This was one of those oops moments and times that I had to channel my inner Tim Gunn…make it work! I really meant this to be a calzone. Earlier this month we were celebrating sis’s bday with a calzone dinner and this one just could become a calzone. I was having dough challenges and as I started to get frustrated but had to remind myself sometimes it just doesn’t go how you want, but as long as it is still edible, then it can still be a success.
The challenge was that I was trying to rush the defrosting of the dough. Some things you just can’t rush. That’s kind of my soap-box lesson of the day. I was getting a hole-y dough with frozen lumps that just wasn’t working out. I plopped it onto the pizza stone hoping it would “cook” enough to keep the shape so I could fill it then fold the crust over. No dice. Where it plopped it stayed and pizza it became.
1 large zucchini
2 tbs fresh oregano
3 cups chopped baby spinach
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup feta
1 (or 1/2) ball of pizza dough
2 small chicken breasts, or 3-4 chicken tenders marinated in Italian dressing.
Preheat the oven and pizza stone (if using one) to 400-degrees.
Chop the zucchini and sauté for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until cooked through, before getting squishy. Then add in the fresh oregano at the end.
Add in the tomatoes, feta, and spinach.
Cook for another 3 minutes.
Spread out the pizza dough onto the pan and bake for about 5 minutes. Cook just enough to go from doughy to lightly crisped.
Cook or grill the chicken until cooked through. Then slice into chunks when cooled.
Top with marinara, then mozzarella, then with the veggies and chicken.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust crisps and the cheese melts.
This was a good pizza. It wasn’t drastically different than some of my others but these are fresh, veggie-centric flavors I love. I really wanted it to be a calzone, but I’m also thinking the “filling”/toppings would be good with pasta or in a pita.
Let’s talk about this one-pot wonder. I hadn’t marinated the chicken and was afraid it wouldn’t have enough flavor. News flash: it was flavorful and juicy and the pre-made sundried tomato pesto kicked the sauce onto a whole other level.
I don’t blog pasta too often because it is more of a go-to for an unplanned meal for me but this was so good as were the leftovers! The chicken was the perfect reminder that even without any advance prep, dinner can be ready really easily.
Ingredients: (makes 5-6 servings)
6 chicken tenders
2 tbs Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup sundried tomato pesto
1 tbs chopped garlic
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 box pasta
salt & pepper
Season the chicken tenders.
In a large pan, cook the chicken over medium heat for ~10 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil. Flipping regularly to cook through.
Remove the chicken from the pan, and slice the chicken into small pieces.
Add the tomato sauce, sundried tomato pesto, garlic
Mix well, add in the water, cream, and the pasta.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir and add the chicken back in.
Cook another 3-5 minutes (or until the pasta is cooked to your liking).
I liked the tweak on regular tomato pasta for this. The sundried tomato pasta is a fun condiment to have on hand and is easier than chopping sundried tomato pieces. It was toned down a bit with the tomato sauce. It was so good and would be good without the chicken.
The Three Bite Rule is four years old! F-O-U-R. Cra-zy. Monthly I pretty much don’t know where time has gone.
There were a lot of trips this year: NYC, Cape Cod, NH, Quebec, Prague, & Paris. I changed jobs and am really happy. I was so thankful to have entered into a really great work environment and to not have to go on all the work trips anymore. I love that I get to be around food and conversations about food all the time. Mr. J has done tons to the house this year. I’m now almost 8 months pregnant so year five is definitely going to be different than year four.
The pups are ohh so happy too (just kidding, they’re happy being separate they don’t normally cuddle together).
Let’s celebrate some superlatives:
My favorite post:
Most Pinned Post:
Easy Sesame Noodles
Most viewed post:
Almond Joy Parfait
Best Easy Recipe:
Fig Preserve & Prosciutto Panini
So, what are the goals for year 5? I think your guess is as good as mine. I just don’t even know what the next year will look like. I don’t want to be somebody who doesn’t try to do things. I also don’t want to set myself up to not be able to reach any realistic goals. I think I just can’t decide right now what will be ahead. I’m assuming there will be a a baby-hiatus and fewer posts per week.
My goals for the year were something I could think about each month:
The Year of the Flower
make some Pinterest pins a reality
cook with yeast
try a spin class
make more cocktails
I don’t know what next year will be the year of. The year of the flower was one of the best ones I’ve done yet. I might have to go back to the year of the earring. Who knows. Maybe I should transform the grocery store impulse buys into a recipe.
follow me on instagram @emilyran & catch up on the 3rd, the 2nd, and the 1st blogaversaries.
Breakfast sandwiches are one of my favorite things to eat. Offer me anything and a breakfast sandwich and I’ll always go for the bfast sand. This time I made it as a panini and it was so good. I like to think the panini made it more dinner-ish but that might just be me. Bfast for dinner is so fast and I only used one pan and the panini press to whip all this up!
