January 2016 Recap

It is official. I have a 1-year old. I think it went by sooo fast. Mr. J feels like since the little one has changed so much that it seems about right. T is so funny right now. He LOVED the cake…mashing it, eating it, and having frosting hands. The Little Man Party was fun and he’s one lucky guy. WE are a lucky family.

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January is off to a good start. I’ve used the pasta attachment 2x and the pressure cooker at least 2x…maybe 3? I love that thing. Dinner has to be super fast, or prepped in advance. That’s the only way it can happen after getting home from work, the little one wanting to eat ASAP, tub time, and bedtime. For now, the babe eats with me and then sits with us while we eat for a few minutes….that point of his patience is low. He’s onto drinking whole milk and pretty soon we’ll be off bottles. Woohoo!

This super quick Greek Flatbread with hummus, chicken sausage, feta, and arugula was one of my favorite things this month. It would work well as a wrap too, depending on your preference!
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Hummus Flatbreads
I’ve been on this bfast quest for weekday savory breakfasts. I had hoped to sneak one more in this week, but alas, I had a cold this weekend and didn’t cook a ton. These breakfast bowls have cracked wheat, bacon, egg, and everything-bagel seasoning. So fun! You could use rice, beans, lentils, barley, oatmeal? or whatever strikes your fancy.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bowls
My other fav this month was a Mexican-inspired BLT with a smear of refried beans and taco-spiced aioli. Sooo good. I served these guys with Mexican Street Corn that I made in the morning before work. Then I used the leftover beans to make bean & cheese quesadillas for the little one. He loved them!
The Three Bite Rule - Mexican BLTs

I’ll keep the savory breakfast going…I have a few more ideas I didn’t get to yet! 

2016 Goals:
The Year of the: Seasonal Decor I got the birthday string, thank you Target Dollar Section! and this awesome tree…so perfect for some “winter” decor versus Christmas.
do something a different way: ehh. I’m not sure where I was going with this, but switching the little one to a big-guy carseat and to milk means we definitely aren’t stuck in old ways of doing things!
drink more water: I’m tracking it, which at least makes me aware, and I’m making sure to get 10 oz in before coffee. #winning
make more interesting side dishes: yes! This risotto was so great!
cook more soups & sauces: I made broccoli & cheddar soup while it was snowing…that seemed appropriate.
watch more movies: we went to the movies 200% more than the last few months! I saw Mocking Jay and Spotlight in the theatres. We watched Foxcatcher, Inside Out, and 22 Jump Street, at home too.
make working out a higher priority: ehh. Not succeeding here but I got all into some fitbit daily challenges which got me moving a bit more.

Greek Grain Salad

This dinner is one to make immediately. I was inspired by all the different grains that are served at work. I chose cracked wheat because a) it is such a healthy grain b) it was much cheaper than some others c) it cooks just like rice. To keep it summery, I didn’t try to serve it really warm. The cracked wheat cooks quickly while the chicken was grilling and while I chopped everything else.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad

Ingredients:

3-4 chicken thighs marinated in Italian dressing.
1 cup cracked wheat
2 cups tomatoes
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh oregano & mint
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
cracked pepper

Directions:

Marinate the chicken at room temperature while the grill preheats.
Cook cracked wheat according to package. Mine said 40 minutes but was definitely tender when I fluffed with a fork at 25 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Chop tomato, feta, and fresh herbs. Add into a bowl with the cracked wheat.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Grill the chicken until fully cooked through, at least 165 degrees.
Shake together the dressing in a jar – olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, dried oregano, garlic, and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Mix the cracked wheat and everything together with the dressing.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Serve the chicken on top of a bed of the grain salad.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain SaladEnjoy!

I loved this. We had plenty of tomatoes, oregano, and mint so I was thinking I should do something Mediterranean. The cracked wheat was awesome! It has more of a nutty flavor and I loved knowing it was a better choice than rice or couscous. I forgot that I had some zucchini which would have been good in this, or raw cucumber.

This was so easy and had great flavor. We both loved it and I’m glad we tried something new with flavors that are sure to be a hit.

