What I Ate: Bacon & Blue Dog

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.

Originally this was going to be a burger but somehow I missed getting any meat on the grocery store run. Thus here’s a fun ‘dog!

The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Blue Dog

The little one LOVED that there was bacon for dinner. I served these with some awesome new salad kits and this one had green cabbage, kale, craisins, pumpkin seeds, and poppy dressing. This dog was a good combo with the crunchy bacon, creamy dressing. It would be super fun for a hot dog topping bar!

The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Blue Dog
This one is not rocket science but just you wait till you see the burger I have coming up!

Smoky Bacon & Pork Ragu

I put one cooler/low-humidity day to good use after a beach vacation to cook comfort food! This porky pasta sauce has been on my list to make and I had just the night to make it! Get some liquid smoke or this won’t be the same at all (pssst! I get it on Amazon but some specialty food stores have it too. You’ll also use it in chili, burgers, pulled pork, etc.)

The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pork Ragu

I froze half, despite the fact that I’m compulsively trying to use up frozen stuff. I just didn’t want to eat it twice in a week given the warm forecast but I can see popping it out for some not-hot night for variety of the many grilled dinners we’re having this summer!

Smoky Bacon & Pork Ragu for ~4

Ingredients:

4-6 strips of bacon, chopped
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage out of the casing
1 small yellow onion
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
~6 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

In a dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp and drain. Then brown the sausage and drain. Then saute the onion until cooked through.
Add the crushed tomatoes into the pot, add in sausage, onion, bacon, garlic, and liquid smoke.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pork Ragu
Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes and add in the red pepper flakes, onion powder, Parmesan, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and basil. Stir well.
Reduce to low and cook for another 5 minutes.
Boil the pasta and cook to al dente.
Spoon sauce over the top and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pork Ragu
I loved it. It definitely wasn’t your average tomato sauce. The salty and smoky flavor came out and I took great care for it not to be greasy. Bacon & sausage needed to cook separately to each get to their best. Each needed to be drained, for sure.

I can see pulling out the sauce for a quick dinner or putting ontop of a pizza or in a calzone!
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pork Ragu

Sausage, Arugula, and Walnut Rice Bowls

This rice bowl continues the obsession! I used grilled sausage, arugula, mushrooms, apple, toasted walnuts and rice with a drizzle of honey mustard. It was the perfect barely-needing-cooking for a summery dinner. It kind of is a nod to fall with the apples & nuts but the sausage, apples, walnuts, and arugula beg for the mustard.

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Arugula, and Rice Bowl

Sausage, Arugula, and Walnut Rice Bowls

Ingredients: (for 2-3 servings)

1-2 cups of rice/grain of choice (I used brown rice)
2 Sweet Italian Sausage (or chicken sausage)
1 cup mixed mushrooms
1 apple, chopped
2 cups arugula
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup honey mustard

Directions:

Preheat the grill then grill the sausage.
Cook the rice and keep warm until serving.
In a dry skillet, toast the walnuts stirring regularly for 5 minutes over medium heat.
Empty the nuts out and saute the mushrooms in a little butter until golden in the same skillet.
Assemble the bowls with rice at the bottom and top with sliced sausage, nuts, mushrooms, arugula, apple and then drizzle with honey mustard.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Arugula, and Rice Bowl
Love! I live for the bites with all different elements.  I like the nutty brown rice, with arugula, with apple, with nuts, with honey mustard. Ohh yes.

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Bagel Bake

Sausage, egg, and cheddar bagels for everyone! I made this savory bread pudding with my favorite bfast sandwich fillings for an Easter brunch. It was SO good and perfect for a group since I prepped it the night before and just popped it into the oven. It puffed up and was nicely soft. The leftovers were delicious too!

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Egg, Cheese Bagel Bake
Smitten Kitchen made this with cream cheese, onion, capers, and smoked salmon. I went with my preferred sausage/egg/cheddar combo.

