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 Lunch Box: Breakfast Burritos

Packing lunches takes a bit of preparation and when crowd-sourcing some ideas a while back, I was awe-inspired by breakfast foods! Duh! Yes, please! I whipped up a few breakfast burritos to see how I’d like them come lunch time. Spoiler:: they’re just what noontime wants. I should keep a few in the freezer for bfasts too. I often make burritos to freeze with leftover taco elements but I’ve been sleeping on the breakfast burrito game! These are perfect to customize. I used my fav Gardein meatless sausages {not sponsored} but the filling opportunities are endless – see the end for ideas!
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Burritos for Lunch

Breakfast Burritos w/ Sausage, Egg & Cheese

Ingredients: (for 2)

3 sausage patties (I used meatless)
4 eggs
2 burrito sized tortillas (flour are most durable for folding/freezing/microwaving but use what you like)
~1 cup shredded white cheddar
1 tablespoon everything Bagel seasoning (optional)

Directions:

Pan fry the sausage until cooked through, or as the package indicates.
While sausage is cooking, whisk together the eggs and cook gently in a pan over medium-low heat until set, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Note: I normally cook eggs with a splash of milk and really soft scramble them. For burritos, I didn’t want the eggs to be at all watery so I skipped the milk and cooked until a bit firmer than I normally do.) Let the eggs cool for a few minutes off the heat.
Lay out the tortillas and shred the cheese on top.
Cut the sausages into bite-size pieces and let cool a bit.
Add the eggs and sausage on top of the cheese. Then sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning, if using.
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Burritos for Lunch
Fold the sides of the burritos inward about 1-2 inches, then roll from the bottom towards the top tucking the sides in as you roll. (Here’s a video of the same way I do it)
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until serving. Microwave about 30 seconds to a minute, depending on that work microwave power! Then pop into a toaster oven if possible!
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Burritos for Lunch

Variations:
bacon, eggs, cheese
eggs, cheese, spinach & mushrooms
eggs, cheese, salsa, beans
eggs, cheese, homefries

These freeze well so make a bunch and spread them out to add more variety to your week! They are prob the easiest “batch” cooking ever and they don’t take up much freezer space. I love breakfast food and I never cook eggs on weekdays so these are a great idea for me! I appreciated a warm option come lunchtime. I’d lighten them up a bit for breakfast- 1 egg and 1 sausage patty is prob enough for the morning.

These are insanely cheap to make and have wayyyy fewer ingredients than the frozen ones sold. Wheat tortillas don’t seem to hold up as well but that’s a great substitution if you have some you like. Try include plant-based proteins. They’ve come a long way since 2008 when they were more available. I swear by Gardein {pulls out her soapbox}. Our whole fam love the meatless crumbles in tacos, the Szechuan beefless strips, the meatless meatballs, the turkey cutlets, and we have others to try. A fam of 4 skipping red meat one meal is as good for the planet as taking a car off the road for 3 months. That’s insane! Don’t get me started on how little recycling actually gets recycled so this is a really tangible way to have an impact on the environment, and these are truly flavorful replacements for meals you’re already familiar with.

I’d love love love to hear what you think!

Winter Veggie Grain Bowl

You know I loooove a grain bowl and this one was perfect for the season. It is totally vegetarian, nearly vegan, filling, fitting for the season and quick! Who doesn’t need more veggies and whole grains this time of year? The tart dried cranberries and the sweet honey mustard drizzle are ideal here. Making the farro in advance and par-roasting the veggies gives a great head start.

The Three Bite Rule - Winter Veggie Grain Bowl

Winter Veggie Grain Bowl

Ingredients: (serves 4)

1 cup dried farro
3 cups water or broth
1/2 butternut squash, pealed
1 zucchini
~2 cups mushrooms
~2 oz of sharp white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup honey mustard or balsamic reduction or spicy honey

Directions:

Add the farro and water/broth to a low boil. Cook for ~30 minutes until tender (or make in advance).
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
While the farro is cooking, peal and chop the butternut squash. Spread it out onto a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and bake.
Chop the zucchini and add to the sheet pan.
Bake for ~15 minutes, adding the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt & pepper to cook for the last five minutes.
Slice the cheese and break into crumbles.
Plate farro onto the bottom of the bowls or plates, top with veggies, then add dried cranberries and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Winter Veggie Grain Bowl
Drizzle with honey mustard. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Winter Veggie Grain Bowl
I really loved this one. The preschooler and toddler each loved it. The chewy farro has such texture with the roasted veggies. Swap the veggies for your fav and the drizzle of your choice. To me, the must haves here are the farro + dried cranberries + cheese. If meat is a must have, sausage or shredded roasted chicken would be good.

