Thanksgiving Burgers

I had this idea for a Thanksgiving inspired burger but it didn’t seem right for Mr. J’s annual birthday burger, since that’s for June. Now that the air is cooler it seemed perfect! A turkey burger, sharp cheddar, cranberry spread, and one special ingredient boarders the line of grilling season and holiday flavors.

Thanksgiving Burger - The Three Bite Rule

Ingredients: (for 2 burgers)

1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup stuffing mix
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme or dried sage
sliced cheddar
cranberry sauce or raspberry jam
2 burger buns


Preheat a grill or grill pan.
Prepare stuffing according to the package.
Mix ground turkey, stuffing, salt, pepper, and thyme.
Thanksgiving Burger - The Three Bite Rule
Form into patties and grill. Spray the grill with non-stick spray since turkey has a lower fat than ground beef, ground pork, etc.
Thanksgiving Burger - The Three Bite Rule
Serve the burgers with cheddar, and cranberry spread.
Thanksgiving Burger - The Three Bite Rule
I didn’t end up getting cranberry sauce because I had some lingonberry jam which has a tartness like cranberries. I mixed it with a touch of mayo for a spread. I also was thinking that chopping up some craisins into the burger would give that flavor too.

The stuffing really wasn’t too much. I thought it might make the the burger heavy but I think the amount was spot-on. Serve with some sweet potato fries for all the flavors you love later in the fall while it is still burger season!

These flavors would be good as turkey meatloaf before Thanksgiving without having to cook a whole turkey.
Or this Thanksgiving Sandwich is fun

or a panini with turkey, brie, and cranberry

Chicken Ranchero Pizza

A family favorite from our town “house of pizza” is the Chicken Ranchero. It is almost hard to order anything else from there. After 2.5 years of eating this favorite pizza, I decided to recreate it at home.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Ranchero Pizza
pizza dough
2 chicken breasts or chicken thighs
3 tbs ranch dressing mix
4 strips of bacon
3 tbs ranch dressing
6 oz shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven and a pizza stone, if using one, to 400-degrees.
Pan fry the chicken until cooked through, then remove from the pan and shred. Return to the pan and reduce heat to low. Add ranch dressing mix and a drip of water.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Ranchero Pizza
Roll out the pizza dough until 1/4 inch thick. Spread it onto the pizza stone or baking sheet. Poke a few holes with a fork.
Bake for 5 minutes until lightly cooked.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Ranchero Pizza
While the dough is cooking, chop each bacon slice into 1/4 inch strips and pan fry until crisp, but until 75% cooked (it crisps more in the oven.
Top the pizza dough with ranch dressing, then cheese, then add the chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Ranchero Pizza
Top with bacon, then another sprinkle of ranch mix is optional, lastly a last sprinkle of cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Ranchero Pizza
Bake 10 minutes until crust is crisp and cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Ranchero Pizza
This was a great one. Bacon on any pizza is a winner, but this has some great tried and true flavors that are beautifully uncomplicated. I’m glad I didn’t junk it all up trying to add too many things to it.

I used chicken thighs mostly because it was what I could find in the house, but I think it was a good choice because it didn’t get too dried out. Rotisserie chicken would also stay moist and would speed up the cooking time.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Ranchero Pizza

What I Ate: Chicken & Waffle Panini

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.

Chicken and waffles are such a fun dinner and I was thinking it could become a panini using the waffles for the bread. These are easily adaptable. I used white cheddar, tomatoes, onions, and some buffalo aoli.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini


2 frozen waffles, per sandwich
2 slices sharp white cheddar, per sandwich
2 chicken tenders, per sandwich
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onions
2 tbs mayo + 1 tsp hot sauce  + dash of garlic powder


Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Bake the chicken until cooked through.
Toast the waffles until defrosted and lightly toasted.
Slice the onions and add to cold water.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

Whisk together the buffalo aoli, or add your fav spread like honey mustard, ranch, or a drizzle of maple syrup.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
Keep the oven warm after the chicken is cooked.
Assemble the sandwiches with waffles, the spread, chicken, sliced cheddar, sliced tomato, and sliced onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
Put them back into the oven, flipping once, until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
This was so fun. The nutty waffle was perfect with a little spice. Arugula would be good in here too. The onion bath keeps them from overpowering the sandwich, with just a subtle onion flavor.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

Roasted Garlic Chicken

I love roasted garlic but rarely have the patience for it to roast fully. Like so roasted that it is soft and spread-able. Like 40 minutes+ roasted. It was super garlicky, but not in an intense way. When the garlic fully roasts it gets beautifully mellow and sweet.

