunchy with juicy chicken.

The dressing was great. Make it, and then you’ll have sesame oil on hand for these (most Pinterest-pinned) sesame noodles and for Asian Broccoli Slaw with Peanut Butter Chicken and your next pork & veggie spring rolls, etc. You’ll use it, it isn’t such a crazy specialty ingredient.

Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans

I was so excited about this meal! Maybe because it ended up all coming together so easily, but also because it was exactly what I wanted. I wasn’t going to blog it, but then sometimes I skip blogging one and it is really worthy of sharing. Deleting unused photos is easier than wishing I had snapped some pics. This is precisely the food I want to eat. The sides complimented the protein nicely and they weren’t just filler…they were flavorful and nice additions to the meal.

The Three Bite Rule - Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans
Mr. J got a new grill after MUCH deliberation. Now we are grilling machines and I feel like I need to up my side-dish game! The spice rub is adapted from the Essentials of Grilling by Williams Sonoma. Do not swap the chicken thighs for breasts. Trust me. Chicken thighs are how chicken is supposed to taste. They’re juicy and flavorful and ohh-so-good.

Ingredients:

3 chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
1 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs dried rosemary
1 tbs dried fennel, crushed
1 tbs dried oregano
salt & pepper
1/2 white onion, diced
1 tbs butter
1 can white beans
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbs chives, diced (or fresh parsley or oregano)
1 lemon

Directions:

Mix the dried herbs with salt and pepper. Pour the garlic and oil onto the chicken and then coat in the herbs.
The Three Bite Rule - Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans
Set aside while the grill heats up.
In a medium pot over medium-low heat, cook the onion and butter until translucent and soft. Drain and rinse the white beans before adding them to the onions. Add in the broth and cook for about 5 minutes at a low simmer.
Cook the chicken on the grill, flipping and ensuring it cooks through.
Reduce the temperature of the beans to low and add in the chives. Cook for another 5 minutes then turn off the heat but cover until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans
When the chicken is mostly cooked, squeeze half the lemon over it and grill the other half of the lemon.
Serve the chicken with the grilled lemon. Enjoy!

I loooved this. This is what I like to eat. The herbs were distinct and flavorful but not too much. I never use fennel but love the flavor and then that lemon. It really brightened everything up and was a nice contrast. I liked the smokiness it got and how juicy it got on the grill!
The Three Bite Rule - Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans
I served some quick marinated cucumbers and the beans were so good that now I want beans with every meal! This dinner was filling but didn’t leave me feeling grossly stuffed. I felt like we were dining in Tuscany, or what I think of as Tuscany. I’ll just need to get there to know for sure ;)

Teriyaki Chicken Wing Pizza

Seriously. I won’t run out of pizza toppings anytime soon. This pizza was inspired by teriyaki chicken wings. It was sweet and tangy from the teriyaki sauce and I mixed up the cheese using some cheddar. I loved it. I’ll put anything on a pizza! Hopefully by the end of this post I will have successfully learned to spell teriyaki correctly…not something my brain does naturally.

The Three Bite Rule - Teriyaki Chicken Wing Pizza

Ingredients:

2-3 chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
1 cup of teriyaki marinade
1/2 pizza dough ball
1 1/2 cups combined shredded mozzarella & cheddar cheese
2 green onions
1 cup bean sprouts

Directions:

Preheat the oven and pizza stone, if using one, to 400-degrees.
Dice the chicken into bite size pieces and saute over medium heat with 1/2 cup of teriyaki marinade until cooked through.
Work the dough into a thin circle and spread the dough onto the pizza stone, or roll it out with a bit of flour until the desired size. Poke a few holes in it with a fork and bake for 10 minutes, until the edges start to crisp.
Brush a few tablespoons of teriyaki marinade onto the slightly cooked pizza dough.
The Three Bite Rule - Teriyaki Chicken Wing Pizza
Top with cheeses and chicken. Then bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the crust gets brown & crispy.
The Three Bite Rule - Teriyaki Chicken Wing Pizza
Remove from the oven and top with bean sprouts & green onions. Let cool a few minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Teriyaki Chicken Wing Pizza
The bean sprouts add a nice cool crunch, as do the green onions with a pop of color. I can’t picture this pizza without either one. The chicken thighs cooked in the marinade and then it functioning as the sauce adds some real flavor, moreso than just a drizzle over the top. The thighs have such a stronger chicken flavor than a chicken breast would, and they’re more like a wing than a breast would be too.

Ain’t no thing like a chicken wing!

The Three Bite Rule - Teriyaki Chicken Wing Pizza

Chicken Meatball Alfredo with Cranberries

About a month ago, Mr. J and I left the little one at home with the most qualified babysitters (his grandparents) and we went on a date! It was our first time out without him and boy were we rusty on date planning. I had been eyeing a pub-ish restaurant with fun burgers and a great beer menu. Turns out, it is closed. womp. womp. We then went through 2 more options and set out for a 3rd spot. On a whim, we checked in at Isabella Restaurant (which was our 4th restaurant idea, where the wait can be an hour on a TUESDAY) and they just had a table for two open up. Perfect!

It is sooo dark in there so there’s never a chance for a photo but the menu is always creative, pretty seasonal, the portions are substantial, and everything they make is excellent. I wish it were a bit more affordable, but this splurge was fun to celebrate our first date out. I got Turducken Meatballs that were turkey/chicken/duck meatballs with dried cranberries, spinach and red onions in a parmesan cream sauce. The meatballs were ah-mazing and I knew I wanted to recreate it at home, but I simplified it. Don’t get scared off by the cranberries. They’re such a great addition and this pasta dish wouldn’t be the same without them. Ditto for the red onion.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Alfredo Meatballs
I used frozen chicken meatballs and ready-made alfredo sauce to turn my #restaurantrecreation into a speedy weeknight dinner. Everything cooks quickly so I had to move fast and keep an eye on it to not overcook anything. The meatballs I used were fully cooked and I didn’t want to obliterate the kale, onions, or cranberries so they were very lightly cooked.

