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.

Apple Cider Salad Dressing

I’ve been thinking about what this month’s salad dressing would be and I wanted to make a vinaigrette with apple cider. I looked online and saw that everyone uses apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t find one with apple cider. Could it be?

My salad was full of fall flavor: butter lettuce; cucumbers; dried cranberries; feta; pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds and the dressing had a sweetness from the cider and a little tang from the cider vinegar.

The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cider Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

1/8 cup olive oil
3 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/8-1/4 cup apple cider

Directions:

Put oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper into a jar.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cider Salad Dressing
Add in the apple cider.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cider Salad Dressing
Shake shake shake.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cider Salad Dressing
I meant to use some pecorino or shaved parmesan but I forgot to grab some at the store. I seem to always have feta around so in it went for some saltiness. The pumpkin seeds are crunchy and the dried cranberries are tart and chewy.
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cider Salad Dressing

Crockpot Pork Tenderloin

I’m gently hovering between “it’s crazy time and we need to be eating more prepped freezer things” and “it’ll be crazy time and I need more prepped in advance in the freezer”. I need to do some better analysis of what’s there. One thing I’ve hung onto for months was a pork tenderloin. I almost defrosted it for the grill but then I knew I was months behind on wanting to make more crockpot things. The problem is, so many crockpot foods are beef and I don’t eat red meat. Or they’re weird things people put in the crockpot that don’t get better from cooking all day. I wanted this to be pork-onion-apple-y but forgot about the real apple idea until we were 2 forkfulls into this.

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Crockpot
I cooked the marinated pork tenderloin with carrots and onions in chicken broth & beer. I know. Sounds like a lot going on. I was sort of concerned it might be a bit too spicy for us so I wanted everything else to be flavorful, but to tone down the heat.

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Crockpot

Ingredients:

pork tenderloin, marinated
3 carrots, pealed and cut into 3 inch chunks
1/2 onion, quartered
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1 bottle beer

Directions:

Put everything in the crockpot, on low for 5-6 hours.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork CrockpotOptional: put a few apples ontop of the pork. (They’ll become mushy if they’re on the bottom and cooking all day.)

Serve over brown rice.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Crockpot
The pork is perfectly tender. I liked how juicy it was and I used a little drizzle on the rice. Mr. J is a gravy man so he made some gravy for his. You could remove some of the cooking liquid and strain/thicken it a bit if you wanted more of a sauce.

It worked out well, but probably wasn’t the most amazing thing ever. It was possibly the easiest thing ever. Leftovers worked well and the pups didn’t seem to salivate all day long.

Green Smoothie Challenge – Halfway

I’m just getting on the podcast bandwagon. I started listening to The Lively Show and I’m obsessed! Love it. I binge-listened to it and now I have to wait for new ones. I love her guests and who doesn’t need to add a little more intention to their lives?

This one episode was about green smoothies. I was really enchanted by one of the founders of Simple Green Smoothies and loved that it wasn’t a weirdo cleanse. The 30-day challenge is a way to encourage people to consume more greens and for it to become a habit. I’ve been making smoothies regularly, but never daily, so I thought this was great! And 30 days of October sounds perfect, just in time for Halloween candy!

green_smoothie_apple1

Before you keep reading:
1- they aren’t sludge, the fruit provides flavor much stronger than the greens.
2- again, these smoothies aren’t a crazy detox they’re just part of creating a healthy habit.
3- does anyone actually think they get enough veggies?

So far so good! I like the challenge to keep me on track!

Dan’s famous apple pie – This was my first one. I loved the date in there. The cinnamon was so great. Why have I never included spices into mine before?
Green Smoothie - Apple Pie
The tip to blend the greens & almond milk was hugely helpful. Blend them first and then plunk in everything else and blend again.
green_smoothie_apple_blend_590_390

Cherry on Top – I love the cherries with blueberries in this one. How beautiful is this? I added in some flax seeds. This would be a good starter if the color would scare you on the others.
Green Smoothie cherry
U Pick Me Up – This one is has a green tea base which is totally different than any smoothie I’ve ever made. I liked it, but it seems a bit watery. It was refreshing but didn’t quite feel like breakfast.

