#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.

Pomegranate Pear Salsa over Crispy Fish

At the first Pear Party/Iron Chef Pear, there was this pear, pomegranate pearl salsa that I loved, yet hadn’t made in years. It is so addicting with tortilla chips- multigrain scoops are definitely the best for it. I added some avocado and served mine on top of some beer battered fish filets for lunch and used the rest on pork tacos the following night. This is wintry and fresh with such great textures.

The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pear Salsa

Pomegranate & Pear Salsa

Ingredients:

2 pears
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 red onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/1-1 avocado

Directions:

Chop the pear, cilantro, and red onion. Mix together with the pomegranate pearls, lime juice & salt.
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pear Salsa
Gently mix in the avocado.
Serve & enjoy! (If not serving immediately, reserve the pomegranate pearls until serving- they leave a reddish hue on the pears & reserve the avocado- it’ll turn brown.)

So easy! You know what’s even easier? I discovered the grocery store sells the pomegranate pearls already popped out of the pomegranate! That was my hang up to make this until now. This lunch as everything: warm crispy fish, the pop/crunch of the pomegranate pearl, the juicy pear, the creamy avocado. What’s not to love?

The red & green felt super cute and seasonal here. The avocado was a game-time decision. When they’re ripe that window to use it or lose it is brief! Plus, my frozen fish filets seemed tiny. I’ve used them in fish tacos but for size reference, this is a salad plate so I thought the avocado would bulk it up a touch. It did!
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pear Salsa

Caesar Deviled Eggs

I love caesar dressing which lead me to a caesar twist on deviled eggs. I made just a few for a mid-day Christmas appetizer. They were perfect for a few bites with the zing of caesar and a salty bit of Parmesan on top. I also like that they’re quick and easy to make a few or a bunch. I like them as an appetizer in contrast to dips, cheese, crackers, etc.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Deviled Eggs
I jazzed up some creamy caesar dressing but it is also pretty easy to make it homemade. They definitely taste caesar-y. The anchovy paste is necessary in the dressing. Necessary. It adds that hard-to-explain, not-fishy, but zing of good caesar flavor. I doubt these would really taste like caesar without it.

Caesar Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

8 hard boiled eggs
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 tablespoons creamy caesar dressing + cracked pepper + anchovy paste
1 teaspoon shaved parmesan

Directions:

Hard boil the eggs, then immediately place into a ice bath.
When cooled, peal the eggs and slice in half. Pop out the egg yolks into a bowl and add in the mustard and creamy caesar.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Deviled Eggs
Whip together with a hand mixer or in a food processor until totally smooth.
Spoon into a ziplock bag. Then pipe the filling into each egg half.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Deviled Eggs

I was making these on-the-go bringing ingredients to our Christmas celebration, but a tiny piece of romaine lettuce would be fun for crunch or some crumbled croutons all over the top would be good too!

December 2017 Recap

I really like the between Christmas and New Years. I don’t feel the post-celebration blues I hear so often. I like the hubbub of Christmases we have celebrating twice and then I like the quietness of NYE. I’m looking forward to sliders and milkshakes that have become our tradition to ring in the new year! As much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE holiday decor I also like the getting back to usual with the tree down etc. I also switch from Christmas/Santas/etc to Snowmen and lights so it still feels festive.

So. much. food. in. December! I hosted Christmas Eve and Mr. J and I made fresh spinach pasta, alfredo, these crockpot meatballs, caesar salad, and chocolate mousse. It was soooo good and the right amount of easy/special foods.

My fav thing this month was an apple, caramelized onion, and boursin crostini. So perfect for a snack, lunch, or cocktail party food.
The Three Bite Rule - Crostini with Boursin, Apple & Caramelized Onions
I also really loved this cheesy-veggie calzone with fire roasted tomatoes.
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone
January should be tasty! I have a few posts to work on during my break from work that I’m excited to share. I got some new kitchen toys so I’ll be sure to break them in as well! I made a yogurt cake which instilled a touch of confidence for baked goods.