Ingredients: (makes 2 paninis)
4 slices of bacon
6 slices of cheddar
1 tomato, sliced
4 slices sourdough bread
Chop the bacon and pan fry until crisp. Drain out the grease, spray with nonstick spray.
Whisk the eggs, season with salt & pepper, then pour into the bacon pan.
Cook through and flip once making one flat egg disk.
Preheat the panini press, grill pan, or a griddle.
Assemble the sandwich with the bread, half the cheese, and tomato slices.
Then add egg, bacon, and the remaining cheese.
Brush with olive oil and grill the sandwiches.
Serve with potatoes or fruit! I went with sweet potato tots…my fav.
My local bagel joint makes their sandwiches with egg cooked like this…more like an omelet than a fried egg. Cheese on either side of the bread holds everything together, and the egg stays together more than scrambled would. My other favorite breakfast sandwich spot chops the bacon instead of leaving long strips which is genius. You get some in every bite!
bfast panini + cheese with the egg = omelette panini
bfast panini – bacon + ham/sausage/or meatless
bfast panini – bacon + ham + sautéed onions = western panini
bfast panini – bread + english muffin (still panini pressed)
I was thinking about what convenience items are worth the spurge. I especially was thinking about it while trying to get the knife through some butternut squashes. Those suckers are definitely tough to cut so it can be your call if you want to save some dollars and halve the squash yourself, orrrr if you want to pay to get it all skinned and chopped. I cut through them but didn’t peal before roasting. It was super easy to scoop it out once they were cooked.
Ingredients: (makes ~4-6 servings)
2 small butternut squash
2 large apples, pealed & chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbs butter
1 1/2 cups veggie stock
3 tbs half and half
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Cut the squash in half and roast for 45-60 minutes.
In a large pot, heat to medium high heat and add in the apples and onion with butter. Cook for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent and the apples are soft. The butter will get all bubbly and brown.
Scoop out the squash seeds and spoon the squash pulp into the pot with the apples and onion.
Add in the stock and cook for 5 minutes or so.
Transfer into a blender or blend with an immersion blender then return to the pot.
Season with salt and pepper. Add more stock if it is too thick for your liking.
Add in the cream and stir well.
I loved this. It was so good with a touch of sweetness from the apple and I toasted some sourdough for dunking. I froze the rest and will be so glad to pull it out of the freezer some day when I’m not into making dinner. I know, the apples just keep appearing…that’ll be over soon.
Bailee oversaw the whole operation. She likes to know what is happening in the kitchen if there’s food around and she wanted to say hi.
October flew by. Seriously. I think it was just labor day in NYC. Somehow I’m now 7 months pregnant and work’s huge Thanksgiving fundraiser is just around the corner.
We harvested pears at Mrs. M’s house and cooked them into a few dishes, froze a ton of them for smoothies, then made the rest into pear sauce. The pear sauce has been so good warmed up and served with vanilla ice cream.
October fall flavors kicked off with a Thanksgiving Burger… maybe the best decision I made all month. Ground Turkey, stuffing, cheddar, and cranberry mayo were such a great combo before you’re overrun with Thanksgiving foods.
Pumpkin Coffee Cake was unbelievable and really easy. I’m no baker, but this will appear again very soon.
I think October’s most fun dinner was a Top Your Own Potato Bar. It was seriously so fun and took no time at all.
After apple picking, there were apples appearing in lots of foods, like caramel apple cider, in sausage stuffing, breakfast yogurt, but most importantly this chicken sausage, apple, onion calzone and apple, manchego, bacon quesadillas.
Let’s check on my goals:
The Year of the Flower lives on! I got some funky purple squirly ones but forgot a pic and then added some fall festiveness for my desk.
send more mail – a very special gal got engaged and got a card…though why aren’t there more same-sex engagement cards? I had to resort to congratulations since the engagement are way too heterosexual. I sent the nephews some Halloween cards too.
make some Pinterest pins a reality - Not so much, though I’ve pinned about 1,000,000 baby-inspired pins though I’ve spared my followers with a private board
cook with yeast (yikes!)try a spin class – um nope. I’m not adding in any super new exercises at this point. I’ve tried to stay active and walking a lot. I might try some prenatal yoga.
make more cocktails – umm no cocktails for me until January but I made Caramel Apple Cider that was unbelievable.
Lil’ Chil is growing and growing. I can’t believe I’m 30 weeks along. 10-ish more weeks. Crazy! This past month has been baby-centric. We toured the maternity ward, registered and learned a lot about what little ones need. We picked baby names. We not only planned the nursery, but Mr. J painted the walls! We started checking out daycare options.
Next up, classes, putting the nursery together, and a busy, busy work month. I’ll for sure have fewer posts but stay tuned! I’m sure we need more soup and maybe a new pizza.
