#MeatlessMonday

I quietly instituted Meatless Mondays at our house. I sort of regularly planned or scheduled a meatless meal during our week but back in November I consciously planned them for Mondays and tried to keep them varied. I mean, pasta seems like the easiest & fastest dinner without meat and is a favorite food of mine so I might have been happy to eat pasta every Monday night! There were still a bunch of pastas on my Mondays but everything has felt different so far! Summer definitely seems like an easier season but it is a good habit I hope to keep up.

The verdict? So far so good! They don’t have to be Mondays necessarily, but I did totally find it helpful for speedier meals to start the week! I’ll keep at it and maybe it’ll stretch me to be more creative. We could definitely eat more veggies.

Here have been some of my favs:

Fall Fettuccine with Roasted Squash, Sage, & Alfredo
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Fettuccine
Baked Falafel Bowls
The Three Bite Rule - Falafel Bowl
Bean & Cheese Quesadillas/Burritos – I froze a few burritos with beans, 2 cheeses, brown rice, and corn for lunches too!

Kale Pesto over Gnocchi
The Three Bite Rule - Kale Pesto
Shakshuka
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Spaghetti w/ Tomato Sauce- I was solo parenting and had strep- the worsttttt. A 2-ingredient dinner was perfect- using my fav Kitchen Ready Tomatoes of course.

Grilled cheese & Tomato Soup – this may have been the first time the little one ate soup. He was into it!

Bfast for Dinner: eggs & hashbrowns

Veggie Calzone with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone

Tortellini

Fish tacos with Pear Pomegranate Salsa
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pear Salsa

Sesame Noodles & Edamame
The Three Bite Rule - Sesame Noodles
I think that’s been most of them so far. It was also refreshing for a busy season to rely on many tried and true favs and not focus on new concepts and blogging all of them.

A bunch of my lunches tend to be vegetarian- quiche, soup, crostini, jazzy grilled cheeses, etc but it was good to be mindful to focus dinners around the theme.

A few other ideas that’ll hit next are some pizzas/flatbreads, Mexican things, more soups, and eggplant. I’m just not craving salads while it is 10-degrees around these parts. Any other cold-weather meatless meal ideas for me? Fish & mushrooms aren’t always favorites for all of us at our house.

Asian-Inspired Burgers with Teriyaki & Pineapple

Burgers on the grill can continue right up until the snow falls here in New England – or year-round in our house. The fall is a great time to grill because the air isn’t 100-degrees plus the heat of the grill. Lovely! This burger gets brushed with teriyaki sauce after it cooks and has grilled pineapple, crispy wontons, cucumbers, and a sriracha aoli. Yum!
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Burger

Asian-Inspired Burgers (for 3)

Ingredients:

3/4-1 pound of ground meat (I used ground pork)
1/2 teaspoon teriyaki marinade (double if using teriyaki sauce)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
salt & pepper
1-2 slices of fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon mayo
1/4 of a cucumber, sliced thin
1/4 cup crispy wontons (found near croutons/salad toppers)
3 hamburger buns

Directions:

Preheat the grill while seasoning the meat.
Add the teriyaki marinade, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar to the meat & form into patties. Sprinkle salt & pepper on either side. Grill to desired cook- depending on the ground meat.
When the burgers are almost cooked, grill the pineapple for a minute  on each side.
Mix together the sriracha & mayo.
Brush the burgers with the teriyaki marinade and chop the pineapple.
Assemble the burgers with sriracha mayo on each bun, cucumbers on the bottom, the burgers and grilled pineapple. Add some  crispy wontons on top.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Asian Burger

Teriyaki marinade is pretty strong, since it is meant as a marinade so go light when topping the burgers. Teriyaki sauce (sold near soy sauce) doesn’t have the same sticky/sweet consistency but would be good flavor if you don’t have a use for a whole bottle of marinade. I loved the flavors here and just served some edamame on the side for a quick dinner. It was GREAT for variety of flavors this week!

Psssst! Have leftover teriyaki marinade & pineapple? I’ve used both for a fun teriyaki grain bowl! I liked the subtle kick from the sriracha but might have used even a bit more. I think I had a 1:2 mayo/sriracha ratio but suggest a 1:1 above.

