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

Sausage and Pepper Calzone

Like most calzones, this could easily be a pizza but I was feelin’ a calzone. I also wanted to play around with using different cheeses so I went with Monterey Jack. Pepper Jack, cheddar, mozzarella, or a mix would work well with these flavors. This calzone feels very ballpark-ish which is appropriate right about now. A million years ago I made a sausage and pepper calzone but I didn’t really blog it. It was time to highlight the good stuff.

I went really heavy on the Italian Seasoning but would tone it down a bit for anyone who doesn’t like bold flavor. I used the color peppers that were on sale but really any would be good. I also think it’s an easy time to lighten up the calorie count with some chicken sausage or turkey smoked sausage. This is a crowd-pleaser that could easily be prepped in advance and baked for only 10 minutes. Then it can be refrigerated or frozen and baked for another 20-30 when it is time to eat.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone

Ingredients:

1 ball pizza dough
3 sausage links, scored with a few shallow slices
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2 onion
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
a few drips of liquid smoke (optional)
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees (and pizza stone if using one).
In a medium skillet, over medium heat, cook the sausage until crisped and cooked through. Or grill them!
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
Slice the peppers and onion into strips and then into chunks.
In a large pan, over medium heat, cook the onions in 1 tsp olive oil. After 3-4 minutes, add the peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, adding liquid smoke if desired.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
Spread the pizza dough out, stretching it out evenly.
Spread it out onto the pizza stone/pan off center, so the filling gets added to what will become the bottom. The top will cover it and meet the bottom without having to move the calzone.
Layer cheese, sausage slices, peppers, and repeat. Spread all the filling out to the edges. Layer, layer, layer…it seems like less when it bakes.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
Pull the top over and pinch it to close the seam.
Cut a few slices in the top of the calzone. Brush the top with eggwash or olive oil (optional).
Bake 30 minutes.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
The calzone is a great way to reduce the meat and up the veggies. With just 3 links of sausage I had 4 servings of calzone. The ratio is off here, being heavy on the peppers and light on the sausage which I love. I think there was plenty of sausage (2 links might have been just fine) and I’d rather us filling it up with peppers and onions.

What I Ate: BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos

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 found roasted pork at Trader Joe’s and grabbed it tossing it into the freezer. I hadn’t made a plan for it, but figured it’d come in handy.
The Three Bite Rule - BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos
It is fully cooked, which saves you about 6 hours of slow cooking pork shoulder.

I heated it with a smokey BBQ sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos

I served it in flour tortillas with sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado, black beans, corn, and BBQ ranch drizzle.
The Three Bite Rule - BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos
Seriously so good. Keep these goodies on hand, or use leftovers in a new way. I’ve made pulled pork tacos before that had a slaw topping. This time the BBQ ranch and avocado made the tacos seem summery and super flavorful.

 

Sausage Stuffing

My mom makes some seriously awesome stuffing. It works like a side dish but I figured holding strong on 2 food groups meant I’d make it the main dish! I love this and would eat it far too often if it were at all good for me. It’s a fantastic wintry food and makes a great dinner or side dish. There’s a secret ingredient that is the trick.

My sous chef wanted to help #kitchendogs #fluffybailee

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

4-6 sausage links, removed from the casing (I used turkey sausage this time)
1 loaf of sourdough bread or something crusty
1 can golden mushroom soup (even mushroom-haters will not notice this is in here)
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup water
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large skillet to medium heat while you chop the onion and remove the casing from the sausage links.
Brown the sausage, breaking it into smaller chunks with the back of a wooden spoon.
In a medium pot, warm the soup, wine, water, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic over medium heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Cut the bread into chunks.
When the sausage is mostly cooked through, drain any excess grease and add the onions into the pan with the sausage. Cook a few minutes until the onion gets soft and a bit translucent, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked sausage and onions and bread together.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl and mix well.
Empty the whole bowl into a large baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Broil the last 3 minutes if the top hasn’t crisped enough
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Yum. I love this one. The golden mushroom soup is so flavorful – just don’t confuse it with cream of mushroom soup.

I served this with some roasted asparagus for a quick dinner. The leftovers are great and it is just an inviting unfussy meal.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
I found a loaf of artisan bread with garlic in it. It was pricey but I only used 4 sausage links and the bread. Other ingredients were super cheap and this was about 5 servings for us.

Shhhh. I nibbled on some leftovers for breakfast one morning when all I wanted was a non-sweet breakfast. What? A touch of maple and this is the ideal salty breakfast…just call it savory bread pudding and nobody will think twice.

some suggested adaptations:
this recipe + celery/kale/portobello/peppers = more veggie-ful stuffing
this recipe – golden mushroom soup + low sodium chicken broth = less salty/lower sodium meal (or reduce the soup to half a can and increase the water to 3/4 cups
this recipe + muffin tins = easily servable stuffing cups
this recipe – turkey sausage + soy sausage crumbles = vegetarian stuffing
this recipe + dried cranberries + sage = super seasonal flavors

Stuffed Acorn Squash

A while ago I was at the grocery store and I asked a guy working the produce area if they had any tomatillos. He pointed me towards squash and said the “weird vegetables” are over there. By weird he pointed me to acorn and spaghetti squash. Not weird at all to me, but I decided to take his answer as “I don’t know”.

