Ham & Cheese Puff Pastry Pinwheels

Don’t be sad that Christmas is over. I have the perfect use for your leftover holiday ham. This is ideal if you’re in weird limbo of brunch/lunch/dinner over the next few days.

I love the holidays but now I can’t even comprehend that there’s only 3 weeks until my little one turns one. Crazy. I need to catch my breath over here. How do I have a one year old? Sometimes when I go into his room I picture my burrito-wrapped-babe and there he is standing up lifting his arms to get picked up.  Anywho, I can’t wait for his birthday. CAKE!

These ham spirals go together quickly and feature salty ham, buttery puff pastry, and mustard. It is definitely a perk of this that you only need a small amount of ham and a small amount of cheese…whatever is leftover from your apps and your ham!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel

Ingredients: (3-4 meal servings, ~6 appetizer servings)

1 sheet puff pastry
2-3 slices of ham, chopped into cubes
1 cup shredded swiss/cheddar
1/4 cup grain mustard
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 tbs butter
water
1-2 tsp poppy seeds

Directions:

Defrost the puff pastry sheet at room temperature (40 min) or in the refrigerator (4 hours).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out the puff pastry and top with cheese and ham- being sure to get the filling all the way to the edge.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Roll the puff pastry and pinch the end to close the roll. Then slice into 1-inch pieces.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and lay the pinwheels face up. Leave some room for them to puff up and expand.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
In a small pan, over medium-low heat, heat mustard, cream cheese, butter, and a splash of water (about 2 tbs or more if needed).
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Pour the sauce over the pinwheels and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Then bake for 30-40 minutes, until toasty and puffed up.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
Serve & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheese Pinwheel
These were dinner one night but the ham has me thinking they’d work well for brunch too. You could put each one into a muffin tin for individual servings.

Pork Tacos with Pomegranate Molasses and Pineapple

I looove pork tacos. I decided to sweeten the filling whilst on my never-ending quest to find my favorite salsa. I might need to be making my own. Hmm. Different story for a different day. I added some fresh pineapple and some pomegranate molasses. I love that stuff on brussels sprouts. Ahhh: stay. on. topic.

The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pork Taco

Ingredients:

pulled pork shoulder (a great use for leftovers)
2-3 slices of fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
flour tortillas
shredded white cheddar
lettuce
white beans
salsa/pico de gallo
guacamole

Directions:

Saute the pork with pineapple and molasses over medium heat. The goal is to warm the pork through and soften the pineapple a bit…about 5 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pork Taco
Taste, and add more pomegranate molasses, if necessary.
Fill the tacos with the pork/pineapple, lettuce, cheese, white beans, and salsa.
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pork Taco
Top with guac, and enjoy!

I loved the sweetness to these tacos! The pineapple was a nice touch of sweetness and tartness. The fruity touch was so great, and different than flavors we typically have. I added in some white beans, partly because I had them and it felt like they’d go. The little one eats beans but I’m always trying to use them before they get slimy.

I found my favorite guacamole and now I’m wanting better salsa. I want fresh salsa. It’s often too thick or too sweet. I like restaurant-style salsas. Sal-sa. I’ll have to work on that. Aren’t the taco stands so cute? I love my tacos upright.

Crockpot Cassoulet

I didn’t mean to disappear. I was all like, 5 years, not going anywhere blah blah blah. Work is just nutty right now. Now until Thanksgiving I’m up to my eyeballs in pie. 20,000 pies for Thanksgiving is no joke. As busy as it is I reallllly wanted something delightful to come home to in the crockpot. I borderline feel bad for the dogs to salivate all day, but it’s usually worth it. I prepped most of this the night before then dumped in the crockpot and came home to it.

The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Cassoulet
I made a quick cassoulet before, which I think I prefer to this crockpot one, but it was good and nice to come home to with some bread for dipping.