Boston Public Market

The Boston Food scene is just so cool. The Boston Public Market just opened and I was psyched to get a tour a bit early. It is the ONLY market of this kind in the country…all local…all indoor…all year round. It is so bright, beautiful, chic, and welcoming inside. Each vendor really has a distinct feeling and I loved that. It is brimming with produce, yet I only brought home some donuts. Next time! The tour had some good info, but was suuuper rushed. Let’s see what I remember.

Boston Public Market Sign

The displays are breathtaking, especially the produce, and the bakeries. Yum!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
Wolf Meadow Farm let us sample some ricotta with pepper jelly. Swoon. I know. How’d they know I loooove ricotta!? Their motto is import the cheese maker, not the cheese. They’ll advise you how to serve their cheese especially with other produce from the market!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market

We saw the programming space called the Kitchen. I feel as though the name is lacking, but it is just amazing! There are cameras in the ceiling for live feeds on tv screens which will be perfect for demos. The programs will be varied which also will help them strive for varied price points. Community Servings is one of the partners leading classes!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
How fun is this, you can leave a cookbook and take a cookbook! There are book-plates for the inside to share your favorite item from it. I totally want to do this!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market

One of the few non-edible items…bowls made from fallen trees! Peterman’s Boards & Bowls
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
Lastly, one of the coolest things: a bee hive! That black glass paneled box is a beehive!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
It is very cool and a great time for the local food scene in Boston. I loved the vibe and think it is just what we needed here. It sort of made me think of Reading Terminal in Philly, the Ferry Building in San Fran, Chelsea Market in NYC. So great!

Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken

I grabbed some baby bok choy at the farmer’s market without a plan for it. I went to trusty Pinterest and found a fun raw use for it on Culinary Hill. I tweaked the dressing by adding some stronger flavors of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. We added some grilled teriyaki chicken for a really great speedy dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Get some chicken on the grill, shake up some dressing in a jar, and then chop up a few veggies. Poof. Instant dinner with some great flavors.

Ingredients:

adapted from Culinary Hill
2-3 chicken thighs, marinated in teriyaki
2 baby bok choy bunches
2 large radishes
2 tbs sesame seeds
3 tbs brown sugar
1-2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup almond slivers

Directions:

Grill the marinated chicken until cooked through, brushing with some teriyaki at the end.
Chop the bok choy, discarding the bottom pieces.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Chop the radishes into a small dice.
Toast some sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Watch carefully to toast them without burning.
In a small jar, add brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Shake vigorously. Taste and adjust as necessary.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
In a large bowl, add the bok choy, radish, and toasted sesame seeds.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Add in some dressing and toss. Sprinkle with almonds.
Top with chicken to serve. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
I liked the mild flavor of the bok choy. The almonds were pre-sesaoned with salt and pepper near the croutons. I might have toasted them if they were regular almond slivers. It was such a quick dinner that felt fresh, crunchy with juicy chicken.

The dressing was great. Make it, and then you’ll have sesame oil on hand for these (most Pinterest-pinned) sesame noodles and for Asian Broccoli Slaw with Peanut Butter Chicken and your next pork & veggie spring rolls, etc. You’ll use it, it isn’t such a crazy specialty ingredient.

Chicken and Kale Enchiladas

I haven’t made enchiladas in a while but I also had some kale I was hoping to sneak into something. Enchiladas seemed perfect. To tell the truth, I’m not a fan of raw kale but it is a good veggie to tuck into other foods. I know, I feel like anyone with a food blog is supposed to loooove kale. The health benefits are amazing but I find it so tough. Chard & spinach often score higher than kale anyway and I like them better. Greens, like kale, work well to dice up and treat like an herb. I didn’t highlight it, but it has a good place here.
Chicken & Kale Enchiladas - The Three Bite Rule
This was a perfect make-ahead meal. I made the filling while I was making my lunch (see my taco salad with avocado lime dressing). Basically I ate pretty similar lunch and dinners on the same day, but I’ll take Mexican meals any day.

