Slider Burger Toppings

To kickoff the New Year, Mr. J and I came up with a last minute menu of sliders & frappes. Who would have thought January would be the time I’d post some new burger toppings?! It was a freezing night so we cooked the sliders inside and it was so fun.

We both cook but don’t always cook together. Mr. J did the burger cooking and I helped prep the toppings. I was really happy to settle in with a fire, sliders, and yoga pants…especially at the start of 39-weeks preggers at that point. Seriously, I can’t believe that I’m still pregnant…40 weeks + 6 days. Holy Moly. Anyyyytime now little one – come on out!

Just a little googling for inspiration and we came up with toppings for 3 different sliders.

Chicken Burger Slider with Boursin cheese spread and caramelized onions: 
The Three Bite Rule - Burger Sliders
This one was our fancy-ish one. I loved the spreadable cheese on here and it was definitely handy for Mr. J to do the burgers and for me to let the onions caramelize on their own time. I often am rushing them, or get distracted and they crisp too much. The onions were perfectly sweet with the herbed spread.

Chicken Burger Slider with bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream & chives: 
The Three Bite Rule - Burger Sliders
This one was the all-American one. We cooked the bacon first, then cooked the burgers in the same pan in some bacon fat. Yes. Delicious. The tang of the sour cream was good with the cheddar and smokey bacon.

Italian Slider with Marinara & mozzarella: 
The Three Bite Rule - Burger Sliders
This one had a schmear of marinara on the roll and then the burger was topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella. My basil had wilted but that would have been good too. I liked the all encompassing cheese on here.

Enjoy!

Swedish Meatballs

I’ve been all about the meals that I can whip up a) without tons of work/ingredients and b) that are wintry and comforting. Ahhem: tomato basil tortellini soup: calzone with ready made filling of creamed spinach & meatballs: ham & cheese rolled rosetti: and the list goes on… I’m also pretty obsessed with the Al Fresco chicken meatballs so this dinner of my take on Swedish meatballs perfectly fit the bill. Also, of note, I’m not Swedish and I don’t know that I’ve ever had Swedish meatballs so I’m really just winging it after googling to figure out what they key flavors are.

The Three Bite Rule - Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients:

~4 meatballs per person (I made 3 servings)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tbs cream cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp corn starch & 2 tsp water, incorporated together
1/4 cup water
2 tbs butter
egg noodles

Directions:

Make your own meatballs, or put the frozen (fully cooked) meatballs into a large skillet with the broth and garlic over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Swedish Meatballs
Add in mustard, creamed cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Whisk to combine. (It may look a bit chunky and not creamy yet, that’s OK!)
Make a cornstarch slurry or flour & butter roux and whisk in. Keep whisking as you bring the sauce to a low boil.
The Three Bite Rule - Swedish Meatballs
Cook for 5 minutes, then add salt, pepper, and butter after reducing heat to low.
Mix well to ensure the sauce is smooth.
Serve over egg noodles.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Swedish Meatballs

I added the water to this for you. Mine was quite salty so I’m reducing the broth and adding some water. Taste as you go and see what you think. I liked this as something different, something easy, and a great use for a ready-made ingredient.

Have I told you lately how I love these meatballs? They’re in my grocery store by the meat/sausages as refrigerated meatballs in smaller packs annnnd they’re in the freezer section for larger re-closeable bags of meatballs. These were caramelized onion meatballs, thus why I didn’t add more onion. You could easily use your own meatballs, beef meatballs, beef broth, etc. Go wild!

What I Ate: Chili over Cheddar Cornbread 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.

Awhile back I was wanting to make something crazy in the waffle iron. There’s a restaurant I heard about in Syracuse, New York, called Funk ‘n Waffles, that puts all sorts of cra-zy things onto waffle irons. I loved the crispification it sounded like would come from cooking on a waffle iron. I literally had “cook something weird as a waffle” on my ideas of foods to blog. I used a cornbread mix with cheddar as the base topped with chili.
The Three Bite Rule - Chili over Cornbread Waffles

I tried a bacon hashbrown thing that failed miserably. It stuck and never crisped so I ended up tossing it into a frying pan to salvage it. I didn’t end up blogging it because I felt defeated, and tired, and pregnantly-hungry, and I blame my waffle iron. My waffle iron is really some plates that insert into my panini press/griddle. I loooove that they aren’t all separate appliances (since I make waffles mayyybe once a year) but it means that the nooks are pretty shallow…1/3 the depth of a Belgian waffle iron. That’s probably the ticket to more surface area for cooking crazy things. This time I stuck closer to waffle batter and made cheddar cornbread waffles for some nooks the leftover chili could rest it. Such a winner.