Anywho, I’ve been thinking about acorn squash lately and thought it would actually make a super simple weeknight dinner. It has some really great flavors and was so easy. I didn’t know if it would seem like too much of one thing but we liked it. It was like hitting all the food groups in one meal.
The Three Bite Rule - Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients (for 2 people):

1 acorn squash
2 sausage links
1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tbs garlic, chopped
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup wheat germ/breadcrumbs
1/3 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut squash in half and scoop out the middle (I saved the seeds).
acorn_stuffed_empty_590_390
Roast face down in a baking dish for 20-30 minutes (or until tender when pricked with a fork).
While squash is roasting, remove the sausage from the casing and brown over medium heat with the onions.
Spoon out any grease/fat.
After 5 minutes or when the sausage is almost fully cooked, add in the rice, garlic, salt, pepper, and wheatgerm/breadcrumbs.
acorn_stuffed_filling_590_390
When fully cooked, add in the dried cranberries and stir well to incorporate the cranberries.
Remove the squash from the oven and flip the squash halves onto their skin. Spoon the filling into them.
The Three Bite Rule - Stuffed Acorn Squash
Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Optional: while squash are cooking rinse any seeds you saved away from the stringy part and toast in the oven.
Serve squash halves with some toasted seeds on top.
The Three Bite Rule - Stuffed Acorn Squash

I loved this. It is so easy and quick. It felt very fall to me. The cranberries honestly make it. I think it needs the sweet/tart to contrast the savory sausage and the soft squash. I used a cup of single-serve brown rice that just needed to be microwaved. This would also be a good use for any leftover rice you wanted to use up.

Kale Pesto over Pork Chops and Polenta

I know, right? How amazing does that sound?!? Mr. J was in charge of dinner and that is seriously what he came up with. I loved it! It was really good and actually surprisingly easy. I assisted as his sous-chef so I snapped some photos as he cooked.

This is super easy feels totally special and is such a wow meal.

kale_pesto_plate_590_390

He found the pork chops with roasted kale and walnut pesto on the food network site. It was so good and definitely one to jot down. If you think you aren’t into pork chops then get a meat thermometer. If you’ve had hard-as-rock pork it isn’t pretty. The thermometer will save the day.

The pesto takes 10 minutes. Polenta takes about 5 minutes. The pork cookes quickly too.

Roasted Kale Pesto

from Food Network
Ingredients:

1 head of kale
olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbs lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Tear the kale off the stems and spread onto a sheet pan.
kale_pesto_590_390
Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.
Roast for about 5 minutes (be careful not to let it burn)
Transfer into a food processor with walnuts, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
kale_pesto_process_590_390
Blend until smooth while slowly streaming in the olive oil until you reach your desired thickness (add more olive oil if using with pasta, add less for topping on meat).
kale_pesto_mixed_590_390
It stores well and we froze half for a “rainy day”. This pesto would be amazing for a vegetarian dish. It is so flavorful, unique, and not overpowering at all.

For the pork chops we used were boneless but bone-in would be fine as well. Season generously with salt, pepper, and dried rosemary, on both sides.

In a pan large enough to fit all the chops, preheat it to medium-high heat.
Add the pork chops to sear on one side for about 5 minutes, then flip and cook until the center reaches 140-150 degrees on a thermometer.
kale_pesto_pork_590_390
We made some polenta too. I haven’t had polenta in awhile but I forgot how quick it is. As in, 5 minutes quick. It makes dinner feel really different.
kale_pesto_plate_590_390
Have leftover pesto? Spread it into a panini and dip the grilled cheese into marinara for an Italian grilled cheese. Or use it on pizza or pasta. Leftover polenta? Form into patties and fry like I did here with scallops. Polenta works well with anything spicy like chorizo or with anything earthy like duck.

Recreating French White Bean Cassoulet at Home

Let’s start with the best thing: THE SOX WON THE WORLD SERIES. So happy. I’m glad they did it in 6, instead of 7 because I wanted Halloween to just be Halloween. I thought there also would be lots ‘o parents trying to decide what to do if the Sox needed one more to win it. It’s a good time to be in Boston.

In completely unrelated news, sometimes the best tasting dishes are not the most photogenic. After indulging and falling in love with cassoulet in Paris I knew I had to make it at home, but it isn’t the prettiest food I have ever made. I loved it in Paris and couldn’t even come close to finishing it.
The Three Bite Rule - Paris Dinner Like a Local

I made it myself and skipped the duck but used white beans, bacon, and sausage serving it with some bread for dunking. The beans are really filling and it can almost be done in one pot!

