Risotto with Grilled Asparagus

For my restaurant recreation this month, I was inspired by a lobster & asparagus risotto dish at Davio’s but I wanted to make it at home. It also served as a reminder that risotto doesn’t only have to be winter food. With Mr. J’s new grill, this still allowed him to fill his grilling quota with the asparagus. Seriously, he wants to grill bfast/lunch/din.

I made this as a his/hers dinner that he had with steak and I had with lobster. The lobster wasn’t real so it was perfect to use in a cooked dish. I think I’ll use the remainder into some lobster mac & cheese.

The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Asparagus Risotto

Ingredients:

1/2 white onion, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup water
1 cup broth
1 cup white wine
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbs grated Parmesan
1 bunch asparagus
lobster or steak

Directions:

In a large saucepan, saute the onion in some olive oil over medium heat until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add in the rice and stir regularly for a few minutes to toast it, then reduce heat to medium low.
In a medium saucepan, heat the water, broth, wine, and mustard to low heat.
Add a ladle of liquid to the rice until absorbed. Continue adding, stirring, and simmering until absorbed. Then adding the next ladle-ful in.
The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Asparagus Risotto
Grill the asparagus.
The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Asparagus Risotto
Chop into 1-inch sections.
Cook the lobster in butter and/or grill the steak.
Gently fold in the asparagus and Parmesan into the risotto.
The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Asparagus Risotto
Gently fold in the lobster meat.
The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Asparagus Risotto
Serve and enjoy!

Mr. J’s was asparagus topped with some grilled steak.
The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Asparagus Risotto
I liked the charred bits of the asparagus and I was careful to not overmix the asparagus. I didn’t want the pieces to be decimated or to lose all the grill marks into a blackened risotto!

The risotto was creamy and perfect. I think cooking it over medium-low heat is the ticket. If it is at a higher temp it really gets sticky versus creamy. It takes just a bit of patience, and about 25 min of cook time, but if somebody wants to keep an eye on it while the asparagus is grilling, it works out just fine. Or grill the asparagus first and let it hang out while cooking the risotto.

I could substitute grilled shrimp, or even salmon flaked apart, or grilled sausage…endless possibilities without even turning on the oven!

Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans

I was so excited about this meal! Maybe because it ended up all coming together so easily, but also because it was exactly what I wanted. I wasn’t going to blog it, but then sometimes I skip blogging one and it is really worthy of sharing. Deleting unused photos is easier than wishing I had snapped some pics. This is precisely the food I want to eat. The sides complimented the protein nicely and they weren’t just filler…they were flavorful and nice additions to the meal.

The Three Bite Rule - Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans
Mr. J got a new grill after MUCH deliberation. Now we are grilling machines and I feel like I need to up my side-dish game! The spice rub is adapted from the Essentials of Grilling by Williams Sonoma. Do not swap the chicken thighs for breasts. Trust me. Chicken thighs are how chicken is supposed to taste. They’re juicy and flavorful and ohh-so-good.

Ingredients:

3 chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
1 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs dried rosemary
1 tbs dried fennel, crushed
1 tbs dried oregano
salt & pepper
1/2 white onion, diced
1 tbs butter
1 can white beans
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbs chives, diced (or fresh parsley or oregano)
1 lemon

Directions:

Mix the dried herbs with salt and pepper. Pour the garlic and oil onto the chicken and then coat in the herbs.
The Three Bite Rule - Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans
Set aside while the grill heats up.
In a medium pot over medium-low heat, cook the onion and butter until translucent and soft. Drain and rinse the white beans before adding them to the onions. Add in the broth and cook for about 5 minutes at a low simmer.
Cook the chicken on the grill, flipping and ensuring it cooks through.
Reduce the temperature of the beans to low and add in the chives. Cook for another 5 minutes then turn off the heat but cover until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans
When the chicken is mostly cooked, squeeze half the lemon over it and grill the other half of the lemon.
Serve the chicken with the grilled lemon. Enjoy!