Crockpot French Cassoulet

based on NY Times Slow Cooker Cassoulet
Ingredients:
white beans, dried
4 garlic cloves
2-3 potatoes, chopped
3 carrots, pealed & chopped
1 white onion, chopped
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 cup ham, chopped
3 chicken sausage links
1 cup pulled pork shoulder (or substitute seared duck legs)
2 tbs dijon mustard
1-2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1-2 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper

Directions:

Overnight, soak the dried white beans.
Also prep the garlic, potatoes, carrots, herbs, ham, sausage, pork and mustard.
The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Cassoulet
Add everything into the crockpot for 6-9 hours.
The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Cassoulet
Taste and add salt & pepper as needed. Serve with some baguette for dipping.
The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Cassoulet
It was a bit too tomato-y for my taste. I liked it a lot, but it didn’t seem like cassoulet to me. It was a great stew with some good flavors. I read the NY Times recipe (which also includes duck which I didn’t have) and the comments were it was lacking flavor. I think amping up the herbs and getting the mustard in there was good for this.

I found bake-at-home baguettes which were so good. There were 2 in the pack and I froze the other one. That’ll be in handy with the leftover cassoulet I froze for next time. I’ll probably stick to my quickie cassoulet the next time I go to make it.
cassolet_bowl_590_390

I never really work with dried beans. The overnight soak worked well. I was afraid I’d come home to a crockpot full of overcooked veggies with hard beans. They all were cooked fine! My little one ate some and loved messing with the carrots, potatoes, beans and the sauce. Now, what’s the next crockpot idea for next month?

Crockpot Pork Tenderloin

I’m gently hovering between “it’s crazy time and we need to be eating more prepped freezer things” and “it’ll be crazy time and I need more prepped in advance in the freezer”. I need to do some better analysis of what’s there. One thing I’ve hung onto for months was a pork tenderloin. I almost defrosted it for the grill but then I knew I was months behind on wanting to make more crockpot things. The problem is, so many crockpot foods are beef and I don’t eat red meat. Or they’re weird things people put in the crockpot that don’t get better from cooking all day. I wanted this to be pork-onion-apple-y but forgot about the real apple idea until we were 2 forkfulls into this.

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Crockpot
I cooked the marinated pork tenderloin with carrots and onions in chicken broth & beer. I know. Sounds like a lot going on. I was sort of concerned it might be a bit too spicy for us so I wanted everything else to be flavorful, but to tone down the heat.

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Crockpot

Ingredients:

pork tenderloin, marinated
3 carrots, pealed and cut into 3 inch chunks
1/2 onion, quartered
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1 bottle beer

Directions:

Put everything in the crockpot, on low for 5-6 hours.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork CrockpotOptional: put a few apples ontop of the pork. (They’ll become mushy if they’re on the bottom and cooking all day.)

Serve over brown rice.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Crockpot
The pork is perfectly tender. I liked how juicy it was and I used a little drizzle on the rice. Mr. J is a gravy man so he made some gravy for his. You could remove some of the cooking liquid and strain/thicken it a bit if you wanted more of a sauce.

It worked out well, but probably wasn’t the most amazing thing ever. It was possibly the easiest thing ever. Leftovers worked well and the pups didn’t seem to salivate all day long.

What I Ate: Grilled Sausages on Pretzel Rolls

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.

My grocery store started carrying pretzel rolls back in April and I was so excited! I got some when I was making Smokehouse Burgers with caramelized onions, smokey aoli, mustard, and havarti cheese. Yum. That’s a repeater, for sure.
The Three Bite Rule - Smokehouse Burgers
The bakery still had had long shaped ones that I hadn’t gotten yet! I thought were just calling out for hot dogs, then I decided maybe they were too hefty for dogs so I went for grilled sausages. They were perfect!
The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Sausages on Pretzels
Sausage, peppers, and onions with dijon screams summer-baseball park-easy dinner to me. This isn’t rocket science, just a reminder that some things (i.e. rolls) need further thinking for the best fit (i.e. sausages versus hot dogs).

