Root Beer Barbecue Sauce

I made this root beer barbecue sauce and made it very heavy on the root beer. Seriously root-beer-y. I think it jazzed up a weeknight, and definitely woke up these pork chops.
The Three Bite Rule - Root Beer BBQ Sauce

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
salt & pepper
2 cups root beer, and 1/2 cup reserved

Directions:

In a heavy pot, saute onion in a little olive oil over medium heat. Cook for about 5-minutes, until softened and translucent.
The Three Bite Rule - Root Beer BBQ Sauce
Add in garlic, ketchup, mustard, molasses, mustard, brown sugar, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar.
The Three Bite Rule - Root Beer BBQ Sauce
Add in pepper, salt, and root beer. Stir well and simmer for 45 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Root Beer BBQ Sauce
Add in the last of the root beer and remove from the heat.
Allow to cool, and enjoy!

I loved this! I think it had the root beer flavor, especially the sauce that we added after the cooking. We served it with our fav raw broccoli salad with raisins. I’m not so into cream soda, but I can see that being a hit in this too with a few tweaks.

The Three Bite Rule - Root Beer BBQ Sauce

Sundried Tomato Pesto Sauce for Pork Chops

I head to the grocery store with my meal plans in mind. “Plans” might sound intense, but one of those could include a sandwich or something easy though one of my last trips still had a hole needing another meal. I saw these nifty packages in the meat department of pork cutlets with capers, sundried tomatoes, and some sort of finishing sauce. I almost grabbed it and then I cheap-ed out. The price definitely included the convenience so I decided I could replicate on my own, for wayyy cheaper.
The Three Bite Rule - Sundried Tomato Sauce for Pork

I grabbed some thin-cut boneless pork chops and remembered a jar of sundried tomato pesto in the fridge. I skipped the capers. Couscous cooks in 5 minutes + some salad. Yay for dinner!

Ingredients:

4-6 boneless thin cut pork chops
1 cup flour
1 tablespoons garlic powder
salt & pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons of sundried tomato pesto, or diced sundried tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (optional)

Directions:

Preheat a large skillet to medium heat with a few generous glugs of olive oil…about 1/4 cup.
Season the flour with garlic powder, salt, and pepper then dredge the pork into the flour and add to the pan.
Cook about 4 minutes before flipping to cook another 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and finish searing all the pork.
The Three Bite Rule - Sundried Tomato Sauce for Pork
Drain the oil and discard.
Deglaze with the chicken broth scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan then add in the garlic, sundried tomato pesto, salt, pepper, and a glug or two of red wine, and chopped oregano. Cook for two minutes on medium heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Sundried Tomato Sauce for Pork
Then add the pork back into the pan. Flip each one to cover in sauce. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Then add the pork back into the pan.
Serve over couscous, rice, beans, pasta, or however you choose. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Sundried Tomato Sauce for Pork

I liked jazzing up some ready-made sauce to make it a bit more interesting. I don’t use sundried tomatoes all the time so it was nice to have flavors we don’t eat weekly. The sauce is a little bit oily but tasty. The pork cooks quickly and using the same pan is totally the savior for this!

While I was searing the pork, our new & nifty Nest smoke alarms were notifying us on our phones that there was smoke accumulating. I hadn’t noticed my phone but Mr. J was able to quiet it from his phone, while tub-side with the little one. Phew! The last thing we needed during the bewitching hours was Mr. J having to get T out of the tub all soapy, while dinner burned, while I got the dogs to ease their panic. I guess these things are worth it!

Pizza with Kielbasa & Sweet Potato

I’m always ready for a new pizza. I ran through Delish’s unconventional pizzas and was so ready for kielbasa, sweet potato, and red onion and I added a buttery mustard sauce. It was so great. I’ll always love pizza dough but using naan is just so much faster on a weeknight.

