What I Ate: Chili over Cheddar Cornbread Waffles

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.

Awhile back I was wanting to make something crazy in the waffle iron. There’s a restaurant I heard about in Syracuse, New York, called Funk ‘n Waffles, that puts all sorts of cra-zy things onto waffle irons. I loved the crispification it sounded like would come from cooking on a waffle iron. I literally had “cook something weird as a waffle” on my ideas of foods to blog. I used a cornbread mix with cheddar as the base topped with chili.
The Three Bite Rule - Chili over Cornbread Waffles

I tried a bacon hashbrown thing that failed miserably. It stuck and never crisped so I ended up tossing it into a frying pan to salvage it. I didn’t end up blogging it because I felt defeated, and tired, and pregnantly-hungry, and I blame my waffle iron. My waffle iron is really some plates that insert into my panini press/griddle. I loooove that they aren’t all separate appliances (since I make waffles mayyybe once a year) but it means that the nooks are pretty shallow…1/3 the depth of a Belgian waffle iron. That’s probably the ticket to more surface area for cooking crazy things. This time I stuck closer to waffle batter and made cheddar cornbread waffles for some nooks the leftover chili could rest it. Such a winner.

Ingredients:

cornbread batter prepared
some extra milk/water to loosen the batter (~1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped (optional)
2 cups chili

Directions:

Prepare cornbread according to the mix or according to the cornmeal, then add the cheese & green onions if using them.
The Three Bite Rule - Chili over Cornbread Waffles
Add in a little extra milk or water to loosen it enough that it drips off the whisk like pancake/waffle batter.
Ladle onto the waffle iron and cook until crisp. (mine takes about 4-6 minutes)
The Three Bite Rule - Chili over Cornbread Waffles
Serve waffles topped with chili and some extra cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Chili over Cornbread Waffles
Enjoy!

I liked this platform. The chili was leftover and would have seemed like a bit less if we just ate it straight up. I probably had a size-able serving for 1 of chili but with the waffles, this fed two of us for dinner. Bam! Leftover magic! It was great to just have to prep the waffles while defrosting & warming the chili.

If you’re a big waffle person you could definitely prep the waffles and freeze them when batching up leftover chili. Then they’d just go in the toaster or oven when it was time to serve!

What I Ate: Taco Pizza

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.

Add one to the successful pizza-dough alternatives! Making pizza on a tortilla is super easy and is like instant pizza. This is suuuuch a fast pizza and was a great use for a few small leftovers. I had a very small amount of ground chicken in the freezer and a few tortillas hanging around. It had tacos written all over it, but then I figured open faced tacos are taco pizza! This could adapt pretty easily to quesadilla pizza as a stacked tortilla: cheese: tortilla: cheese: toppings. I went lighter (and easier).

The Three Bite Rule - Taco Pizza

It was a hit and definitely didn’t seem like the burrito ingredients that had been dinner before.

Ingredients:

1/4 pound ground chicken/pork/turkey/beef
1 tbs taco seasoning (or a mix of dried garlic, chili powder, cumin & black pepper)
1 cup refried beans
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 8″ tortillas
1 tomato
1-2 sprigs of green onion
salsa

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Heat a flat pan to medium heat.
Brown the ground meat, drain, and add taco seasoning.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Pizza
While the meat is cooking, bake the tortillas on a baking sheet for 2 minutes on each side just to get a tiny bit crunchy so the toppings don’t make it soggy.
Then spread on the refried beans and a sprinkle of taco seasoning.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Pizza
Add the cheese, ground meat, chopped tomatoes.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Pizza
Bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the tortilla gets crunchy.
Sprinkle with green onions and salsa. Slice, and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Pizza
The beans on here absolutely take it from basic quesadilla to the next level. This taco pizza is a super quick dinner and uses such a small amount of ground meat. This is leftover central at it’s finest. The remaining refried beans can easily freeze until the next burrito/taco pizza time. The crispy tortilla is great and it fulfilled my “need” for Mexican.