Ingredients:

4 chicken tenderloin pieces (or 2 breasts)
2 tbs taco seasoning
10 oz black beans (3/4 of a can)
4 cups kale, with ribs removed
6 oz shredded cheddar
8 wheat tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce

Directions:

Dice the chicken into chunks and sauté with the taco seasoning until cooked through.
While chicken is cooking, remove the ribs from the kale and chop. Steam the kale for 3-5 minutes to partially cook.
Mix together the kale, black beans, and chicken.
Chicken & Kale Enchiladas - The Three Bite Rule
Assemble the enchiladas with tortillas, filling, a sprinkle of cheese. (save some cheese for the top)
Chicken & Kale Enchiladas - The Three Bite Rule
Then roll them up and place with the seam-side down into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
Chicken & Kale Enchiladas - The Three Bite Rule
Pour enchilada sauce over the top and bake for 30 minutes.
Chicken & Kale Enchiladas - The Three Bite Rule
Top with cheese and bake for another 5 minutes until cheese melts. Or refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. Or freeze for future use. I made 2 pans, each with 4 enchiladas. I baked one and froze the other.
Chicken & Kale Enchiladas - The Three Bite Rule
These were really good. The sauce has some zip to it and the wheat tortillas, kale, and beans, make them a bit more nutritious. The filling really could be anything. Mine was heavier on kale and beans than chicken.

Chicken & Kale Enchiladas - The Three Bite Rule
If you have any leftover filling save it and add some brown rice for a lunch burrito bowl!

February 2015 Roundup

Bring on March. I’m ready. I love my birthday month…hint hint! I’m feeling a bit more settled with the baby and being on maternity leave. I also am ready for the news to no-longer drone on and on about the snowiest February ever. Yes, we can see that, moving on.

February flew by, despite the fact that I didn’t leave the house much. Baby T hadn’t had his 1-month shots (not to mention leaving the premises with a newborn is a production) so I didn’t go many places. It is a good time of year to be home-bound and snuggly. I spent much of February in yoga pants or pjs to breastfeed, nap, or figure out mommy-hood. There were good days, and some of the toughest I’ve had in awhile. What a mix!

Here’s what you may have missed during the food of February:
I highly recommend this quick and easy breakfast bake that is pretty much a savory bread pudding or savory french toast. Do it. Customize it. You’ll love it. This was something I prepped for the freezer and was really happy with it. It puffed up for a fluffy breakfast-for-dinner meal straight from the freezer.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bake with Ham, Eggs, and Cheese
For the superbowl, I jazzed up some potato skins. They were good, though I could have done a better job making it more evenly seasoned.

I’m so happy how this pulled pork eggs benedict came out. I looove leftovers getting to shine in other ways. This pulled pork has 9 lives. I didn’t see any out so I stalked a guy in the meat area and he got one for me. It was huge, and being priced by the pound meant it cost a small fortune. Even with my cheap-skate tendencies I didn’t mind at all since I knew it’d freeze well and I’d be using it a few ways. Wait till I get the next batch out of the freezer!
The Three Bite Rule - Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict
Hands down, the best dish of February was this salmon with creamy dill dressing. I went from being happy with the most decadent breakfast in the world, to posting a salad topped with fish! It also knocked off 2 of my monthly goals (more seafood & making salad dressing). Yes!!
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing

Progress on this year’s goals: 
The Year of the Earring: you betcha. Here’s this month’s selection 
make more salad dressings:
YES! I did it! I made a Creamy Dill & Cucumber dressing for my salad with salmon.
factor more time into how long every-day tasks/trips will take: I didn’t quite succeed in this when heading out with the babe. I’ll keep it in mind though.
recreate restaurant menu items: ehh. nope. Not this month. Maybe by not going to restaurants I’ll have to recreate what they’re offering.
be more adventurous with my reading selections: I gave up on “All the Light We Cannot See”. I found it depressing and I was battling postpartum hormones so I switched to It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell of the blog Can You Stay For Dinner. I loved it, though the beginning was bumming me out a bit. She is enchanting and has a tremendous and moving story to tell of her life-long relationship with food. I highly recommend. Now I’m onto some next options. I borrowed a few from the library for my kindle and will see what I get into. 
use the crockpot more: I made one I really liked! I didn’t blog it since there aren’t many steps/techniques/tips for crockpot food, plus, I didn’t tweak the recipe at all. It was chicken cordon bleu topped with stuffing. It was good, and made for a million servings Mr. J took to work and I ate between feedings for the little one. I cut the chicken into chunks and used some diced spiral ham I had in the freezer from Christmas. 
#seafoodsunday once a month: So it wasn’t a Sunday, but make this salmon asap. You can thank me later. Plus, the seasoned butter was fun to squish.

