Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

While I’m not a connoisseur of Cracker Barrel’s meatloaf at the restaurant, the copycat recipes have circulated for years and I like so many aspects there: the cheddar in the meatloaf, the butter crackers, and the jazzed up ketchup on top make this a winner. I put my spin on it, most notably using pork but go for meatloaf mix or pork as you like. Raw meat isn’t the most photogenic, but this is very worth it.

The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat
The ketchup topping probably makes this even more kid-friendly. We all like this at our house!

Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

Ingredients:

1/2 onion
1 sleeve of club crackers (~30ish), crushed
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
~1 1/2 pounds ground pork (or meatloaf mix)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard

Directions:

Sautee the onion in olive oil/butter until cooked through.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the crackers, eggs and milk, then add that to a big bowl with the ground pork, cheddar, sauteed onion, worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then mix well until totally incorporated.
The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat
Spoon the mixture into a loaf pan sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard.
The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat
Spoon half over the meatloaf and cook for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and spoon remaining ketchup mixture over the top and let rest for 5 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat
This is really juicy and flavorful. I served it with some roasted butternut squash (that could have roasted a bit more) and some peas or arugula salad choice. I’m not into peas, and the kids aren’t into arugula, and J could go either way, so everyone got something green! I should really do 2 veggie sides more often! This came after my birthday celebration of a bagel brunch and cake so we probably all appreciated some colors and more varied foods that day!

It reheats very well too so enjoy the leftovers. If making in advance, I’d skip the ketchup topping until the day you’re eating it!
The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat

Pulled Pork with Balsamic Fig Dressing on Ciabatta

A pork shoulder in the crockpot is like the gift that keeps on giving. I’d say definitively that pulled pork is the best of any leftovers, hands down. I make it once in the crockpot and have about 6 servings. We had some as tacos and then I wanted to give it another spin with a bottle of fig and balsamic dressing from a Trader Joe’s haul. A little fig jam + a little balsamic vinegar would reach the same flavors without that exact dressing too!

The Three Bite Rule - Pork on Ciabatta with Fig & Balsamic Dressing
I like the sweet but vinegary yet smoky pork on crusty ciabatta but any roll will do! My preschooler got a slider bun since that’s sometimes a better size for him and he’d be more likely to eat all the bread skipping the pork unless sized well. I made some sweet potato tots and called it dinner. Here’s the Balsamic & Fig dressing I used but I’m including a quick fix for just a single use without buying it!

The Three Bite Rule - Trader Joe's Favs into Meals

Balsamic + Fig Pork Sandwiches

Ingredients (for ~4)

1 1/2 – 2 cups pulled pork (~8oz, cooked)
1/2 cup Balsamic & Fig Dressing (or 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons fig jam whisked together)
4 rolls
2 cups arugula
1-2 teaspoons olive oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300-degrees.
Mix the pork and some of the balsamic & fig dressing together gently. Taste and add more if needed.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork on Ciabatta with Fig & Balsamic Dressing
Warm the pork either in the microwave, or in a skillet.
Toast the rolls in the oven for about 5 minutes, until warmed through and just lightly toasted.
Toss the arugula in the olive oil until dressed and lay onto the bottom buns.
Top with pork and a drizzle of dressing more.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Pork on Ciabatta with Fig & Balsamic Dressing
I liked this for a different twist on pork! If you buy fig jam, it is fantastic with a salty cheese (thus why it is sometimes sold near the cheeses) but it is also great for a Fig & Prosciutto Panini, or on pizza!

Thai Coconut Rice Bowls with Pork

After cooking a pork shoulder in the slow cooker I love having a bunch more servings of pork to “pull” out and become a speedy dinner. This time, I made a Thai-inspired rice bowl instead of my usual BBQ or Mexican twists on the leftovers. Earlier the same week we had pulled pork on sandwiches with BBQ sauce. This bowl is an ideal use for any leftover pork or beef, shredded or ground meat.
Thai Peanut Coconut Rice Bowl - The Three Bite Rule

I made the rice in my pressure cooker using white rice for a change, and coconut milk as the liquid. It turned out great- a gentle coconut flavor that isn’t too sweet! I mixed up the sauce in the blender a full day before this dinner which meant we had the speediest dinner ever! I came home to already prepared pork, rice I made that morning, and a sauce from the day before. Assembly time! Sauces often taste even better when made in advance and given a chance to sit before serving!

