Eggplant Parm in Puff Pastry Pockets

Yes to breaded eggplant. Yes to Parmesan. Yes to puff pastry. I love all these things so I was secretly psyched for a cooler drizzly day to whip up this dinner. Ohh so good. I liked how quick these were and all the flavors I wanted while still feeling different. Puff pastry is so foolproof. Fill it with anything and you’ll have a happy dinner.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parmesan in Puff Pastry
Also, let’s discuss my sous chefs: note how they flank where I stand at that neon-green cutting board. It is so nice they want to be a part of everything, but sometimes I just need some room. I fear the babe will think their names are Bailee Move and Windsor Move. They are cute though, aren’t they?
kitchen_pups_590_390
Ingredients:
(for 1 sheet of puff pastry making 4 pockets)
~12 slices of breaded eggplant (3 slices per pocket)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 grated Parmesan

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the eggplant until crisped, flipping once. (I cooked mine the night before to speed it up).
Roll out the puff pastry until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut into 4.
Top with a slice of eggplant, a few small dollops of ricotta, some shredded mozzarella, and a slight drizzle of tomato sauce (not too much! it’ll get soggy!) Add another eggplant slice and keep the layers going…3 slices per pocket. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parmesan in Puff Pastry

Pinch together opposite corners and keep tucking the puff pastry underneath. Cut a few slits into the sides to vent.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parmesan in Puff Pastry
Bake 25-35 minutes. Check at 25 minutes – mine needed a few more minutes to get golden brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parmesan in Puff Pastry
Enjoy! Serve with some tomato sauce for dipping if desired.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parmesan in Puff Pastry
I really loved this. The crispy, buttery, flakey outside with the eggplant and all the cheese inside – ohh so great. The little one likes the breaded eggplant and gobbled it up a dinner and lunch in a row. Yes! Winning all around!

Have a happy Memorial Day weekend!

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

I was thinking about what convenience items are worth the spurge. I especially was thinking about it while trying to get the knife through some butternut squashes. Those suckers are definitely tough to cut so it can be your call if you want to save some dollars and halve the squash yourself, orrrr if you want to pay to get it all skinned and chopped. I cut through them but didn’t peal before roasting. It was super easy to scoop it out once they were cooked.

The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

Ingredients: (makes ~4-6 servings)

2 small butternut squash
2 large apples, pealed & chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbs butter
1 1/2 cups veggie stock
3 tbs half and half

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Cut the squash in half and roast for 45-60 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
In a large pot, heat to medium high heat and add in the apples and onion with butter. Cook for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent and the apples are soft. The butter will get all bubbly and brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
Scoop out the squash seeds and spoon the squash pulp into the pot with the apples and onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
Add in the stock and cook for 5 minutes or so.
Transfer into a blender or blend with an immersion blender then return to the pot.
Season with salt and pepper. Add more stock if it is too thick for your liking.
Add in the cream and stir well.

I loved this. It was so good with a touch of sweetness from the apple and I toasted some sourdough for dunking. I froze the rest and will be so glad to pull it out of the freezer some day when I’m not into making dinner. I know, the apples just keep appearing…that’ll be over soon.

The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
Bailee oversaw the whole operation. She likes to know what is happening in the kitchen if there’s food around and she wanted to say hi.
IMG_4592

Chorizo Tacos with Candied Sweet Potatoes

Have you heard of Food Fighters on NBC? They pair a home chef in a few rounds against pros. Each round is a different food against a different chef. We saw this one guy make chorizo tacos with sweet potatoes and it had me thinking, “I can make those.” I hadn’t made chorizo before but I tried my hand at it. I tweaked what the contestant made but I was into the idea of tacos with sweet potato.

The Three Bite Rule - Chorizo Taco

Ingredients: for 4 tacos, for 2 people

1 sweet potato
1/3 pound ground pork
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
2-3 tsp brown sugar
soft tacos
1 slice red onion, chopped
optional: Mexican crema or sour cream mixed with salsa/lime juice/etc for a sauce on top.