Butternut Squash & Cider Soup

Butternut squash soup seems like a fall a no-brainer. I wanted apple in there and was going to grate some into it, but then I couldn’t bear to undo how silky smooth it was. Then I went to apple cider. It was like pouring liquid gold in there! So good! This is vegetarian, almost dairy-free, and an easy one to prep and freeze, or to have the ingredients
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Cider Soup

Butternut Squash & Apple Cider Soup

Ingredients: (for ~3 servings)

1 squash (~3 cups of chopped squash)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup broth
3/4 cup apple cider
salt, pepper, and Parmesan for garnish

Directions:

Cook the butternut squash. (I pressured cooked mine according to the appliance’s instructions- I pealed it, scooped out the seeds, and chopped a bit.)
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Cider Soup
Cook until totally cooked through. (I cooked it in the pressure cooker with a little water for 4 minutes.)
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Cider Soup
In a large pot, cook the butter until it browns – just after it foams, watch it brown and then quickly remove the whole pot from the heat so it doesn’t burn. Quickly add in the squash, then the stock, and cook for about 10 minutes over low heat.
Remove from the heat and blend until smooth.
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Cider Soup
Add in the cider and cook for another 10 minutes.
Enjoy with a sprinkle of parmesan and some cracked black pepper and salt as desired.

I loved this! The brown butter and the apple cider make it so special. I had 2 meal-portions and another smaller portion I froze for another time. My butternut squash was pretty petite- moreso than a usual one.

The pressure cooker made this so fast and easy. It pulverized it, which was perfect for this case but not what I’d always want. My teething-1-year old might say something different though!
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Cider Soup

Not-your-average Spinach Strawberry Salad

Fruit in salad instantly elevates the salad. I wanted to uplevel the traditional spinach/strawberry/poppy seed salad by adding some cute tiny bowtie pasta and avocado. I used this balsamic fig dressing from Trader Joe’s but think shaking up some fig jam with some balsamic vinegar together in a jar would do the same thing!

The Three Bite Rule - Not Your Average Spinach Strawberry Salad

Not Your Average Spinach Strawberry Salad

Ingredients: (serves 2)

1 1/2 cups mini bow tie pasta
2 cups baby spinach
4-6 strawberries
1/2 avocado
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
2 tablespoons fig balsamic dressing (or 1 tbs fig jam and 1 tbs balsamic whisked together)

Directions:

Boil the pasta, cook, drain, and let cool.
Mix together the spinach, pasta, strawberries, avocado, pasta, and poppy seeds. Mix gently.
The Three Bite Rule - Not Your Average Spinach Strawberry Salad
Add in the dressing and mix again.
The Three Bite Rule - Not Your Average Spinach Strawberry Salad
This was a fun one! We thought red onion would have been tasty in here too. I allllmost swapped the poppy seeds for everything bagel seasoning but didn’t in the end. Some shredded chicken would add some protein to turn this into a substantial meal. Spinach is pretty delicate so keep the dressing separate until serving.

Farro & Arugula Salad with Blueberries & Watermelon

This salad lunch has all. the. things. After the buffalo chicken nachos, we were due for something healthier and summery, right? Balance is the name of the game.

It has a grain to be really filling and some greens for freshness and fruit for a pop of summer. I’m not enthused about meal-salads with just a bunch of greens. An hour later I’d be hungry.  I made a batch of farro to also use in a dinner and it could easily swap with brown rice, cracked wheat, lentils, quinoa, or whatever you like/have leftover! Swap the greens for your favorite too, the arugula just holds up so well.

This salad works great as a meal – mine was lunch, or it’d be a great side or even a snack for those times you’re starving and know you’d like to make a good choice.

The Three Bite Rule - Farro & Blueberry Salad

Farro & Arugula Salad with Summer Fruits

Ingredients: (for 1 meal or 2 sides)

3/4 cup prepared farro (or grain of your choosing)
1/2 cup blueberries
2 cups arugula (or greens of your choosing)
~2-3 slices of watermelon
2-3 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing (I used my fav Italian Dressing)

Directions:

Chop the watermelon into bite size pieces and the arugula just once through.
The Three Bite Rule - Farro & Blueberry Salad
Mix the farro, arugula, blueberries, and dressing to coat, then lightly toss in the watermelon.
The Three Bite Rule - Farro & Blueberry Salad
Enjoy!