I sprinkled some fresh thyme over the top and served it on a bed of couscous with some roasted asparagus. It was simple, yet flavorful. I seriously should roast whole garlic gloves more often. I just might buy a bunch and see how the timing is to do it in the crockpot. I’ll be somebody has done that on Pinterest.

The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken


1 bulb garlic
2 tbs olive oil
4 chicken thighs (bone in or out)
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce (optional)
salt & pepper


Far in advance of wanting dinner, (40 minutes before starting to make dinner), preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375-degrees.
Cut off the skinny pointed top of the garlic bulb, exposing the inner cloves.
Lay it in the center of a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bring opposite corners of the foil to meet, closing the foil together around the top. (You want to be able to open it without flipping it over).
Bake for 25 minutes.
Peek inside the foil. Some of the outer cloves are getting darker tan/brown versus the center still pretty white).
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Close it back up, and bake for another 20 minutes.
To see if it is done, poke a fork at the individual cloves. Each should be very soft.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Each clove will pop out and totally lose shape when squished. Keep the oven on.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Squish the garlic into a paste with the back of a spoon, or a fork.
Prep a large heavy skillet to medium heat with the vegetable oil.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken, then dredge into the flour, salt, and pepper. Shake off any excess.
Add the chicken to the pan, cooking for 4-5 minutes on each side. The chicken should get a little bit of a golden crust.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Remove the chicken and put in a baking dish.
In the pan the chicken was cooked in, spoon out excess oil, leaving any brown bits from the bottom. Over medium low heat, add the chicken broth scraping the brown bits off the bottom. Add in the garlic paste.
Add in the worcestershire sauce, salt pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat off. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until internal chicken temperature reaches 165-degrees. Some thighs vary in size considerably, and the timing can differ if they are bone in or boneless.

This was so good. I loooved the garlic flavor.I got my garlic going in the toaster oven just to see how the timing went. It was such an energy efficient way to give the garlic a heads up, long before I needed the oven going for anything else!
 The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
The thyme added a touch of freshness. I honestly had it around. I wouldn’t have purchased a whole bunch just for this. Yum. I’m ready to have this again. I almost abandoned the chicken once the garlic was roasted….if I’d only had a baguette and all this roasted garlic, I would have been set for life!

The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken

Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

This salad is sooo easy and only took a few special touches to make it something special. This Asian-inspired salad is the perfect meal to make dinner seem different. If you cook and shred the chicken in advance, this would be a 10 minute meal! I also might skip the chicken on the salad and grill some sesame garlic wing to go with this.

The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken


3 chicken tenders, each cut in half
8 oz Broccoli slaw
2-3 tbs sesame soy vinaigrette (bottled or 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tsp soy sauce whisked together)
1/4 peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 cup edemame, shelled and cooked
orange segments (or packaged Mandarin oranges with no sugar added)
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup crispy wonton strips (found in the produce area, or make your own)


Bring a pot of water to a low boil. Then add the chicken. Cook for about ten minutes. Check that it is cooked through, if not keep cooking.
Toss broccoli slaw with dressing in a large bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken.
In a small pot add the peanut butter on low, stirring occasionally until melted.
Stir in the soy sauce, and remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Toss the shredded chicken into the peanut sauce to coat well.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Top the salad with orange segments, edemame, cashews, crispy wonton strips, and chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
I loved this. I could eat this regularly. The chicken feels kind of heavy and thick from the peanut butter, but the sharpness of the broccoli slaw dressing balances it. The sweet oranges are bright with lots of crisp texture from the nuts and wonton strips. The broccoli slaw was a welcome change from other greens. I love it.

