Watermelon and Feta Salad with Arugula

Guys. I’m so jazzed about this salad. It was so good. I was just so excited and actually “cut the line” in the ole blog que. This 2 posts a week has been a good schedule for me and lately I’ve had enough posts ahead of time that I don’t have to be all that timely in getting the pics from my camera onto the blog with some words. This one skipped ahead of a few other goodies because I just loved it so.

The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon & Feta Salad
It just might make another appearance in my meal roation soon since a) I have an entire watermelon and b) I made more dressing than I needed. This dressing has lots of possibilities for other salads too. Bam. 2 dressings this month. #winning

Watermelon & Feta Salad with Arugula (serves 2)

adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe

Ingredients:

1/8 watermelon
~4 oz feta cheese (a block cut into cubes, or crumbles)
arugula
3 tbs fruit juice (I used V8 Golden Goodness juice)
1 tsp lime juice
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
~4 fresh mint leaves
kosher salt & cracked pepper

Directions:

Chop the watermelon & feta into smaller-than-bite-sized cubes.
Lay the arugula into a bowl and top with the feta & watermelon.
In a jar, shake together the juices, oil, vinegar, honey, mint, salt & pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon & Feta Salad
Drizzle a little dressing onto the salad. Toss and then add more if needed. The watermelon adds some moisture so a little dressing might be enough.
The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon & Feta Salad
Enjoy!

I seriously loved the pepper-y arugula with the sweet & cool watermelon with the crumbly salty feta. This salad is the perfect combination of sweet and salty and peppery. It also takes 10 minutes to shake up the dressing and cut the ingredients. Just 10 minutes to something interesting, different, and fresh.

This was part of a crazy salad dinner we had. I wasn’t sure it was going to 100% be Mr. J’s kind of thing. I like the stronger flavored arugula than he does and watermelon isn’t is favorite. I made this one annnnd panzanella salad the same night with sausages on the grill. The two salads weren’t 100% complimentary but I’ll share that one soon. Maybe just don’t make ‘em both the same night.

The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon & Feta Salad

Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

The dressings continue! This one is so versatile that I actually used it first as a condiment on a burger. Then later I put it on salad but it could go on anything. I only made a bit since that’s my favorite part of making my own dressings, that you can make a little or a lot. Then I’m not stuck trying to use up a whole bottle of something! Also, it is nice to know what’s in the dressing without a whole bunch of weird things to preserve it on the shelf for 10 years.

The Three Bite Rule - Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

Ingredients: (makes < cup of dressing)

1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbs white vinegar (or lemon juice)
1/2 tsp roughly cracked pepper
3 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic salt (or garlic powder + a pinch of salt)
1 tsp milk (optional)

Directions:

In a bowl (or in a jar to shake) all the ingredients.
The Three Bite Rule - Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
Whisk (or shake in a jar) until well combined.
The Three Bite Rule - Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
Refrigerate for 30+ minutes. Serve & enjoy!

I put some on a turkey burger. Such a great idea. It was a premade, turkey/chili/lime burger from Trader Joe’s. Premade turkey burgers aren’t the most amazing things ever so I definitely appreciated the added moisture to my burger. The pepper and salty Parmesan are such great flavors combined here.
The Three Bite Rule - Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
Then I used it for another meal – we’re in 100% grilling mode with Mr. J’s new grill. I had some heads of romaine leftover from some caesar salads so I figured we should do a grilled romaine and see what all the fuss was about. I love the charred bits on everything (lasagna corners, chicken wings, etc) so I really enjoyed this. I think we’d grill it a few seconds less next time. It needs the char, but I don’t want the ribs of the lettuce to get as soggy. I diced some tomato and used some broken croutons with some drizzles of Parmesan Peppercorn dressing. Yum.

The Three Bite Rule - Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
I added a touch of milk to thin it out a bit. That made it more like dressing. When it is thicker, it would be a great dip too!

Here are my other dressings:
Basil Vinaigrette
Dijon Vinaigrette
Avocado Lime Dressing
Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing

Basil Vinaigrette for Orzo Salad

We’re growing some basil and I wanted to use it for something other than pesto…that requires a heck-ton of basil. I decided it would be good as dressing for a twist on caprese salad. Tomato, mozzarella, and basil dressing were calling out to some orzo and voila! Side dish/salad/veg success!