Almond Blueberry Peach – This one is is kind of a muddy purple one but it seems really different from the others because of the almond/peanut butter.
Green Smoothies

Shauna’s Carrot Cake – I don’t really cook carrots very often so putting them into a smoothie seemed like a good way to eat more colors. Green + Orange was a nice way to start the day. I don’t have a million-dollar blender so I steamed my carrots so they’d puree better. I was afraid the ginger might be too much but it was great!
Green smoothie - carrot cake

Check out the Simple Green Smoothies. How stunning are these?

I learned I like smoothies to be milk based so I’ve tweaked a few and made them with unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of water or coconut water. I used spinach and then found a mix of “juicing greens” that has a mix of spinach, chard, and beet tops. The smoothies have been my breakfast with another something else…1 slice of wheat toast or a hard boiled egg or a spoonful of peanut butter.

The recipes make 2 but I haven’t gotten Mr J on board yet so sometimes I’ll save one for the following day. More often, I half the recipe and make it 2 days in a row. My cousin jumped on so it is nice to know somebody who is also making them!

So, podcasts. I blew through Serial and I’m up to date on the Lively Show. What should I listen to?? I listen during my evening commute to pick up the little dude – my morning commute is for the news. I like learning something or following a story. What do you suggest?

Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta

Chicken Cordon Blue is the best of all the flavors. Chicken. Yum. Ham. Yum. Swiss. Yum. I put it together as a pasta dish and loved it. The ham with the swiss are such great flavors together.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta
I used breaded chicken cutlets I had made another time and froze. Then I used a sauce packet. Having these two elements pretty ready helped this come together quickly.

Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

2 breaded chicken cutlets
8 oz rigatoni pasta
1-2 cups ham, diced
creamy garlic sauce
1 cup shredded swiss

Directions:

Bring salted water to a boil.
Heat the chicken in the oven until warmed (or cooked through).
Cook the pasta until al dante.
Heat a skillet to medium heat and pan fry the ham until caramelized and golden on each side.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta
Warm the sauce through and add in the swiss over low heat. Stir well and keep warm.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta
Mix together the pasta with the sauce and the ham.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta
Slice the chicken and add it to the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta
I loved this! The swiss flavor can be strong so I went a little bit on the lighter side for that. I liked the chicken being crispy and on the top rather than mixed through. This was so fast to put together. I could have made the sauce from scratch but this was quick. I could have breaded and pan fried the chicken for this but it was a great use for some leftover.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta

Serving like this, you really only need a small amount of ham and a small amount of chicken. I made enough for a leftover serving for lunch the next day. Perfect!

What I Ate: Sweet Potato Taco

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 was craving sweet potatoes and got it in my head that it should be the base of taco-night. I thought the sweet vs spicy seemed tasty and healthier than the average taco dinner of course with some tortilla chips & salsa on the side ;) Mine was some leftover taco chicken and Mr. J’s had ground venison.

Half the potato and fork-fluff/squish the flesh.
Top with black beans cooked with a little water, green pepper, and onion.
Add some taco-spiced chicken or ground beef.
Sprinkle with cheddar and enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos

Mr. J had some ground venison that had been hanging out in the freezer.
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos
I loved this! The potato was good vehicle for this and sweet potatoes are a good way to get some additional colors & nutrients into the meal. I don’t know that Mr. J would ask for this all the time, but it was super quick (since our taco meat was already cooked) and it is always beneficial to have us eating beans and sweet potato. The little guy ate some plain sweet potato. He’s loving the pieces of food!

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.

Cobb Salad Burger

Ohh yes I did. You’re welcome. This burger was de-lightful. I’m on a roll with burger ideas and know they tend to fizzle out a bit once I get into fall/winter mode, but this one was so fun. The burger toppings are inspired by a cobb salad. Hard boiled eggs, bacon, sweet lettuce, blue cheese dressing, etc make eggs-cellent toppings! It’d also be great on a cobb salad bed rather than a bun, if that’s your thing.