This is such a cheap one, especially since it uses very little chicken.

Cost breakdown of Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken:

(cost per quantity that was used)
broccoli slaw: $2.00
chicken tenders: $2.50
edemame: $0.25
packaged oranges: $1.00
cashews: $1.50
wonton strips: $1.00
total = $8.25 for 3 servings, or $2.75 per person

You might be able to grab the edemame from the salad bar, which would make it super cheap without any leftovers. The wonton strips aren’t totally necessary with the nuts so you could skip one or the other if you wanted to simplify a bit.

I’ll totally make this again.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

Today is a weird day. Our heartstrings are tight here today for the 118th Boston Marathon. Last year’s events don’t feel that long ago. I still can’t believe it and Boston is so small that it all felt like my back yard. The event production in me cringes that these terrible events forever change this race. The foodie in me feels badly that there were several restaurants nearby with servers and bartenders who are still dealing with it. Every time I listen to the first hand accounts I cannot keep the tears back.  I can’t believe how many people have suffered hearing disabilities. There are so many who are still recovering, and I feel sorry for those who will not recover.

I’m thankful to have today off, for the first time ever. Mom and I are letting the pups run in the yard, whipping up something fun for lunch, and we’re casually watching the marathon. It seems right to settle in, enjoy the little things, and be together. In honor of the Boston Marathon, I figured on this day I should post pasta. It seems marathon-y. Not that this pasta is appropriate pre-marathon but it is a treat. It is true comfort to share today.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta


2 slices bacon, chopped
2 chicken breasts, chopped and marinated in Italian dressing
3 tbs ranch dressing mix
3/4 pound of spaghetti or fettuccine
2 tsp butter
2 tsp flour
1 1/2 cup milk
2 cups arugula, diced


Pan fry bacon until crisp. Remove and drain the bacon leaving the bacon grease in the pan.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
Add chicken to the bacon pan, and cook through stirring occasionally.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
Add in a tsp of ranch mix to the chicken.
Bring salted water to a boil for the pasta.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the flour and combine to a paste. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, then whisk in the milk.
Add the rest of the ranch mix, reserving 1 tsp separately. Reduce the heat to medium low.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
Cook the pasta until al dente.
Add the pasta to the chicken skillet, with the sauce (if large enough) over medium heat.
Add in the chicken, bacon, arugula, and remaining ranch mix, tossing well to combine. Cook for 2-5 more minutes until the sauce reduces a bit.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

This was so good. I loved this. The flavors were strong. I liked the peppery arugula and just enough bacon but lots of bacon flavor with the chicken. The ranch is really undeniable. It was so good. This is so good with strong elements so I was glad I didn’t muck it up with too many flavors…like cheese.

suggested adaptations:
premade sauce + a grocery store roasted chicken = an easier chicken bacon ranch pasta
chicken bacon ranch pasta – arugula + spinach + chopped tomato – half the ranch mix = lighter flavored chicken bacon ranch pasta

What I Ate: Pesto Chicken Panini

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.

Sandwiches are such a quick and easy dinner for me. I love paninis and and I’m continually surprised how versatile they are. This was going to be chicken breasts marinated and grilled in pesto then I decided to shred it. I figured that would definitely make this seem different than some of my other paninis annnnnd I wouldn’t have that whole take a bite and the whole chicken breast comes out.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

2-3 chicken tenders (or 2 chicken breasts)
1/3 cup prepared pesto
1 tbs grated parmesan
1 tomato
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, or sliced provolone, or fresh mozzarella
4 slices of bread

Cook the chicken in simmering water until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and Parmesan, then add the pesto and shred with 2 forks pulling the chicken apart.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
Heat a panini press/grill pan/large skillet to medium high heat.
Assemble the sandwiches with sliced tomato and pesto chicken mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

Top the sandwiches with cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
Grill until toasty and melty on each side…about 3-5 minutes per side.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
I love the flavors in this. The tomato is key for keeping the chicken moist. The pesto is a great use for a partial jar. I would normally have used sliced cheese but I had leftover shredded mozzarella and no plan for it, so this worked well.

