Southwestern Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties

These sweet potato patties were served at work for lunch and I knew I had to recreate at home. They can easily be a veggies burger, or bake them up as little patties or balls and nobody will even cringe thinking they’re eating a veggie burger! haha just kidding. Well, maybe kidding. If you’re comparing these buggers to a burger, they will definitely not seem the same. If you’re into sweet/smokey flavors then these will be a hit. The chef at work used this recipe from Minimalist Baker. I tweaked mine slightly for a bit more of a southwestern twist.

The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties
I mixed up a big batch and Mr. J and I ate them in ball form over salad, the little one munched his in pieces. I formed a few into patties and froze them for another time. I baked them all and just turned a few times for a crisp exterior. Yum.

based on Minimalist Baker’s recipe
Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes
1-1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 can black beans
3/4 cup corn
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
drizzle with sour cream/salsa/liquid smoke as dressing

Directions:
Boil/bake/microwave sweet potatoes until fully cooked.
Cook the rice.
Rinse the beans. Add half into a bowl and mash with the back of the spoon. Then add in the other half of the beans and the rice goes in.

The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Add the cooked sweet potatoes and corn, then cilantro, paprika, cumin, finally chili powder. Mix well (I used my stand mixer but a spoon would be fine too). Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a splash of liquid smoke and mix again.
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties
Form into patties, burgers, or balls. Then bake on a sprayed baking sheet for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
spot_patties_big_590_390
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties

I love the smokey flavors from the paprika, cumin, and liquid smoke. The corn and cilantro seem quite fitting here without quite being a taco salad. I kept the same flavors going with a little smokey dressing of sour cream, salsa, and liquid smoke. and tossed together some greens, tomato, and avocado.
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties
These are good on their own or on salad, or I’d totally warm in the toaster oven and then pop a patty into a pita pocket. I’m glad to have a few more stashed in the freezer. Coming up with lunches for the babe that can be eaten cold and to keep some variety takes some thought. The babe liked them and had his just alongside some chopped tomatoes & avocado. I appreciated how filling they were and I threw a bag of instant brown rice in the boiling water with the sweet potatoes. Boom. 2 foods, one pot.

Caesar Brussels Sprouts

My side dishes tend to be really supporting characters rather than the blog-worthy item. Until now! I saw a recipe for caesar green beans and thought it would be even better for brussels spouts since the leaves would hold the sauce so well.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

2 cups brussels sprouts, shredded
1 tbs butter
1/4 cup creamy Caesar dressing
1 tsp grated Parmesan

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter while chopping the brussels sprouts.
Sear the brussels spouts to gently brown, stirring well. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium.
Add in the caesar dressing reducing the heat to low.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Brussels Sprouts
Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Brussels Sprouts
Sprinkle with Parmesan then serve & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Brussels Sprouts
These were really addictive. We served them with some marinated grilled chicken.

Mexican Street Corn

Ok folks. You haaaave to make this. I’ve had Mexican street corn, Elotes, and wanted to try making some myself. It is normally on the cob but now that we’re out of that season, I wanted to make some as a side dish. It is such great flavor of sweet corn, salty cheese, lime juice, and a creaminess that is ohh so good. We ate this as a side dish for a fiesta dinner but it’d be fun as a dip too. Or in tacos! (or by the spoonful).

I skipped the jalapeno not wanting this to be too spicy for my crowd. I don’t know that it needs it, so do as you wish!
The Three Bite Rule - Mexican Street Corn
Ingredients:
12 oz white & golden corn
1/2 lime
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cotija cheese or feta (I don’t have cotija at my grocery store so I used feta)
1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 jalapeno pepper (optional)

Directions:
Cook the corn according to the package. (I used frozen corn).
Mix together the lime juice, mayo, garlic, chili powder, and some lime zest.
The Three Bite Rule - Mexican Street Corn
Add a splash of milk if it seems to thick, or mix it with the corn and then add if necessary.
The Three Bite Rule - Mexican Street Corn
Mix the dressing with the corn and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Mexican Street Corn
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Mexican Street Corn
I really loved this. So did the whole fam! It had a great flavor and texture. It was really great alongside our tacos. I admit I scooped with chips but with salsa and guacamole, I’d still keep this as a side dish. It was a winner and so quick. I’ll totally make this again…asap.

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.

Pear & Feta Flatbreads

I’ve never loved quick dinners as much as I do right now. Get ready for lots this month & next! These are super quick and could be adapted in any way that strikes you. I was really wanting the combo of sweet pear & salty feta. While Mr. J and I ate this for dinner, the little one eat some pear pieces! Perfect!
The Three Bite Rule - Pear & Feta Flatbreads

I grabbed naan which make for the best pre-made crust option and realized that not only do meatless meals make dinner come together faster, but cheaper. Win win! Check out the cost below. Spoiler: it is staggeringly awesome.