Thai Coconut Rice Bowls with Pork

Ingredients: (for 4)

1 cup white rice
2 cups coconut milk (unsweetened)
~1 cup shredded pork (or steak or ground meat)
1/4 inch fresh ginger, grated or minced
1 clove/teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cucumber
1 cup shredded carrots
more fresh cilantro to garnish

Directions:

Cook the rice with the coconut milk. (My pressure cooker ratio is 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups liquid so I used that ratio but usually rice is 1 rice:2 liquid).
While the rice cooks, blend together the peanut sauce with: ginger, garlic, sriracha, honey, lime, soy sauce, vinegar, peanut butter, cilantro, and stream in the olive oil. (Can be made ahead of time)
Thai Peanut Coconut Rice Bowl - The Three Bite Rule
Warm the pork over medium heat in a medium skillet. When starting to warm, drizzle in ~3 tablespoons of the peanut sauce and cook for another 2 minutes.
Thai Peanut Coconut Rice Bowl - The Three Bite Rule
Slice the cucumbers into thin sticks.
Serve the rice on the bottom topped with pork, carrots, cucumber, a drizzle of peanut sauce and more cilantro.
Thai Peanut Coconut Rice Bowl - The Three Bite Rule
Enjoy!

The little one liked the elements of this, but really loved the coconut rice. He hadn’t been into rice lately so that was nice to get back to it, also since coconut rice was something new to us.

Thai Peanut Coconut Rice Bowl - The Three Bite Rule
The sauce was a bit spicy for Mr. J so I’d say I loved this most (I added in more sriracha at first so go with my quantities above!). The raw veggies make it fun with almost sweet rice and warm pork with a few crispy bits. I had leftovers for lunch the next day and loved it all over again! Raw veggies are the pre-schooler’s preference but tricky for the babe who only has 2 little chicklet teeth poking through. I’ll have to balance that a bit more as she “eats dinner” with us.

Substitute any grain cooked as the coconut base and whatever veggies you like. Need more grain bowl inspiration? I’ve got you covered. ;-)

Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle

Fastest pizza/flatbread ever! I thought about a panini but then wanted it to be a pizza. Wheat naan make the fastest pizza crust ever and I love the individual servings. The really good quality cheddar cheese makes this, and of course the caramelized onions don’t hurt either.

The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle

Ham & Cheddar Pizza with a Mustard Drizzle

Ingredients: (for 4)

4 naan
1 small white onion, cut into slices
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
~2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
2 slices spiral cut ham, diced
4 tablespoons honey mustard dressing

Directions:

Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400 degrees.
In a small pan, cook the onion in butter or olive oil over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until gently caramelized.
Mix together the “sauce” of cream cheese and dijon.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle
Spread it onto the naan.
Sprinkle cheese on top, then add the ham and onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese melts and the naan starts to crisp. The naan stays mostly soft but the edges crisp a little.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle
Let cool for about 2 minutes out of the oven, then drizzle with honey mustard dressing.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle
I loved this! Outside the box pizza toppings are some of my favorites and this was the ideal leftover for some holiday ham slices that made their way into our freezer. Our pre-schooler is obsessed with honey mustard so it was my nod to him too. He ate about 1/3 of one, which I thought was a pretty solid quantity since he often likes his foods separate and meat isn’t always his go-to! It was a reminder too that 2 slices of ham went a very far way when chopped up to become 4 individualized pizzas!

This could be a fun brunch one too since topping it with a fried egg also sounds delicious!