The Little One:

Christmas was so magical for him! He was feeling shy to sit with Santa, but he did talk to him and asked for a Construction vest. Santa delivered, also with safety goggles which he barely took off since. He couldn’t believe the cookie crumb mess Santa left on the plate! He was quite well behaved and very happy opening presents. I wasn’t sure if he’d have zero attention span since all the family members showered him with so many gifts!

In just a few weeks he’ll be 3! I cannot wait to post his bday celebration!

This year’s goals: 

Year of the candle: 
Grocery store re-invention: 
Ehh. I might just nix this – it never seems to happen! 
Cook more appetizers/snacks: 
Bacon & Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms were from November, and Apple/Boursin/Caramelized Onion Crostini was December! 
Taking time to blog thoughtfully:
I might have added a touch more style this month.
Journal the cute moments of my little one: 
What I’m reading: 
 I read The Day the World Came to Town, so uplifting! and I read Talking as Fast as I Can which was cute & enjoyable. 
What I’m watching:
I fulfilled my Christmas-movie needs by catching some/part of my favorite ones – Elf, The Holiday, Love Actually, Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas with the Kranks & Christmas Vacation. I didn’t see Home Alone which I was missing.

Pomegranate Cider Cocktail or Mocktail

Cocktail or mocktail! Take your pick! I’ll be real and say I tested & photographed this out during the little one’s naptime so I went mocktail so I could be productive for the afternoon but later the champagne version was delicious!
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Cider Cocktail

Bubbly Pomegranate Cider

Ingredients:

2 oz Pomegranate juice
4 oz apple cider
1 oz limoncello or citrus vodka (optional)
7 oz ginger ale (mini can) or champagne

Directions:

Add pomegranate juice to a cocktail shaker with cider and ice. For a cocktail version, add limoncello or citrus vodka.
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Cider Cocktail
Shake and pour over ice into 2 glasses.
Top with ginger ale or champagne.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Cider Cocktail
This is a great one to make to order, or to make a big pitcher for guests! I’d totally include this on a mimosa(-ish) bar for brunch! I liked the bubbles to cut the sweetness of the cider & juice. It is an easy one to make to your taste.

I can see kiddos liking the mocktail version while others have the champs in there.

Kale Pesto Soup with White Beans & Sausage

I made a big batch of kale pesto awhile ago and froze a few servings. I was thinking about uses for this flavor-packed sauce other than on pasta. I added some to soup in place of the traditional chopped kale in soup with white bean and sausage. This soup is comforting, super flavorful, and such a balanced meal.

The Three Bite Rule - Kale Pesto
This was ideal for a lunch on a cool day and then I packed the other servings up to bring for lunch at work. This whole packing-lunch thing is tricky as I was out of the habit when I got lunch at work. Soups have been good for lunch variety and I love that it doesn’t have to be made in a mass quantity.

The Three Bite Rule - Kale Pesto Soup

Kale Pesto Soup with White Beans & Sausage (for ~4 servings)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup kale pesto
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 small potatoes
2 cups fresh spinach
1 can white beans
1-2 links chicken sausage

Directions:

Heat broth in a large pot over low heat.
Cook the potato. Chop the sausage and the spinach. Rinse the beans.
Add everything to the broth and cook for 30 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Kale Pesto Soup
Serve & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Kale Pesto Soup
This had such amazing flavor from the pesto. I used spinach as the greens in there for more mild flavor and texture but any other would work well too. I only had 1 sausage link so I upped the beans and potato.

I have a cocktail-mocktail coming up next. Stay tuned!

Boursin Crostini with Apple & Caramelized Onions

Of course I love dips, but some parties, or layouts for that matter, call for crostini. They’re also helpful to incorporate a few flavors annnnnd a plate/tray of crostini mean a few people aren’t stationed in front of the dip all night. Note, I’m one of those who can’t separate from the dip! :-) This seems like the season of get-togethers, family meals, and having company which these are perfect for!
The Three Bite Rule - Crostini with Boursin, Apple & Caramelized Onions

I prepped the boursin & the caramelized onions in advance. Then it took 5 minutes for assembly! I wanted it to be with pear, but mine weren’t ripe enough.

