Cobb Salad Panini

All the perks of a Cobb salad without any of the lettuce! Lettuce really gets in the way of the fun stuff in a salad, right??? This panini has Cheese! Chicken! Ham! Avocado! Tomato! Blue Cheese Dressing!

I loved this grilled cheese with all the things.

The Three Bite Rule - Cobb Salad Panini

Cobb Salad Panini
Ingredients:

2 slices sourdough
1 slice ham
1/3 cup chopped chicken
3 slices cheese
1 small tomato
1/2 avocado
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
2 teaspoons butter/olive oil/mayo

The Three Bite Rule - Cobb Salad Panini

Directions:
Heat a pan to medium heat.
Assemble the sandwich with bread, half the cheese, ham, chicken, tomato, sliced avocado, and the remaining cheese.
Spread butter or mayo or brush bread with olive oil.
Cook the sandwich and grill on each side for ~ 2-3 minutes. Cover to melt the cheese.
Remove from the heat and let sit for 1 minute before slicing. Dip into blue cheese dressing.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Cobb Salad Panini

This was so fun. There’s a lot happening and it is one of those messy-delicious sandwiches you can barely put down. Good bread is necessary to hold up, and nothing makes a panini/loaded grilled cheese better than cheese on each side.

The defining elements of a cobb salad to me seems fuzzy compared to a chef’s salad. I’m not entirely sure what’s in one and not in the other? Either way, in a salad the hard boiled egg is ideal – I figured it might be a little weird here. Bacon would have been lovely, sliced turkey could definitely swap for the chicken. Go for what speaks to you.

Special sandwiches are so great for dinner – or make salads one meal and paninis for another!

English Muffin Turkey Melts

I’ve been trying to give home lunches a bit of a face lift. These turkey melts on English muffins are just unique enough be exciting while keeping them a totally do-able weekday lunch. Somedays it is PB&J while doing 5 other things and then there’s a 5 minute special lunch with everyday ingredients like this!

The Three Bite Rule - English Muffin Turkey Melts

These have a nice kick with a spicy sauce and crunch from an apple (or there are lots of variations below)!

English Muffin Turkey Melts:
Ingredients: (for 1)

1 English Muffin
2 tablespoons mayo
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or hot sauce)
2 slices turkey
1-2 slices cheese
1/4 apple (I used honeycrisp)
1 cup mixed greens

Directions:
Toast the English muffin (the toaster oven is perfect for this, or “griddle” it on a pan to use again soon).
Mix together the mayo and the sriracha in a small bowl.
Slice the apple and chop the greens if needed, while the muffin toasts.

The Three Bite Rule - English Muffin Turkey Melts


When the English muffin is toasted, spread the sriracha onto both halves, then top one half with greens, apple slices, turkey, and cheese.
Pop the assembled English muffin into a toaster oven, the regular oven, or into a hot pan with a cover to melt the cheese and warm everything through.

The Three Bite Rule - English Muffin Turkey Melts

Pop the top on and enjoy!

These are so fun and could easily swap with what you have. Honey mustard would be great, a pear would taste delicious, ham can swap with turkey. Go crazy! The English muffin definitely adds some variety, and the melty cheese + lunch meat + a fruit + a veg + sauce = is perfect. These can be open faced or popped together as a sandwich.

The Three Bite Rule - English Muffin Turkey Melts

I’m partial to these Fiber One Multigrain English muffins. They are much more fluffy than others and the higher fiber is just an added benefit.

BLT Chicken Salad

Approaching 1 year of the pandemic and some gloomy weather has me a bit blah. I desperately miss non-icy sidewalks at the moment. Sometimes a more exciting lunch is something to look forward to, right? I’ve been striving for some more varied lunches and this was a good one.

The Three Bite Rule - BLT Chicken Salad

Just a few slices of bacon with chopped greens, tomatoes, chicken salad, and a bit of bright pickle is so satisfying and perfect in a pita, or on some great bread, or scooped with crackers. This also works nicely for reviving leftovers if you’ve eaten chicken lately!