The Three Bite Rule - Basil Vinaigrette Dressing for Orzo Salad
What makes this Basil Vinaigrette versus pesto? Glad you asked!
Basil Vinaigrette = liquid-y, light, with a vinegar tang
Basil Pesto = nutty, cheesey, thicker

Ingredients:

1 cup basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbs garlic, chopped
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs lime juice
sprinkle of sugar
1 cup orzo
2 large tomatoes
1 ball of fresh mozzarella

Directions:

In a food processor, combine basil, a little of the oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt & pepper, and sugar. Blend while streaming in the rest of the oil.
The Three Bite Rule - Basil Vinaigrette Dressing for Orzo Salad
Taste & adjust as you like it and refrigerate until use.
The Three Bite Rule - Basil Vinaigrette Dressing for Orzo Salad
Meanwhile, boil salted water for the orzo. Cook according to the package, being careful not to over cook.
Then cool for at least 30 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Basil Vinaigrette Dressing for Orzo Salad
Chop the tomatoes and mozzarella. Add them to the orzo with the basil dressing.
The Three Bite Rule - Basil Vinaigrette Dressing for Orzo Salad
Mix and refrigerate until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Basil Vinaigrette Dressing for Orzo SaladEnjoy!

I liked this one. I think the vinegar and the lime add a good little tang to the basil. Like: wake up!  It would be an easy one to switch up for other pasta shapes, lentils, white beans, farro, quinoa, or whatever.

We had this as a side dish with some grilled chicken, but it could be it’s own meal. I tried to go heavier on the tomato than on the cheese, since we definitely need more veggies than cheese on the menu. It was good and it did well as leftovers too.

What I Ate: Quick Greek Quinoa Bowls

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.

In an effort to mix up my lunch while still keeping it easy (and one-handed with the babe) I tossed together these quinoa bowls. I wanted something salad-y without lettuce. I was seeking farro or barley but came up short while grocery shopping. Really, I just wanted a different grain than I usually have but my grocery store is obsessed with moving everything around and I couldn’t find either one. It was a speedy shop while the little one napped in my cart and I figured I wouldn’t press my luck when he was happily napping. I made 2 servings and was glad to grab the other the following day.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Quinoa Bowls

Ingredients:

Quinoa
tomatoes
English cucumbers
feta
Greek salad vinaigrette: 1/4 cup red wine vinegar; 1/4 cup olive oil; 1/2 tsp dried oregano; 1/2 tsp dried basil; 1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:

Cook the quinoa according to the package and spoon into bowls. I used about 1 cup prepared for each bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Quinoa Bowls
Chop and mix together the veggies and cheese
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Quinoa Bowls
Shake the dressing ingredients together in a jar.
Add in a little dressing and toss. Spoon veggies on top of the quinoa.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Quinoa Bowls
Enjoy!

I ate one serving immediately and loved the warm-ish quinoa and the cool veggies. The tang from the vinegar dressing was perfect with the veggies and to season the quinoa a bit. The next day it was still good and I didn’t need more dressing. It might not be great a 3rd day as the sliced tomatoes could be a bit mealy by then. Prepping the quinoa and mixing the veggies the day you’re eating it would still make for an easy lunch too, or using whole cherry/grape tomatoes would give it a bit longer of a fridge-life.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Quinoa Bowls

Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

I’m capitalizing on salads while I’m home on maternity leave. It is a good reminder how lucky I am to a) get a freshly cooked lunch at work, and b) that there’s always salad all ready with lunch. This salad took a bit more prep than just tossing some veggies with greens but I loved it and was so happy with my quick dressing! I’m counting this as my monthly eat-more-fish goal and my make-more-salad-dressings goal, though I will get my act together and eat more fish that isn’t just on salad.

Tuna Nicoise is the French cousin to our cobb salad. The cooking required is for the potatoes, egg, and green beans. You could include artichokes or seared tuna, or sardines if you’re feeling especially French. It looks so pretty before you dress it or before scooping bites of this and that. It is definitely a salad that feels like a meal.

The Three Bite Rule - Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Dijon Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp honey
salt & pepper

Directions:

In a jar, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, honey, salt & pepper (I forgot the balsamic until after this pic)
The Three Bite Rule - Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
Shake well for 1 minute.
The Three Bite Rule - Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
Taste & adjust as needed. Add more honey if it is too bitter for you, or more vinegar if it needs more of a kick.
Enjoy!