Crostini with Boursin, Apple, & Caramelized Onions

Ingredients: (Serves 8ish)

4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried mixed herbs (I used a dip mix, or have used Italian Seasoning before)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt & cracked pepper
splash of milk or cream
1 onion, caramelized
1 baguette, slices of Italian bread, or melba toasts
2 apples or pears, sliced thinly
~6 sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions:

In advance, caramelize the onions & refrigerate or freeze until using.
In a food processor, blend the cream cheese, garlic, dried herbs, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add in a splash of milk to thin a bit to your preference.
The Three Bite Rule - Crostini with Boursin, Apple & Caramelized Onions
Refrigerate until using.
To assemble, toast the bread on a pan in the oven for just a few minutes. Then spread on the boursin, spoon on a some onions, lay on some apple slices, and sprinkle with thyme.
The Three Bite Rule - Crostini with Boursin, Apple & Caramelized Onions
Enjoy!

Loooove that this can be mostly made in advance, but also that the leftover boursin is so great for crackers, on bagels, etc. I made a big batch of caramelized onions the last time and froze them. That was a huge time & prep savor for these. Hey, this is a busy season – buy some boursin from the dairy section of the grocery store- that’ll speed you up even more!

My test one became lunch but I intended these as an app and I’d love these alongside soup for dinner too!
The Three Bite Rule - Crostini with Boursin, Apple & Caramelized Onions
I have a quick & healthy soup and a cocktail coming up next week! Stay tuned!

Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Quiche

Most quiches I’ve made seem to nicely straddle the line of brunch/breakfast/light lunch. This one takes a firm stand at lunch/dinner. Maybe it is the lack of bacon I often/always add into quiche, but the sun dried tomatoes seem to take it away from breakfast to lunch/dinner for me. I made this to be lunch for a few days but I froze a serving so I don’t over-do it with the same thing on repeat. More on my new lunch tactics to come!

The Three Bite Rule - Mushroom & Sun Dried Tomato Quiche

Mushroom & Sun Dried Tomato Quiche (serves 4-5)

Ingredients:

1 pie crust, defrosted
1 teaspoon butter
~1 1/2 cups mushrooms (I mixed crimini, portabello, shiitake)
1 tablespoon cooking Sherry
2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, chopped
4 eggs
3/4 cup milk/cream
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Par-bake the crust in a 9″ pie pan, with a few fork holes poked into it, according to package directions.
In a medium saute pan over medium heat, melt butter and add in the mushrooms to cook for ~3 minutes. Add salt & pepper and stir well. Add in the sherry to deglaze and cook for 2 more minutes. Then remove from the heat.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream of tartar, and salt & pepper.
Layer cheeses, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and repeat so everything will be evenly distributed.
The Three Bite Rule - Mushroom & Sun Dried Tomato Quiche
Then pour the egg mixture into the crust – mine had so much filling that I had a little egg mixture leftover.
Bake at 350-degrees for 35 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Mushroom & Sun Dried Tomato QuicheAllow to fully cool before slicing.
Enjoy!

The cheeses & mushrooms could have been in any format for me to love them, but paired with egg was spot on. I went full-in on the filling- just how I like it. It wasn’t dainty, but I cut into 4ths to be very solid lunch meals at work then I froze one to pull out another time when I’m out of ideas.

Another perk of any quiche, is that much can be prepped in advance! I baked the crust, sauteed the mushrooms, shredded the cheeses and literally assembled- without the egg mixture, the night before. I was too tired to do the whole she-bang. In the morning, I whisked the eggs mixture, poured it in, and baked while our normal getting-ready things happened. Ohh, and I snapped a few pictures for you!
The Three Bite Rule - Mushroom & Sun Dried Tomato Quiche
This quiche is my reminder that any fillings or flavors can go in a quiche, it makes a quick dinner during this busy season, and that it is so pack-able for lunch!

