Mexican BLT with Taco Spiced Mayo

The cutest & tastiest taco joint just opened near my work. The owners are so lovely and the tacos are getting RAVE reviews. I’ve had shrimp tacos, chicken tamales, and a pork torta. All have been fantastic…I dream of the torta. I saw their special for a Mexican-inspired BLT and totally copied the idea. Theirs also had an egg and avocado, which would be great, but I was on a mission for a fast dinner. Thanks Chilicates!

Mexican BLTs for 2

Ingredients:

bread or rolls
2 tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp taco seasoning
~4 tbs refried beans
3-4 slices of bacon, halved
1 large tomato
butter lettuce or greens

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Bake the bacon on a sheet pan, with a (non-stick sprayed) wire rack on top of it. Bake 15 minutes, or until crispy.
While bacon is cooking, slice tomatoes, lettuce, and toast the bread. Then mix together mayo with taco seasoning.
Spread one slice of toast with refried beans and other side with Mexican mayo.
The Three Bite Rule - Mexican BLTs
Assemble the BLTs.
The Three Bite Rule - Mexican BLTs
Enjoy!

I loved the slight tweak on this BLT. Do you bake your bacon? It makes cooking it sooo much easier, plus it cooks totally flat! The bacon grease is well contained and you don’t even have to flip it. This is definitely my preferred method. I love not needing to babysit the bacon.

The Three Bite Rule - Mexican BLTs

Apple and Cheddar Panini with Apple Butter

On very rare occasions I venture out for lunch. I’m lucky to get homemade lunch & salad every day at work. I know. So lucky. I have to realllly be in the mood to spend $8 on a sandwich when there’s free & delicious homemade lunch at work. The local coffee/sandwich shop has  very delightful, yet very expensive, panini with cheddar, apple, bacon, and pumpkin butter. I recreated at home using apple butter. This isn’t THAT different than one I’ve made before, but apple + cheddar in a panini is just goooood.

The Three Bite Rule - Apple Butter Panini

Ingredients:

4 slices of good bread
2 tbs apple or pumpkin butter (sub pumpkin puree if you don’t find one of the butters)
2 tbs stone ground mustard
3 slices sharp white cheddar
2 slices of American cheese
1 green apple, sliced

Directions:

Preheat the panini press, grill pan, or griddle to medium heat.
Assemble the sandwiches with apple butter on one side and mustard on the other. Top with cheese, apple, and other cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Butter Panini
Spray the panini press with non-stick spray or a brush of olive oil.
Cook about 4 minutes, or until cheese melts and outside gets crisp.
Slice & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Butter Panini
I can’t believe I forgot to put the bacon in it. That’s such a great touch on the panini from the restaurant. I think it was still good. The apple butter was so great with crisp apples and melty cheese. I think that a little bit of American cheese made this ohh-so-gooey and delicious.

Sweet Potato Apple Grilled Cheese

One minute fall is in the air and the next, it warms up to 70-degrees. Welcome to New England. I wanted some fall flavors for a night that was really quite warm. I decided to make a copy-cat Roxy’s Grilled Cheese. I used apple, sweet potato slices, and cheddar. Then I grilled it in brown butter. Hello. This is what dreams are made of.

The Three Bite Rule - Fall Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

Sharp cheddar cheese
sweet potato, cooked and sliced
apple, sliced
2 tbs butter, browned

Directions:

Layer the bread with cheese, apple, sweet potato, and another slice of cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Grilled Cheese
Brown the butter over low, being careful not to let it burn.
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Grilled Cheese
Pan fry the grilled cheese until very lightly tanned on each side. Then, spoon some brown butter onto the bread and flip the brown butter side down. Grill a few minutes, then repeat for the other side.
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Grilled Cheese
Give it a minute before slicing so all the cheese doesn’t escape.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Fall Grilled Cheese
I loved this. The brown butter really made a lovely touch…so worth it. I liked the apple crunch with the soft sweet potato and sharp cheddar. I’ll admit, some American Cheese would have been have been a good addition with the cheddar.

I will totally repeat this grilled cheese again this fall.

What I Ate: Angry Shrimp Wrap

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’m lacking on the eat-more-fish goal this year. Baby steps…speaking of, the baby is trying to take some steps. For this quickie we did a his/hers wraps. His was Chicken Caesar and hers was Buffalo Shrimp! I liked this for a really quick, easily customizable dinner. Although it is a sandwich, it isn’t your average lunch-box option.
The Three Bite Rule - Angry Shrimp

Ingredients:

burrito-size tortilla
lettuce/tomato/cucumber/pickles as you wish
~6 medium shrimp, pealed & deveined
4 tbs buffalo sauce
2 tbs blue cheese dressing

Directions:

Prep the shrimp: peal, devein, defrost as necessary.
Heat a small skillet to medium low heat and add in the shrimp and buffalo sauce. Toss and cook until warmed through (if the shrimp are fully cooked – about 4 minutes) or until the shrimp cook through (if the shrimp are raw – 5-6 minutes).
The Three Bite Rule - Angry Shrimp
While the shrimp cooks in the buffalo sauce, prep the veggies.
Top the wrap with the veggies, shrimp, and a drizzle of blue cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Angry Shrimp
Wrap & enjoy!

This was pretty basic, as in simple…not being “basic”. Don’t even get me started with PSL and being “basic”. Such a lame descriptor.

This was tasty and just what I wanted. Again, not rocket-science, but this is real-life. It is definitely a whirl-wind to pick up the little dude at daycare, get home & see the pups, spoon feed the baby dinner, and then to know what’s up for adult dinner. It is a short window from 6-8pm to fit in baby playtime, dinnertime, bathtime, bottle & bed. Dinner sometimes just has to be dinner and this one hit the spot!