You could top this with any cheese you had around (Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, mozzarella, a mixture) , any veggies you have around (like corn, green peppers, green chili, etc), and top with any taco fillers you choose (like sour cream, black beans, avocado, guacamole, etc). The possibilities are endless and are an easy build-your-own.

This is dinner in 30 minutes, without running around like Rachael Ray.

I have made taco pizza as a regular pizza which was awesome, but this was a bit easier.
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Other dough-less pizzas I’ve made:
Bacon & Pear Flatbreads on Pita Bread
French Bread Pizza
Bubble Up BBQ Pizza
Bruschetta Pizza on Naan

What I Ate: Pork Lettuce Wraps

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.

One of my fav crockpot dishes is a Chinese Pork, It has water chestnuts, and peppers, and bean sprouts,  and green onions.

Chinese Pork from the Crockpot - The Three Bite Rule

This most recent time I made it was a few months ago and I froze the leftovers so we wouldn’t get sick of it. While I was meal planning recently I thought of it and wondered how to use it differently. Lettuce wraps came to mind. They’re pretty easy to make with any filling, but this was cooked and sauced up already. Perfect!

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Lettuce Wraps

I let it defrost all day in the fridge and then heated it through to get ready for dinner. I nixed the peppers, spooning them out leaving it as pork, sauce, water chestnuts, and bean sprouts. It looks like I had more tomato sauce this time, than the first time.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Lettuce Wraps

I whipped up some sesame noodles to go with it.
The Three Bite Rule - Sesame Noodles
And micro’ed some edemame. This was a super quick dinner (10 min of prep) and it used some some random remnants….like the pork from the freezer and a partial box of wheat spaghetti.

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Lettuce Wraps
It wasn’t exactly an award winning dinner, but it was pretty balanced, suuuuuper cheap, and was a bit different than the usual quickie dinner options. It feels less like: leftovers, womp womp when I serve it a long time from the first debut, annnd when I serve it in a different way.  This is why I save everything. Fast dinners like this meant only added Boston bibb lettuce to the shopping list, everything else was on-hand. Plus it reminded me how great edemame in the pods are.

These would have been better with something else, like vinegar-y cabbage or raw bean sprouts on top but they totally fulfilled the what’s for dinner conundrum. Lettuce wraps are a great use for my random extra ground meat. I drop leftover ground chicken and ground pork into the freezer to be used for tacos or something. It’s not the greatest for burgers once it has been frozen but lettuce wraps could be a good use. Hmmm. Maybe I’m onto something there!

How do you recreate leftovers?

Kale Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese becomes healthy if there’s a leafy green ingredient. Right? I love mac & cheese. It is one of my favorite wintry comfort foods. We Are Not Martha posted a great adult-flavored mac & cheese a few weeks ago. I figured mac and cheese was a great use for some of my leftover cheese fondue.

The Three Bite Rule - Kale Mac & Cheese
Some of my favorite mac & cheeses:
Fontina Mac & Cheese with potato chip topping
Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese because these are the best. flavors. anywhere.
Mexican Mac & Cheese with taco seasoning and taco inspiration
Mac & Cheese Taste-off to try 11 different mac & cheeses while stuffing your guests

Ingredients:

1 cup cheese sauce (or leftover cheese fondue)
1 cup chicken or veggie stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded cheese (I used swiss)
1 egg yolk
1/2 pound pasta (I used mini rigatoni)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup of crackers, crumbled
2 tbs grated parmesan
salt & pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Boil salted water for the pasta.
In a medium saucepan, warm cheese sauce over medium-low heat.
Add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook until al dente, being careful not to overcook.
Add in the broth and heavy cream, mixing well.
Tear the kale off the center stocks by pulling from the base towards the other end. Then chop the leafy parts, discarding the stocks.
Drain the pasta and mix into the cheese sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Kale Mac & Cheese
Sprinkle in the kale and mix well.
The Three Bite Rule - Kale Mac & Cheese
Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.
Mix in the egg yolk and shredded cheese to the pasta mixture and transfer to the baking dish.
The Three Bite Rule - Kale Mac & Cheese
Bake for 10 minutes.
While mac and cheese is baking, mix together melted butter, cracker crumbs, and parmesan.
Sprinkle topping onto the mac and cheese and bake for another 15 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Kale Mac & Cheese
Enjoy!