BLT Chicken Salad
Ingredients: (for 2-3 servings)

2 cups chicken (cooked and cooled)
1 teaspoon mayo
1 tablespoon Italian dressing
1 teaspoon pickle juice (optional)
2 strips bacon (cooked and cooled)
2 cups baby arugula
1 small tomato

Directions:
Chop and shred the chicken and mix the mayo, Italian dressing, pickle juice (optional) and salt & pepper.
Chop the bacon, arugula, and tomato and add in the chicken salad.

The Three Bite Rule - BLT Chicken Salad

Stir gently to combine – add in another splash of dressing or pickle juice if needed.
Serve as a sandwich, with more greens as a salad, or scoop with crackers!
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - BLT Chicken Salad

This is use 103,894,380 for a Costco roasted chicken. Those things are so much better than anywhere else, and cheaper! I buy them even without a plan and take it off the bone to freeze it. For this chicken salad, it was easy to break off some frozen chunks and defrost in the fridge overnight.

I’m partial to Ken’s Italian Dressing that looks like nothing special but is ohh so good. I think that WITH the pickle juice is delightful and just enough mayo to keep it together.

Are chopped salads still a thing? I liked everything getting equally distributed but now I’m wondering if they were just a fad of the 2010s? Either way, it is the perfect way to ensure each bite has some of everything. The concept lives on at our house!

Friends Thanksgiving Sandwich

The Three Bite Rule - Friends Thanksgiving Sandwich

As a forever-Friends-fan, those Thanksgiving episodes are the best! Monica makes historic leftovers sandwiches with a “moist maker” of gravy soaked bread in the middle. It totally takes it over the top!

Plan your leftovers accordingly! This is so good! Even if you don’t have leftovers, roasting a turkey breast (or use thick deli turkey – I won’t tell)! A box of stuffing is easy to make just enough for this- or use some for these amazing Thanksgiving Meatballs with stuffing and dried cranberries!

Friends Thanksgiving Sandwich
Ingredients: (serves 2)

6 slices of bread
4 slices of turkey
1 cup stuffing
1/2 cup gravy
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons mayo
1 1/2 cup arugula

Directions:
Toast 4 slices of the bread (leaving 2 un-toasted). Warm the turkey, stuffing, and gravy.
Trim the crust off the remaining 2 slices and dip them into the gravy to soak.

The Three Bite Rule - Friends Thanksgiving Sandwich

Spread cranberry sauce onto one of the toasted slices for each sandwich and a smear of mayo onto the other.
Lay the arugula on top of the cranberry sauce, then the stuffing, then the gravy soaked bread, then the turkey, then the bread.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Friends Thanksgiving Sandwich

Slice and enjoy!

This was so fun and perfectly decadent. The tart cranberries and peppery arugula seems necessary with the heft of everything else

The Three Bite Rule - Friends Thanksgiving Sandwich

It is such a good idea as a stable way to get the gravy in there without it dripping off your sandwich!

Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes

Let’s chat comfort food. I’m glad fall is in the air and I’m ready for some foods to give us a little hug. I took the flavors of a burger into a speedy sloppy joe- the extra mustard and addition of relish and liquid smoke gives it all the burger flavors. I used meatless but any ground meat/meatless works!

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Sloppy Joe

Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes
Ingredients: (for 4)
3/4 pound ground meat (I used Gardein Meatless Crumbles)
4 burger rolls
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon relish
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
4 slices of American Cheese

Directions:
Add ground meat (cooked through if using beef/chicken/pork), brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, relish, and onion powder to a large skillet over medium-low heat. (I used meatless crumbles which can go into the pan frozen.)

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Sloppy Joe

Add in worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke (if using), and a splash of water.
Cook for 5 minutes until well incorporated and bubbling.
Toast the buns.
Spoon the sloppy joe onto each bun and quickly top with cheese to melt it.