Ingredients:

cornbread batter prepared
some extra milk/water to loosen the batter (~1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped (optional)
2 cups chili

Directions:

Prepare cornbread according to the mix or according to the cornmeal, then add the cheese & green onions if using them.
The Three Bite Rule - Chili over Cornbread Waffles
Add in a little extra milk or water to loosen it enough that it drips off the whisk like pancake/waffle batter.
Ladle onto the waffle iron and cook until crisp. (mine takes about 4-6 minutes)
The Three Bite Rule - Chili over Cornbread Waffles
Serve waffles topped with chili and some extra cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Chili over Cornbread Waffles
Enjoy!

I liked this platform. The chili was leftover and would have seemed like a bit less if we just ate it straight up. I probably had a size-able serving for 1 of chili but with the waffles, this fed two of us for dinner. Bam! Leftover magic! It was great to just have to prep the waffles while defrosting & warming the chili.

If you’re a big waffle person you could definitely prep the waffles and freeze them when batching up leftover chili. Then they’d just go in the toaster or oven when it was time to serve!

It is January, Now What

I’m about ready to pop, this little babe is almost fully cooked. I have a few maternity leave posts prepped while I’m away from the blog, though I have no idea when I’ll be back at it. We’ll see!

I’ve felt really lucky throughout my pregnancy. I honestly was looking forward to seeing what kind of crazy food cravings I’d have but there really weren’t many. I wasn’t interested in certain soft things, like yogurt/avocado/oatmeal/etc that I normally eat all the time. I definitely craved cheetos. The beginning was rough with some sickness, thus, my hiatus. The end has been wearing on me. Ever since I hit 37-weeks, I’ve been excited and not wanting to rush nature, but ready to be onto the next phase. I’m uncomfortable, suffering lots of intense back-pain, and I’m not sleeping well. It definitely could be worse, but everything just seems hard to do. It feels like an aerobic feat to snooze my alarm or to put on socks and it is definitely weird that pregnancy becomes people’s open invitation to comment on my body.

Here’s what I’ve been loving lately:

Tis the season for desserts. I’ve happily been fully stocked with cookies, leftover cakes, a peanut butter cheesecake cookie pizza, slices of yule log, and leftover chocolate fondue turned into instant bark with heath & walnut bits.

These crackers are so good. They’re kind of having an identity crisis of being a pita chip & also trying being the most crisp cracker ever. Plus they cost wayyy less than a regular package of pita chips. They began their life with me as a dipper for spinach and artichoke dip for one Christmas celebration and have lived on nakedly because they’re just so good.
Wheat-Thins-Toasted-Pita

While keeping my caffeine intake in check, I’ve been having warm cider all fall to fool my brain into thinking it’s a warm bevvie like coffee. I didn’t realize it is available in the produce section this long!

Lot’s o’ flavored drinks. I think they’re helping me drink more fluids and distract me from the 1,000 bathroom breaks I make per day. I randomly wanted Diet Cranberry Sierra Mist. I don’t know that I’ve ever had regular Sierra Mist and I don’t love bubbles as much as the average person so this definitely came out of nowhere. Mr. J smartly bought me 2 bottles.
SierraMist_Cran_Diet_12oz

Clementines have been a race against the clock. I love them and can’t have just one at a time. I’m on crate #2 even though the acid is killing me by way of heartburn. I’m officially not a fan of the angry kid commercials whose parents aren’t keeping an adequate supply of clementines for them…what brats. #didIsaythat

Fun Finds online: 
If you love Friends, then you’ll love these best food Friends clips.
If you’ve been a server, then you should read & share this great op-ed piece for restaurant workers.
If you need a crowd-pleaser dip, Mr. J made a twist on this chicken ranch dip for one of the Christmases.
If you agree that we all need hot chocolate until spring, here are some spiced up hot chocolate ideas.

Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup

HAAAPPY New Year! New Year’s Eve isn’t really my thing. I loooved an annual party Mr. J and I could walk to back in our city days, but other festivities never interested me. The holiday seemed like amateur hour where people who don’t normally go out feel like they have to go somewhere. The bars were always overstuffed and there was so much pressure for it to be a perfect night at a bar with a crazy cover charge. I used to make bank babysitting…$100 for a few hours circa 2002. I wonder what the going rate is now?!