Directions:

Peel the sweet potato and cut into quarters. Boil until cooked most of the way through…about 8 minutes.
Mix together the pork, vinegar, and seasonings.
The Three Bite Rule - Chorizo Taco
Cook over medium heat until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Taste it. Add some tomato paste or tomato sauce if too spicy.
The Three Bite Rule - Chorizo Taco
When the potatoes are cooked, slice in thick slices and then in half by diameter.
Add the potatoes to a hot pan with a drizzle of oil and the brown sugar. Cook for 5 minutes, flipping once caramelizing on both size.
Serve the tacos on the flour tortilla with chopped red onion, and sweet potato.
The Three Bite Rule - Chorizo Taco
My chorizo was spicy and I wanted some sort of creamy, cooling sauce. I mixed some peppercorn dressing with a touch of salsa.
The Three Bite Rule - Chorizo Taco
I liked these, but I went overboard on the chili powder and the cayenne. It was a bit too spicy. The candied sweet potatoes were so amazing. We both loved them and need to make them more often. I tossed some crisp red peppers with lime dressing on the side.

Windsor was sniffing around nearby. It’s nice to have a sous-chef when he is laying down and not underfoot. Look how mature he’s getting!
IMG_4341

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!

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.
Bailee

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

Do you stuff foods often enough? I know I don’t. This is super easy with perfect flavors. It was a nod towards spring because of the basil. Caprese stuffed chicken would be great grilled. I baked it but plan to replicate when summer comes.

Baking chicken reminded me how thankful I am for a meat thermometer. It isn’t fancy but it helps me ensure these suckers got cooked through. Grab a meat thermometer. You’ll thank me later. They’re about 3-bucks even at the grocery store. Otherwise you really risk overcooking the chicken and ending up with rubber.

Pounding out the chicken and sprinkling with tomato & basil before topping with mozzarella at the end will give the same flavor without having to stuff them. I really only thought about that once they were in the oven. Though, cutting a pocket into the chicken is wayyy easier than butterflying the breast.

One of my trusty sous chefs head pointed to the ground in hopes of snagging anything that drops…
pb_gran_bailee_590_390

Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts
1/4 cup Italian dressing
3 tbs olive oil
2-3 tomatoes, roma or campari
~6 basil leaves
4 slices fresh mozzarella

Directions:

Trim any fat or skin from the chicken breasts. Slice them in half, then cut a pocket into each piece.
Marinate the chicken pieces in Italian dressing, olive oil, salt, and pepper for 2+ hours.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Chicken
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Cut up the tomatoes and scrape out the insides. Dice the tomatoes discarding the insides & seeds.
Roll the basil leaves together and cut chiffonade.
Stuff tomato chunks and basil into each of the chicken pieces.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Chicken
Lay the chicken into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Bake 20 minutes. Flip each piece over and bake another 10-15 minutes.
Slice fresh mozzarella into 1/4 or 1/8 inch slices.
Check the internal chicken temperature to ensure it is fully cooked.

The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Chicken
Lay the cheese on top of the chicken and return to the oven just to melt.
Sprinkle with any remaining tomatoes and basil to serve.

The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Chicken
I opted not to butterfly cut the chicken since I was using chicken breast halves. The halves were plenty.

suggested adaptations: 
caprese chicken + balsamic reduction + pre-made bruschetta mix + rolled in breadcrumbs = bruschetta chicken
caprese chicken + caramelized onions/roasted garlic = big time caprese
caprese chicken – stuffing it + pulled chicken + on bread = caprese pulled chicken panini

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays from The Three Bite Rule!

Mr. J did such a fantastic job with our holiday card featuring our furry cuties so I just had to share. I’ll be back after Christmas! Eat well!

The Three Bite Rule - Happy Holidays

Sausage Stuffing

My mom makes some seriously awesome stuffing. It works like a side dish but I figured holding strong on 2 food groups meant I’d make it the main dish! I love this and would eat it far too often if it were at all good for me. It’s a fantastic wintry food and makes a great dinner or side dish. There’s a secret ingredient that is the trick.