What I Ate: Turkey Kielbasa and Peppers

It is officially time for maternity leave. “I’ll be back”. In the meantime, I have a few goodies to share out here in the blog-o-sphere until I come back. Enjoy!

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.

This is seriously so easy it is ridiculous but it was just what I was after for a really quick dinner plan, conducive to leftovers, and only needing a few ingredients. Rice, turkey kielbasa, red onion, green peppers, ready-made sauce, brown sugar. Poof! Dinner!

You could always get your own sauce in there and throw in other veggies. Whatever floats your boat.

The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Peppers

Ingredients: (serves 3)

1 link turkey kielbasa (or regular, or brats, or chicken sausage, or you get the gist)
1 green bell pepper
1/2 red onion
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
brown rice

Directions:

Start cooking the rice according to that you’re using. (I used instant brown rice that needed 10 minutes once the water boiled)
Slice the kielbasa, pepper, and onion into chunks.
Heat a large pan and start cooking the onion & kielbasa over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, until the onion starts to soften.
Add in the brown sugar and teriyaki sauce mixing well.
The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Peppers
Add in the green pepper and cook for 5 minutes to combine well and for the sugar to melt.
Optional: taste and add in a splash of water if it is too strong flavored.
The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Peppers
Reduce heat to low.
Serve over rice and enjoy!

This is so easy but I think the real trick is not to over cook the peppers while not undercooking the onion. The onion needs to soften and the peppers need to still have a crunch…they don’t cook the same amount of time. The kielbasa has good flavor and is fully cooked, so it really is just absorbing flavor and heating through. Mr. J would choose white rice, but with a sticky, tangy, and sweet sauce on it, he’ll accept brown rice.

The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Peppers

Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

This salad is sooo easy and only took a few special touches to make it something special. This Asian-inspired salad is the perfect meal to make dinner seem different. If you cook and shred the chicken in advance, this would be a 10 minute meal! I also might skip the chicken on the salad and grill some sesame garlic wing to go with this.

The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

3 chicken tenders, each cut in half
8 oz Broccoli slaw
2-3 tbs sesame soy vinaigrette (bottled or 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tsp soy sauce whisked together)
1/4 peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 cup edemame, shelled and cooked
orange segments (or packaged Mandarin oranges with no sugar added)
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup crispy wonton strips (found in the produce area, or make your own)

Directions:

Bring a pot of water to a low boil. Then add the chicken. Cook for about ten minutes. Check that it is cooked through, if not keep cooking.
Toss broccoli slaw with dressing in a large bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken.
In a small pot add the peanut butter on low, stirring occasionally until melted.
Stir in the soy sauce, and remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Toss the shredded chicken into the peanut sauce to coat well.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Top the salad with orange segments, edemame, cashews, crispy wonton strips, and chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
I loved this. I could eat this regularly. The chicken feels kind of heavy and thick from the peanut butter, but the sharpness of the broccoli slaw dressing balances it. The sweet oranges are bright with lots of crisp texture from the nuts and wonton strips. The broccoli slaw was a welcome change from other greens. I love it.

This is such a cheap one, especially since it uses very little chicken.

Cost breakdown of Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken:

(cost per quantity that was used)
broccoli slaw: $2.00
chicken tenders: $2.50
edemame: $0.25
packaged oranges: $1.00
cashews: $1.50
wonton strips: $1.00
total = $8.25 for 3 servings, or $2.75 per person

You might be able to grab the edemame from the salad bar, which would make it super cheap without any leftovers. The wonton strips aren’t totally necessary with the nuts so you could skip one or the other if you wanted to simplify a bit.

I’ll totally make this again.

Maple Peanut Butter Granola

I cringe every time I see the price of granola at the grocery store. It’s like $4-something per box, and that box is definitely smaller than the Cheerios! I googled around to see if there were any tricks for granola. Turns out, it is just super easy. Wait till you see the price per serving!