Breakfast Pizza with Sausage Gravy and Eggs

Breakfast and pizza- the best of both worlds! The sausage gravy serves as the sauce on English muffins and then it gets topped with white cheddar, tomato slices, and scrambled eggs. So good.

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza with Sausage Gravy and Scrambled Eggs (for 2)

Ingredients:

2 breakfast sausage links
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
2 English muffins
1/4 cup white cheddar
2 eggs
salt & pepper

Directions:

Remove the sausage from the casing and pan fry the sausage until cooked through, about 5 minutes, breaking the sausage into very small pieces. Remove the sausage and leave the drippings in the pan. Add in the butter to melt over low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in the 1/4 cup milk and coffee. Whisk until smooth. Sprinkle in salt and pepper then return the sausage into the pan.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Pizza
Toast the English muffins and spoon the gravy over the English muffins. Top with cheese and return to the toaster oven or oven to melt the cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Pizza
While the cheese is melting, scramble and cook the eggs just until cooked and remove from the heat. Season with salt & pepper.
Slice the tomato and add on top of the cheese, then spoon the eggs onto the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Pizza
Enjoy!

I loved the sausage gravy on these breakfast pizzas. It amps them up big time and takes so little to do so! The bigger chunks of sausage were trickier to layer on but the gravy only uses 2 sausage links, for 2 people! For a vegetarian version, mushroom gravy would be delicious! Use good quality white cheddar here, it is so worth it. I found the tomato freshness and acidity necessary.

Cuban Sliders

Cuban sliders were the perfect answer to some leftover pulled pork! This was leftover from the new Blue Ribbon BBQ location near our house for my birthday! It was so good with BBQ sauce but for leftover pork, transforming it is the best. Pork is just too easy to do that with! Some went into quesadillas, some have become tacos in the past, on pizza, in a panini, and the list goes on.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Sliders

Cuban Sliders

Ingredients:

~1 cup pulled pork
2 slider rolls
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
~6-8 pickle chips
3 tablespoons yellow mustard (I mixed yellow mustard and & sweet golden mustard BBQ sauce)
(sliced ham would make this a true cuban)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees. Warm the pork through.
Slice the buns, spread mustard onto the top and bottom. Layer the pickles then the pork onto the rolls.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Sliders
Sprinkle the cheese on and pop them into the oven for ~5 minutes until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Sliders
Serve and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Sliders
These were so good! The mustard and pickles took it from barbecue to a Cuban sandwich. These would be fun cut into smaller pieces if using bigger, oblong rolls as an appetizer.

Sausage Burger on a Pretzel Bun

This quickie burger blew. my. mind. The pretzel bun + mustard + sausage shaped-like-a-burger was just so amazing. I whipped it up for lunch one day when I realized we had one, lone pretzel bun in the freezer annnnnd a half of a green pepper hanging out in the fridge. The stars aligned because we always have sausage links in the freezer and onions are usually a staple too. Ta-da!
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Pretzel Burger

I made this inside on the stove in about 10 minutes, but will absolutely repeat for the grill. Also, I’ll repeat since this wasn’t a family dinner with the 1 pretzel roll we had…sorry Mr. J! It was amazing! Don’t be like me – make a bunch! Share with others!

Sausage Burgers on Pretzel Buns with Peppers & Onions (for 2)

Ingredients:

2 Italian sausage links, casing removed
2 pretzel buns
1/2 green bell pepper
1/4 onion
2 tablespoons mustard
2 slices provolone cheese (optional)

Directions:

Slice the pepper and onion into the same size pieces…so slice the pepper and then slice in half again. Saute the onions for 2 minutes in a drizzle of oil, then add in the peppers and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Form the sausage link into a circle shaped patty and pan fry in the same pan as the peppers/onions. (No real culinary reason other than to not have 2 pans to wash!)
Flip to cook through and add the peppers & onions in to keep warm until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Pretzel Burger
While the sausage cooks, toast the pretzel bun until warmed through. Spread on the mustard.
Add the provolone to the burger, if using.
Serve the burgers topped with peppers and onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Pretzel Burger
Enjoy!