Ham & Havarti Melt

As much as most dinners at the Three Bite Rule are grilled in the summer, I’m still always striving for them to be varied and unique. Paninis are definitely a go-to category for me when I want to be sure I’m planning some quick ones that don’t heat the whole house up. I was proud this was so quick, especially now that the little one is so active and squirming all around during dinner/dinner prep time! I meant to use some raspberry jam but forgot to add it to the grocery list. I substituted Lingonberry jam, courtesy of Ikea, as my fruity spread.

The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt

Ingredients: (per sandwich)

2 slices of sourdough bread
1-2 tbs dijon mustard
2-3 slices of honey ham
2-3 slices of havarti cheese
2 tbs jam: raspberry/strawberry/cranberry/etc

Directions:

Preheat a panini press, grill plan, or flat skillet to medium high heat.
Spread some mustard on the inside of one slice of bread. Then top with ham then cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt
Spread jam onto the inside of the other slice of bread and close up the sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havarti Melt
Brush the bread lightly with olive oil, then flip the sandwich cooking that side down. Brush the top slice with olive oil and close the panini press.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havarti Melt
Grill or fry until crisp and melted. Flip regularly to avoid burning!
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt
I loved this. The Lingonberry jam is my jam. Pardon the pun. It has a tartness that is so perfect with salty ham and gooey cheese. Uhh I could eat this all the time. There’s something about it that says breakfast to me as well. Maybe that’s the not-wanting-morning-sweets in me. Anyway you look at it, this sandwich is good. Reallll good.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt
You could make a ton of these and keep them warm in the oven if you have a crowd to feed. Or make just one and you don’t have crazy ingredients hanging around. I think the jam and the sharp mustard are really necessary here…don’t skip ‘em!

I served this melted masterpiece with some Cape Cod Chips and some cherry tomatoes in balsamic dressing. It was my such a great summer dinner. Mr. J tolerated not grilling dinner one night. Maybe the oozing cheese had something to do with it?

Pistachio & Sausage Pizza

I saw this pizza topped with a pistachio spread and sausage from Don Antonio’s of NYC on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives and was instantly excited by the pistachios on there. Apparently I wasn’t the only one either.  I only tweaked it a bit and thought it was great for a change of pace.

Pistachio Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
The pistachios up the price of making this pie for sure, but if you compare to a trip to NYC to have the real thing it is a bit more justifiable…also more convenient on a Thursday night.

Ingredients:

1/2 pizza dough ball
~1 cup pistachios, shelled
1 sweet Italian sausage link
1/4 cup olive oil
6 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
1 large tomato, cut into chunks

Directions:

Preheat the oven and pizza stone, if using one to 400-degrees.
In a dry skillet, toast the pistachios over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Stir regularly.
Pistachio Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Spread the dough out to a very large, flat circle. Then put onto the hot pizza stone so it stops from shrinking back down in size and poke a few holes into the crust with a fork or knife. Then bake for 5-10 minutes – just until lightly cooking and beginning to brown.
In a large skillet, fry the sausage over medium heat with the casing removed. Break into chunks with the back of a wooden spoon.
In a food processor, add the toasted nuts, salt, pepper, and half the oil. Pulse and stream in the rest of the oil. Taste & adjust as necessary.
Spread the pistachio sauce onto the pizza dough.
Pistachio Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Then top with sausage, tomato, and mozzarella.
Pistachio Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Bake for 5 minutes, then broil for another 3 minutes or so. Watch it under the broiler!
Pistachio Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Let it sit a few minutes before slicing…otherwise you’ll lose the cheese.
Enjoy!

I liked the bubbly cheese with the pistachio crunch and the salty sausage. I probably should have added a fresh herb either into the pistachio sauce or onto the top. That was my goal with the tomatoes, but it could use a bit more of that.
Pistachio Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
I went heavy on the pistachio sauce since I figured if I bought this whole bag of shelled pistachios, I was better off using them instead of saving some and then forgetting about them hiding away in the cabinet. Less of that would have been fine, or some dollops instead of spread all over would be good. The little one was snoozing so I contemplated toasting the nuts and just chopping them up as a topping instead of as a sauce but I stuck with the original plan and the food processor didn’t wake him up.