I loooved this. This is what I like to eat. The herbs were distinct and flavorful but not too much. I never use fennel but love the flavor and then that lemon. It really brightened everything up and was a nice contrast. I liked the smokiness it got and how juicy it got on the grill!
The Three Bite Rule - Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans
I served some quick marinated cucumbers and the beans were so good that now I want beans with every meal! This dinner was filling but didn’t leave me feeling grossly stuffed. I felt like we were dining in Tuscany, or what I think of as Tuscany. I’ll just need to get there to know for sure ;)

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

Zucchini Risotto Boats

This isn’t going to be my signature dish. Really. I’m not being modest. This wasn’t great and I’m not sure where it went wrong. That can be where you come in…Thoughts? Suggestions?

I saw this on the menu of Local 149 (and it is still on their menu) so people must like it, right?

The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:

2 zucchinis
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup broth (chicken or veggie)
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
shredded mozzarella or Parmesan to sprinkle over the top

Directions:

Prepare the risotto: toast the rice; warm the broth with the wine together; incrementally add the liquid to the rice until absorbed and continue adding until the rice is fully cooked.
While the risotto cooks, preheat the oven to 375-degrees, half the zucchinis, and place skin-side down on a baking sheet.
Bake the zucchini for 15 minutes.
Add in Parmesan, chopped parsley, salt and pepper to the risotto and remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
Remove the zucchini from the oven and scrape out the inside fleshy part of the zucchini to form the boats.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
Chop up the inner fleshy parts and add to the risotto.
Spoon the risotto into the boats.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
Bake for 10 minutes, then top with shredded Parmesan or mozzarella.
Return to the oven until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
I thought this would be so good! It was OK. It wasn’t great. I served it alongside some chicken sausage and dinner just seemed lackluster. I like the risotto. I didn’t really care that cutting the zucchini meant the risotto sort of fell out. The zucchini seemed like a good texture. The risotto wasn’t the creamiest I’ve ever made, but it tasted good.

It wasn’t like I had an amazing dish I’m comparing to from a great chef. What gives? Am I just being nitpicky? They just don’t always turn out the way you plan. I cut my losses and tossed the leftovers when I accepted that we wouldn’t choose them amongst treasures in the fridge. I’ve been all about the bass desserts lately and I’ve been taking in the plethora of Christmas movies on TV so my spirits stayed merry & bright despite a dinner disappointment.

Roasted Beets and Potatoes

I like beets but I really never make them. I think I like them when somebody makes them for me ;)

I mean, the grocery store sells so many ridiculously prepared things yet not roasted beets. It isn’t rocket science to roast them, but trying not to stain my hands, clothes, cutting boards while also not bringing the kitchen temperature to 1000 degrees.

I hadn’t decided what I wanted to do with some beets from the farmer’s market. Off to pinterest! I found The Heritage Cook’s beets and potatoes and thought it was a great combo. I thought it was a great starting point for me. I added the mustard and lemon juice to wake up the flavors and keep it fresh tasting.

Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule

Ingredients:

3 beets
2 potatoes
1 sweet potato
3 tbs melted butter
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbs chopped garlic
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp chopped chives
1/4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Trim the beet greens off the beet and rinse well.
Rub with olive oil and loosely wrap in aluminum foil. Roast for 40 minutes. Poke with a fork to check if they are cooked through. Let cool to room temperature.

Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
Quarter the potatoes, then boil the potatoes until cooked most of the way through.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to rub the skin off. Then chop into quarters.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
Heat a large heavy skillet to medium high heat.
Whisk together melted butter, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, dried rosemary, salt, & pepper.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
Add the potatoes to the hot pan and the whisked dressing. Cook for 5 minutes to crisp the potatoes.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
Remove the potatoes from the heat, into a large bowl. Add the beets. Pour the remaining liquid over the bowl and toss once. (Tossing too much will make everything beet-colored pink.)
Sprinkle in the fresh herbs.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
This was good and paired well with a grilled pork chop. I didn’t want it to be too fall-feeling. Originally I was going to grill the potatoes, but I usually cook them a bit first. I cooked them a bit too much to then grill. I didn’t want them to fall apart, so I added them all to the skillet.

The sweet potato with the beets with the potato all complimented each other.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule

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.

Zucchini Fritters

Years ago, I did a post of these fritters using summer squash. They were due for a re-do, this time they’re back to classic zucchini. I love them as a side dish and haven’t made them in a really long time. I made enough for dinner and lunch with just 1 zucchini.