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Bagel Bake

Ingredients (serves 6):

3 everything bagels
6 links breakfast sausage
4 oz sharp white cheddar cheese
5 egg whites
3 eggs
1/4 cup cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/4 cup milk

Directions:

Chop the bagels into bite size pieces. Chop the cheese into 1/4 inch cubes.
Pan fry the sausage until cooked through. Then chop into bite sized pieces.
Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray. Add in half the bagel pieces, then top with half the sausage and cheddar pieces.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Egg, Cheese Bagel Bake
Place the remaining bagel pieces and the remaining sausage and cheese pieces on top. Turn the very top bagel pieces over so the outside of the bagel is facing out. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Egg, Cheese Bagel Bake
Whisk together the egg whites, eggs, milk, and cream cheese.
Pour over the bagel, sausage, and cheese pieces.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Egg, Cheese Bagel Bake
Cover and refrigerate over night, or until ready to bake.
Bake at 400-degrees for about 45 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Egg, Cheese Bagel Bake
Poke a knife in to see that the egg is fully cooked. It shouldn’t be runny in the middle.
Serve and enjoy!

It puffs up and is so great! The chewy bagels are soft but such a great texture. I loved the everything bagel-ness with the sharp cheddar, the sausage, and the eggs. The mostly egg whites made it a touch lighter!

Sausage & White Bean Pizza

I made an Alfredo-sauced pizza with sausage and white beans when I was thinking about something wintry and different. I chopped herbs for some peppery-freshness. It was great! What are your thoughts on white pizza? Let’s dish. I’m for it…maybe not every time, but yes, sign me up for something different every now and then.

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & White Bean Pizza
Ingredients:
pizza dough (I used 3/4 of a refrigerated ball from the grocery store)
1 cup alfredo sauce
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 sweet Italian sausage links
3/4 cup white cannellini beans
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup arugula, chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400-degrees.
Roll out the dough and spread out onto a pizza stone or baking sheet. Poke some holes into the dough using a fork. Then bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned and starting to crisp.
Remove the sausage from the casing and pan fry the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Then drain from the oil.
Layer the cooked dough with alfredo and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & White Bean Pizza
Then sprinkle with sausage, white beans, and Italian seasoning.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & White Bean Pizza
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust fully crisps and cheese melts. While pizza cooks, chop the arugula.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle arugula, and let set for 5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & White Bean Pizza
Slice and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & White Bean Pizza
I liked this one for something different. It’d pair nicely with another more traditional pizza if making a few pizzas or flatbreads. I love arugula treated as an herb. It has wayyy more flavor to me than parsley, though if you had oregano kicking around that’d be nice too!

Crockpot Meatballs

My little one is 2 years old! How did that happen so quickly?! For his birthday dinner we made his favorites: pasta, meatballs, and cake! I made meatballs to cook in the sauce which was a first for me. I mixed them, balled ‘em up, and dropped them into the sauce to cook on their own. They were great!!

The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Meatballs
I normally like the crispy exterior of cooking meatballs, and I thought I might miss that. These turned out very juicy from cooking in the sauce. I was relieved they stayed together and would totally make them this way again. These meatballs being pork meant that there wasn’t excess oil that I’d expect if they were beef.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground pork
3 links Sweet Italian Sausage
1 cup breadcrumbs
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cup baby Arugula, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups tomato sauce

Directions:

Mix together the breadcrumbs and the milk, then add all the ingredients into a bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Meatballs
Using your hands, mix everything together until well incorporated.
Roll into balls about 1.5 inches wide. Add into a crockpot with tomato sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Meatballs
Cook on high for 2.5 hours. Stir occasionally.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Meatballs
Meatballs are always a hit here. We all liked them and I’m glad to have some leftovers. These could cook on the stovetop too, rather than the crockpot. The size of the crockpot was great for 1 even layer of cooking though.

Pizza with Pear & Pancetta

Salty pancetta and sweet pear plus melty cheese makes for such a wonderfully balanced pizza. That’s it. Pizza dough, cheese, pancetta, and pear. That’s it. So, basically dinner is brought to you by the letter P.

The Three Bite Rule - Pear & Pancetta Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza dough
1 cup Pancetta
1 pear
1 1/2 cup shredded Mozarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven and pizza stone (if using one) to 400 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta to crisp. Then drain.
The Three Bite Rule - Pear & Pancetta Pizza
Spread the dough out onto a pan, poke a few holes into the dough. Cook for 5-8 minutes to lightly browned.
In the same pan as the pancetta, saute the pear for about 5 minutes over low heat just to soften a little.
The Three Bite Rule - Pear & Pancetta Pizza
Then top the dough with cheese, pear, and pancetta.
The Three Bite Rule - Pear & Pancetta Pizza
Bake for 5-8 minutes more until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Pear & Pancetta Pizza

The little one picked off all the pancetta, ate that first, then the pears, then was full. I loved the sweet and subtle pear with the very salty pancetta. I’d totally make this again. Seriously, these few ingredients are just born to go together.