The Three Bite Rule - Cobb Salad Burger

You could do this year round in a pan/griddle and it is a great cooking-for-one dinner idea or prime when you’re in the “what’s for dinner” scrounging through the fridge.

The Three Bite Rule - Cobb Salad Burger

Ingredients:

Burgers (mine was a chicken burger)
rolls
2 strips of bacon per burger
lettuce
cucumber, sliced thinly
2 hard boiled eggs
blue cheese dressing

Directions:

Hard boil the eggs and let them cool then pan fry the bacon until crisp.
Grill the burgers.
Top with lettuce, cukes, egg slices, bacon, and blue cheese dressing.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Cobb Salad Burger
This was a fun one. I used potato rolls that just seemed to make this burger. Yum.

September 2016 Recap

Woo-eee! September whizzed by. We hosted a brunch party, then a BBQ & firepit party the next weekend, then a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, then a visit from Grammie C. So busy and so fun. Work is really ramping up and suddenly fall arrived in the matter of a day or two.

For October I’m doing a 30-day green smoothie challenge (join in! it is free!) so I’ll keep you posted how it goes – not a weirdo-cleanse when you starve yourself and only drink liquids or $30-a-bottle juices. It is a month of green smoothie recipes to get into a healthy habit. Plus, it ends just in time for Halloween candy. I can’t wait to put the little nugget into a Halloween costume!

The Martha’s Vineyard weekend trip was awesome. We ate some good food, strolled around, chilled on the Inn’s cupula, and explored. It was awesome. I was very sad pulling away from the little one but it was good for everyone. I hadn’t left him before but it went well. We had a really fun diner breakfast that might need to be the next restaurant recreation. Stay tuned!

lighthouse

My fav recipe of September is the Bacon Cheddar Biscuits. They were really awesome for breakfast on the go and I popped a few into the freezer. They tasted just as great out of the freezer! These buggers would be the ideal brunch party prep in advance! I just made them for fun but now I’m wanting to jazz up biscuits more often! Spinach and parmesan next?
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
Rosemary Hard Lemonade was perfect for my garden rosemary, or if you have rosemary on hand for something else… ummm Parisian burgers anyone? Lemonade, citrus vodka, rosemary, and some frozen blueberries make for such a fun instant summer beverage.
The Three Bite Rule - Rosemary Hard Lemonade

This salad with cucumbers, feta, nectarines, and quick dressing was good. I was all about the fruit in salad this month also with a spinach strawberry salad!
nectarine_feta_close_590_390

I actually took a week off from dinner this month. It was pretty refreshing to my cooking motivation. We had lots of leftover, uncooked items from the BBQ party of 30 people, so somehow there were a few things to pick from. Also, since I knew we were going away, I really wasn’t wanting to grocery shop then be gone, especially after shopping and prepping for the party. I should prob do that more often. It wasn’t our most well-rounded meals but it was a few days of anything-goes and I appreciated a break (from myself).

The Little One:
He’s so active! He loves to move. He’s been taking steps using a push toy, feeding himself cherrios, and riding in the big stroller insert. He loves looking around and touching everything! He’s curious and babbling. He just started feeding himself pieces of things we put on his tray and drinking water in a sippy cup. I’m so excited! He hadn’t been into textures but now seems more ready/willing.
8month

Progress on this year’s goals:
The Year of the Earring:  I got these and love ‘em

make more salad dressings: Yes! This poppy seed dressing was so great a spinach and strawberry salad, or anything else!

factor more time into how long every-day tasks/trips will take: 
Always a work in progress. I did pretty well in September.

recreate restaurant menu items: 
ehh. not this month I guess. I did find an amazing diner breakfast menu on Martha’s Vineyard that I’ll have to use in October.

be more adventurous with my reading selections: 
I read Flight Behavior and LOVED IT after a slowish start. I started Cutting for Stone but didn’t really get going. I blame the timing. I’ll try that one again. 

use the crockpot more: 
Nope, but now that fall is here I’m sure I’ll get going.  

seafood once a month: 
I had a quickie Angry Shrimp Wrap aka, Buffalo Shrimp Wrap that hit the spot. I swear I’ll get on the real fish soon enough.

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!