I loooved this. It was a great use of some leftover fondue. It’s been such a cold year and this was exactly what I needed. The kale was earthy against the cheesiness. The egg yolk is a secret ingredient that adds a velvet texture like carbonara.
The Three Bite Rule - Kale Mac & Cheese

What I Ate: Fig and Prosciutto 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.

This panini was more so a pressed sandwich. I realized I had some fig jam leftover from a fig and prosciutto pizza. I love fig jam on toast or in oatmeal but I wanted to use it another way. I hate specialty ingredients that have a one-time use. It has such a unique flavor and I don’t find it so strong that you can’t eat it all the time. I love it with prosciutto for the sweet/salty combo. This time I thought a panini would be a perfect use for it.

The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini

This fig & prosciutto panini is kind of a nod to a monte cristo like the raspberry preserves or a Thanksgiving gobbler with cranberry sauce. Paninis are the perfect week-night meal or cooking-for-one or as a use for leftovers.

Ingredients:

2 ciabatta rolls, or 4 slices of crusty bread
4-6 slices of prosciutto
4-6 slices of fontina cheese
3 tablespoons fig spread
handful of arugula (optional)

Directions:

Assemble the sandwich with a drizzle of olive oil onto the bread, then fig spread on one side. Lay arugula and cheese onto the other side.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini
Preheat a grill pan or panini press or oven to medium-high heat.
Add arugula on top of the cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini
Close up the sandwich. Optional: brush with olive oil or butter.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini
Cook for about 5 minutes, melting the cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini

Ohh wow. So good. There are no words.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini
This is so good and I think I could eat it weekly. The prosciutto is super salty but delicate and was great with a mild cheese (that melts well, like fontina). The arugula was leftover this week but I wanted the peppery-ness on here. The fig jam is sweet and sticky with such a great dominance on this sandwich. I seriously think this needs crusty and tough bread…nothing wimpy and soft will do for this.

I want this again. right. now.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini

suggested adaptations: 
fig & prosciutto panini – arugula + spinach/pickled red onions/roasted red peppers = a twist on the veggies
fig & prosciutto panini – half the bread + assembled on crustini toasts = an appetizer format
fig & prosciutto panini – fig jam + roasted figs/dried figs, sliced = similar flavors with different textures
fig & prosciutto panini + pan fried prosciutto – panini cooking = crispy prosciutto sandwich with fig

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pizza

So, you know how the 70s are back in full force via fondue? Well, I had a fondue party errr. maybe it was a party where we ate fondue. Then I made some up again since the party was a “girls gathering” and Mr. J didn’t get any. So 2nd time around, I had leftovers. It seemed like something I should keep and use wisely since it is ohh so delicious (and the price of fancy cheese isn’t going down anytime soon). I split the leftovers into 2 containers and froze it.

Then it got to come alive again. I was thinking how it could be used again, and duhh. I had leftover steamed broccoli and leftover cheese fondue in the freezer. Pizza!

Ingredients:

pizza dough
1 1/2 cups broccoli (steamed, roasted, or raw, as you like it)
1 cup cheese fondue (or cheese sauce, or alfredo sauce) warmed slightly.
3 chicken tenders
8 oz shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat the oven and pizza stone (if using one) to 400-degrees.
Cook the chicken and broccoli, if needed.
Spread the pizza dough onto at hot pan or pizza stone before poking a few holes into it.
Bake 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule
Spread or spoon the fondue onto the crust.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pizza
Then sprinkle the mozzarella on top.
Next add broccoli florets and pieces of chicken.
Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pizza
Remove from the oven and let sit for 3-5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pizza
This was so good. I used breaded chicken tenders because they’re so quick and easy. They could cook while the pizza stone was preheating. The fondue acting as my “alfredo” sauce, and broccoli both were rescued & frozen after fondue.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pizza
The touch of mustard from the fondue is really great here. The flavors are subtle, but decadently cheese, plus the juicy chicken, and the broccoli freshness…ahhh! It’s all you need.