I went with peanut butter, maple syrup, salted sunflower seeds, and oats. I was hesitant to use lots of pricey nuts until I figured out cooking times…next time! I loooove all things peanut butter. I got some maple peanut butter for xmas and it wasn’t my favorite brand on it’s own so I thought I’d amp up the maple-ness with it for granola.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola

I can’t wait to try some other variations. It was the perfect not-too-sweet granola to top coffee greek yogurt!
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups oatmeal (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.
Over medium low heat in a small pot, melt peanut butter and maple syrup together. Stir occasionally.

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
In a large bowl, mix oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, and sunflower seeds.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
Add the vanilla into the maple peanut butter and remove from the heat.

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
Mix the peanut butter mixture into the dry mixture with a spatula. Combine well.

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
Spread onto a baking pan lined with a baking mat or lined with parchment paper.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
Bake for 15-20 minutes. I did 15 minutes and let it cool. (It wasn’t the crunchiest it could be so, I’d bake for 20 minutes next time.)

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
Let cool completely and break into crumbled chunks. Store in an airtight container.

I love this. I didn’t make a huge batch because I needed to see how it went. Next time I might double it or increase it a bit. I do like the idea making small batches different each time to test ‘em out. The peanut butter with cafe latte Greek yogurt was great. I loved it with coconut and vanilla Greek yogurt too.

The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola
It’s pretty good for a sweet treat in addition to breakfast. I’d love some chocolate chunks or mini chips and more nuts next time!

cost breakdown: 
2 cups of old fashioned oats = $0.53
1/2 cup sunflower seeds = $0.42
1/2 cup peanut butter = $0.40
1/2 cup maple syrup (I don’t buy the real stuff) = $0.50
total = $1.85 for about 6 servings or $0.30 per serving.

that’s insane. THIRTY CENTS per serving. annnnd you know what’s in it. It could go up a lot depending on what goes into it. But I’d love walnuts or almonds and a 1/2 cup of those is not going to put this close to a $1 per serving. I think I’m likely to end up with more like 8-10 servings since it’s just a sprinkle onto of my yogurt. Case closed. I’m making my own from now on.

Sausage Stuffing

My mom makes some seriously awesome stuffing. It works like a side dish but I figured holding strong on 2 food groups meant I’d make it the main dish! I love this and would eat it far too often if it were at all good for me. It’s a fantastic wintry food and makes a great dinner or side dish. There’s a secret ingredient that is the trick.

My sous chef wanted to help #kitchendogs #fluffybailee

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

4-6 sausage links, removed from the casing (I used turkey sausage this time)
1 loaf of sourdough bread or something crusty
1 can golden mushroom soup (even mushroom-haters will not notice this is in here)
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup water
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large skillet to medium heat while you chop the onion and remove the casing from the sausage links.
Brown the sausage, breaking it into smaller chunks with the back of a wooden spoon.
In a medium pot, warm the soup, wine, water, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic over medium heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Cut the bread into chunks.
When the sausage is mostly cooked through, drain any excess grease and add the onions into the pan with the sausage. Cook a few minutes until the onion gets soft and a bit translucent, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked sausage and onions and bread together.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl and mix well.
Empty the whole bowl into a large baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Broil the last 3 minutes if the top hasn’t crisped enough
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Yum. I love this one. The golden mushroom soup is so flavorful – just don’t confuse it with cream of mushroom soup.

I served this with some roasted asparagus for a quick dinner. The leftovers are great and it is just an inviting unfussy meal.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
I found a loaf of artisan bread with garlic in it. It was pricey but I only used 4 sausage links and the bread. Other ingredients were super cheap and this was about 5 servings for us.

Shhhh. I nibbled on some leftovers for breakfast one morning when all I wanted was a non-sweet breakfast. What? A touch of maple and this is the ideal salty breakfast…just call it savory bread pudding and nobody will think twice.

some suggested adaptations:
this recipe + celery/kale/portobello/peppers = more veggie-ful stuffing
this recipe – golden mushroom soup + low sodium chicken broth = less salty/lower sodium meal (or reduce the soup to half a can and increase the water to 3/4 cups
this recipe + muffin tins = easily servable stuffing cups
this recipe – turkey sausage + soy sausage crumbles = vegetarian stuffing
this recipe + dried cranberries + sage = super seasonal flavors