The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients:

1 large zucchini
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1 tbs garlic, chopped
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs or panko
1 tsp flour
1/4 cup parmesan cheese or feta
salt & pepper

Directions:

Grate the zucchini then press excess liquid out either through a mesh strainer or towels.
Add zucchini, onion, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, flour, cheese, salt and pepper to a large bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Fritters
Mix together. It should be sticky. If too wet, try adding more breadcrumbs/flour/cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Fritters
Heat a large pan with vegetable oil to medium heat. (or preheat an oven to 375 degrees to bake. Bake 20-30 minutes until golden brown)
Test the oil temp by dropping just a shred of zucchini in to see it sizzle.
Spoon 2-3 tbs of the mixture into the oil to fry. Let it cook on the first side for about 5 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Fritters

Flip to cook on the other side for about 4 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Fritters
Remove from the heat and let rest on a paper towel for any excess oil.
Enjoy!

I love these as a side. They go with anything. We grilled some pork chops and had these on the side. Othertimes I’ve had them alongside a salad for a filling meatless meal.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Fritters

Suggested adaptations:

zucchini fritters – Parmesan + feta + artichoke hearts = Greek zucchini fritters
zucchini fritters + chopped tomatoes/sundried tomatoes + basil = summery zucchini fritters
zucchini fritters + shredded potato = lighter potato cake fritter

German Burgers & Parmesan Truffle Fries

I was worried I wouldn’t come up with a birthday burger theme for Mr. J. It is now a tradition and I’ve made a bunch of burgers in between, so I wasn’t sure what this year would be. Ms. L is to thank for this one. The German burger all starts with the pretzel rolls.

The Three Bite Rule - German Burgers

In 2013 it was a Vermont Burger
In 2012 it was a Bacon Wrapped Burger
In 2011 it was a Stuffed Burger

German Burger

Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground beef/chicken/pork
1 -2 tsp prepared horseradish
salt & pepper
1/4 of a white onion, cut into slices
2 pretzel rolls
2 slices swiss cheese
2 tbs ground mustard
2 sliced pickles, or pickle chips

Directions:

Mix together the ground meat, horseradish, salt and pepper. Then form into patties.
Heat up the grill, or a grill pan.
In  a small pan, caramelize some onions over medium-low heat.
Grill the burgers until cooked to your liking adding the cheese at the end.
Top the pretzel rolls and burgers with mustard, caramelized onions, and some thin sliced pickles.
The Three Bite Rule - German Burgers
This burger was really good. The pickles and the horseradish gave it a little kick, the creamy mustard and the caramelized onions added a touch of sweetness. It was a good one! I wasn’t sure how strong the horseradish would seem after being cooked, so I went easy on it. You could always add it as a topping too!
The Three Bite Rule - German Burgers

Next came the side. I realized parmesan truffle fries were just so easy and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t ever made them before! I kept it easy using frozen fries and they were tossed together in just a few minutes.

Parmesan Truffle Fries

Ingredients:

2 “handfulls” of fries
2 tbs grated Parmesan
1 tbs truffle oil
salt & pepper

Directions:

Bake the fries according to the package.
Remove from the oven and toss with salt and pepper.
Then add parmesan & truffle oil.
The Three Bite Rule - German BurgersToss gently to coat.

This is how to eat fries. I love truffle oil and the parmesan is a great salty balance. I chopped up a tiny bit of chives for a little fresh/oniony flavor.

Tortellini Salad with Spinach & Tomatoes

This tortellini salad could easily be a side dish but this ended up as the whole meal one warm night. It is addictive and packs a fresh and flavorful bite after bite after bite.

The Three Bite Rule - Tortellini Salad

Ingredients:

9 oz cheese tortellini
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups baby spinach leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup cheddar
1 tbs creamy Caesar dressing

Directions:

Boil salted water and cook the tortellini according to the package.
Let cool, and toss with Italian dressing. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight. I did this much before work.
The Three Bite Rule - Tortellini Salad
Stir in tomatoes, spinach, cheddar, and creamy dressing.
Salt & pepper to taste.
The Three Bite Rule - Tortellini Salad

I loved the juicy tomatoes adding a bit more moisture to this. The spinach acted like an herb while providing the benefit of vitamin A & vitamin C. The cheese was subtle but a great bite behind the freshness of everything else.

This was a great one-bowl-wonder dinner. It hit a few food groups and was suuuuper easy.

The Three Bite Rule - Tortellini Salad