Ingredients:

2 naan (white, wheat, garlic all work great)
1 pear
1/4 red onion
1/2 cup feta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, or until syrupy. Then remove from the heat.
Chop the onion and saute over medium heat in just a little olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add pear to the onion for either just a minute to warm or 3 minutes to cook/soften as needed. (Don’t cook too long or you’ll have pear mush!)
The Three Bite Rule - Pear & Feta Flatbreads
Put the naan onto a cookie sheet and top with mozzarella, then onion & pear mixture. Then bake for 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pear & Feta Flatbreads
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with feta. Then drizzle balsamic reduction over.
The Three Bite Rule - Pear & Feta Flatbreads
Enjoy!

I loved this combo. These are such easy ingredients to have around and can be your starting point. For me, it was an easy few-ingredient meal. It has potential to be whatever you’re in the mood for.

Cost Breakdown:
Pear & Feta Flatbread (cost per quantity used)
naan: $3
pear: $0.75
feta: $2.50
total: $6.25 for 2, $3.12 each!

I overestimated the feta. I used really little so this could even cost less. Grab the feta from the salad bar if you won’t use the leftovers. It lasts quite awhile or use the remainder for Peach & Feta Salad or Quinoa Bowls or this quick Greek Dip with Hummus or Greek Meatball Wraps.

Panzanella

This panzanella is the salad that can be dinner on its own, or for me, it was just part of a crazy salad night for dinner. I liked the crouton-ish part of this salad, and sometimes any salad without greens if a more-fun one for me. I don’t know that I’d make it all that often, but on a hot night panzanella hits the spot. Now, I just need the bigger tomatoes in the garden to ripen up. We’ve gotten some cherry tomatoes but the bigger ones are still green so I bought the tomatoes for this salad.

The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella

Ingredients:

2 cups cubed & dried bread
2 large tomatoes
1/2 large cucumber
1 yellow/orange bell pepper
1/4 red onion
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbs red wine vinegar
splash of lemon juice
salt & pepper

Directions:

Chop up the tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and red onion. Let the onion soak for about 5 minutes in some cold water so they mellow out a bit.
The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella
Heat a large skillet to medium-low heat with about 2 tbs of olive oil.
Drop the bread in and toss it around to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes until it gets just a little golden and a little crusty.
In a glass jar, add in the garlic, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Shake it up!
The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella
Toss the veggies, bread, and some dressing together.
The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella
Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, then add more dressing if needed. Enjoy!

If the tomatoes or cukes are really juicy you might not need any more dressing. I used just enough to get it all tossed – maybe half? Then another little splash before serving. I liked the bread getting a little crisp first and then soaking a bit of the dressing. I didn’t want it completed soaked and falling apart. The dressing takes 2 seconds and is an easy one to use again on any salad or adding some herbs to make it a marinade.

The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella
I don’t know that I’d make this all the time, but it was a great use for some leftover really good bread. I served it on a night of two unusual salads (the other being watermelon, feta & arugula) with grilled sausage. It probably didn’t really get to shine because I was sooo into the watermelon/feta/arugula salad.

The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon & Feta Salad
Have you ever soaked onions? It is great for a raw use so they don’t overpower everything else. They maintain the crunch and some flavor but they won’t be the only taste in there.

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!

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.

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

Beet & Sweet Potato Flatbread

With spring in full bloom I wanted to make a flatbread to highlight veggies for a lighter/meatless meal. I also am crazed at work getting ready for my big event this week. This insta-dinner taking only a few minutes to throw together was ideal. With the babe at daycare and both Mr. J and I back to work, we’re getting into the new routine.

The Three Bite Rule - Beet & Sweet Potato Flatbread

I love roasted beets but they take awhile and it involves the oven cranking away and you have to be careful not to stain anything with the juice. And and and. Apparently I’m full of excuses as to why I don’t make them all the time. I spotted packaged beets at the grocery store. That is one prepared item I can totally get behind. The convenience of these is much appreciated. The foil-wrapped potatoes is a whole different story. Who can’t do that on their own?!

Have you seen these? I found these cooked beets in the produce area near coleslaw mixes. Totally worth it. I forget what I paid, but I’d do it again. Maybe $4ish for 3 large beets. Or, if the grocery store has a good salad bar you might even find beets there too for even cheaper. That’s a great source when you don’t need much of something for a recipe.
The Three Bite Rule - Beet & Sweet Potato Flatbread

Ingredients: (for 2 entree servings, or ~5 appetizer servings)

2 naan breads
2-3 beets, roasted
1/2 sweet potato, pealed
1/2 cup feta

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees. Lay the naan on a baking sheet.
Slice the beets into thick slices and the sweet potato into thin slices.
Drizzle the naan with olive oil then top with slices of raw sweet potato and slices of the beets.
The Three Bite Rule - Beet & Sweet Potato Flatbread
Crumble the feta onto the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Beet & Sweet Potato Flatbread
Bake for about 10-15 minutes until the naan crisps a bit and the toppings warm through.
The Three Bite Rule - Beet & Sweet Potato Flatbread
Slice & enjoy!

I loved these. I loved how little time it took for something different. The feta was so good with the beets and since I most often use feta cool, it was about time to put it in something cooked! I was lucky the sweet potato was so thin or it’d never have cooked in time with everything else. Using prepared flatbreads takes this from a more involved meal to a real quickie. Pita breads would work well too.

10 minute cooktime is PER-FECT for a weeknight. You can’t even decide on takeout pizza toppings in that amount of time!