What I Ate: At a Wedding Cocktail Hour

Wedding cocktail hour is my favorite. I love the vows, and the dancing (especially since Mr. J is a rockin’ dancer), but then I love the cocktail hour. Contrary to the name I like it for the food. I don’t worry about the drinks…it is all about the snacks. I love passed aps, Mrs. K had baked brie that I’m still raving about (3+ years later), Mrs. M had an amazing cheese selection. Serious love for the aps.

I don’t review many weddings but I went to one with the best cocktail hour ever. Ever. I know, I go to my share of weddings every year. I snapped a few pics with my phone but when I heard the next morning that the bride didn’t have any of the amazing aps I knew I HAD to blog ‘em. She writes Flying on Jess Fuel (stop by her blog, say hello, wish her congrats, and check out her recipes).

The chef was Chef Roland. I loved their cocktail hour. I cannot get over how many aps there were. I was so impressed that the hot ones were actually hot! The chilled ones were actually cool! The servers all knew what they were offering to us. It was amazing. Here are my favorites:

Shrimp ceviche with mango salsa on an edible spoon.
The Three Bite Rule - Wedding Aps  Yes, that’s right. There’s a crisp bite of spoon with each bite. Delicious!

Dill scone topped with lobster salad. It was lightly dressed and so fresh. I mayyy have stalked the servers whenever I saw these!
The Three Bite Rule - Wedding Aps

Lamb and quinoa cakes. The bride loves quinoa so these seemed even more perfect.
The Three Bite Rule - Wedding Aps

There were some mean lookin’ pistachio crusted lamb lollipops but I figured the lamb cake bite was probably my red-meat maximum for the day. I popped the lobster mac & cheese bite before I got a photo. Yum!

We had some bruschetta, coconut shrimp, spanakopita, cajan shrimp & kielbasa…I don’t even remember what else. There were so many. I had to chose wisely. There were just so many.

Ohh then we had dinner. It started with a salad of greens, beets, peaches, and candied walnuts. Seriously amazing.
The Three Bite Rule - Wedding Aps
Dinner options were beef, fish, or vegetarian. I got the fish. It turned out to be sole stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, and lobster. You had me at lobster.

Mr. J and I are off for the weekend to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary! Can you believe it has been a year?!? I’ll be sure to let you know how that year old piece ‘o cake fared this past year!

Nail Polish Colored Potluck

In honor of Ms. K’s last day we had a tearful potluck to say goodbye and good luck to our nail polish loving coworker. It was along the lines of our Rainbow Potluck but this time we chose our colors based on a nail polish to each give her as a parting gift. I’m always so impressed with what everyone comes up with to bring! It’s tricky! We only have a fridge, microwave, and toaster oven to use but once again, it was a good one!

There was an awesome chilled watermelon soup. The watermelon color was Pretty in Punk.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck

There were delicious (and healthy!) Granola-ish balls. They were like cookie dough but full of great ingredients like flaxseeds, peanut butter, and oats. The oatmeal color was Sand Tropez.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck

We loved this avocado black eyed pea salad. It was fresh and creamy and delicious. The black eyed pea color was I Don’t Drink Cheap Wine.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck
Our office can eat nachos and guacamole like we’ve never had it before! The guac green was Go Overboard.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck

We had a re-creation from the sandwich shop downstairs with everything bagels, cream cheese, tomato and avocado. It was the right mix of filling and freshness. The tomato red was Forever Yummy.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck
I made puff pastry bites with brie and blackberry sauce. More on them later. The nail polish was Henna Things Possible.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

I was thinking I wanted to make salsa once my work event was over I was thinking not just any salsa. Something crazy! I haven’t made salsa before but I winged it and it came out good. I wish it was spicier but I wasn’t sure that would appeal to the crowd.

I also can’t say I actually knew how spicy it was going to be anyway.
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Ingredients:

5 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (seeds and
1 onion
2 garlic clove minced
1 lime, juiced & zested
½ pineapple, grilled
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp hot sauce
¼ tsp salt

Directions:

Blend 4 tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeno.
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Add the jalapeno, then the last tomato, lime juice, lime zest, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and salt.
Grill pineapple 2-3 minutes per side until lightly charred.
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Chop the pineapple and add to the salsa.
Let it sit at least 2 hours before serving.
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Salsa was totally easy. I was worried after I blended the tomatoes. It seemed too pink but it was a good amount of liquid to add the chunks to. I like it super chunky so I left the pineapple really big chunks.
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Any salsa tips for me next time? It was good, but maybe the next one can be great!