I figured soup was appropriate for New Year’s Day for something easy, comforting, and pretty healthy while you hang around, make resolutions, or nurse a hangover.

The Three Bite Rule - Tomato Tortellini Soup

Ingredients:

1-28 oz can of Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes (or chopped San Marzano tomatoes)
1 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
2 tbs chopped garlic
1/2 cup red wine
8-10 basil leaves, chopped
Salt & Pepper
12 oz frozen cheese tortellini
splash of cream or dollop of cream cheese (optional)

Directions:

In a large heavy pot, heat tomatoes over medium low heat.
Add in broth and garlic.
The Three Bite Rule - Tomato Tortellini Soup
Add in basil, salt, and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Tomato Tortellini Soup
Next add in the wine and tortellini. Then cover and cook for 5 minutes over a low simmer.
The Three Bite Rule - Tomato Tortellini Soup
Reduce heat to low for another 5 minutes of cook-time.
Then add a splash of cream or 1 tsp creamed cheese, if desired. Add more broth or water to thin the soup, if desired.
Enjoy!
(if prepping ahead of time, don’t put the tortellini in too early or they’ll be mush when you go to eat it)

I like this one for the simplicity. It is so easy and is almost like a very saucy pasta dish. Maybe that’s why I like it. It has such pure tomato and basil flavors with tender tortellini bites. I add the tiniest bit of cream to cut the acidity a bit, but not enough to make it a creamy soup.
The Three Bite Rule - Tomato Tortellini Soup
So, any New Year’s Resolutions out there? I feel like folks love to jump on crazy healthy post-holiday diet/exercise plans. I don’t know that those really stick, but I love Cooking Light’s 12 Healthy Habits. There’s a different one each month and they’re a bit more do-able, like: eat more fruits/veggies; ease up on the salt; get moving; etc. Plus you get a new one each month so there’s no falling off the bandwagon.

I’ve thought of a few goals for 2015: 
year of the: _earring?__  (still TBD, here are some past “year of the ___” & some ideas I’m still tossing around)
make more salad dressings
factor more time into how long every-day tasks/trips will take
recreate restaurant menu items
be more adventurous with my reading selections
use the crockpot more
#seafoodsunday once a month

Here were my goals for 2014: 
year of: having more fresh flowers
send more mail
make Pinterest pins a reality
cook with yeast
try a spin class
make more cocktails

December 2014 Recap

It is almost 2015 and the holidays have kept me busy and actually cooking less. This is the time of year many people cook and host more than usual. I’ve been working hard at not over complicating everything. I was wanting to try some new fun recipes but hosting isn’t the time for that, and I really enjoyed a slower paced holiday season.

I refused to let Pumpkin be relegated to November, so I kicked off December with Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Gouda Brown Butter Sauce. I thankfully have some leftover sauce to relive this tasty dinner.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
The biggest bust of the month was Zucchini Risotto Boats. They were just blah.

My favorite quickie dinner this month was calzone with chicken meatballs, creamed spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone

I messed around with a ham and fontina rolled up pasta idea I saw on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, though I can’t find it and give credit where credit is due. They were fun and so darn cute.
Rosetti Ham & Cheese Rolls - The Three Bite Rule

In an effort to not push my boundaries too far, I whipped out a few freezer favs & quick meals this month like: BBQ Chicken Bubble Up Pizza; aranchini to pair with some pasta one night; broccoli & cheddar soup; bfast for dinner, grilled cheese w/ tomato soup; etc. 

Here are my goals which also wrap up for the year right now:
The Year of the Flower lived on! Mr. J got me poinsettias that are fun for festiveness to have a plant, though I guess our Christmas tree should count too. I also had a cheery mix from my baby shower.  Follow me on instagram for the latest and greatest. I neeeeeed to decide what next year will be the year-of-the-________, other than year of the baby!
send more mail – yes, I sent out all my baby shower thank you notes. No holiday cards this year, since January will include a baby announcement.
make some Pinterest pins a reality - Yup, I made this pin of nutella hot chocolate
try a spin class – um nope. I’m not adding in any super new exercises at this point. I have been trying not to over-do it. I’m watching my fitbit steps to be moving around a bit, but I waddle everywhere and I’m quite tired.
make more cocktails – umm no cocktails for me until January ;) but this nutella hot chocolate was just in the St. Nick of time.
The Three Bite Rule - Nutella Hot Chocolate

Bump update:
It is almost time! I can’t believe it. I’m now 38 weeks out of 40-ish. I feel really good, but also kind of feel like a hippo. The final stretch has come out of nowhere! I’m glad I was super busy in October & November for work and then December was busy with the most perfect baby shower and holiday celebrations with both families. I loved celebrating Christmas with the C family at our house and then the R family. They were really lovely holidays that brought me to tears. It’ll never be the same. Now it is onward to baby-time!