March 2017 Recap

My birthday month was a good one! I seriously ate birthday cake for a week. As March draws to an end, I’m very ready for spring though work is getting nutty. Mr. J and I had a little getaway to Foxwoods for a little gambling, and a lot of catching up with my college roomies + spouses. We ate at Guy Fieri’s Kitchen + Bar and loved it!

My grain bowl obsession continues! I loooved this pilaf, grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, & honey mustard bowl. Annnd then I made a teriyaki one with grilled pineapple.
The Three Bite Rule - Rice Pilaf & Honey Mustard Grain Bowl
Chicken Caesar Pasta was such a hit. Loved it.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Caesar Pasta
I baked! We had a snow day and this Blueberry & Cream Cheese Pastry was perfect.
The Three Bite Rule - Blueberry & Cream Cheese Breakfast Pastry

The Little One:
He’s been throwing around some funny phrases, like “I think so” and “ummm” when he’s thinking. There are more and more sentences happening! We had a dry spell for avocados so he’s really hoping ties aren’t cut between our government and Mexico. He had a sleepover with the grandparents and loved it. I got some re-fillable pouches for applesauce and yogurt and those are such a hit.

Monthly goals:

Year of the seasonal decor: I JUST got this awesome felt pom pom garland that is around a twiggy wreath for springy Easter decor! Yay!!
do more dinner prep more in advance: ehh. speedy dinners are def happening and I’m using up the comfort food.
read more (and always carry my book on me): I read Brain on Fire with bookclub and Girl at War.
watch more movies: we watched Girl on the Train, which was wayyy more intense for Mr. J who hadn’t read the book.
cook more fish: nahh. Maybe in spring this will actually happen?
focus on clothes that I really like: no new clothes this month

Easy, Cheesy Polenta with Meatballs

Polenta is the ingredient I always forget will provide the variety to a weeknight meal we all need. Rice takes forever. Pasta seems overdone. Polenta? Yeah polenta cooks in just a few minutes. I like it soupy to be spoon-able. I used pre-cooked turkey meatballs, zucchini and a really quick sauce. Poof! Dinner!

The Three Bite Rule - Easy Cheesy Polenta

Ingredients:

6 meatballs
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup dried polenta
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup gruyere cheese,  shredded or chopped
1/2 cup milk

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the zucchini and tomato paste to cook for about 4 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Easy Cheesy Polenta
Add in the meatballs, 1 cup of the broth, and salt & pepper. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 8 minutes until broth reduces a bit.
The Three Bite Rule - Easy Cheesy Polenta
In a medium pot, add the polenta, butter, 1 cup of broth, 1 cup water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and stir in the milk and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Easy Cheesy Polenta
Spoon polenta in to the bowls, then top with meatballs, zucchini, and the sauce.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Easy Cheesy Polenta

Pad Thai with Chicken or Shrimp

I’m so glad I made this and that I tried! It seemed like something I should leave to the pros, but DO IT! It was so easy and I’ll totally make it again. Mr. J has recently gotten into pad thai and that’s precisely what inspired me to make it at home. That, and some shrimp in the freezer who gave me a little nudge. Also these noodles cook so quickly – everything I need for a weeknight meal! Who doesn’t looove a meal that gets all. the. toppings.

Shrimp Pad Thai - The Three Bite Rule

Ingredients:

6 shrimp & 2 chicken tenders
1 package (9 oz) Refrigerated Asian-Style Noodles (that’s what they’re actually called – in the produce area – mine were soba but “Chinese Style” were sold out)
1 red pepper, chopped into match sticks
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-2 cups bean sprouts
chopped cilantro, to taste
chopped peanuts, to taste
wedge of lime

Directions:

Boil salted water for the noodles.
Pan saute the chicken with salt and pepper over medium heat until cooked through in a large pan. Remove from the heat and quickly cook the chicken. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Mix together the sauce: brown sugar; soy sauce; rice vinegar; lime juice; fish sauce; and garlic. Whisk and set aside.
Saute the red pepper and when partway cooked, move to the outside and scramble the egg in the middle.
Shrimp Pad Thai - The Three Bite Rule
When the egg cooks, add in the bean spouts and cooked noodles – straight from the water once they’re done – save washing a colander!
Shrimp Pad Thai - The Three Bite Rule
Bring to medium heat and add in the sauce. Cook for about 3 minutes tossing to coat well.
Shrimp Pad Thai - The Three Bite Rule
Shred the chicken and mix in. Add the shrimp in and toss well (or serve the protein on the top).
Serve with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and lime. Enjoy!
Shrimp Pad Thai - The Three Bite Rule
Omg. So good! My noodles were too thick (think soba, not uber thin). The sauce was sooo delightful. It was perfect. I was afraid it might be drippy or something. It was spot-on.