Greek Dip with Some Assembly Required

This is the easiest dip ever. There’s no cooking involved…some assembly required. Make this for your next BBQ or pool party and you’re guaranteed to wow people. I really enjoy the simplicity of this in relation to how much folks rave about this dip! Yesterday was Ms. L’s bday and she likes this one ;)
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Ingredients

8 oz hummus
2-4 oz feta
1 cucumber
2 tomatoes
3 tbs Italian salad dressing

Directions

Spread hummus onto a plate
Chop cucumbers and tomatoes and toss with feta and dressing
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Arrange on top of hummus
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Serve with pita chips, wheat thins, or your favorite crackers

That’s it!

It is a nice alternative to other dips served. It is lighter but really fresh tasting and goes with anything. I’ve made the topping and assembled on-site when it was time to eat so I can attest to how portable it is.

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged it before. It tends to be a crowd pleaser. Even when people tell me they won’t like it, they try it and are surprised. Happens. Every. Time.

It would be good as a crostini if it is easier for you not to serve a dip. If you do make it as a dip I assure you folks will be standing around devouring this one! (I love when that happens at a party but crostinis would help when serving a crowd.)

Cost Breakdown

Hummus: $3.50
Feta $1.99
Cucumber $0.75 (English cuke $2.00)
2 plum tomatoes $1.00
Wheat thins $3.00
Total = $11.49 (for the dip & dippers to serve 6-8 for <$2.00) That’s even using an English cuke which is totally worth it not to have to peel it!

Leftover Rice Recreated into Magic

I love leftovers. I love transforming one thing into something totally different annnnnd I love not spending any money to do it. These were a prime example of all these things. I had leftover risotto from the other day. I made more than usual but even with Mr. J and I eating it with dinner one night and leftovers for lunch the next day, there was still a good amount. I decided to make aranchini!
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Aranchini are historically Sicilian but as you can imagine other regions of Italy have similar ones that they’ll tell you are not aranchini. I learned this while dining with the mob. Mine are not authentic since I didn’t have any mozzarella for the middle.
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Even without this seemingly key ingredient, these were simply delicious. Maybe because I fried them. I never fry anything so it makes me appreciate it even more. Frying makes me anxious and it’s such a mess.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups prepared and chilled risotto
2 eggs, whisked with 1 tbs water
1 cup panko
2 tbs grated Parmesan

Directions:

Preheat oil ½ deep in a pan on medium
Scoop refrigerated risotto into 1” balls
Dip each into eggwash then roll in panko until completely covered
Fry in batches turning until golden brown.
Remove and let rest on paper towel.

These were so surprisingly good! I let them get pretty fried before turning them the first time. I think that really helped them stay together since they had a solid fried base on the bottom when I scooped with a slotted spoon.
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We each ate a few as an app with dinner and I froze the rest. I think they’ll defrost pretty easily in the fridge and bake to reheat. They’ll be awesome when this weekend is over and I can celebrate a successful event (knock on wood!). I work all year for this weekend so wish me luck, dry weather, well behaved vendors, and lots of fundraising $$ coming in!

Creamy Spinach Enchiladas & Avocado Eggrolls

After thinking about other ways to use ricotta I thought, why not Mexican? I’m sure nobody who knows anything about enchiladas would ever use ricotta but I’m not pretending I know anything other than what tastes good.

The thought of biting in a huge hunk of cream cheese makes me shutter. I like ricotta because it’s light and creamy. It was beautifully green (thanks to some spinach) and light but full of flavor.
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Ingredients:

12 oz whole milk ricotta
2 cups spinach leaves
2 slices of thick cut ham
1 tbs taco seasoning
6 whole wheat tortillas
1 ½ cup enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar

Directions:

Blend ricotta and spinach in a food processor, or by hand (chopping spinach first).
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Pan fry the ham and taco seasoning just until golden and warmed through.
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Stuff each tortilla with the ricotta mixture and top with ham.
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Roll them up and put them into a baking dish.
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Top with enchilada sauce and bake 20 minutes at 375.
Finish with shredded cheese and bake 3 minutes to melt.
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I liked this seemingly strange combo. I actually had the ham around so that’s why I added it but I really liked it in here! You could easily use shredded chicken, sauteed peppers & onions, or corn and black beans…or whatever. These were cheesey inside and out and had some textural contrasts too.