The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Sweet Potato Pizza
Ingredients:
2 naan breads
1 sweet potato
1/2 turkey kielbasa
1 cup Monterey jack cheese
3 tbs butter
3 tbs dijon or grain mustard
1/4 cup red onion

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees and preheat pizza stone if using one.
Cook the sweet potato either baking it, pealing & boiling it, or microwaving it.
Heat a skillet to medium heat.
Melt the butter and add the mustard. Mix well, add some salt & pepper, and spoon onto the naan.
The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Sweet Potato Pizza
Bake for 10 minutes to toast the bottoms a bit.
Add the sliced kielbasa to the pan to warm through and caramelize the edges.
Slice or chop the sweet potato and the red onion.
Remove the naans from the oven, top with cheese, kielbasa, sweet potato, and red onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Sweet Potato Pizza
Bake for 15 minutes until the crust crisps and cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Sweet Potato Pizza
I loved this. The mustardy sauce with the kielbasa was so spot on. Naans are the perfect individual serving. They are doughy and get a bit crisped. The baby loves sweet potato so we were all too happy to have half a leftover sweet potato.

Baked Monte Cristo Pockets

As a kid, one of my restaurant memories with the fam was to a pub that was a bit of a drive so it wasn’t a last minute trip. It was something we planned for and looked forward to. I remember my mom choosing French onion soup and my dad choosing a monte cristo…both choices we didn’t make at home. I had some leftover ham from Easter in the freezer and some sliced turkey so I wanted to try a monte cristo that I didn’t have to fry.

The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo
Ingredients: (makes 4)
1 pkg of 8 croissants
4 slices turkey
2 slices ham
1/4 cup shredded swiss
1/4 cup strawberry jam

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Pop the croissant package and unroll the dough. Roll it out a bit, or press it to be more thin with your fingers. Split the dough into 4 squares, not the perforated triangles.
Lay a slice of turkey and a little ham onto each of the 4 squares of dough.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo
Sprinkle a little cheese onto each, and spoon a few drops of jam onto each as well.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo
Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the bottom over the fold to close it.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo
Cut a few vent slits into the top.
Bake for 10 minutes, or as long as the croissant package instructs.
Serve and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Monte Cristo
I liked these. They also were so quick to assemble and bake which made me love them even more! Seriously: 5 minutes of assembly + 10 minutes of baking = dinner in a jiffy. The babe ate one chopped up and I toasted one for a breakfast one day!

Crepes with Ham & Marsala Mushrooms

I do exist! The last two weeks were a mad-rush to get ready for our trip, then 5 lovely days in Florida, and a busy return. I opted for some sleep and a return to reality instead of blogging. I’m sure you can imagine.

Post-Easter, I used some leftover ham for crepes with swiss cheese and a little creamy marsala mushroom sauce. It was so good! This was leftover that wouldn’t ever even seem like leftovers.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Marsala Mushroom Sauce
Ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tbs butter, melted
1/2 onion
2-3 slices of ham, chopped
1/2 cup shredded swiss
1 1/2 cup baby portabella mushrooms
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbs Marsala wine
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tbs cream cheese

Directions:
Add crepe batter to a blender: egg, milk, water, flour, and melted butter. Blend for 15 seconds. Then refrigerate while prepping the filling.
In a large skillet, saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil until soft and translucent over medium heat.
Add in the ham and cook for about 5 minutes to continue to caramelize the onion while warming the ham through. Then remove from the heat.
1 egg 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup water 2 tbs butter, melted
Slice the mushrooms and add to the still-hot pan with the broth, marsala, worcestershire, and cream cheese. Bring to high for a few minutes and then lower the heat to thicken a bit.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Marsala Mushroom Sauce
Cook the crepes in very thin pancakes in a large skillet, sprayed with non-stick spray, or with an electric crepe maker. Cook each crepes for about 3 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Marsala Mushroom Sauce
Assemble the crepes with some ham & onion filling, a sprinkle of cheese, and marsala mushrooms.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Marsala Mushroom Sauce
Fold the edges over themselves. Serve and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Marsala Mushroom Sauce
I loved these. I haven’t made crepes in forever and they’re such great vehicles for any filling! I loved the ham cooked like lardons with onions and mushrooms! The babe ate his a bit deconstructed. He was very into the ham…for several meals!

