Zucchini, Ricotta, and Herb Pasta

My boss made this for a potluck and it was delicious. I knew I had to whip it up immediately. I liked it warm-ish and it’s great cool. I could live in a container of ricotta, but I also LOVED the mint, basil, and oregano with the lemon zest. It is so easy and so so so full of flavor! Also this is the world’s fastest dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini, Herb, & Ricotta Pasta

It seems like everyone has made this, but here’s one more
Martha made a similar one
, though hers uses sliced zucchini & fettuccine.
Food & Wine made a similar one, with zucchini chunks.
Epicurious made a similar one, with fewer herbs.

Zucchini, Ricotta, and Herb Pasta (for 2 entrees or 4 sides)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound short shaped pasta
1 large zucchini, shredded
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup ricotta
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 lemon, zested
Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dante.
While the pasta cooks, shred the zucchini and add to a medium skillet with the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add salt & pepper and remove from heat.
Mix the pasta, ricotta, and zucchini mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini, Herb, & Ricotta Pasta
Add in the herbs, lemon zest, and salt & pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini, Herb, & Ricotta Pasta
Serve & enjoy, or refrigerate until serving if making in advance!
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini, Herb, & Ricotta Pasta
I like the creamy ricotta. Of course, ricotta is my fav! Zucchini doesn’t have tons of flavor alone, but with the garlic and all the herbs. I think it needed salt and pepper throughout: in the zucchini and mixed throughout. The herbs and the lemon are truly what make this special. Maybe I should turn the same flavors into a pizza!

Labor Day Menu

Burgers + a goooood side + another fun side + drinks by the pool:

I’d pick a rodeo burger that calls for a par-tay! Rodeo burgers are topped with melty cheddar, BBQ rub, onion rings and a drizzle of BBQ sauce.
rodeo_burg_plate_590_390
I’d go for this side, with anything on the grill: Caesar Asparagus by grilling some asparagus, a drizzle of caesar, and some hard boiled egg
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Asparagus
Why not add some Bacon & Blue Cheese Pasta Salad that is ideally made in advance.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Blue Cheese Pasta Salad
and a Creamsicle Cocktail to wash it down with orange soda, whipped cream flavor vodka, and orange zest.
creamcicle_cup_590_390
Enjoy!

August 2017 Recap

August has meant a lot of grilled dinners and enjoying the daylight. I harvested all the basil and made some pesto. The little one loooved the pesto-pasta! Mr. J and I booked a trip to Zion National Park! SOOOO excited! We go in September and I’m really looking forward to it.

I whipped up these Shrimp Cakes to go on a salad and they had the best texture.  I made them on a Sunday and had some for lunch and the rest for Monday’s dinner over salad. They were perfect for my goal for dinner prep in advance!
The Three Bite Rule - Shrimp Cake
I was all about the breakfasts. I used a frozen Belgian waffle with fun toppings for German Chocolate Cake Waffles, and then I made Peach Cornmeal Pancakes.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach Cornmeal Pancakes
My fav meal of the month was the salad with cracked wheat, arugula, peach, avocado, and pistachios. The best!
The Three Bite Rule - Peach, Avocado & Grain Salad

The Little One:

He’s such a big boy now! He remains waffle-obsessed and can’t get enough fruit. My 2nd cousins were visiting and Thomas ate the 6 & 11 year old under the table. He’s such a little sponge. He knows and remembers things – like we drive around a rotary on the way home and when we get close he says “goin’ round the rotary?”. He’s moving up to the pre-school classroom at daycare. I can’t believe it but think it’ll be good for him to play with the bigger kids. He is loving all the books and coloring with markers. All sticks outside are screwdrivers or hammers.

2017 Goals:

Year of the seasonal decor: Ehh. I’m lacking on fall that isn’t pumpkins.
do more dinner prep more in advance: Yes! I made sweet pickle pasta salad to go with something grilled; I made shrimp cakes in advance; etc!
read more (and always carry my book on me): I read started a few but didn’t get really into it.
watch more movies: we watched The Founder, which was fascinating.
cook more fish: shrimp cakes!
focus on clothes that I really like: I grabbed a few workout items for our big trip!

Peach, Avocado, and Pistachio Salad

I could eat this one weekly. This salad has all the things: Nutty cracked wheat! Creamy avocado! Juicy peach! Peppery arugula! Crunchy pistachio! Do you know Simply Savory by Kate? You should! She made these curried pistachio and added them to a salad with peaches and avocado. Yum! I took a variation on it.

The Three Bite Rule - Peach, Avocado & Grain Salad
I tossed mine all together with a touch of honey mustard dressing and grilled sausages on top. LOVED it. This would be a really great use of a leftover grain. It would pack well if the nuts and peach were separate until serving.