My sous chef wanted to help #kitchendogs #fluffybailee

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

4-6 sausage links, removed from the casing (I used turkey sausage this time)
1 loaf of sourdough bread or something crusty
1 can golden mushroom soup (even mushroom-haters will not notice this is in here)
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup water
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large skillet to medium heat while you chop the onion and remove the casing from the sausage links.
Brown the sausage, breaking it into smaller chunks with the back of a wooden spoon.
In a medium pot, warm the soup, wine, water, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic over medium heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Cut the bread into chunks.
When the sausage is mostly cooked through, drain any excess grease and add the onions into the pan with the sausage. Cook a few minutes until the onion gets soft and a bit translucent, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked sausage and onions and bread together.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl and mix well.
Empty the whole bowl into a large baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Broil the last 3 minutes if the top hasn’t crisped enough
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Yum. I love this one. The golden mushroom soup is so flavorful – just don’t confuse it with cream of mushroom soup.

I served this with some roasted asparagus for a quick dinner. The leftovers are great and it is just an inviting unfussy meal.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
I found a loaf of artisan bread with garlic in it. It was pricey but I only used 4 sausage links and the bread. Other ingredients were super cheap and this was about 5 servings for us.

Shhhh. I nibbled on some leftovers for breakfast one morning when all I wanted was a non-sweet breakfast. What? A touch of maple and this is the ideal salty breakfast…just call it savory bread pudding and nobody will think twice.

some suggested adaptations:
this recipe + celery/kale/portobello/peppers = more veggie-ful stuffing
this recipe – golden mushroom soup + low sodium chicken broth = less salty/lower sodium meal (or reduce the soup to half a can and increase the water to 3/4 cups
this recipe + muffin tins = easily servable stuffing cups
this recipe – turkey sausage + soy sausage crumbles = vegetarian stuffing
this recipe + dried cranberries + sage = super seasonal flavors

What I Ate: Almond Joy Yogurt Parfait

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 was thinking about how much I love coconut and wondering how to make a smoothie out of it. Then I decided I’d just dump stuff on my yogurt. When I dump more than one topping onto yogurt it makes it a parfait. “Dump stuff” is so classy, but hey, parfait is suuuuper classy. It makes breakfast fancy! Right? Right!

The Three Bite Rule - Almond Joy Smoothie

Coconut yogurt is the best. I shared my love for it here during a smoothie coconut almond milk. More and more brands are adding coconut to their Greek yogurt repertoire. Love it.

Ingredients:

coconut yogurt (or vanilla)
1/3 cup coconut
1/4 cup almonds (not salted, slivers are good too)
(optional: mini chocolate chips)

Directions:

Put a small skillet on over medium-low heat.
Tranfer the yogurt into a bowl (you need more room than a yogurt cup).
The Three Bite Rule - Almond Joy Smoothie
Add coconut to the dry skillet. Stir regularly as it lightly browns. Watch it to ensure it doesn’t burn.
The Three Bite Rule - Almond Joy Smoothie
Chop the almonds (and toast if desired)
Add the toasted coconut to the yogurt over the top and add the almonds around the edge.
almondjoy_bowl_590_390
It is so good. Toasted coconut makes me want a samoa girl scout cookie. I didn’t roast the almonds but that would be so amazing here. I seriously made this on a weekday for bfast. Toasting the coconut takes 5 minutes and is absolutely worth it. Some chocolate chips would make this legit Almond Joy but it was bfast so I decided not to go crazy.

Aren’t these guys so cute? They’re regular supporters and they felt like their cute mugs should be on the blog more often. Say hi to Windsor!
IMG_3238
Miss Bailee says hello too.
IMG_3237

A Day In The Life of My Food

I realized there are so many food moments I really care about don’t normally document. Now’s the time! Today’s post shares a bit about my daily food that isn’t blog-worthy but I’m sharing “the normal”. This line-up is before I got my new job but I was just too excited to post vacay posts so this post was just hanging out. Maybe today’s post won’t be life-altering, but here ya go. I’ll do another with my new job-life.