Then I decided to recreate a recipe I had from a restaurant. Jose MacIntryre’s has these crispy avocado eggrolls that are addicting…especially during $1 appetizers ;)

Ingredients:

Egg roll wrappers
2 avocados
2 tbs salsa

Directions:

Cut avocados and mix with salsa
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Put 2-3 tbs of the avocado mixture into the center of the wrappers. Tuck 2 opposite corners towards the center, and then roll the corner closest to you to the center and roll it away from you (like rolling up a burrito).
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Fry for a few minutes on each side.
Remove and let cool on paper towel.
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These were pretty good. Not as good as the restaurant, but I liked it. Mr. J wasn’t a big fan so I had his for lunch the next day. That’s when I remembered they’re served with some creamy dipping sauce.

I mixed some ranch dressing, bbq sauce, and taco seasoning. Ohh my goodness. That’s the ticket! Don’t knock it will you try it!

Birthday Party Theme: Apps & Zerts

This year may have been my best birthday theme ever. My life in event planning is Parks & Rec…to a tee. It is perfectly accurate in case you were wondering. I’m reasonably sure most of the jurisdictions I work with have assistants who are bribed not to let calls go through. They’ve referenced the piles of paper they have to get through and regularly do me a favor, by doing their jobs. Work hasn’t made me bitter, but I see the disparity in customer service all the time. I have a special place in my heart for park folks around the country who take their jobs as seriously as Leslie Knope.

Mr. J took all the photos so I could enjoy myself. It was wonderful and delicious. My friends are really talented. Somehow I thought there’d be a more manageable quantity of food compared to last year’s birthday food theme, but (K)nope, there was more!
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Without further ado, here they are!

Here’s the app winner: Not Swanson’s Zucchini Goat cheese Rolls (the winner won Ron Swanson paper dolls)
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This is the zert winner: S’more Cups (this winner got Leslie Knope paper dolls)
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These had LOTS of votes so it won a runner up award aka, a sketch of Tom Haverford
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This runner up got a sketch of Ben Wyatt since the flavors were so complex
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This runner up got the Chris Trager health award

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This runner up got a sketch of Donna since I thought Donna would find this Benz-worthy
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There was so much food! This one was mine!
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this was mine too!

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apps_zerts_brownies_590_390 Are you hungry now?

Making Crab Rangoons at Home

Even non-fish eaters like crab rangoons and all the guest bloggers I’ve had recently got me inspired to use some wontons.

These were a fun app to make at home, and I liked that I had more control of them…which meant that there was wayyy more crab in them than in those of take-out Chinese restaurants.

Ingredients:

8 oz crabmeat (or imitation crab)
4 oz cream cheese
2 tbs mayo
3 green onions, chopped
splash soy sauce
spash of sesame oil
wonton wrappers

Directions:

Mix crab, cream cheese, mayo, green onions, and sauces together and let sit for 10 minutes.
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Stuff each wonton by putting about ½ tsp of filling into the center of the wonton and bringing the corners to meet in the middle. This forms a purse shape. Or put the filling in the center and bring 1 set of opposite corners to meet, forming a triangle.
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Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 10 minutes.

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My triangles oozed a bit, but were much crispier. The purses were really cute and ensured evenly filled bites, but didn’t bake up as crispy. That triangular ooze of crisped crab was amazing. Not that I’d ever taste for the sake of presentation.
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Mr. J LOVES sweet and sour sauce so I bought probably the world’s largest jar at the grocery store (think 40 oz for $2.99). It isn’t quite like take-out Chinese sweet and sour, but I like it better. Want to know the first ingredient? Of course you do!

It is apricots!
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Wow. I never would have guessed. This actually has distinguishable chunks.  I lucked out with the real crab on sale. I bet imitation isn’t bad since that’s probably what the restaurants are using anyway.

Crab Rangoon Cost:

8 oz crabmeat: $6.75 (it was on sale and wasn’t imitation crabmeat)
4 oz cream cheese: $0.75
2 oz mayo: $0.30
green onions: free! (I did this, but note it really only worked once, after that the color was a lot lighter and the flavor was pretty weak)
wontons: $1.25
total: $9.05 for about 24 crab rangoons or about $0.37 per piece.

This beats my local take-out option which sells about 8 for $8.75, though, they do bring it to my door so that has to count for something.

 

Love Mini Foods & Mini Spinach and Artichoke Dip

My office has THE BEST potluck themes. We recently did a theme for foods you can make in a muffin tin. There were no other restrictions and it might have been one of our best. We figured we love mini-food and thought it’d be a good theme for Valentine’s Day. I’m super delayed but happy to share these guys finally. My favorite techie has updated my whole computer so I was computer hopping and had files all over.