I’ve had a ton of backpain and I’m trying to really hydrate. We wrapped up the supplies and I’ve read a few books. I think we’re as prepared as we can be. I’ve been very interested in desserts, which is quite fitting for this time of year. I’m kind of continuously hungry but don’t want to be packing on the unnecessary weight.

The next few weeks will be crazy but I’m excited. I need to finish getting a few little things ready. I have a crafty-wall art piece planned too! As much as I looooove holiday decor, I’m ready to switch over to full-out baby set up. I haven’t stocked up the freezer yet but I have a list and some ideas. It could be anytime so we’ll see what happens over the next few weeks. When I suddenly go MIA, you’ll know why!

Enjoy NYE! It has never been my holiday but I’ll live vicariously through your champagne!

Nutella Hot Chocolate

I saw nutella hot chocolate on A Beautiful Mess and I wanted it instantly. I mean, who doesn’t need to jack up the cost of their hot chocolate cup by 300%? It tastes different than regular old hot chocolate. It is definitely special and not for the everyday.

The Three Bite Rule - Nutella Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

Adapted from A Beautiful Mess (for 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup nutella
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of sea salt

Directions:

Warm milk and cream in a saucepan over low.
Add in the nutella, cinnamon, and salt.
The Three Bite Rule - Nutella Hot Chocolate
Gently whisk to combine.
The Three Bite Rule - Nutella Hot Chocolate
Serve and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Nutella Hot Chocolate
I know the holidays are decadent enough on their own but this is perfect for the post-holiday no-man’s land between Christmas and New Years or if a weeknight needs a pick-me-up or the no-bake option for dessert.

Last Minute Holiday Crowd Pleasing Foods

I just had a lovely weekend of Family Christmas #1 with the C family. Even though we hosted here, I have nothing to blog since a) Mr. J did all the work and b) I’m trying not to do too much while toting around this 37-week old babe in my belly and c) I didn’t want to over complicate things. We had great and plenty of food and it was all a manageable menu. Also big kudos to Mr. J for shopping and prepping everything.

One fun moment was making the chocolate fondue  which I choose since I’m not a big baker. The chocolate seized and then there were 3 of us googling how to fix it. It was a reminder that “you can’t win ‘em all”, “it takes an army”, and sometimes the fix-risk is worth it when “it can’t get any worse”. Fun fact: the steam from the double boiler is what made it seize, yet boiling water was actually the fix. It was delicious and we ended up laughing about it and to all a good night.

Anywho, now that the holidays are close, here are my round-up of recommendations:

If you need an app:
This Greek Dip is suuuuper easy, very portable to just assemble on-site, and doesn’t require any cooking. Plus it is sort of healthy. Spread hummus onto the plate, top with cucumbers/tomatoes/feta/Greek Dressing. Dip with pita chips. Ho ho ho.
greek_dip_plate_590_390

If you need a drink: 
Have one for me! Make some Apple Cider Sangria to appeal to cocktail-lovers and wine drinkers alike.
Apple Cider Sangria

If you need a side dish:

This Sausage Stuffing is the best. It also can be prepped and just bake alongside the rest of your meal. The secret is golden mushroom soup mixed into it.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
If you need a brunch item:
These Apple Cinnamon Rolls will go with anything, and won’t take up your whole morning. Store-bought cinnamon rolls with icing topped some apples cooked with brown sugar and voila! The best part of waking up…
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cinnamon Rolls
If you need a dessert: 
Black Forest Bread Pudding seems like such a decadent and special dessert. The best part is that it is foolproof, and that the intense chocolate is nicely paired with dark cherries.
bread_pudd_baked_590_390
If you need a use for leftovers: 
Puff pastry turnovers work well for leftover ham.
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
(or a panini is a great use for any ingredients like turkey or meatballs, etc).

