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

Maple Glazed Pork Chops

I should call this dinner “all the fall things”. I went to town on fall flavors. Maple! Brussels Sprouts! Sweet Potato! Apple! I have been cooking often but this meal was a lot. I get full so quickly now so this was just so much.

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Glazed Pork Chops

Ingredients:

2-4 boneless pork chops
3 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1 apple, sliced

Directions:

Preheat a skillet to medium high heat and preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Sear the pork with salt & pepper on each side in the hot pan for 4 minutes on each side, then put them into a baking dish.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Glazed Pork Chops
While the pork is cooking, shake together the glaze ingredients: maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Glazed Pork Chops
Spread the glaze over the pork and bake for 20 minutes. Using a meat thermometer, check the temperature to ensuring the pork cooks through without over cooking it. (USDA guidelines recommend 145-degrees and then rested a few minutes before serving)
For the last few minutes of cooking, add sliced apple.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Glazed Pork Chops
I served these with some roasted brussels sprouts with a touch of Parmesan and whipped sweet potato. The Parmesan came about since the pork and the sweet potato were both sweet flavored items and I didn’t want it all to seem the same. The apple was barely cooked which added a subtle crunch.

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Glazed Pork Chops

Chorizo Tacos with Candied Sweet Potatoes

Have you heard of Food Fighters on NBC? They pair a home chef in a few rounds against pros. Each round is a different food against a different chef. We saw this one guy make chorizo tacos with sweet potatoes and it had me thinking, “I can make those.” I hadn’t made chorizo before but I tried my hand at it. I tweaked what the contestant made but I was into the idea of tacos with sweet potato.

The Three Bite Rule - Chorizo Taco

Ingredients: for 4 tacos, for 2 people

1 sweet potato
1/3 pound ground pork
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
2-3 tsp brown sugar
soft tacos
1 slice red onion, chopped
optional: Mexican crema or sour cream mixed with salsa/lime juice/etc for a sauce on top.

Directions:

Peel the sweet potato and cut into quarters. Boil until cooked most of the way through…about 8 minutes.
Mix together the pork, vinegar, and seasonings.
The Three Bite Rule - Chorizo Taco
Cook over medium heat until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Taste it. Add some tomato paste or tomato sauce if too spicy.
The Three Bite Rule - Chorizo Taco
When the potatoes are cooked, slice in thick slices and then in half by diameter.
Add the potatoes to a hot pan with a drizzle of oil and the brown sugar. Cook for 5 minutes, flipping once caramelizing on both size.
Serve the tacos on the flour tortilla with chopped red onion, and sweet potato.
The Three Bite Rule - Chorizo Taco
My chorizo was spicy and I wanted some sort of creamy, cooling sauce. I mixed some peppercorn dressing with a touch of salsa.
The Three Bite Rule - Chorizo Taco
I liked these, but I went overboard on the chili powder and the cayenne. It was a bit too spicy. The candied sweet potatoes were so amazing. We both loved them and need to make them more often. I tossed some crisp red peppers with lime dressing on the side.

Windsor was sniffing around nearby. It’s nice to have a sous-chef when he is laying down and not underfoot. Look how mature he’s getting!
IMG_4341

Puff Pastry Dinner Turnovers

I love grilling season, and extending grilling season into the other seasons. I do sometimes think that I need to vary it up. This was a good way to do that without turning the oven on. I popped these guys into the toaster oven!
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers

Ingredients:

2 sheets of puff pastry dough (or crescent roll dough)
1 1/2 cups (1 package) of frozen creamed spinach, defrosted and heated through
1 – 1 1/2 cups ham, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar

Directions:

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
Pan fry the ham until warmed through and crisp.
Cut each puff pastry sheet into four equal squares.
Spoon some spinach into the center from two opposite corners.
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
Add some ham, then tuck the two opposite corners over one another.
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
Fill four puff pastry squares with spinach & ham, fill other four with ham and shredded cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
Bake 8-10 minutes until pastry is crisp and lightly tanned. (Bake less if you plan on baking them another time to use later or freeze.)
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
These were so good and so quick. Definitely a good alternative to everyday dinner. I served them with some salad.

They were great as breakfast too. I froze a few we didn’t get to immediately and they just needed a quick defrost before toasting. I’d like them as apps if they were a bit smaller. I would pop them in muffin tins to form their own cups. I had the spinach, ham, and puff pastry in the freezer. These are a great way to use some leftovers.

Suggested adaptations: 
sliced meatballs + marinara + shredded mozzarella + puff pastry = meatball turnovers
turkey deli meat + crumbled bacon + ranch + cheddar + puff pastry = turkey bacon ranch turnovers
creamed spinach + artichoke hearts + roasted red peppers + provolone = spinach & artichoke turnovers
tapanade + feta + diced tomatoes + chopped peppers + puff pastry = Mediterranean turnovers
raspberry jam + brie + puff pastry = cheese plate turnovers
prosciutto + brie + sliced green apples/pears = Italian appetizer turnovers