Peach, Avocado, and Pistachio Salad (for 2-3)

Ingredients:

1 cup cracked wheat (or lentils/farro/brown rice/Israeli couscous/quinoa/etc)
1 1/2 cup water or broth
2 sweet Italian sausage links
1 peach
1 avocado
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons honey mustard dressing
1/3 cup pistachios

Directions:

Cook the cracked wheat (or other grain) with the water or broth. (I cooked the cracked wheat that morning and refrigerated for the day.)
Grill the sausages.
Chop the peach, avocado, and arugula and mix together with the cracked wheat and dressing. Then top with the pistachios.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach, Avocado & Grain Salad
Slice the sausages to serve on top. Sprinkle with a little salt & pepper.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Peach, Avocado & Grain Salad
This has everything. The grain makes it a filling dinner. I liked the stronger flavor of the greens since the peach is sweet and the arugula was creamy.

What I Ate: Sugared Lime Watermelon

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.

Summer produce is in prime and I was wanting to make this snack but a fourth of a seedless watermelon seems like a lot when it isn’t anyone’s fav fruit at home. We gravitate to berries, cantaloupe and nectarines. It seemed like a good choice to bring to a BBQ to feed others though!
The Three Bite Rule - Sugared Lime Watermelon

Sugared Lime Watermelon

Ingredients:

1/4 seedless watermelon, sliced
zest of 1 lime
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Slice the watermelon.
Zest the lime and mix in the sugar and salt.
The Three Bite Rule - Sugared Lime Watermelon
Sprinkle generously over each side of the sliced watermelon, serve, and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Sugared Lime Watermelon
Not rocket science, but ohh-so-good. I love the lime and the salt with the watermelon. It was perfect for a warm day to eat outside – or any setting appropriate for watermelon juice to run down your arms!

I brought it ready to go, but next time I might sprinkle the sugar/salt/lime zest mix just before serving. It’d be cute cut onto skewers for a mobile snack!

 

Peach Cornmeal Pancakes

These pancakes are what summer Sunday mornings are made of. Mr. J and the little one went to a bike path nearby and I had some time to myself! With my four legged sous-chefs, of course. These pancakes are fluffy and have a cornmeal texture and flavor with juicy peach. I made a whole batch, despite eating breakfast by myself. I popped some into the fridge for later this week and the rest went into the freezer.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach Cornmeal Pancakes

Peach Cornmeal Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1/4 cup half & half or whole milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 peach or nectarine
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

Mix together the dry ingredients: cornmeal; flour; sugar; baking powder; and salt. Mix together the wet: milk; cream; eggs; and vanilla.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach Cornmeal Pancakes
Then mix together the wet and dry – gently, and add in the melted butter and stir.
Chop the peach/nectarine into thin slices then diced. Half goes into a small pot with water, sugar, and syrup to boil and thicken for about 5 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach Cornmeal Pancakes
Heat a large pan or griddle to medium heat and spray generously with non-stick spray.
Ladle small scoops onto the hot griddle. Let cook for a minute or two and add in a few pieces of peach onto each pancake. Wait patiently for the pancake to bubble, puff, and get golden brown before flipping.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach Cornmeal Pancakes
Serve with peach topping and extra syrup.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach Cornmeal Pancakes

Enjoy!

My first two were crumbly messes. I didn’t let them cook long enough. Be patient. Do a yoga position and some breathing before trying to flip. They get delightfully golden and crispy…if allowed to cook enough. If regular pancakes take 2 minutes, these take 5.

What I Ate: German Chocolate Cake Topped Waffles

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.

The little one is obsessed with waffles. Seriously, he wants a waffle every. day. I saw Belgian waffles in the freezer section and was totally intrigued. I wanted to start with the frozen waffle but go with really fun toppings.
The Three Bite Rule - German Chocolate Cake Waffles

German Chocolate Cake Inspired Waffles (for 2)

Ingredients:

Belgian waffles
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon chocolate sauce
3 tablespoons nuts
2 tablespoons coconut flakes

Directions:

Toast the waffle until crisp and keep warm until serving.
Whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. While it is whipping, add in the chocolate sauce. Chill until serving.
In a dry pan, toast the nuts.
Then, use the pan to toast the coconut.
Top the waffles with coconut and nuts.
The Three Bite Rule - German Chocolate Cake Waffles
Add the chocolate whipped cream to a plastic bag and cut a corner and add to the top.
The Three Bite Rule - German Chocolate Cake Waffles
Enjoy!

I loved this 5 minute fun breakfast for a weekend morning. Swap out the walnuts for almonds and poof, you have an almond joy waffle I guess!