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?

Roasted Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries

One of the many perks of work is that we get scratch-made lunch everyday. It is family style and there’s salad. Every day! I know, so lucky! It is always a hot lunch but the other day, before the long weekend, we got some really amazing chicken salad. It was full of apples and dried cranberries. I put mine on top of my salad and was loving it. I was eating thinking,

“this is just so good.”
“I love the add-ins. I could make this.”
“I should make this.”

My sis brought over dinner of a roasted chicken with a Caesar salad kit for the perfect instant dinner. I used some leftovers for this chicken salad and it wasn’t just any chicken salad. You’re bananas if you think I would ever put celery into my chicken salad. Blech. This one gets crunch from radishes and some sweetness from dried blueberries.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries

Ingredients:

(for 1 serving)
1-2 slices of a roasted chicken, chopped
1 radish
2 tbs dried blueberries
1-2 tbs mayo
splash of milk

Directions:

Chop the radish into a fine dice
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries
In a bowl, add the chicken, radish, blueberries (and walnuts would be good!)
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries
Mix in a small amount of mayo and stir to combine. Add the splash of milk to ensure it is wet enough. Then add more mayo, if needed.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries
Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Enjoy!

I put some on a sandwich loaded with arugula. Use good mayo for his. I like The Ojai Cook’s Lemonaise. The blueberries provide a sweet chewiness. My radish was from the farmers market. Those are zesty! Radishes from the grocery store have nowhere near the same flavor. It added the perfect zip and crunch. I didn’t have any apples and was using what I had on hand. The radish was my stroke of genius for the day.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries

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.

Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

I love a meat-less meal into my weekly meal planning for ease, since they tend to be faster meals, and for cost, since they tend to be cheaper meals too. Breaded eggplant is one of my favorite Trader Joe’s freezer items. I popped a few into the toaster oven while I got the rest of this quick sandwhiches ready for the taste of a slow cooked eggplant parmesan dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches

Ingredients:

breaded eggplant (about 2-3 slices of eggplant per sandwich)
1 cup tomato sauce
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
4 rolls or slices of focaccia

Directions:

Bake the eggplant at 400-degrees until crisp and warmed through.
Spread the ricotta onto the bottom roll halfs, then top with eggplant.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches
Top the eggplant with slices of mozzarella and bake for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches
Spread tomato sauce onto the top rolls and sprinkle with parmesan. Close up the sandwiches and bake for 5 minutes at 400-degrees to warm everything.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches
Enjoy!

I have a serious love affair with ricotta and I think that’s what helps this sandwich really feel like a long baked eggplant parm dinner. The focaccia rolls were so good for this. I have a few more in the freezer and will have to think about their next use.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches
I paired these quickie sandwiches with some salad and had a great dinner ready in no time. These sandwiches would be a good use for any leftover fresh mozzarella or ricotta you have. Or asiago or provolone would be great too.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches

Ultimate BLT Panini

There are only so many variations on a BLT that I can share (like this Avocado BLT, or this BLT Burger, or this BLT Scallop Pizza, or this BLT Pasta Salad, or Bacon Jam BLT Pizza) but I panini-ified my BLT and splurged on good ingredients to make it a dinner. I went all out on thickcut, pepper-crusted bacon. Think expensive bacon. I mean, it was dinner, so the pricey stuff was worth it.

The Three Bite Rule - BLT Panini

Ingredients:

thick cut bacon, 3 slices per sandwich
oatmeal or sourdough bread
arugula
tomato
colby jack or sharp cheddar cheese
aoli/mayo (I used this!)/parmesan peppercorn dressing/honey mustard

Directions:

Bake the bacon slices in a 400-degree oven for 20-30 minutes on a cooling rack ontop of a baking sheet.
While the bacon is baking, spread the bread with mayo. Top the bread with the bacon. Load it up, this is a dinner sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Panini
Layer the sandwiches with arugula, and tomato.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Panini
Top with cheese and 2nd slice of bread. Preheat the panini press, a grill pan, or a griddle.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Panini
Brush the bread/griddle/press with olive oil and grill the sandwiches until crisp and melted.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Panini
I liked this one a lot. I think the arugula and the peppery bacon were great touches to elevate this to a more special sandwich.  The greens need to be one that can stand getting warmed, like arugula or spinach. Regular lettuces would just get wilty. I liked this sandwich grilled. Toasty bread is my favorite and those grill lines are the best but melting the cheese and warming everything through took it from a toasted sandwich to a panini.

Do you ever bake your bacon? It keeps it flat, you don’t have spatters of bacon grease, and you don’t have to flip & babysit it. I don’t always bake it, but it is such a great method. Anytime I’m going to chop the bacon I do that before cooking it and then I can push it around the pan and just scoop with a slotted spoon instead of trying to keep it from curling up and cooking unevenly.

Meatball Panini

This week you may need a non-Thanksgiving-y meal and this is a great one to also not contribute to your leftovers.

The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
Ingredients: (for 2 sandwiches)
6-8 meatballs
2 tbs pesto
1 cup arugula, chopped
4 slices of provolone cheese
4 slices of wheat bread

Directions:
Cook or reheat the meatballs and slice.
Spread one side of each sandwich with pesto. Then layer on half the cheese and arugula.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
Add on the meatballs. Then top with remaining cheese.
Preheat a panini press, a grill pan, or a large skillet to medium-high heat.
Top the other slice of bread with marinara.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
Grill each panini (flip if using a skillet) until crisp on both sides.
Slice & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
I loved this one. I found some new chicken meatballs that were soooo good. They were such a find. I actually might whip up a bunch of these and freeze them to live in the freezer until I need an insta-dinner.