If you need a warm beverage to serve: 
Caramel Apple Cider was soooo good. Make it now. Apple cider, heavy cream, and brown sugar amp up and personalize this drink.
The Three Bite Rule - Caramel Apple Cider 
If you need a hostess foodie gift:
Bacon jam is perfect for literally everyone except a vegetarian. It is nicely gifted in a jar and is easy to tote wherever you’re going.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Jam

If you need an easy menu:
This weekend was a prime example of centering an easy/do-able menu around a spiral glazed ham. We made some mashed potatoes & green bean casserole. It was simple enough and nothing crazy.

You could do ham/turkey/pork roast/etc then make your sides something easy like a top your own potato/mashed potato bar. Or host apps & zerts that either you make or that everyone else makes. You can add a wine-off too and your guests will surely focus less on your food once they’ve sampled enough $15 and under priced bottles of wine.

Whatever you serve, follow these basic hosting tips:
1) know what you can do/make/what you have time for & ask others to provide a category you can’t or don’t have time for. Giving a category to those who are picky or have restrictions will be great help for you and make them comfortable.
2) don’t apologize for what you made (same for the condition or cleanliness of your house).
3) plan in advance: map out your serving, set up, cooking, prep, & shopping backwards from when you want everything ready (with extra wiggle room).
4) Enjoy!!

See ya after Christmas

Meatball & Creamy Spinach Calzone

I needed something really good to redeem myself after Tuesday’s post. This calzone was really great ANNND really easy. The filling was already made so this calzone was just assembly. Perfect for this time of year!

The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone

Ingredients:

1 ball of pizza dough
~6 meatballs (I used these really good chicken meatballs)
1 package of frozen creamed spinach
1 tomato, chopped
¼ red onion, chopped
8 oz shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400-degrees.
Cook the meatballs and creamed spinach according to the directions on the package. Then slice the meatballs.
Lay the pizza dough onto the pizza stone or pan off center (so what will be the bottom is centered).
Layer on: cheese, meatballs, creamed spinach dollops, tomato, and onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
Repeat. Repeat. (it needs to seem over-filled).
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
Fold the rest of the dough over the top and pinch closed. Slice a few slits into the top to vent the calzone.
Bake 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone

I loved this one. It was so good, not over-complicated, and so easy. I really appreciated the ingredients just hanging out for the precise moment I was ready to make dinner. Creamed spinach is a great go-to freezer item. I have thrown it onto pasta as a sauce, or into deep dish pizza, and now into calzone!

The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
See what happens if you are too hungry to be patient? haha it is OK, it tasted good, inside or out of the calzone.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
This weekend is the C Family xmas so stay tuned on instagram for some goodies and I’ll be back next week with some holiday festiveness that is simply delightful.

Zucchini Risotto Boats

This isn’t going to be my signature dish. Really. I’m not being modest. This wasn’t great and I’m not sure where it went wrong. That can be where you come in…Thoughts? Suggestions?

I saw this on the menu of Local 149 (and it is still on their menu) so people must like it, right?

The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:

2 zucchinis
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup broth (chicken or veggie)
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
shredded mozzarella or Parmesan to sprinkle over the top

Directions:

Prepare the risotto: toast the rice; warm the broth with the wine together; incrementally add the liquid to the rice until absorbed and continue adding until the rice is fully cooked.
While the risotto cooks, preheat the oven to 375-degrees, half the zucchinis, and place skin-side down on a baking sheet.
Bake the zucchini for 15 minutes.
Add in Parmesan, chopped parsley, salt and pepper to the risotto and remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
Remove the zucchini from the oven and scrape out the inside fleshy part of the zucchini to form the boats.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
Chop up the inner fleshy parts and add to the risotto.
Spoon the risotto into the boats.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
Bake for 10 minutes, then top with shredded Parmesan or mozzarella.
Return to the oven until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Boats
I thought this would be so good! It was OK. It wasn’t great. I served it alongside some chicken sausage and dinner just seemed lackluster. I like the risotto. I didn’t really care that cutting the zucchini meant the risotto sort of fell out. The zucchini seemed like a good texture. The risotto wasn’t the creamiest I’ve ever made, but it tasted good.

It wasn’t like I had an amazing dish I’m comparing to from a great chef. What gives? Am I just being nitpicky? They just don’t always turn out the way you plan. I cut my losses and tossed the leftovers when I accepted that we wouldn’t choose them amongst treasures in the fridge. I’ve been all about the bass desserts lately and I’ve been taking in the plethora of Christmas movies on TV so my spirits stayed merry & bright despite a dinner disappointment.