Ingredients:

chicken/turkey meatballs (about 2-3 per person, I used frozen caramelized onion chicken meatballs)
1 15-oz jar alfredo sauce
refrigerated pasta (I used a 9 oz pkg of linguine)
1 tbs chopped garlic
2 cups chopped kale
1/4 cup red onion, sliced fine
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Bring salted water to a boil for the pasta.
While the water heats, defrost the meatballs (if frozen) and chop the kale and onion.
Add the alfredo sauce to a large pan and add in the meatballs, garlic, onions, and kale over medium low heat. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, to warm everything and to cook the kale a bit.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Alfredo Meatballs
Stir, and add in the cranberries to cook for another 2 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Alfredo Meatballs
Cook the pasta according to the package. My fresh pasta only needed about 2 minutes. When al dente, add it to the pan with the sauce to cook just another minute or two.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Alfredo Meatballs
Serve immediately and enjoy!

The fresh pasta makes a huuuge difference and is a great touch for a special treat. I like that the onions add a bite with the cranberries providing a tang and touch of sweetness. Spinach or arugula would be good in here too instead of the kale. If I were going all out, I’d make the sauce (and meatballs) myself but throwing this together was just so easy but became different flavors for us. I doubt I’d think to use red onion.

Fun fact: if red onion is too strong or overwhelming, or if you’re using it raw, you can soak it in cold water for 3-5 minutes. It’ll tone it down a bit while still giving some flavor.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Alfredo Meatballs

Chicken Taco Pizza

This pizza was almost something entirely different. One of my toppings spoiled before I got to it so that pizza will just have to hit on my to-make list until I get to it next. I tossed the slimed produce and then thought: what in this fridge can become pizza? The answer: everything! I had chicken and then I spotted our favorite bean dip that got me thinking Mexican pizza! I’ve made Taco Pizza on a Tortilla Crust and Taco Pizza Topped with Salad but this one is different because it sports this unbelievable bean thing. It’s not quite a dip, not quite a salad. We eat it as a side dish or dip tortilla chips into it. So good.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Taco Pizza

Ingredients:

1 large chicken breast (or 2 small), cut into cubes
1-2 tbs taco seasoning
1/2 ball pizza dough
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 oz shredded mozzarella/cheddar/jack cheese
1 cup 3 Bean Fiesta dip/salad
3 green onions, chopped
1 avocado or guacamole

Directions:

(make the 3 Bean Fiesta dip/salad in advance)
Cook the chicken in the taco seasoning until cooked through.
Preheat the oven and pizza stone if using one, to 400-degrees.
Roll the dough out to be a thin flat circle, or as close to that as you can get. Immediately place onto the pizza stone to cook slightly and to stop it from shrinking back to a ball. Poke a few holes into the dough.
Bake 15 minutes until lightly cooked and starting to brown. Then remove from the oven.
Top with tomato sauce & half of the salsa, cheese, chicken, and 3 bean fiesta. Then return it to the oven.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Taco Pizza
Bake 15-20 minutes until the cheese melts and the crust browns. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing. Top with green onion & remaining salsa.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Taco Pizza
Serve with avocado or guacamole & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Taco Pizza
I liked this pizza. The tang of the 3 Bean Fiesta is really the wow factor. The sweet/acidic bite to it takes it from being just beans on a pizza to a whole different flavor. Plus, it has corn, green pepper, and onion to make it really taco-ish. I love it but 3 cans of corn, plus the other veggies, means you really need a few people eating it, or some solid plans for the leftovers. I use the leftovers on salad, on tacos/burritos/quesadillas, as a side dish, or still as dip. It is best a few hours after making it but everyone loves it and I can’t say enough good things about it.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Something I really missed while pregnant was blue cheese dressing. It wasn’t even a banned food I have all the time but I was definitely ready for it. (This one from the refrigerated produce area is my fav). I used some for this super quick buffalo chicken pizza as lunch one day. Blue Cheese dressing became part of the sauce and some drizzled on top. Pita bread as the dough is, hands down, the easiest way to whip up a pizza. Plus, it works perfectly when making pizza for one. Since there’d be zero nutritional value, I was glad this was a single serving.

The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:

1-2 breaded chicken fingers
1 Wheat pita bread pocket
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
4 tbs hot sauce/buffalo sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Bake the chicken according to the package.
Mix together most of the hot sauce and most of the blue cheese dressing for the sauce. Taste it and add dressing or hot sauce to taste for your preferred spice level.
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Cut the chicken into chunks and toss with some hot sauce.
Spread the buffalo blue sauce onto the pita.
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Then top with cheese, then with chicken. Drizzle any extra sauce over the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees until the cheese melts and the pita crisps a bit. I used the toaster oven.
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Drizzle some blue cheese dressing over the top and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Pizza
My chicken chunks are somewhat massive for the size of my pizza but I didn’t care. I was loving the buffalo and blue cheese together, plus each getting to shine on their own too. The chicken is crispy and the pizza hit the spot. You could always add celery, if you’re into that…I’m not a celery fan. I used wheat pitas because why not pretend there’s one healthy thing happening here?

Mr. J doesn’t like spice but these little pita pizzas are perfect to customize easily. They also freeze well if you wanted to make & freeze them, or prep them with just sauce and cheese to add toppings before eating sometime. I love good pizza crust but not messing with dough is pretty sweet as well.