Let’s start out with some cuties, just so this post can be worth it, and I just haven’t posted them in a while. I’m basically making them cuddle though that’s not really how they roll. The little one is in charge and the big one is just very sweet and accommodating.
pups_590_390
I love that Windsor (lab) is getting wise under his chin. He’s much more mature than the puppy I met 5 years ago. I also always smile at Bailee’s (cocker spaniel) brown eyebrows. Aren’t they so cute? Anywho, onward to the food.

Bfast is always at home. Regardless of the fact that I would walk through an intersection with Dunks, Brueggers, and S-bucks. This day it was banana, warmed peanut butter, and some granola. Often it revolves around Greek yogurt.
day_bfast
My day would start, like really start, once I had breezed through Bruegger’s with my bottomless coffee card. It felt like such a splurge to buy the card for the year, but I LOOOVED starting my day this way. Sadly, I no longer am near any Bruegger’s so I’ve gifted my card to a friend who is office-less, so I gave her coffee and a place to work. Win!

This is my fav park of the city. It used to be a parking lot which is now below ground. So now it is the opposite of paved paradise and put up a parking lot. Isn’t the fountain picturesque?
coff sized
Before I left the job I had to be sure to get my fav lunch. I was pretty good about packing lunch, but Boston Kebab House is soooo good. And cheap, though the mezze bar is by weight so it can get away from you.
lunch sized
The falafel is really good, I love marinated mushrooms and the couscous with tomato, onion, and cranberries is unbelievable. I went with baba ganoush and free wheat or white pita comes with it. This is about $6….can’t beat it.

Dinner was his & hers meatloaf cups, cauliflower mashed potatoes, and some roasted broccoli. Nothing crazy or super exciting. His = beef, hers = ground chicken. The sauce was ketchup, sriracha, and some brown sugar.
dinner sized
That’s it. That’s what a blogless day of food looked like just a few weeks ago. Now I have a new job, which provides lunch, so everything is different! Plus, I get out at 5pM which is unbelievably life changing!

I’m getting into a new routine. I’ll post my new-normal one of these days.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap

My event is over. Phew. I’m still just so tired. My head is spinning. There is a lot of stress, pressure, and info swirling but I’m happy. I’m happy how it went. I’m happy how our team did, annnnd I’m happy I don’t have to do it again this weekend already.

Now I’m detoxing. We work so hard and so long that eating and sleeping aren’t top priorities. Now I need to eat real food. I love organizing our meals but feeding that many people, with enough options, is exhausting. Every meal we were at I was thinking of if the next needed confirmations, to be picked up, or paid for. Now I’ll slowly get back to real life.

Ingredients:

1 large chicken breast (or 2 small, or 3 tenders)
1/2 cup creamy caesar dressing
2 tbs Italian dressing
1 head romaine lettuce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup croutons
1 tomato
1/4 cucumber
2 tortilla wraps

Directions:

Marinade chicken in 1/2 of the caesar dressing and Italian dressings overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Grill chicken until cooked through completely.
Chop/slice lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber while chicken cooks.
Toss lettuce, Parmesan, and remaining dressing.
chick_caesar_lettuce_590_390
Cut cooked chicken into bite size pieces.
Assemble wraps drizzling with extra caesar dressing.
chick_caesar_filling_590_390
It was really good. I used tomato basil wraps and they have a nice sweetness to contrast the dressing. The chicken was really good off the grill.
chick_caesar_wrapped_590_390
Sandwiches are such a quick dinner. The quantity of chicken for this is so small, but is the perfect amount for a wrap. It is definitely an economical way to include some protein.

Totally unrelated. Here’s the pup Windsor. He was feeling ashamed after being told to get his head out of the dishwasher. He’d love to be a pre-wash if not told to stop…but isn’t that face so cute??

chick_caesar_dog_dishwasher