This has great balance. I used allllll the arugula I had or I would have loaded in more. This was so fresh and actually filling. With so few ingredients this one is a winner to me. I’d pack this for lunch at work, keeping the watermelon & dressing separate until actually eating.  I really wanted radishes in here but I didn’t find any at the grocery store and my farmer’s market is just opening. That super crunch would be great! I purposely went meatless but I can’t help but think grilled chicken would go well too!
The Three Bite Rule - Farro & Blueberry Salad

 

Broccoli & Cheddar Puff Pastry Pinwheels

Anything inside puff pastry is delicious (and easy) but broccoli and cheddar are such an ideal match. I roasted the broccoli for those delicious roasty bits with some gooey cheddar. Yum. These were some lunches for me and I think they’d be a good brunch addition or a heavy app.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels

Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels

Ingredients:

1 sheet of puff pastry (sold in a tube by crescent rolls or folded frozen by pie crust)
1 large broccoli head
~1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 teaspoon Mushroom Umami seasoning (optional)
Salt & pepper

Directions:

(Defrost the puff pastry if frozen, or open to get to room temperature if using refrigerated dough)
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Chop the broccoli into florets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for ~10-15 minutes- until a little brown and toasted and cooked through.
While the broccoli roasts, roll out the dough. Spread cream cheese onto the dough, sprinkle cheddar on top, and add broccoli. Sprinkle with umami seasoning (if using).
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels
Roll up keeping the roll really compact.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels
Cut into 2 inch slices using a sharp or serrated knife to not squish the roll too much.
Place onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or start with the timing and temperature on the package. Add more time if needed to cook to golden brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels

Enjoy!

I loved these. The roasty broccoli is perfect and gives a nuttiness. They puff a bit while baking but aren’t enormous. I packed 2 to be lunch at work with some salad. Do not pack if microwaving these beauties. That would destroy all the crunch and microwaved broccoli is not good. Broccoli and cheddar puff pastry pinwheels neeeed to be baked or toasted to warm up. These could easily be dinner alongside something else or these would be great as an appetizer too!
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels

#Meatless Monday Recap #2

Back in January I instituted #MeatlessMondays into our weekly menu plan, though it isn’t always on Mondays. Since the last update, the name of the game is speed and ease. The little one is more into grains, veggies, pasta, and cheese than he is into meat at the moment so meatless is never a challenge for him.

Some of my favs have been the no-brainers, because that’s helpful for speed now that I’m verrrrry pregnant. I followed a few recipes that were great! I made a Roasted Veggie Lasagna from What’s Gaby Cooking with a cream sauce and I roasted butternut squash, zucchini, and grape tomatoes as the veggies.  Another recipe we loved was Peanut Rice Noodle Bowls with Curried Peanut Sauce from Eats Well With Others.

I made Tomato Basil Polenta Bowls with White Beans and it was so good!
The Three Bite Rule - Tomato Basil Polenta Bowls

We had a white french bread pizza and risotto and ravioli which are all fan favorites here.

This Tart with Potatoes, Gruyere, and Caramelized Onions was a hit for me, less so for everyone else.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart
I put chopped veggie burgers into tacos with a little taco seasoning and voila, veggie & filling taco!

We had a few soups: Broccoli & Cheddar Soup  and grilled cheese with tomato soup.

One of the most fun meatless meals I made was waffle fry nachos with queso, avocado, shredded cheddar, peppers & onions, and salsa. So fun!

I’m fully willing to admit that my meatless meals are also serving us as the no-brainers I really appreciate to keep it easy. I’m 34 weeks pregnant and through my entire pregnancy I’m not “glowing” or whatever people say who enjoy this. I’m glad to get meals together quickly so we can all eat together, and keep it varied. They might not all be my most creative moments, but it is a good way to keep us varied.

Potatoes, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Tart

Call it a galette and feel fancy or call it a tart and feel cute. Either way, this sucker was delicious. I used sweet potatoes, white potatoes, gruyere cheese, and caramelized onions tucked inside a not-fussy crust. This #MeatlessMonday plan was hatched when I was inspired after seeing some other posts around like a flaky crust when Eats Well With Others posted a galette with Asparagus & Gruyere  and I wanted all the cheese and potatoes when Bev Cooks posted these Cheesy Skillet Potatoes.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart

We ate this on a drizzly night with a quick arugula salad. It absolutely hit the spot for me. The cheese is the perfect splurge and has perfect nutty meltyness for this. The rest of this is so super cheap so go for the good cheese! Shred it yourself, or slicing/dicing it is fine too!