Paninis need bread that can hold up to what goes inside. I think this nutty one works great. I think the Pesto Chicken Panini is kind of a nod to a lazy-man’s pizza…which makes great panini fillings.

Some of my other fav paninis are: fig and prosciutto panini, bacon & gouda panini with peach compote, and turkey cranberry & brie panini.

Pine Nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This dinner was sooo good. It was flavorful yet easy, memorable yet simple. I really loved everything about it. I didn’t go overboard for a random weekday night. I kept it simple with just 2 things and it was a good one.

I had brussels sprouts on the brain because we had talked at LENGTH about them at work during lunch. I can’t tell if you think that’s weird or awesome. We thought it was awesome. It was such a fun exchange of favorite ways to make, eat, or order brussels sprouts. I love roasting them and somebody mentioned adding a touch of honey. Done!

I think the first few teases of spring made me want a crunchy protein and a veggie. Nothing else.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule

I used chicken tenders because I can’t get over how massive chicken breasts can be sometimes. 2 tenders per person is plenty when you pound them out…the same amount of chicken seems like wayy more because of the increased surface area. Plus they tighten up a bit when frying. The nutty exterior and the salty Parmesan was a perfect combo. So good!


2 cups brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
2 tsp honey
1 tsp olive oil
4 chicken tenders (2 tenders per person)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tbs wheat germ (or bread crumbs)
1 egg
1/3 cup liquid egg whites (or one more full egg with a splash of water)
2 tsp light mayo
3 tsp milk
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
sea salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you trim & half the brussels sprouts.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
In a small pan, over medium heat, toast the pine nuts. Stir regularly and be careful not to burn them. Cook for about 5 minutes until evenly and lightly browned.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
Whisk together the egg and egg whites in a shallow container.
Mix together the wheat germ, Parmesan cheese, and chopped pine nuts.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
Put the brussels sprouts onto a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast them in the oven for about 5-7 minutes.
Heat a large skillet with 1/4 inch of vegetable oil to a medium heat.
Pound out the chicken tenders until evenly flattened.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper onto the chicken. Dredge the chicken in eggwash then into the crust. Flip and shake around to get completely covered.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule

Pan fry the chicken tenders, working in batches. Cook about 5 minutes per side.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
Pull out the brussels sprouts and flip them over/around to ensure they cook evenly. Add the honey and mix well. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 250 degrees. The brussels sprouts can stay in the low oven until the chicken is ready.
When the chicken has cooked on each side, put it on paper towel to absorb any excess oil, then put the chicken into the oven to keep warm as the other batches cook.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule

For the garlic aoli (optional): in a small jar, shake together mayo, milk, garlic, garlic powder, and worcestershire sauce.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
Serve and enjoy!

I originally thought the garlic aoli would be great drizzled on the brussels sprouts since they were sweetened with honey. Then I thought the crunch of the chicken would be good with the bite of garlic in the aoli. It became a very translational ingredient. It was not at all necessary, but good.

Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
What’s your favorite way to have brussels sprouts? Are you jealous of our lunch convo? I’m loving that these conversations happen. I don’t miss the crazy fad diets, juice cleanses, wedding crash diets, and instant “I’m no longer eating ___” that I used to encounter at former work places. I think it’s moreso a difference that my new workplace is more closely focused on people who have a greater need for true healthy choices. There’s a different respect for whole foods, this place has a culture that doesn’t view food as an enemy but rather a tool, a benefit, and a joy when treated right. Also, the other day the teaching kitchen students came around with a tray of mini cream puffs. I’m living the dream.

In other news, today is Bailee’s 9th birthday! She can’t open her own presents like Windsor can, but she’ll get an extra treat ;) Those eyes! That underbite! We really love her.

