Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes

Why have I never stuffed a tomato before! I do not love stuffed peppers – the idea is great, but I’m never that into them. Risotto stuffed tomatoes are delightful! I also used grocery store tomatoes and saved great garden ones for raw eating!
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes

Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 shallot or 1/4 of an onion
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 cup broth/wine/water (liquid amount should be what the arborio rice dictates + add some salt if not using broth)
2 teaspoons pesto
4 small tomatoes, insides scooped out
1 cup white cheddar, shredded
1 tablespoon parmesan (optional)

Directions:

Prepare the risotto with the shallot/onion, rice, and broth/wine/water combo and add in the tomato centers and juice- I used the pressure cooker, or cook it on on the stove top.
When it is cooked through, stir in the cheese and the pesto.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes
Sprinkle the hollowed tomatoes with salt and pepper then spoon the risotto into them. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan- or more cheddar.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes
Put the tops back on and bake for 10-15 minutes- until the tomatoes are cooked through and the outside is soft (like soft enough to tip over!)
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Risotto Stuffed TomatoesEnjoy!

We had these with grilled Italian sausages and green beans- and we had some additional unstuffed risotto. They were so good and a great change for us! A great big heirloom tomato with lots more risotto would be delicious! Or try it into a half of a zucchini- also with the flesh scooped out and cooked into the risotto.

No pesto? Add in a sprinkle of herbs. Or cook with a few glugs of white wine (1/4 cup). Or a few tablespoons of tomato sauce. Just be sure you add something with flavor. Stuff your fav other favorite grain instead or speed it up with couscous or orzo!

Lettuce-less Salad Series: Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Sauce

This salad is a great side or it eats like a meal too. It miiiight not be the most picturesque but I couldn’t not share it. Think crunchy purple cabbage and carrots with peanut sauce and some shredded chicken- or skip the chicken. Either way, it is great and so fast.
The Three Bite Rule - Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Sauce

Cabbage & Carrot Slaw with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients: (for ~4-5 as sides, or ~2 as a meal)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 inch grated ginger
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
2 large carrots, shredded
~1 cup roasted chicken, shredded (optional)

Directions:

Shake the sauce together in a jar (or whisk together in a bowl) the soy sauce, peanut butter, ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Refrigerate until serving or make and serve.
Mix the cabbage and the carrot.
Drizzle in the peanut sauce and mix well. Add in the chicken – if using- and stir gently.
The Three Bite Rule - Cabbage Slaw with Peanut SauceEnjoy!

I loved this! Know that brown sauce – like peanut sauce – is not beautiful but so tasty. We had it with sesame noodles and edamame- that’s on the regular rotation here. This slaw was great for a crunch and for the peanut flavor. My 5-year-old pb lover liked it and ate a bunch. My ~2-year-old pb lover only ate a little.

There you have it, my salads without lettuce:
this cabbage and carrot slaw with peanut sauce
Watermelon Mint Salad
Peach, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

Lettuce-less Salad Series: Peach & Mozzarella Salad

July brings us a lettuce-less salad series! Lettuce is often my least fav part of salad and my kids are not so into lettuce- maybe for the texture? This salad is all summer with peach, fresh mozzarella, tomato, and cucumber with balsamic reduction. When I say peach, I often mean nectarine but you do you. This was a hit for all of us! It may have turned Mr. J onto nectarines!

The Three Bite Rule - Peach & Mozzarella Salad

Peach, Mozzarella & Tomato Salad

Ingredients: (for 4)

1 peach/nectarine
1 8 oz fresh mozzarella ball
1 cup grape tomatoes
2/3 of a cucumber
1 tablespoon balsamic reduction

Directions:

Chop the peach, mozzarella, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach & Mozzarella Salad
Mix and drizzle with balsamic reduction.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach & Mozzarella SaladEnjoy!

If making it ahead of time, chop only the peach, tomatoes and cucumbers. Then chop the mozzarella and drizzle just before serving. Mini mozzarella balls would work well for this too!

The flavors and textures here are so perfect for summer. We ate it as a side with dinner and all of us loved it- we’re very into nectarines right now! I bought balsamic reduction since we’ll eat it a lot this summer and it just makes life a little easier but it is also so simple to make. Just bring balsamic vinegar to a boil and simmer for ~10 minutes until thickened. Then cool before using. That’s an easier way to have a smaller amount too.

I have a few more lettuce-less salads coming. Stay tuned!

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