I’ve been using a half of a ball of pizza dough to make pizza now. It makes for a much thinner crust and cuts down on how much dough we’re eating. It is mostly a measure of preference for reallllly thin crust but the health benefit doesn’t hurt either.

What I Ate: Pulled Pork Panini with Slaw

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 had one colossal pork shoulder that I cooked in the crockpot months ago. The rest of it got frozen in about 4 batches for another 2-4 meals per batch. So. Huge. I didn’t want all of it to be the same so I was eyeing some of it to become paninis. How Sweet It Is made some pulled pork & beer cheese sandwiches and it made me think: I don’t put cheese with pulled pork nearly enough. I thought about boursin since that elevates a grilled cheese like woah, but I when it came around, I wasn’t feeling that texture. I wanted stretchy cheese!

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Panini with Slaw
I threw the slaw on these as a last minute for a crunch. People in the south are OK with slaw on their pork so I figured it was fine, or “authentic” for my paninis. Though, spell-check is NOT ok with the plural of panini.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups pulled pork
1/4 cup bbq sauce
sliced colby jack cheese
3/4 cup coleslaw
4 slices of bread

Directions:

Heat a panini press or grill pan to medium-high heat, brushed with olive oil.
Toss the pork into the bbq sauce. Then lay cheese onto the bread, topping with pork.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Panini with Slaw
Put the first half onto the panini press or grill pan so the bread can start toasting and the cheese begins melting. Cook for about 3-5 minutes.
Top with slaw and 2nd piece of bread.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Panini with Slaw
Grill for 2 more minutes just to toast the top slice of bread.
Slice & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Panini with Slaw
The tang of the bbq sauce with the sharp cheese and the cool slaw is perfect. Just perfect. It has everything I want in a sandwich. I think the panini bread crunch is wayyy better than just any old roll.

Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict

Ohh gosh. I hope you’re wearing yoga pants when you make/eat this. You’ll need the room in your belt (and also, I’m mainly wearing yoga pants on maternity leave and don’t want to be the only one). This eggs benedict with pulled pork, hollandaise, and a fried egg makes for a hugely decadent breakfast and is so full of flavor. There’s nothing light about this and that’s what makes it ahhh-mazing. Have this as brunch…if anything is going to count for two meals, this is the dish to do it with.

The Three Bite Rule - Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict
I’m lucky to have lots of eggs on hand from my parents hens. Fresh egg yolks are unparalleled so this was a great way to highlight them. Speaking of my parents, Mom reminded me she makes her hollandaise in a blender…that sounds easier. I wish I remembered that.

Ingredients:

BBQ pulled pork (see my recipe here)
1/2 English muffin per person
1 fried egg per person
3 egg yolks
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 stick butter (not butter substitute)

Directions:

Mix egg yolks & lemon juice together using a hand mixer or blender for about 2 minutes or until doubled in size. (Note I started with 2 yolks but added a 3rd once it was just too little to mix well).
The Three Bite Rule - Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict
Over a double boiler of very low simmering water, slowly pour in the melted butter while whisking or beating with a hand mixer for 2 minutes. Be careful not to scramble the eggs by cooking them.
Remove from the heat and add salt, pepper, and a dribble of hot sauce. Then stir the sauce. Keep the simmering water handy in case the sauce gets too thick when assembling (see below).
The Three Bite Rule - Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict
Toast the English muffins and warm the pork.
Heat a frying pan to medium heat to fry the eggs.
Layer the muffin with the pork while the egg cooks.
The Three Bite Rule - Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict
Lay the egg on top with some salt & pepper on it.
The Three Bite Rule - Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict
Pour hollandaise sauce over the top. Add in a little warm water at a time if the sauce gets too thick (mine was pretty thick).
The Three Bite Rule - Pulled Pork Eggs BenedictEnjoy!

Ohh so good. Plus you probably won’t want your next meal for quite a while after eating this. I ended up actually splitting it between 2 English muffin pieces. One egg seemed like plenty since the sauce is so rich, it was a better quantity. You could serve this on biscuits or cornbread. You could poach the eggs (I loooove poached eggs) but they’re considerably harder than a fried egg and all the components seemed like enough to handle.