Potato, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Tart

Ingredients: (for 1 small tart, feeds ~3 for a meal, or ~6 for a side)

1 sheet pie crust (mine was a roll defrosted from the freezer)
1/2 – 1 small onion
1 sweet potato
1 white potato
~4 oz/1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (sometimes labeled Alpine style if not imported from Switzerland/France)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon each rosemary, thyme, garlic powder
salt & pepper

Directions:

Bring the pie crust to room temperature.
Slice the onion and add to a skillet over low heat with a drizzle of olive oil/butter. Stir regularly and cook for ~30 minutes until caramelized. (I did this the night before).
Peel the potatoes and cut in thirds. Boil for ~5-8 minutes, until the outsides are getting soft but not cooked all the way through. Then slice into thin disks. A mandolin made this faster (that was my tactic). Or, peel and slice into thin disks and roast in the oven for ~10-20 minutes at 350-degrees.
While the potatoes cook, shred the cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart
Melt the butter and mix in the rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and salt & pepper.
Spread out the pie crust onto a sheet of parchment paper, baking mat, or baking sheet well sprayed with non-stick spray.
Leaving 1-2 inches around the outside, layer half of the potato slices, half the cheese, and a quarter of the onions. Sprinkle cheese over and drizzle half the butter/herb mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart
Repeat for another layer reserving a few potato slices to be the very top.
Working around the tart, fold crust inward then turn and fold more crust inward and repeat all the way around.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart
Bake 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees. (I baked ~20 minutes when prepping in advance and baked another 10-15 before serving.)
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart
Let sit for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart

I prepped this in advance, I know, story of my life. It comes together quickly but getting home on a weeknight with a toddler and two hungry dogs means dinner is really nice when mindless. I baked 20 minutes when I prepped it and another 15 to heat through before serving. I literally partially baked it and kept it on the parchment and covered it in the fridge for the day. Then I uncovered it and slid the parchment back onto a baking sheet that night.

Should we do a cost breakdown? Let’s! I haven’t in forever!

Cost Breakdown (for what was used)

Potato, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Tart
1 frozen sheet pie crust = $1.59
onion = $0.89
white potato = $0.75
sweet potato = $1.10
Gruyere = $5.99 (used half) $2.99
= $7.32 or ~$2.44 for about 3 servings

Does that sell you on making this for dinner or your next gathering? It is so cheap!

Marsala Mushroom Toasts

I’m back! I had a few dishes I wanted to make and blog last week but I didn’t quite get to them. Now they’re all ready so buckle up! Today’s toasts were such a fantastic and balanced lunch and would also be great on little toasts for an appetizer.
The Three Bite Rule - Marsala Mushroom Toasts

Marsala Mushroom Toasts

Ingredients: (for 2)

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons marsala wine
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 slices of thickly sliced bread
1 cup greens, chopped (I used a spinach & kale “juicing blend”)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 teaspoons ricotta (or cream cheese)
salt & pepper

Directions:

Heat a pan to medium heat and melt the butter. Add in the mushrooms and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Stir to caramelize on each side for about 3 minutes. Add in the marsala and worcestershire sauce. Stir until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Marsala Mushroom Toasts
Toast the bread, ensuring it gets brown but soft enough to bite through. Bake in the oven if making a whole batch.
While the bread toasts, remove the mushrooms from the pan and use the same one for the greens. Saute the greens in a drizzle of oil for about 2-3 minutes with the garlic and some salt until just wilted then remove from the heat.
Spread the ricotta onto the toast, then add greens, then add mushrooms.
The Three Bite Rule - Marsala Mushroom Toasts
Finish with kosher salt, sea salt, or a drizzle of oil. I had truffle sea salt.
Enjoy!

The marsala flavor here was so great with garlicky greens, and creamy ricotta. I liiiiive for ricotta but if it isn’t your jam, go for cream cheese, or goat cheese, or whatever you like. Any kind of mushrooms would be great here. Marsala could get swapped with cooking sherry or a touch of balsamic vinegar- go for big flavor, the mushrooms will soak it up with the butter. Yum! I had this for lunch but would also go for a little more subtle flavors to be a fun savory breakfast too.

This was a great little lunch using a bunch of ingredients I already had around. The greens are a mix I use for smoothies. Once they’re on the verge of hanging out in the fridge too long I pop them into the freezer. Then I break them off in chunks. I found really awesome rosemary olive oil bread in the discount area so I knew it had to be toasts. Earlier I took the little one to the zoo and had a banana and cheese stick at our zoo picnic so when I got home I was ready for something more.