Outside the Lunch Box: Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

The lunch series continues with a very veggie sandwich. Nothing about this one is rocket science BUT we all need more veggies, right? We had some illness go through our house and the winter months seems like a time to hunker down with a bowl of pasta. I embrace that but why not load up the veggies for other meals?!
The Three Bite Rule - Hummus & Veggie Sandwich
My all-time fav hummus is Cedar’s Balsamic & Caramelized Onion flavor. Color and texture are both emphasized here. Also, some really good sharp white cheddar is good here on a quality roll. This should definitely be in the weekly rotation!

Hummus & Veggie Sandwich (for 2)

Ingredients:

2 Onion rolls
4 tablespoons hummus
1 cup baby bella mushrooms
1/2 carrot
1/2 tomato
2 cups arugula
3-4 inches of a cucumber
3 tablespoons salad dressing (Parmesan Peppercorn, Creamy Caesar, Tzatziki, etc)

Directions:

Saute the mushrooms in butter with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Slice the tomato, cucumber, cheese, and grate the carrot.
The Three Bite Rule - Hummus & Veggie Sandwich
Layer the roll with hummus, arugula, mushrooms, tomato, cheese, cucumber, and carrot.
The Three Bite Rule - Hummus & Veggie Sandwich
Drizzle with dressing.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Hummus & Veggie Sandwich
To pack this up for lunch, as mine always are: some assembly required. I brought this to work unassembled. It makes all the difference. In one container I had the veggies and separately I packed the roll, hummus, cheese, and dressing.

This was so good. I love all the flavors and crunch. The possibilities are endless: avocado, or pickled onions, or beets, or sprouts, or whatever you love!

I hope you got some new lunch ideas whether you pack it up for an office or for your mid-day meal wherever you are!

Outside the Lunchbox: Lemon Poppyseed Tuna

Let’s talk lunch! I began packing my own lunch since maybe 3rd grade. It is no easy feat so I wanted to share some special ideas. Lemon Poppyseed tunafish is delicious but also requires a PSA: do not bring tuna to work for lunch unless you have your own space where nobody will smell it, or bring it if you’ll eat outside! This is a fun lunch for the weekend too.

The freshness takes this up a serious notch.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Poppyseed Tuna

Lemon Poppyseed Tuna (for 2)

Ingredients:

1 can chunk white tuna in water
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon Italian dressing (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon relish
1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon poppyseeds
salt and pepper
arugula
bread

Directions:

Drain the tuna and mix in mayo, dressing, relish, juice from the lemon, zest from the lemon, poppyseeds, and salt and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Poppyseed Tuna
Mix with a fork and store until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Poppyseed Tuna
Serve on toast with greens.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Poppyseed Tuna
I loved the lemon in here! I often go for dill relish, but the sweetness was perfect with the tart lemon. Sandwiches can be ho-hum but assembling when eating is the key!

Next up, I have a more out of the box idea to pack for lunch!

Crispy Chicken Sandwiches with Gouda & Apple

What do you get when you cross a dinner timesaver with all the fall flavors? Answer: crispy chicken sandwiches with gouda, apple, mustard, and arugula. These were so quick for dinner one night – then again for lunch another day annnnd they use some of the bajillion apples we have.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken & Apple Sandwiches

Crispy Chicken Sandwiches with Gouda & Apples

Ingredients: (for 4, serves 2-3 people)

4 pieces of breaded chicken (I used frozen chicken tenders, or make your own)
3 tablespoons dijon mustard or honey mustard
1 large apple
4 rolls (I used finger rolls, shoot for the same size as your chicken)
1-2 cups arugula
4 slices of smoked gouda

Directions:

Bake the chicken (until cooked through, or as the package instructs).
Slice the apple into thin slices.
Spread the mustard onto the rolls then add arugula, and apple slices.
Lay the gouda onto the chicken to melt the last minute of cooking.
Add the chicken onto the sandwiches.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken & Apple Sandwiches
I also like reminding the little ones that foods can be different all the time. We don’t just eat the apples off the core, here they are with other food!

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

Winner winner, chicken dinner lunch! This was SO good and perfect if you’re packing lunches! Our pre-schooler loves honey mustard so he was my inspiration! I made a batch for a few servings – one decadently in a croissant, and some another time as a lettuce wrap.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard Chicken Salad
If you’re thinking you don’t do chicken salad, I urge you to try this one. The honey mustard and lettuce make it seem like a salad and it is such a great use of leftover chicken or to liven up lunch! It is a great use for dark meat if that’s not your fav- at our house, we seek leftover options for white meat since that’s often dried out & has less flavor.

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

Ingredients: (for 3-4 servings)

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup yellow mustard
3 tablespoons mayo
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1/2 roasted chicken, torn or forked apart (~2 cups of chicken)

Directions:

Whisk together the honey, mustard, mayo, and garlic- or shake together in a jar.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard Chicken Salad
(If using as a salad dressing – add a splash of olive oil whisked in. It’ll be too thick otherwise!)
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard Chicken Salad
Add the chicken into the bowl and gently mix.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard Chicken Salad
Sprinkle in salt & pepper and mix.
Refrigerate until serving, or enjoy immediately on a sandwich, salad, open-faced on toast, or in a lettuce wrap!
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard Chicken Salad
This is so easy, can be made in advance, and eat it all different ways. I packed some separately and spooned it onto romaine lettuce as a lettuce wrap at work. That worked out really well.