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Sloppy Joe

Add some pickles and extra ketchup and mustard, if desired. Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Sloppy Joe

I loved this! Sloppy Joes cook SO quickly and are easy to stretch meat a bit further than a patty might. These are a great way to use a meatless product too.
Mixing some shredded cheddar would be good too- though maybe not so photogenic. Liquid smoke is a fantastic addition to these, in chili, in burgers, and any sauce or spread that has bacon in it! I find it on amazon but may have seen it at the grocery store too.

Hawaiian Hot Dog

Talking about Hawaiian pizza got me thinking about iconically Hawaiian flavors like pineapple, teriyaki, and pork. Let’s add ’em to a hot dog! These hot dogs were so fun and a great change of pace – especially since we won’t be heading to Hawaii anytime soon! We fell in love with the grilled pineapple and grilled more just to eat too.
The Three Bite Rule - Hawaiian Hot Dog

Hawaiian Hot Dogs

Ingredients (for 4 hot dogs):

4 hot dogs
4 King’s Hawaiian Hot Dog buns (or potato rolls)
3 pineapple rings
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 onion
1/2 cup greens (I used baby kale but spinach, arugula, collards, cilantro, or parsley would all be great)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce

Directions:

Sprinkle the pineapple with brown sugar then grill the pineapple and hot dogs.
While those are grilling, chop the onion and greens.
In a separate small bowl, mix together the mayo and teriyaki sauce.
Warm the buns the last minute of grilling.
Chop the pineapple and mix together with the onion and greens.
Assemble the dogs with the bun, the hot dog, the pineapple/onion/greens and drizzle with teriyaki mayo.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Hawaiian Hot Dog
I loved these. The freshness of the greens and the crunch of the onion was necessary. Those came the 2nd time around when I made these. Honestly the King’s Hawaiian Hot Dog Buns weren’t any better than our grocery store potato bun rolls.

Loaded hot dogs are so fun. For our ‘home 4th of July’ we made dogs with dill relish, french onion dip, and crispy onions. I also love dogs with blue cheese dressing and bacon. These crescent dogs, 3 ways are super fun too. I never can get my hands on pretzel buns again, but these Fall Dogs with Apple Slaw topped with apple, arugula, and onion with white cheddar and dijon is to-die-for. Burger toppings work well for dogs too!

Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula

The title doesn’t leave a whole lot to your imagination, but I was going for easy to procure ingredients with lots of wiggle room to customize! This was also an fun way to use a smaller portion of chicken, or I’d totally make it again with meatless chicken, which I love too. I forget about paninis but now that we’re all home for quarantine, they’re a great and easy meal and can easily be a dinner. There are 4 food groups in here!

I hope some of these easy ideas give you something to look forward to. We all need that right now, right? Paninis are also so great to be build your own if you have a crowd too!

The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula

Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula

Ingredients: (for 1 panini)

2 breaded chicken tenders
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon mayo
1 slice provolone
1 small roll

Directions:

Bake the chicken until crispy and fully cooked through. (Mine came frozen or use meatless tenders or make your own). Then slice in half width-wise.
Mix together the dijon, maple syrup, and mayo.
The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula
Heat a panini press or grill pan or heavy skillet.
Toss the arugula in some of the maple dijon. Reserve some to spread onto the roll.
Assemble the panini with a little maple dijon on the roll (if desired), arugula then chicken then cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula
Press or grill or pop into a toaster oven (or skip and enjoy immediately!), as you wish, until warmed through and until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula
Slice and enjoy!

Ohh so good, and simple. Making a little maple dijon gives it an easy special touch that I think is totally worth it- esp since I was using otherwise prepared ingredients, but substitute honey mustard dressing and call it a day.

I know not everyone can get every ingredient right now, so here are some substitution ideas:
roll – use bread, or make it a wrap!
provolone – any sliced cheese: swiss/cheddar/gouda/monterey jack
arugula – any greens: spinach/collards/swiss chard/kale

Whatever you do with it, add a panini or melt into your menu for a fun but quick lunch or a dinner.

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!