Happy almost Halloween! I don’t have a spooky-themed dinner, but this would be easy to whip up before taking little ones trick or treating, or would be quick to throw together between handing out Reeces. I get about 3 trick or treaters but I make sure to have good candy or the ones I get will never come back! And, just like hosting a party, you should serve what you’re happy to have leftover for yourself.
I tell ya. The apples are never ending. These past few weeks I’ve been trying to add them anywhere that made sense. Here they got to provide the crunch and were perfect with the melty cheese. This dinner is quick and easy. It would be great as a panini too.
Ingredients: (for 2 quesadillas)
3 slices of bacon
4 flour tortillas
1 large apple, sliced
6 oz manchego cheese
Pan fry the bacon until crisp, then drain and chop.
Heat a griddle or large pan to medium and spray with non-stick spray.
Lay the tortilla and top with sliced cheese.
Add sliced apple, and chopped bacon.
Top with the 2nd tortillas, lightly spray with non-stick spray and flip once. (this helps it to brown evenly)
Serve with some honey mustard for dipping!
The cheese was more of a splurge but for this very few ingredient dinner, it was worth it. Mixing manchego with cheddar might have enabled these to be cheesier.
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – Manchego + cheddar/brie/gouda/cheese of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – apple + pear/roasted sweet potato/other fruit or veggie of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – bacon + proscuitto/ham/turkey/other protein of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – bacon = vegetarian option
I should call this dinner “all the fall things”. I went to town on fall flavors. Maple! Brussels Sprouts! Sweet Potato! Apple! I have been cooking often but this meal was a lot. I get full so quickly now so this was just so much.
2-4 boneless pork chops
3 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1 apple, sliced
Preheat a skillet to medium high heat and preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Sear the pork with salt & pepper on each side in the hot pan for 4 minutes on each side, then put them into a baking dish.
While the pork is cooking, shake together the glaze ingredients: maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.
Spread the glaze over the pork and bake for 20 minutes. Using a meat thermometer, check the temperature to ensuring the pork cooks through without over cooking it. (USDA guidelines recommend 145-degrees and then rested a few minutes before serving)
For the last few minutes of cooking, add sliced apple.
I served these with some roasted brussels sprouts with a touch of Parmesan and whipped sweet potato. The Parmesan came about since the pork and the sweet potato were both sweet flavored items and I didn’t want it all to seem the same. The apple was barely cooked which added a subtle crunch.
‘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.
Apple cider is one of my favorite flavors of fall. This fall, as I’m 7 months pregnant, I’ve been heating it and drinking it on the way to work. It helps me pretend I have all the coffee I can drink. Helps.
I was digging around to figure out why hot cider at fancy places tastes so different. Then I discovered Betty Crocker had the secret! It is heavy cream! Don’t bail on me, hear me out. This is amazingly apple and caramel flavored with just a touch of creaminess.
(for 2 mugs or 1 travel mug)
3 tbs brown sugar
3 tbs heavy cream
3 cups apple cider
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
whipped cream for garnish (optional)
Heat brown sugar and cream until bubbly and dissolved.
Add cider, vanilla extract, and cinnamon, cooking until heated through.
Divide into 2 mugs.
Optional: top with whipped cream, cinnamon, and caramel ice cream topping while playing some coffee house jams.
This is so decadent. I have it for dessert…warmed cider is the morning version. It is super sweet but you definitely taste the caramel and apple. You could always add in a splash of rum, vanilla vodka, whipped cream vodka, or the spiking of your choice.
After apple picking, I knew some dinners should include apples…as well as snacks, breakfasts, and any other occasion this fall. Seriously, the orchard only did big bags so we have a LOT of apples. I hadn’t made a calzone in awhile so that was the winner.
Apples are easily served with brie or baked into some dessert. Well, no brie or soft cheeses for me for another 3 months, and I’m not a big baker.
1 onion, sliced
2 apples, sliced
2-3 chicken sausage links
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
Preheat the oven and a pizza stone if using one, to 400-degrees.
In a large skillet over medium low heat, gently cook the onion until lightly browned and cooked through.
Slice the sausage and add them to the pan to warm through.
Roll out or spread the dough out. Then drape it onto the pizza stone or pan, off-centered so the toppings will go on the bottom and the excess will fold over.
Layer on the cheese, sausage and onions, and the apple slices.
Keep layering the toppings, even if it seems like it is over filled.
Pull the rest of the dough over the top and pinch to close.
Cut a few slices in the top of the calzone to vent it.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden browned and cooked through.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.
I loved this one. I’ll definitely make it again. The apples being raw added a soft crunch to go with the sweet onions and the mild chicken sausage. This is such a fantastic combination. I’d love these flavors as a sub or panini, or as a pizza, or an app of some sort.