Pulled Pork with Balsamic Fig Dressing on Ciabatta

A pork shoulder in the crockpot is like the gift that keeps on giving. I’d say definitively that pulled pork is the best of any leftovers, hands down. I make it once in the crockpot and have about 6 servings. We had some as tacos and then I wanted to give it another spin with a bottle of fig and balsamic dressing from a Trader Joe’s haul. A little fig jam + a little balsamic vinegar would reach the same flavors without that exact dressing too!

The Three Bite Rule - Pork on Ciabatta with Fig & Balsamic Dressing
I like the sweet but vinegary yet smoky pork on crusty ciabatta but any roll will do! My preschooler got a slider bun since that’s sometimes a better size for him and he’d be more likely to eat all the bread skipping the pork unless sized well. I made some sweet potato tots and called it dinner. Here’s the Balsamic & Fig dressing I used but I’m including a quick fix for just a single use without buying it!

The Three Bite Rule - Trader Joe's Favs into Meals

Balsamic + Fig Pork Sandwiches

Ingredients (for ~4)

1 1/2 – 2 cups pulled pork (~8oz, cooked)
1/2 cup Balsamic & Fig Dressing (or 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons fig jam whisked together)
4 rolls
2 cups arugula
1-2 teaspoons olive oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300-degrees.
Mix the pork and some of the balsamic & fig dressing together gently. Taste and add more if needed.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork on Ciabatta with Fig & Balsamic Dressing
Warm the pork either in the microwave, or in a skillet.
Toast the rolls in the oven for about 5 minutes, until warmed through and just lightly toasted.
Toss the arugula in the olive oil until dressed and lay onto the bottom buns.
Top with pork and a drizzle of dressing more.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Pork on Ciabatta with Fig & Balsamic Dressing
I liked this for a different twist on pork! If you buy fig jam, it is fantastic with a salty cheese (thus why it is sometimes sold near the cheeses) but it is also great for a Fig & Prosciutto Panini, or on pizza!

BLT with Lemon Aoli

The lemon aoli takes this home lunch to the next level. It is tart and perfect with the salmon. It perked up my leftover salmon and brought brightness with the salty bacon, peppery arugula, and juicy tomato. I wanted to make a fun lunch to revive some leftover salmon that I overcooked a bit. It was actually better in this salmon BLT than it was the night before!
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Aoli BLT

Salmon BLT with Lemon Aoli

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons mayo
juice from half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch salt & pepper
2 strips of bacon
3-4 oz salmon, cooked and cooled

Directions:

Pan fry the bacon and remove from the grease.
Turn off the pan from the bacon and gently warm the salmon in the bacon drippings.
Mix together the mayo, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Aoli BLT
Toast the bread and slice the tomato.
Assemble the sandwich with lemon aoli on each slice of toast, then salmon forked apart into chunks, then arugula, then bacon, and the remaining bread.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Aoli BLT
Enjoy!

This was seriously better than the salmon was the night before. Condiments can make such a difference. An extra special BLT is a great dinner too. Warming the salmon a bit in bacon drippings is definitely a good choice.

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

Happy new year! I’m the only chicken salad eater at home but it is so great to make for 1 or 2! Make as little or as much as you like! I made this for a weekend lunch but I’ll definitely repeat this one for packing my lunch too. I poached chicken which is the trick for chicken salad and added in dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. It has good mix of crunch- without celery, which is my nemesis.

The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad (for 2)

Ingredients:

3 chicken tenders
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon Italian dressing
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
salt & pepper

Directions:

Poach the chicken in a medium pot, just with the chicken covered with water and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes. Let cool completely before chopping/shredding.
The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
Mix together the chicken, mayo, dressing, walnuts and cranberries.
Refrigerate until serving, or serve immediately.
Mix together the chicken, mayo, dressing, walnuts and cranberries.
Assemble sandwiches and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
I loved this! I made a sandwich with arugula on wheat toast or it would be good on salad too. The add-ins are great to bulk it up with less chicken. I was wishing I had pecans around…that would have been a fun twist from the walnuts!
Mix together the chicken, mayo, dressing, walnuts and cranberries.

Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

December seems to be a combo of feeding guests and repurposing leftovers! Use all the leftovers! This ham, cheese, and raspberry jam sandwich on sweet bread is craving your leftover party foods (like that spiral ham) or cheese (remnants from a cheese board)! Sometimes they are ham, turkey, and cheese and the sweet fruity spread is what makes this iconic sandwich.