I really loved this. Maybe it was the simplicity. Maybe it was a 10 minute meal that was so good and just came together at the right time. That pretzel bun with the mustard was just at traditional match. 1 sausage link formed into a circle is quite thin so it cooked really quickly. Yay! I didn’t have any provolone around but thought the stretch of some mild cheese would be amazing.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Pretzel Burger

Toasting it was necessary. Both sides can have soapboxes for whether all burger buns need to be toasted, but pretzel buns need to be treated like soft pretzels.
The. End.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Pretzel Burger

 

Bahn Mi Bowl

For as much as I don’t usually want foods to touch, I’m 100% on board for foods that go together served in a bowl. Bring on all the bowl meals! Build your own! Love it! I made these bahn mi bowls as a quick dinner that could have been made more perfect, but speed is the name of the game here. I figured out the best cheat workaround to not pickling veggies for 24-hours in advance!
Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule

I’d totally make these with leftover pulled pork too! I skipped pickling the carrots mostly because I forgot. My workaround? Pickle juice! A few spoonfuls of pickle juice from our fav local pickles was exactly what this needed. That touch of tart flavor was perfect.

Quick & Easy Bahn Mi Bowls for 3-4

Ingredients:

3-4 thin sliced pork cutlets
1 cup brown rice
2 cups broth/water
3-4 thin pork chops
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (optional)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1/4 cup pickle juice

Directions:

Marinate the pork in the soy sauce and rice vinegar overnight, or before cooking.
Cook the rice with broth or water. (I cooked mine in the pressure cooker).
Pan fry the pork in the marinade over medium heat until cooked to 145-degrees using a meat thermometer- just 3-4 minutes on each side.
Chop the carrots and cucumbers into matchsticks. Then slice the pork and chop the cilantro.
Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule
Pour the cooked marinade into the rice and mix. (Only from the pan, not any from the raw pork.)
Stir together the Sriracha and mayo.
Spoon rice into each bowl, then add sliced pork, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, and sriracha aoli. Then drizzle with pickle juice.
Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite RuleEnjoy!

This was fun for a speedy dinner. The pork is soooo fast to cook just being careful not to overcook. Overcooked pork is tough and tasteless. I meant to pickle the carrots but forgot until it was literally time to make this- thus my pickle juice being added on there. Rice in the pressure cooker is so amazing. Brown rice cooks in no time and I love how soft and sticky it gets. It makes great leftovers or can be on a roll or as a bowl.

The little one liked it since he is 100% game for rice, any day of the week.
Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule

Maple Sausage & Apple Fall Breakfast Sandwich

My palate for fall is endless. Apples, maple, cheddar, and a hint of mustard made this the best breakfast sandwich ever. Ever. I could liiiive on breakfast sandwiches and definitely have my favorites. The apple provides the crunch and freshness with a little kick from the mustard in the sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Sausage & Apple Breakfast Sandwich

Maple Sausage, Egg, Cheddar, and Apple Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients: (serves 1)

1 everything bagel
3 maple sausage links, casing removed and formed into a patty
1 egg
1 slice white cheddar
1/2 macintosh apple, sliced thin
1 teaspoon mayo
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon maple

Directions:

Pan fry the sausage patty until cooked through.
Toast the bagel.
Mix together the mayo, mustard, and maple spread.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Sausage & Apple Breakfast Sandwich
Fry the egg in the pan from the sausage. Flip and add the cheese. Cover to melt the cheese.
Assemble the bagel with some mayo/mustard/maple spread, then apple slices, then sausage, then egg and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Sausage & Apple Breakfast Sandwich
Enjoy!

This was a treat for a day off. I really loved the sweetness of the sausage, and the sharp white cheddar. The sauce was subtle and a nice touch. Everything bagels from my town bagel place are even better when they’re day-old and less than half off!
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Sausage & Apple Breakfast Sandwich

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!