The Three Bite Rule - Pear & Pancetta Pizza

Breakfast Calzone

Today’s inspiration came from my friend from college who posted his fabulous brunch. Breakfast calzone? Genius! Inside the puff pastry dough, I filled it with scrambled egg, cheese, and sausage. I never use puff pastry for calzone but thought it was very breakfast-y.

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
It was such a quick weeknight dinner, or would be a fun one to feed some overnight guests!

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry
4-5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 sausage links
1 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs and milk and pour into a medium pan over medium-low heat. Gently cook the scrambled eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
Remove from the pan and bring to medium heat to cook the sausage.
Roll out the puff pastry maintaining the square shape.
Place the pastry dough onto a baking sheet: sprayed with non-stick spray or a baking mat, or topped with parchment.
Add the eggs, sausage, cheese to the middle third of the dough all the way to the ends (left to right).
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
Slice 1/2 slits from the top & bottom to the filling.
Alternate “braiding” the strips starting on one end and crossing one, then the other side, alternating until 3/4 of the way to the end. Then start at the other end in reverse direction to close it up.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
Bake 20-30 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
Slice & enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
This was so great. Puff pastry has that buttery crispness that is so perfect for breakfast. I liked the simple and classic flavors. There are 1000 ways to tweak this…with spinach/tomato/herbs or Mexican touches & salsa on the side or eggwhites or whatever else! Also, I’d totally copy my friend who put spiced fries inside as hashbrowns! So clever!

Fall Flavors Burger with Pork, Pear, & Sage

This fall burger is so fun with diced pear & sage in a ground pork burger. I thought about a grilled cheese with pear and sage and then I decided to make it in to a burger and figured pork would be perfect. It was so perfect for a fall evening.

The Three Bite Rule - Fall Pork Burger with Pear & Sage

Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pear
5-6 sage leaves
ground black pepper & salt

Directions:

Mix together the pork, pear, and sage.
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Pork Burger with Pear & Sage
Form into patties and grill or pan-sear.
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Pork Burger with Pear & Sage
Be sure took cook through. Then top with lettuce, mustard, mayo, and lettuce.
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Pork Burger with Pear & Sage
Enjoy!

I wanted to be sure not to over do it on the sage. It is a strong flavor to me. I loved the raw pear that cooks slightly for a softness. I liked this one and might still make the grilled cheese version too!

 

Grilled Pork Tenderloin & Peach Cilantro Rice

You know when the all the stars align and your seemingly straightforward dinner wows you? This was that moment. I knew it was going to be good, and a nicely balanced meal, and pretty easy, but I didn’t really anticipate how much we’d all LOVE IT.

Excuse me while I pull out the ole soapbox. Get yourself a meat thermometer. Do not cook meat (especially pork!) without one. If you think you don’t love pork tenderloin then it miiiight be that you’ve only had it severely overcooked. Then it’s bland, boring, tough, and yuck.

Mr. J marinated the pork for flavors of honey and lime. Then while he grilled it to perfection, I made some rice with peaches nectarines, lime juice, peach jam, red onion.

The Three Bite Rule - Pork & Rice

Ingredients:

1 pork tenderloin
1/2 cup lime juice + 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup rice
1/4 red onion
1 peach/nectarine
~ 1 cup cilantro (1/2 bunch)
1/4 cup peach preserves

Directions:

Marinade the pork in 1/2 cup lime juice, honey, & garlic powder for 4 hours refrigerated.
Get the rice cooking.
Grill flipping to cook each side. Grill to at least 145 degrees. Let it sit about 5 minutes after removing from the heat.
Chop the onion, nectarine, and cilantro and add into the cooked rice.
Add in 1 tablespoon lime juice and peach preserves. Mix well.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork & Rice
Slice the pork and serve with a sprinkle of cilantro over a bed of the rice.
Enjoy!

We really did love this. I was so into the peaches with the pork with the onion. The babe couldn’t get enough pork. He had so much and just kept asking for more! Though, he wasn’t into it the next day as leftovers. He liked the rice being kind of sticky…it was much easier for him to spoon from his bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork & Rice