 

Sweet Pickle Macaroni Salad

Mr. J wasn’t into pickles until he had a bread & butter sweet pickle a few years ago. Now he wonders where they had been his whole life! I mixed up this sweet pickle macaroni salad as a side dish using not only the pickles, but the pickle “juice” for the dressing. It was an easy side to prep the night before for a faster week-night meal.

The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Pickle Macaroni Salad

Sweet Pickle Macaroni Salad (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound of pasta, macaroni or other short noodle
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 small shallot, diced
2-3 sprigs of green onion, diced
3-4 bread & butter pickles, chopped
1/2 cup pickle juice
1/2 green pepper

Directions:

Boil salted water and add the pasta once it comes to a boil. Cook according to the package.
Mix together mayo, mustard, pickles, shallots, green onions, and pickle juice.
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Pickle Macaroni Salad
Stir well and toss with the cooled pasta.
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Pickle Macaroni Salad
When ready to serve, mix in the green pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Pickle Macaroni Salad
Enjoy!

I almost mixed in a hard boiled egg, but ended up sending that as the little one’s lunch. This was good and the sweetness was good with a grilled dinner.

Shrimp Cakes

I had another post queued up but was just so psyched by this one so it is cutting the line!  I loooove shrimp and went all out – even pan frying these! Gasp! I tend to get annoyed frying things since they require so much babysitting. These stayed together pretty well and were worth it. The shrimp cakes were full of such great corn & chive flavor! Plus if you’re growing chives, chances are you have tonssss – or sub parsley, or green onion, or whatever herb suits you.
The Three Bite Rule - Shrimp Cake

These shrimp cakes have a touch of lemon and some sweet corn and shallots provided freshness and crunch. My corn was leftover and I used some frozen shrimp since I like to have them on hand. I’d totally whip a bunch of these up for a group, or as mini appetizers, or they were great to just make 2 servings.

Shrimp Cakes (for 2 entree servings, or 4 appetizer portions)

Ingredients:

1 cup shrimp (shelled, deveined, defrosted, etc as necessary), about 1/4 pound
2 tablespoons mayo
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chives, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
~1 cup corn, off the cob
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt & pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Directions:

Rough chop the shrimp into approximately thirds – smaller pieces but chunks.
Heat a heavy bottomed pan and oil to medium heat. (I used a small cast iron pan and added oil to be less than a quarter inch deep.)
Add shrimp, mayo, cornstarch, garlic, chives, shallot, corn, lemon juice, egg, and salt & pepper into a bowl and mix well.
The Three Bite Rule - Shrimp Cake
Test the oil temperature by dropping in a tiny bit of the mixture. If it sizzles, spoon in about 3 tablespoons for each shrimp cake (or your desired size). Pan fry for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from the oil to a paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Shrimp Cake

I made these on a weekend afternoon and ate some of the more crumbly ones as lunch then the next night for dinner I just toasted these through and had them on salad for dinner. I looooved that these were full of shrimp and corn. I also really didn’t want them full of filler. I love me a good crabcake but wanted these to be different. The cornstarch makes them puffy and crunchy.

Make sure that oil is hot…otherwise they’ll be greasy and not crisp. I go with the small pan to just do a few at a time. Pop the done ones in an oven to stay warm if making for a crowd! I’d do little bites in advance for an app!

Smoky Bacon & Pork Ragu

I put one cooler/low-humidity day to good use after a beach vacation to cook comfort food! This porky pasta sauce has been on my list to make and I had just the night to make it! Get some liquid smoke or this won’t be the same at all (pssst! I get it on Amazon but some specialty food stores have it too. You’ll also use it in chili, burgers, pulled pork, etc.)

The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pork Ragu

I froze half, despite the fact that I’m compulsively trying to use up frozen stuff. I just didn’t want to eat it twice in a week given the warm forecast but I can see popping it out for some not-hot night for variety of the many grilled dinners we’re having this summer!

Smoky Bacon & Pork Ragu for ~4

Ingredients:

4-6 strips of bacon, chopped
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage out of the casing
1 small yellow onion
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
~6 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

In a dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp and drain. Then brown the sausage and drain. Then saute the onion until cooked through.
Add the crushed tomatoes into the pot, add in sausage, onion, bacon, garlic, and liquid smoke.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pork Ragu
Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes and add in the red pepper flakes, onion powder, Parmesan, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and basil. Stir well.
Reduce to low and cook for another 5 minutes.
Boil the pasta and cook to al dente.
Spoon sauce over the top and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pork Ragu
I loved it. It definitely wasn’t your average tomato sauce. The salty and smoky flavor came out and I took great care for it not to be greasy. Bacon & sausage needed to cook separately to each get to their best. Each needed to be drained, for sure.

I can see pulling out the sauce for a quick dinner or putting ontop of a pizza or in a calzone!
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pork Ragu