I made these for a lunch and it brought me back to childhood memories of my Dad ordering the monte cristo at a family favorite restaurant. That sweet bread with salty ham and melty cheese is such a great combo. Restaurants deep fry it but this is quickly pan fried without the hassle of battering the whole sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

Psssst. I used challah bread for this (and you can use leftover challah for this french toast too!)

Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese (for 2)

Ingredients:

4 slices of challah bread
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
2 slices of white cheddar
2 slices of American cheese
4 slices of ham

Directions:

Slice the bread and spread one side with raspberry jam. Then layer American on the other side, then ham, then cheddar to assemble the sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

Preheat a griddle or frying pan.
Lightly spread the outside with butter/oil/mayo and lay that side onto the pan.
Cook for a few minutes and spread the other side.
Carefully flip and cook for a few minutes more. Cover for the last minute to ensure the cheese all melts.
Slice and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

I loved this! The bread is so delightfully soft and sweet, especially with the jam, but the salty ham and melty cheese makes the best contrast here. The American cheese gives that melt factor and the cheddar gives good flavor. A sprinkle of powdered sugar would be beautiful. The bread is decadent. I didn’t make it as French toast, but that’s another way to do it. These would be tasty brunch elements if you’re using ingredients up or wanting to serve something without eggs! My toddler wasn’t home but I can see him liking aspects of this…maybe it would be a good reinforcement for ham since he’s not 100% gung-ho about all sandwich meat.

Fall Hot Dog with Apple Slaw

Could this ‘dog be any more fall? It all started with a long pretzel bun and I knew it needed a fall festive hot dog since this is the ideal weather for grilling! There’s melty white cheddar under there and a slaw of apples, onion, and arugula. It is spectacular and would be super fun for an afternoon game watching – especially since, I’m only watching football for the snacks!

The Three Bite Rule - Fall Hot Dog
Swap the hot dog for a sausage or bratwurst or whatever you like! I recently tried the Beyond Meat sausage and think this would be a good combo for that too! I made this for a lunch but it was a really great use for some frozen-since-summer hot dogs!

Fall Hot Dog with Apple Slaw and a Pretzel Bun (for 2)

Ingredients:

2 long pretzel buns
2 hot dogs/sausages/bratwursts
1/2 apple
1/4 white onion
1/2 cup arugula, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 slices sharp white cheddar

Directions:

Finely chop the apple, white onion, and arugula while preheating the grill. (This is easy to make indoors on a pan as long as you toast the roll too.)
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Hot Dog
Mix together the apple, onion, arugula, olive oil, and vinegar. Refrigerate until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Hot Dog
Grill the dogs/sausages/brats until cooked through. While they cook, toast the pretzel bun and melt the cheese onto it.
Assemble with the toasted roll, melted cheese, dog/sausage/brat and spoon the apple slaw over the top.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Hot Dog
This is the perfect fall food. The slaw is really addictive- as in, I ate the leftovers with a spoon. The pretzel roll and really good quality white cheddar made me really fall in love with this. Originally I was thinking apple slices but the slaw format allowed for the sweet crunch with acidic dressing to be in each bite and it seems like a real dog topping. My pretzel bun is from Trader Joe’s but my grocery store has them in this shape occasionally and I’ve seen them at Whole Foods too. I cut out a sliver to make the roll smaller and keep the ratio how I wanted it.

French Inspired Grilled Cheese

I loooove to jazz up grilled cheese. I want crunch of the bread and beyond-the-average flavors for my grilled cheese. Bread + cheese doesn’t seem to be enough for me. Evidence: this grilled cheese lorraine; or grilled cheese with sweet potato & sage; or turkey & pear grilled cheese; or I could go on…

This time I took some easy tweaks to the basic and think the herb butter spread for the outside is such a win! The outside is super crunchy and flavorful and the inside has 3 cheeses plus rosemary and dijon feel a bit French and just perfect for fall.

The Three Bite Rule - French Grilled Cheese

French Inspired Grilled Cheese

Ingredients: (for 2 sandwiches)

2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons mayo
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
salt & pepper
4 slices of good quality bread
2 slices gruyere cheese
2 slices white American cheese
1 slice Provolone cheese

Directions:

Mix together the butter, mayo, rosemary, olive oil, and salt & pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - French Grilled Cheese
Prep it in advance, or mix and spread onto the outer side of the bread.
The Three Bite Rule - French Grilled Cheese
Assemble the sandwiches with dijon on the inside, cheeses, then the flavored butter on the outside.
The Three Bite Rule - French Grilled Cheese
Pan fry on each side until melty and toasted.
The Three Bite Rule - French Grilled CheeseEnjoy!

How golden and delicious does that look? My bread had even lived a full life and came out of retirement from the freezer and still came out amazing. The herbs on the outside make it even more perfect. Don’t think twice about mayo being on the outside. That’s what restaurants do! That’s what grilled cheese food trucks do! A drizzle of truffle oil would be fantastic to keep that French inspiration.

I made this for lunch in 5 minutes, but it is special enough to make a meal out of for dinner!

The Three Bite Rule - French Grilled Cheese
Psst: have leftover rosemary? Make this honey rosemary cream cheese and you can thank me later :-)