What I Ate: Chicken Parmesan Subs

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.

These easy chicken parmesan subs have a few special touches that make them wayyy better than take-out. The secret is pesto on the bread. I do the same kind of thing for meatball subs. The roll also needs to be toasted…otherwise it will get soggy from the marinara in .2 seconds.

These rolls lived in the freezer until I needed a quick dinner. I like soft rolls for this (rather than ciabatta or sourdough rolls). I used breaded chicken tenders making this an even easier dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parmesan Sub


3 chicken tenders
2 sub rolls
3 tbs pesto
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tbs grated Parmesan
3 slices of provolone cheese


Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Cook chicken tenders until cooked through.
Spread pesto and a drizzle of olive oil onto the rolls.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parmesan Sub
Toast the rolls in the oven for 5 minutes.
Top with chicken and tomato sauce.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parmesan Sub
Cook for 10 minutes.
Top with Parmesan and provolone cheese and return to the oven until melted.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parmesan Sub

Some of my other fav sandwiches for dinner are: 
chicken and pear sandwiches with arugula and sharp cheese
fig jam and prosciutto on strong ciabatta
sliced turkey, cranberry, and brie panini on nutty wheat bread
Italian grilled cheese with breaded eggplant
some panini tips

any quick dinner ‘wiches to recommend? 

Turkey Meatballs with Garlic Sauce over Faux-Mashed Potatoes

When I meal-planned and started photographing this dinner, I hadn’t thought twice about the cauliflower mashed potatoes. I make these faux-mashed potatoes occasionally but I did realize I hadn’t blogged them in years, since making Balsamic Glazed Chicken. It’s a great way to lighten mashed potatoes or to stretch out the little potato you have. I used the potato as a base topped with turkey meatballs and a super quick sauce.

Cauliflower doesn’t really have all that much flavor so I honestly think people wouldn’t notice anything different about the potatoes. Plus, adding the cauliflower will add a ton more vitamin C, some added calcium, potassium, protein, & other good stuff without affecting the flavor or texture at all. Potatoes really shouldn’t be the enemy but adding some fresh or frozen cauliflower is a no-brainer.

The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Meatballs over Faux Mashed Potatoes
I came up with this idea thinking that frozen turkey meatballs would make for a quick weeknight dinner. The meatballs and garlic sauce were Trader Joe’s ingredients. Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs are hands down, better than any others. I was intrigued by the garlic sauce and ended up adding it to a few different dinners. It doesn’t make/break this dinner though. I included a really easy alternative.

The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Sauce Meatballs


3 turkey meatballs per person
1/2 cup garlic cooking sauce (or double the broth (below) + 2 tbs diced garlic)
1/2 cup chicken stock
splash of white wine
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp thyme, dried or fresh rosemary
2 potatoes, pealed or unpealed
2 cups cauliflower
2 tsp cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp butter
salt & pepper


In a large pot of boiling water, cook potatoes and cauliflower florets until fully cooked through.
In a flat pan over medium heat, add garlic,
Defrost meatballs and add to a flat pan with garlic sauce, stock, wine, balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low.
Drain cauliflower and potatoes putting them into a big bowl.
Add cream cheese, milk, butter, salt, and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Meatballs over Faux Mashed Potatoes
Blend until smooth, or until texture of your preference. I leave some lumps.
The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Meatballs over Faux Mashed Potatoes
Top potatoes with meatballs spooning some sauce over the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Meatballs over Faux Mashed Potatoes
I liked this one a lot. It was a nice change from the usual. I guess it is along the lines of Swedish meatballs just without a creamy base. It was a easy use of already-made meatballs but would work well with chicken or pork medallions or beef.

I always forgot how much more mashed potato it seems like from the potatoes you start with. My faux-mashed potatoes are about half potato half cauliflower.

The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Meatballs over Faux Mashed Potatoes

Cauliflower Mashed potatoes would be great for mashed potato pizza. I also like blue cheese mashed potatoes with some blue cheese dressing for a subtle flavor. I guess I don’t make potatoes all that often. Hmmm.