This theme would be really fun for a party or potluck because everything is really self-serve-able and because it is pretty self-contained, not everything needed silverware!
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Mini cheesecakes! 
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Mini spinach & cheese bites
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Mini strawberry shortbreads
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Mini Mac & Cheese
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
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Lemon Poppyseed Ebelskiver
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Mint Frosted Brownies
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Mini Lasagna Cups
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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
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Mini Spinach & Artichoke Dip Cups (these were mine, the recipe is below)
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Everything was so good!
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Spinach & Artichoke Dip Cups

Ingredients:

1 cup spinach, chopped
1 cup artichokes, chopped
1/2 cup Alfredo Sauce
1/2 package cream cheese
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
wonton wrappers

Directions:

Assemble dip ingredients
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Mix ingredients
If serving as dip, spray and transfer to a baking dish making a thin (aka dip-able) layer.
If serving as cups, spray a muffin tin and layer dip on top of wonton wrappers.
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I think the alfredo made the mix really dip-able and not too thick. I freeze leftover spinach whenever I know I won’t get to all of it. I also threw in some frozen kale and I thought it was great. I put some basil in too. It gave a freshness and light taste.

Guest Post: Buffalo Bites

Today I have a fantastic guest blog post for you! This post comes Dana of Nosh. We went to college together and I’ve been loving her blog (like this pineapple salsa recipe! and this edamame salad recipe! and this stuffed peppers recipe!) I’m super psyched to try this one myself! I cannot believe I don’t have any buffalo chicken recipes on the three bite rule!

Here’s Dana:
I’m trying (key word) to lose a few lb’s before my July wedding, and in doing so, I’m naturally craving the worst foods on the planet.  This recipe is surprisingly low-fat (5 wonton wrappers is only 100 calories, and the chicken is boiled in plain ‘ol water and then baked, so no extra fat there…plus wait til you see the coleslaw!) but still tastes like an indulgence.  The wontons would make a great app (oh hey, Superbowl) and the coleslaw is a healthy side made with my favorite Greek yogurt (you can’t even tell it’s good for you!).  Hope you enjoy these and much as I do…and thanks again to Emily for the opportunity to cross over to another awesome blog!

BUFFALO CHICKEN WONTONS

(this recipe makes a TON of wontons.  You can either cut down the amount of chicken you use or if you don’t want to make all of the wontons, you can make as many as you want, freeze the remaining wonton wrappers, and have a buffalo chicken sandwich for lunch the next day with the remaining chicken!  Probably awesome on a salad, too.)

Ingredients:

1 package Nasoya wonton wrappers
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 bottle Frank’s Red Hot (I used Buffalo flavor but i’m sure the Original is just as tasty)
1/4 c. Light Ranch dressing
1 egg white OR water


Directions:

Boil chicken in water (or chicken broth) for 15 or so minutes until cooked through.  Remove from water and set in a bowl.
Once cool, shred with a fork and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Here’s the shredded chicken with the buffalo sauce…this was perfect on a sandwich the next day (said my fiance) and scooped up with celery stalks (said me).
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Mix Red Hot and Ranch dressing in a bowl and pour over pulled chicken, mixing to coat.
Arrange wonton wrappers on a sprayed cooking sheet.  Place about 1/2 a teaspoon of chicken into the center of each wrapper. Using the egg wash or water, lightly brush two sides of the wrapper and bring up into a triangle to meet the other half of the wonton, pinching to secure.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until crispy, flipping once.
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I sprayed the pan with olive oil cooking spray, so there was no need for a brush of oil or anything prior to baking.
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Pre-baked
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you want a cheesier, creamier, not as healthy wonton, try adding a bit of cream cheese to the chicken mixture.
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Gorgeous color on the wontons!


Greek Coleslaw

(this recipe is adapted from Ellie Krieger’s recipe found here.  Of course I didn’t measure anything TOO accurately, and I left out the caraway seeds.)

Ingredients:

1 package Dole shredded coleslaw mix
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani 0%)
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 c. mayonnaise (I used Hellmans Olive Oil mayo)1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and add to coleslaw mix.
Stir to coat.  Season with salt & pepper.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to let “sauce” absorb into coleslaw.

oh heeeey, awesomely healthy wontons and sweet scrumptious coleslaw…don’t mind if I do…
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Would you like to be a guest blogger? Email emily@thethreebiterule for more details!