Fondue is fun and the price of the cheeses definitely made me want to use the leftovers. This could have easily become pasta, or calzone (like I made eons ago), or into lasagna, or become cheesy garlic bread. The possibilities are endless for cheese sauce. I have one more leftover use ahead. Stay tuned! Have leftovers “left” you inspired to make something else lately?

Balsamic Chicken Pizza

It is Friday! That means pizza night!! Well, I think it does for some people. That wasn’t really a thing growing up at my house, but I wouldn’t be sad to have pizza weekly. Friday normally means takeout & DVR which is pretty awesome to me.

This pizza started with some leftover grilled chicken. I figured we’d use it on salad or it could become burrito filling or whatever. It alllmost became my regular BBQ chicken pizza, but I’ve made several BBQ pizza variations before as a doughy BBQ pizza and as a bubble up BBQ one. The chicken would also have been good as this pizza with pesto, ricotta, and red peppers.

chick_pizza_balsamic_590_390

Ingredients:

pizza dough
3/4 cup marinara sauce
6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 marinated grilled chicken breasts
1 large tomato, sliced
6 oz fontina cheese, cut into chunks
10 sprigs of asparagus, cut into 3rds or 4ths
balsamic reduction (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven and pizza stone (if using one) to 400 degrees.
Spread pizza dough onto pizza stone, poke a few holes with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with marinara, mozzarella, tomato slices, chicken, and chunks of fontina.
chick_pizza_topped_590_390
Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with asparagus.
chick_pizza_baked_590_390
Let sit for 5 minutes.
Drizzle balsamic reduction on top.
chick_pizza_balsamic_590_390
Slice and enjoy!
chick_pizza_slice_590_390
I didn’t listen to my own advice to let it sit for 5 minutes. Cheese tries to jump ship if you don’t give it a second to let it sit. Look how oozy that cheese is!

The pizza has a fresh feeling from the tomatoes and super thin asparagus yet decadent from the abundance of cheeses and chicken. The balsamic reduction is just what this pizza needs. It is sweet but tangy and it ties all the toppings together.

The leftover chicken made the assembly pretty quick. If the asparagus had been thicker I might have roasted it while the dough was pre-cooking. I wanted to shave it, but it was seriously so thin. I reduce balsamic vinegar occasionally. It lasts awhile and becomes delightfully thick and sweet.

Pizza Soup in Breadbowls

Today I have a leftovers on rehab which I like to call Tonight & Take 2. It is a great way to use something you prepped or even ate before. Using leftovers and creating them into something new is key especially since I’m cooking for 2 and love to reuse leftovers…creatively. It simplifies dinner planning and is green (environmentally speaking and money saving!).

Speaking of leftovers, why were the ladies on the Bachelor so annoyed that Kacie is on, yet a gal from Bachelor Pad was no big deal? Sometimes leftovers are better the second time around! Not that I realllly want to call her leftovers, she is way more classy than the 50-shades of gray drunkard. Anywho, back to food.

Way back when, I tried my hand at Bolognese sauce (which was a hit) and then I wanted to let the leftovers shine. Along comes another Tonight & Take 2. Take last night’s bolognese sauce and make it into a comforting soup. I froze my leftover sauce so the soup came later and we weren’t eating the same thing meal after meal after meal…

Ingredients:

leftover bolognese sauce or meat sauce
pizza dough
1 cup pepperoni sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tbs Parmesan cheese
3 tbs cream

pizza_soup_final_590_390

Directions:

Start with bolognese sauce, or any meat sauce you like.
bolognase_plate_590_390
Reheat and add a touch of cream, Parmesan, and pepperoni.
Bake pizza dough in baseball/softball size blobs at 400-degrees for about 20 minutes. The interior doesn’t need to be fully cooked. Once cooled, chop of the top, pull out the interior, and add a few tablespoons of shredded cheese.
pizza_soup_bowl_590_390
Add soup and top with another sprinkle of cheese.
pizza_soup_serving_590_390
This was a great use of leftovers feeling completely different without pasta. You could nix the bread bowls to eliminate a step/ingredient. I like that these guys are balanced and filling. It is flavorful and comforting without being complicated. I have a surprising number of soup posts to catch you up on so hold on tight!

What do you think? Thoughts about leftovers? Do you recreate them or enjoy them again and again as-is? Are you watching The Bachelor?

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Today I wanted to kick off a new Friday series. I’m calling this one Tonight & Take 2. I get questions about how I have all the ingredients for everything I make or how I come up with what I make.
squash_enchilada_squash_590_390

The reason I have an ingredient on hand is because:
a) I live to avoid grocery shopping so leftovers are planned to a T
b) using-what-I-have is my middle name
c) cooking for 2 of us means a whole package/container/item needs creativity so we aren’t eating the same thing day in and day out.

I just don’t usually share how I plan to use the other half. I might use part of the whole for a recipe but now you’re going to see how that happens. I also might make something and space out the blog posts so you think each posted item was spaced out. Aren’t you excited?!

Here are my meal planning tips here and here. Now, back to using an ingredient to make 2 totally different dishes.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Ingredients:

½ roasted butternut squash
1 cup black beans
8 oz shredded monterey jack cheese or pepper jack
1 tbs liquid smoke (optional)
1 tbs salsa
8 wheat tortillas

Directions:

Fill each tortilla with squash, black beans, and cheese.
squash_enchilada_filling_590_390
Roll up and top with enchilada sauce.
Bake covered for 20 minutes at 350-degrees.
squash_enchilada_baked_590_390

These were flavorful and I loooved the smoke flavor with the squash. The beans make it filling and balanced. Does this have you thinking about another leftover that would be good in here? Throw it in! Go crazy!

Now, these enchiladas were take 2 on a roasted butternut squash. Round one was a fall pizza with butternut squash, gouda, and bacon.
squash_enchilada_squash_590_390

Leftover Rice Recreated into Magic

I love leftovers. I love transforming one thing into something totally different annnnnd I love not spending any money to do it. These were a prime example of all these things. I had leftover risotto from the other day. I made more than usual but even with Mr. J and I eating it with dinner one night and leftovers for lunch the next day, there was still a good amount. I decided to make aranchini!
lemon_risotto_bowl_590_390
Aranchini are historically Sicilian but as you can imagine other regions of Italy have similar ones that they’ll tell you are not aranchini. I learned this while dining with the mob. Mine are not authentic since I didn’t have any mozzarella for the middle.
aranchini_plate_590_390
Even without this seemingly key ingredient, these were simply delicious. Maybe because I fried them. I never fry anything so it makes me appreciate it even more. Frying makes me anxious and it’s such a mess.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups prepared and chilled risotto
2 eggs, whisked with 1 tbs water
1 cup panko
2 tbs grated Parmesan

Directions:

Preheat oil ½ deep in a pan on medium
Scoop refrigerated risotto into 1” balls
Dip each into eggwash then roll in panko until completely covered
Fry in batches turning until golden brown.
Remove and let rest on paper towel.

These were so surprisingly good! I let them get pretty fried before turning them the first time. I think that really helped them stay together since they had a solid fried base on the bottom when I scooped with a slotted spoon.
aranchini_fry_590_390
We each ate a few as an app with dinner and I froze the rest. I think they’ll defrost pretty easily in the fridge and bake to reheat. They’ll be awesome when this weekend is over and I can celebrate a successful event (knock on wood!). I work all year for this weekend so wish me luck, dry weather, well behaved vendors, and lots of fundraising $$ coming in!