SPOT-ON!

We’ll totally have this again. Mr. J was pretty pumped! The babe loves slurping long noodles and we love seeing that! I realized while writing this that ‘poon was coming out in my head…toddler talk is real. Anywho, The peanuts, cilantro, and lime maaaaaade this. I love toppings! I don’t pretend to know what authentic pad thai is like, but this beats take-out!

What I Ate: Peanut Sesame Noodles

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 totally didn’t make this up by any means but there are lots of recipes out there. This is great warm or cold and for a very “pantry” dinner it is per-fect for those too-hot-to-be-creative or meals on a budget or what-the-heck-is-for-dinner meals. I wasn’t going to blog it, because hello, I’m sure you’ve seen this before or can find it 1,000 places. Every time I make something new and decide not to blog it I regret it. So, here’s a blogged the minute before taking a bite:

The Three Bite Rule - Peanut Sesame Noodles
I mixed it right in the bowl I served it in. This is real life. Whisk together the sauce and mess with the ratios to your taste. I used this recipe to start with. I had to share it because it was tasty and we ate every last noodle and the little guy, who was finishing dinner gobbled up a bunch of this!

Ingredients:
Spaghetti
Peanut butter
Soy sauce
Sesame Oil
rice vinegar
minced ginger
minced garlic
tiny bit of sriracha
sesame seeds & green onion to garnish

Directions:
Boil salted water for the pasta.
Whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and sriracha.
Cook the pasta to al dente.
Mix most of the sauce into the pasta. Toss and add remaining sauce.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Peanut Sesame Noodles

It was mild but additive. Interesting but comforting. Silky but with a small crunch. So good. I used black sesame seeds I recently re-descovered from sis’ trip to Japan a while back. I’d have loved sliced cucumber, chopped peanuts, and edemame on the side. Tonight it was just this and that was lovely.

I will absolutely make this again to munch with Mr. J while we watch the little one slurp long noodles beaming with pride when the whole thing makes it into his mouth.

Southwestern Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties

These sweet potato patties were served at work for lunch and I knew I had to recreate at home. They can easily be a veggies burger, or bake them up as little patties or balls and nobody will even cringe thinking they’re eating a veggie burger! haha just kidding. Well, maybe kidding. If you’re comparing these buggers to a burger, they will definitely not seem the same. If you’re into sweet/smokey flavors then these will be a hit. The chef at work used this recipe from Minimalist Baker. I tweaked mine slightly for a bit more of a southwestern twist.

The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties
I mixed up a big batch and Mr. J and I ate them in ball form over salad, the little one munched his in pieces. I formed a few into patties and froze them for another time. I baked them all and just turned a few times for a crisp exterior. Yum.

based on Minimalist Baker’s recipe
Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes
1-1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 can black beans
3/4 cup corn
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
drizzle with sour cream/salsa/liquid smoke as dressing

Directions:
Boil/bake/microwave sweet potatoes until fully cooked.
Cook the rice.
Rinse the beans. Add half into a bowl and mash with the back of the spoon. Then add in the other half of the beans and the rice goes in.

The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Add the cooked sweet potatoes and corn, then cilantro, paprika, cumin, finally chili powder. Mix well (I used my stand mixer but a spoon would be fine too). Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a splash of liquid smoke and mix again.
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties
Form into patties, burgers, or balls. Then bake on a sprayed baking sheet for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
spot_patties_big_590_390
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties

I love the smokey flavors from the paprika, cumin, and liquid smoke. The corn and cilantro seem quite fitting here without quite being a taco salad. I kept the same flavors going with a little smokey dressing of sour cream, salsa, and liquid smoke. and tossed together some greens, tomato, and avocado.
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties
These are good on their own or on salad, or I’d totally warm in the toaster oven and then pop a patty into a pita pocket. I’m glad to have a few more stashed in the freezer. Coming up with lunches for the babe that can be eaten cold and to keep some variety takes some thought. The babe liked them and had his just alongside some chopped tomatoes & avocado. I appreciated how filling they were and I threw a bag of instant brown rice in the boiling water with the sweet potatoes. Boom. 2 foods, one pot.

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!