Veggie Calzone with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

I saw some really delicious sounding stuffed shells by How Sweet Eats and decided to turn them into a calzone. I loved the idea of fire-roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, and veggies so I put ‘em into a calzone since I haven’t made one in awhile. I’d love these in a baked pasta with penne, or on a pizza, or for a panini! There’s lots of room here for any veggies. Artichokes, mushrooms, and eggplant would be good too!
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone

Fire Roasted Tomato & Veggie Calzone

adapted from How Sweet Eats Vegetable Stuffed Shells
Ingredients:

pizza dough, at room temperature
1/2  yellow onion
1 zucchini
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup ricotta
1/4 cup fontina, chopped
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
sprinkle of wheat germ/semolina/corn meal

Directions:

Caramelize the onions: chop and cook in a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of olive oil on low, for about 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly.
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees, and a pizza stone- if using one.
Chop the zucchini into 1/2-inch disks then into quarters. Roast in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning.
Roll out the dough, or manually stretch it out between 2 hands working it into a big circle.
Sprinkle some wheat germ/semolina/corn meal onto the pizza stone or baking sheet. Next lay the dough out off center, so what will become the bottom is centered.
Assemble with shredded cheese, caramelized onions, ricotta dollops, fire roasted tomatoes, zucchini, and fontina are all spread out, then repeat. Fill it all the way getting close to the edges, and with toppings piled high.
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone
Fold the dough that will become the top over the insides. Pinch the edge closed, or roll it under the bottom. Poke a knife into the top to create some air vents.
Bake 30 minutes and check the dough has puffed and become golden brown. Then bake 10-15 minutes more, as needed. (Parbake just until set- 20 minutes and then refrigerate or freeze until serving. Then bake remaining 20 minutes until heated through).
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone
Slice & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone
I loved this one. Ricotta and multiple other cheeses is right up my ally. I don’t often use fire roasted tomato sauce because I’m so obsessed with Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes instead of sauce that I never even think twice, but I loved the smokey flavor in here! Canned tomatoes like my fav, and the fire roasted ones, are so great for pizza or pasta because they’re not loaded up with sugar- like jarred sauce. The tomato flavor is much better and was just like I had on pizza in Naples, Italy. The birthplace of pizza knows a thing or two! For this, I spooned out the tomato chunks so the calzone filling wouldn’t be too watery.

This was also great to prep in advance. I made the caramelized onions and roasted the zucchini first, then later I assembled and par-baked during nap time. That meant just popping it into the oven for dinner. Voila!

Bacon & Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

Appetizers make the world go ’round. I whipped up a few stuffed mushrooms and was reminded that the beauty of stuffed mushrooms are that a batch can be a ton or just a few. Make 4 or 40.

The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

Bacon & Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

8 portabello mushrooms
2 strips of bacon
4 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon parmesan, grated
pepper
salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon parmesan, shaved

Directions:

Pan fry the bacon until crisp. Lay the bacon onto paper towel to drain but leave a teaspoon in the pan. Chop the bacon.
Pull the stems out of the mushrooms and chop. Add to the pan with the bacon drippings, bacon, breadcrumbs, garlic, worcestershire sauce, and parmesan. Taste, and add in cracked pepper, salt, and garlic powder.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms
Add in a teaspoon of butter and cook 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spoon the filling into the mushroom caps.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with shaved parmesan.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Parmesan Stuffed MushroomsEnjoy!

I love the salty bacon in there with buttery toasted breadcrumbs. I made ~10 mushrooms for Thanksgiving since there were only a few mushroom-eaters.

I have a few holiday-ish inspired recipes coming and a few recipes I hope will provide balance & speedy meals for those un-ceremonial Tuesday nights! Stay tuned!