Ingredients:

28 oz can white beans
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
4 strips of bacon
3-4 chicken sausage links, cut in half.
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp tomato paste
1 -2 cups water (depending on how much broth you want)

Directions:

Drain  and lightly rinse the beans, adding them to a heavy pot with veggie broth over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - White Bean Cassoulet
Pan fry the bacon until cooked through and crisp.
Add sausage links, bacon, and thyme to the large pot.
The Three Bite Rule - White Bean Cassoulet
Cook for 10 minutes and then finally add tomato paste. Add some water and cooking for another 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - White Bean Cassoulet
Serve with some French bread for dunking.
The Three Bite Rule - White Bean Cassoulet
I love this. Cassoulet is maybe my new favorite comfort food! It’s super salty so I didn’t add any additional salt. I think the broth, tomato paste, and beans provide plenty of salt. I added the tomato paste and thyme so salt and pork wouldn’t be the only flavors.

The chicken sausage I used is already cooked so it just had to heat, but using a raw pork product would need to cook through completely.

Next week is PUMPKIN WEEK here on The Three Bite Rule. Have a happy weekend and see ya on Monday for some pumpkin favorites, after the Red Sox victory parade, of course!!

Restaurant Recreation: Pork Pizza with Mustard Beer Sauce

A few weeks ago I had dinner at Salty Pig and got a pizza. It was too dark for pics but I loved every bite of it and knew instantly that I had to recreate it at home. I made a recreation of Salty Pig’s pizza “today’s pig parts” mustard and pale ale caramel. Sold! I tweaked mine a bit and it was a success!

Follow me on twitter @threebiterule to see the restaurant’s response leaving me feeling HONORED that they responded. Yay!
pork_pizza_done_590_390

Ingredients:

pork butt/shoulder roasted and pulled
2 tbs butter
1 large white or yellow onion
pizza dough
1 bottle beer (I used blue moon)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
1 cup fontina cheese, sliced or shredded
1 tbs garlic, chopped (optional)
2-3 tbs whole grain mustard

Directions:

Roast the pork in advance. I used a small one that went into the crock pot overnight for 6 hours.
In a large skillet, add onion slices over medium to medium low with 1 tbs butter. Cook until caramelized (about 20 minutes for just 1 onion).
pork_pizza_onions_590_390
While they are cooking preheat oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400 degrees.
Empty the beer into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. This should come to a medium boil for about 10 minutes.
Put the pizza dough onto the stone (or pan) and poke a few holes into it with a fork. Cook for about 10 minutes. This is just to get it started to be cooked though so it will be crispy.
While the dough is pre-cooking pull the pork with a fork, and slice/shred the cheeses.
Turn the beer to low to keep reducing it.
When the pizza dough is partially cooked, take it out to top it with a little olive oil then with mozzarella, garlic, pork, onions, and fontina.
pork_pizza_topped_590_390
Return the pizza to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
Add 1 tbs butter and mustard to the beer to make it a bit creamy. Whisk it until smooth and keep cooking on low to get it smooth.
pork_pizza_sauce_590_390
Take the pizza out of the oven once the cheese has all melted and the crust is crispy enough to your liking.
pork_pizza_closeup_590_390
Drizzle with mustard beer sauce.
pork_pizza_plate_590_390

I loved this pizza. I sprinkled a few chives on top to add a touch of color and freshness without overpowering any of the flavors. The pork, onions, and mustard beer sauce are strong flavors but they go so nicely together.

The pork needs to be cooked in advance. While you’re at it, caramelizing onions takes for-freaking-ever. I should have done a double batch some other time. It is a good thing to put on the stove and stir every-so-often when you’re not in a hurry. You can’t hurry a caramelized onion but they’re worth the wait.

Let’s talk about how cheap and easy the pork is. I put it into the crock pot (much like this pork in the crock pot) but minus the brown sugar & tomatoes since this wasn’t a bbq one. I eyeballed it adding some vinegar, veggie stock, garlic, and herbs. I discard the cooking liquid afterwards and then had super tender pork. I didn’t want to run the crockpot all day because I’m afraid it drives the pups bananas to smell delicious pork when nobody is there. I set it before bed and it was ready when I woke up.
pork_pizza_done_590_390

Mine was little and had the bone out. I think it was just a regular one cut and packaged smaller. I read the cooking instructions on it and I cost about $9. We ate it on this pizza (4 servings of pizza) then I mixed it with bbq sauce and onions for pulled pork sandwiches (2 servings) and I have another 2-3 servings I froze. They’ll likely be tacos. That’s about 8-9 times we will have eaten this tiny $9 pork butt. $1 per. serving. Even if I graciously let you count the pizza has really only having 2 servings over the whole thing that’s 6 servings, or $1.50 per serving. Stop. It.

This pizza was hands down one of my favorites. I love everything on it and think nothing overpowered anything else. Each bite was interesting and memorable.