Making salad dressing is so easy, which is why I wanted to make it more often. I have all these ingredients on hand AND I didn’t make a ton. That allows me to have different dressings all the time without making a gallon and feeling the need to use it all before going onto the next one. This dressing is light and easy to tweak to your tastes. By having it over this salad, it made me thing that salad dressing is a great use over steamed green beans or to mix into tuna.

Part of what I loved in this salad was the roasted potatoes. I nuked a potato, cut it into cubes then pan fried it in herbed butter until crisp. These potatoes were definitely a star of this salad. The butter was leftover from my salmon baked in herbed butter. I steamed the green beans while the potatoes were crisping then shocked them in ice water to keep them from going limp.
The Three Bite Rule - Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
Each bite had me thinking that this is the best bite. Then I’d be all “mmm tuna and potato”, no that’s the best bite…”mmm egg and green bean”, no that’s the best bite. I love the fun stuff in salad, aka the heavy stuff that makes it pricey at a salad bar, and this one delivers on that. The greens below aren’t quite an afterthought, but they’re not what this is all about. I didn’t mess around much with the tuna – just half of a can (of chunk white tuna in water) with a tiny bit of Italian salad dressing to dress it really lightly.
The Three Bite Rule - Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
I ate the exact same thing the following day for lunch, it was that good.

Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

My little one can sleep through the blender whirring, which is awesome. Sometimes he naps in the “office” and I clench my teeth when hitting that pulse button not too far away, but he hasn’t been bothered by smoothies, or dressings, or anything in the blender! I hope he continues to sleep deeply like his Momma. I made this salad feeling like a million bucks because I repurposed some chicken meatloaf by just warming with taco seasoning, AND had a use for the rest of the black beans, AND was eating salad. #winning

The Three Bite Rule - Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
Don’t forget, excuse the shape of some of the meat since it’s first life was chicken meatloaf that was absolutely to die for, and no I didn’t photograph it as I dumped stuff in and hoped for the best. Seriously. It restored my faith in meatloaf. Also, excuse the fact that I forgot the black beans until after taking pics.

Ingredients:

2 avocados
1/8 cup lime juice
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup vegetable oil
pinch of sugar

Directions:

Put avocados, lime juice, garlic, sugar, and cider vinegar into a blender.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
Blend on low and stream in oil until smooth.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
Assemble salad and drizzle on the dressing. I kept mine pretty thick but you could add more oil & lime juice to thin it out if you’d prefer.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
My salad had lettuce, cucumbers, cheddar, salsa, black beans, and taco meat. I originally thought I’d be putting avocado onto the salad but then used it for the dressing. It was really good! Because of the salsa, I didn’t think I needed that much dressing. I have to admit I dunked a few tortilla chips in the leftover dressing (which was a good choice) so I’m not sure how well any leftover dressing would keep. I think it’d turn avocado-brown, but be ok to eat.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing

I’m sooo psyched to share this one! I was excited to make it, even more thrilled when I ate it, and just couldn’t wait to share it with you! I came upon the salmon, courtesy of my parents buying a big piece and giving me some. They deserve all the credit for making this month’s fish adventure happen, and making my own salad dressing made this a double whammy. Spell-check deserves the credit to helping me correctly spell whammy.

The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Mr. J doesn’t do fish so this was lunch for one and was quick & easy to make a single serving. There. Nothing stopping you. A reminder we can all use. In the time it took for the fish to cook, I mixed the dressing & prepped the salad.

Ingredients:

1 piece of salmon
2 tbs butter
1 tsp fresh or dried herbs or spice blend
3 tbs sour cream
3 tbs mayo
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp dill
1/4 cup English cucumber
leafy greens & tomatoes for salad

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Cut butter into pieces onto a piece of plastic wrap. Top with herb mix, salt, & pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Twist up the plastic wrap and mash the butter together to incorporate the spices.
Put the salmon onto a piece of foil and dot with the herbed butter. Fold up the foil to form a packet.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Bake for 20 minutes until cooked through.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
While salmon is cooking, add the sour cream, mayo, cider vinegar, garlic, dill, salt, and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Chop & plate salad ingredients. Optional: toss lightly with oil/vinegar. Place the salmon on top.
Add chopped cucumber to the dressing just before serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Spoon some dressing over the plate & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Ohh wow. So good. I loooved the herb & buttered salmon. It was flaky and the dressing was perfect. I liked the crunch of the cucumber in the dressing rather than in the salad. This was a delightful reminder that the butter makes it feel decadent while a small amount of dressing kept it fresh yet flavorful. My parents lightly dress salad with a healthier dressing so a creamy one can just be for some touch of flavor.