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic & Cherries

I should be a salesperson for pressure cookers. I am ready to get rid of the slow cooker and go all pressure cooker, all the time. I made a honey-garlic chicken crockpot thing a few weeks ago that really wasn’t very good. The leftovers were OK as tacos, but I wasn’t impressed. Why didn’t I make it in the pressure cooker?!?!? Anywho, pork tenderloin can be tough, dry, and flavorless. Enter the pressure cooker! 20 minutes and we had amazing and juicy pork that we all loved. The little one included! I was SUCH a proud Mama. Baby T ate pork, potato, and asparagus with us. My heart almost burst. On weeknights we don’t get to all eat dinner together. The babe eats the minute he and I get home and then we all sit together while Mr. J and I eat since he’s almost ready to sleep at that point.

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic & Cherries

Ingredients:

Pork tenderloin
2 cups broth (I used chicken & my fav is Better Than Bouillion, or swap the broth with red wine)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup frozen whole cherries

Directions:

Sprinkle salt & pepper over the pork, on both sides.
(See below if you’re not using a pressure cooker) On the brown or sear setting on the pressure cooker, sear it on all sides for some brown coloring.
Add in the broth, vinegar, and cherries.
Set to high pressure for 15-20 minutes. (I cooked it for 20 minutes but a little less would have been OK too.)
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic & Cherries
Quick release the pressure, let sit for ~3 minutes, then slice.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic & Cherries
Serve with lots of cherries or reduce some liquid for a sauce. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic & Cherries

(If you’re not using a pressure cooker, brown the meat on all sides for 3-5 minutes. Then in an oven-safe dutch oven, bake for 30-35 minutes in a 350-degree preheated oven. Be sure the middle is cooked to at least 145-degrees. Use that meat thermometer!)

I can’t even tell you how juicy this pork is. The flavors are great. Tang from the vinegar with the gentle sweetness of the cherries was perfect. I referred to this pressure cooker pork with peach salsa for the timing. I kept going back for more cherries. I wanted a cherry with each bite! The leftovers were great too. The pork was buy one get one free so I’m thrilled that I have another in the freezer!

Sausage and Ricotta Pizza with Truffle Breadcrumbs

Some of my pizzas just can’t leave well enough alone with toppings that are really out there (uhh, like this one or this one). I haven’t made a traditional-ish pizza in such a while but this one was soooo good and the little touch of crunchy breadcrumbs became the best part. About a year ago Mr. J got a sausage & ricotta pizza from a place down the street. Since then, he hasn’t been able to have it since! They’ve been out of ricotta! Foiled! Making it at home was long overdue.

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Ricotta Pizza

Ingredients:

pizza dough
2 links Italian sausage
1-1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup ricotta
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp butter
1 tsp truffle oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven and pizza stone if using one to 500-degrees.
Sear the sausages in a skillet over medium heat turning to cook through.
Spread the pizza dough out onto the pizza stone or pan and bake for about 10 minutes, until cooked a bit and beginning to brown. Then remove from the heat and cut into slices.
Top the dough with sauce, mozzarella, dollops of ricotta and slices of sausage.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Ricotta Pizza
Bake for 5 minutes until the cheese melts and ricotta warms through.
While pizza is baking, melt butter in a small skillet over medium low heat and add in the panko. Drizzle in the truffle oil and cook for 3-5 minutes to toast the breadcumbs lightly.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Ricotta Pizza
Remove pizza from the oven. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the pizza.
Slice and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Ricotta Pizza
The pizza itself was SO good. I used more dough than usual and cooked it a bit more to get it really crunchy. I really love the flavorful sausage with creamy ricotta. I feel like a Project Runway contestant saying my design needed hard and soft.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Ricotta Pizza

The truffle breadcrumbs MAKE this pizza from so one I liked to an amazing pizza. I’ve added truffle breadcrumbs to top pasta. Truffle breadcrumbs for everyone!
breadcrumb_pasta_bowl_590_390

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?