My pulled pork recipe for the crockpot will serve a ton. First I made this as BBQ pulled pork, then I froze the rest in batches and used it a few ways after we ate it a few times. This eggs benedict was just one way. My future batches will likely be a panini I have on my list and maybe as a baked dish with a cornbread-y topping.

Here are some other ideas for the pork leftovers: 
Pulled pork into tacos (as seen here, or here)
Pulled pork into a quesadilla
Pulled pork on pizza with mustard beer sauce
Pulled pork on nachos
Pulled pork as sliders

This totally made me feel like I was back to blogging for real. I made this while the little one napped which made me feel like a success/champion/rockstar. I struggle a bit feeling productive on days that all I’ve done is keep my little human alive. Plus, it seemed like a good use of time for 2 meals in one!

Breakfast Bake with Ham, Eggs, & Cheese

It is officially time for maternity leave. “I’ll be back”. In the meantime, I have a few goodies to share out here in the blog-o-sphere until I come back. Enjoy!

Thanks to my parents’ hens, we always have a good supply of fresh eggs around. They have 4 hens who are dutifully producing about a total of 3 eggs a day, from the expected 1 egg per hen quantity. They often stop laying eggs in the winter but not these ladies. They are named: Henrietta, Helga, Helene and The Old Hag. There’s not really a way to know which is laying (or which hen is which!).

I wanted some variety in my freezer food supply so I figured there should be something breakfast-y. My ham was leftover from a spiral ham at Christmas that I chopped up and froze after we were tired of it. This is recipe is along the lines of a savory baked french toast and has infinite possibilities.

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bake with Ham, Eggs, and Cheese
Ham, Eggs, & Cheese Breakfast Bake (serves 6)
Ingredients:
8 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 loaf of Italian bread, or ~4 sub rolls
3 slices of spiral cut ham, chopped
1 cup cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup chives chopped

Directions:
Whisk together eggs, milk, salt & pepper.
Chop bread/rolls into 1″ chunks and mix into to the egg mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bake with Ham, Eggs, and Cheese
Add in cheese, ham, chives (note: my ham pictured was frozen)
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bake with Ham, Eggs, and Cheese
Mix just to combine. The bread will be soft and have absorbed the egg/milk mixture so don’t overmix or the bread will lose shape.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bake with Ham, Eggs, and Cheese
Spray a baking dish (or individual ramekins or into sprayed muffin tins) with non-stick spray. Preheat the oven if serving immediately, or prep labels to freeze.
Spoon into the dish(s) and bake at 375-degrees for 30-45 minutes until set, or cover & label to freeze.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bake with Ham, Eggs, and Cheese
I froze mine and baked from frozen for 60 minutes. The edges will lightly brown, it will puff up, and the center will set when fully cooked.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bake with Ham, Eggs, and Cheese
Serve and enjoy!

I loved this. It is puffy and light but filling. I thought the ham was fantastic but you could easily substitute whatever you like. I went lighter on the cheese since I didn’t want it too heavy and figured we could be spared a few calories while still getting the cheesy flavor and texture.

It was a nice alternative to some of my other freezer foods (butternut squash lasagna, burritos, stuffed shells, pulled pork, etc). I made one that served 4 and a smaller/more shallow one that would serve 2. I froze them for a few weeks but think this would hold up in the freezer for quite awhile…a few months?
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bake with Ham, Eggs, and Cheese
Suggested adaptations: 
Bfast bake – ham + sausage or bacon = Still Meaty Bfast Bake
Bfast bake – cheddar + pecorino/fontina/parmesan/gruyere/swiss = Still Cheesy Bfast Bake
Bfast bake – meat + spinach/peppers/onions/mushrooms = Vegetarian Bfast Bake
Bfast bake – chives + other fresh herbs/scallions = Herbaceous Bfast Bake
Bfast bake – white bread + sourdough/rye/wheat bread – 2 of the eggs + 2 egg whites = Healthier Bfast Bake