Clearly I enjoyed it:
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing

Kale Pesto Pasta Salad

Last fall Mr. J found a recipe for roasted kale pesto that he served over pork chops and polenta. I loved it and figured the pesto would be great for pasta salad.

The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 head of kale
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs Parmesan
1/2 pound pasta

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Tear the kale off the stems and spread onto a sheet pan.
Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.
kale_pesto_590_390
Bake for 5 minutes, check and flip being careful not to let it burn. Cook for another 3 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad
Transfer into a food processor with walnuts, lemon juice, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad
Blend until smooth while slowly streaming in the olive oil until you reach your desired thickness.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad
Let cool. Boil salted water for the pasta. Cook until al dente and drain.
Toss with the pesto.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad
Refrigerate over night, or at least 8 hours.
Toss with a drizzle of oil if it is too dry.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad
I loved this. It could easily be a cool meal for some hot-weather. The pesto is unbelievable. I love this pesto but I think it blows regular pasta salad out of the water. That creamy mayo-heavy sweet pasta salad has nothing on this.

I couldn’t believe how much the color changed. The flavor deepens with time.

Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

This salad is sooo easy and only took a few special touches to make it something special. This Asian-inspired salad is the perfect meal to make dinner seem different. If you cook and shred the chicken in advance, this would be a 10 minute meal! I also might skip the chicken on the salad and grill some sesame garlic wing to go with this.

The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

3 chicken tenders, each cut in half
8 oz Broccoli slaw
2-3 tbs sesame soy vinaigrette (bottled or 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tsp soy sauce whisked together)
1/4 peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 cup edemame, shelled and cooked
orange segments (or packaged Mandarin oranges with no sugar added)
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup crispy wonton strips (found in the produce area, or make your own)

Directions:

Bring a pot of water to a low boil. Then add the chicken. Cook for about ten minutes. Check that it is cooked through, if not keep cooking.
Toss broccoli slaw with dressing in a large bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken.
In a small pot add the peanut butter on low, stirring occasionally until melted.
Stir in the soy sauce, and remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Toss the shredded chicken into the peanut sauce to coat well.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Top the salad with orange segments, edemame, cashews, crispy wonton strips, and chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
I loved this. I could eat this regularly. The chicken feels kind of heavy and thick from the peanut butter, but the sharpness of the broccoli slaw dressing balances it. The sweet oranges are bright with lots of crisp texture from the nuts and wonton strips. The broccoli slaw was a welcome change from other greens. I love it.

This is such a cheap one, especially since it uses very little chicken.

Cost breakdown of Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken:

(cost per quantity that was used)
broccoli slaw: $2.00
chicken tenders: $2.50
edemame: $0.25
packaged oranges: $1.00
cashews: $1.50
wonton strips: $1.00
total = $8.25 for 3 servings, or $2.75 per person

You might be able to grab the edemame from the salad bar, which would make it super cheap without any leftovers. The wonton strips aren’t totally necessary with the nuts so you could skip one or the other if you wanted to simplify a bit.

I’ll totally make this again.

What I Ate: His & Hers Caesar Salad

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 love caesar salad for the fresh greens, the salty Parmesan, and crunchy croutons, and garlicky dressing. It isn’t the healthiest salad, but it is ohh-so-good. It made for such a quick dinner to welcome spring. The simplicity is the charm.

I topped mine with grilled shrimp. I squirted the shrimp with a touch of lemon, salt, and pepper. They only needed to grill for a few minutes for the charred flavor.

The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Mr. J had his topped with steak. The steak marinated all day in a teriyaki marinade.

The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Salad with Grilled Steak
I toasted a few slices of wheat bread, tossed with olive oil, Italian seasoning, and salt. Instant croutons! While the steak & shrimp was grilling, I whipped up a quick caesar dressing I’ve made before.

Sometimes the easiest meals are exactly what I want. Other times I want lots of complicated components juggling more than is necessary for a random week night. It was awesome to blend the dressing, toss the salad together, and get the grill going. I had everything made, cleaned up, and plated by the time the steak & shrimp was off the grill. #winning