Chicken Francese Anniversary Dinner

I’m going out with a bang this week. Normally Fridays are my What I Ate series but I’ve been traveling, and I’m super backlogged. I have a super exciting weekend of food coming up and I’ll kick it off with a big time Friday post! It is a bit delayed but without further ado, I give you my 1st wedding anniversary dinner! Ta-da!

We went to Portland for the weekend and ate, walked around, shopped, checked out some lighthouses, and swam in the hotel pool (check out how adorable it is!). When we got home I decided to make our wedding meal for dinner! Of course we had to eat our frozen slice of wedding cake too!

I made chicken francese, blue cheese mashed potatoes, and green beans. It turned out great!
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Francaise

I drew the line at making squash veggie rings like the wedding venue had.

 

Chicken Francese

(adapted from Epicurious) 

Ingredients:

4 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 large eggs, whisked
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (plus sliced lemon for garnish)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound chicken with flat side of a meat pounder (or with a rolling pin, canned goods, or cast iron skillet) until 1/4 inch thick.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking.
While oil is heating, stir together flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl.
Dredge chicken, in flour mixture, shaking off excess
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Francese
then dredge in the eggs in another shallow bowl
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Francese
When oil is hot, fry, turning over once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 4 minutes total.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Francese
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm in the oven (at 200-degrees). Fry remaining chicken in same manner.
Pour off and discard oil, then wipe skillet clean and heat butter over low until foam subsides. Add wine, broth, and lemon juice and boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 6 minutes. (Do you know the trick of squeezing lemons upside down so you don’t drop any seeds in?)
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Francese
Stir in parsley and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and top with lemon slices.

It was good. I added some more lemon juice before serving because it got too sweet for me. I also had way too much parsley so I chopped it all and froze the leftovers in ice cube trays with a splash of water. Next time I need parsley I have small servings in the freezer! I also zested some lemon into the sauce too.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Francese

I had every intention of doing half mashed potatoes/half cauliflower but I was zipping around to get everything done at the same time and I totally forgot.  I mixed in some butter, milk, and blue cheese dressing. The blue cheese flavor was light but great. I think the salad dressing was a good use when I didn’t have other plans for blue cheese before jetting away on a work trip.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Francese

Now, the cake. Our frozen slice ‘o cake wasn’t nearly as gross as I thought it would be. I never eat wedding cake at weddings, but we haaaad to have one. I actually loved our wedding cake (when I ate it the next day). The frozen one moved with us and everything. We each ate a bite or two and then somebody, whose name starts with J, ate the rest of the piece of cake later too.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Francese
It was a great celebration and we have lots to celebrate. Good thing I have a year to come up with the next themed anniversary dinner!
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Francese

Chicken Parmesan Pizza

Seems like a good day for pizza, right? When isn’t a good time for an easy-peasy-pizza?! I whipped up a super simple one I wanted to share despite how little cooking I actually did. Seems appropriate for a Monday. This will not overload your brain.

I was shooting for a super easy chicken Parmesan calzone but my dough was being difficult. I mean holes, bubbles, sticky, and crazy elastic-y even after getting to room temp. I’ve never had such a hard time. I remembered seeing a pizza joint on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives that puts cornmeal into the dough. I wasn’t sure it went, but I jumped on it.

Success! It was nutty and crispy. I usually use Portland Pie Company’s dough and I’m obsessed. I was improvising after grabbing some at a different grocery store. Yikes. It was touch & go for a few minutes there.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Pizza

Ingredients:

4 chicken fingers, cooked & chopped (frozen or bread your own)
1 ball pizza dough
1 cup tomato sauce
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
3 tbs Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic, chopped

Directions:

Spread pizza dough out and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Pizza
When dough is starting to crisp and cook through, take it out and top with sauce, spices, and garlic.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Pizza
Spread shredded mozzarella all over then top with chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Pizza
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until cheese is melted and crust is crisp.
Remove from the oven and spread mozzarella slices over the top. Return it to the oven and allow the cheese to melt with the oven off.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Pizza

Ricotta and Pesto Pizza

Happy September! It is fall! We can eat fall-ish foods and still enjoy the summer veggies & BBQ fun. To kick off some inbetween season food I give you ricotta cheese. I have a love affair with ricotta. NOT cottage cheese…that I avoid. I can’t imagine when people don’t like ricotta, especially cooked into a dish. Like people who don’t like chocolate. Baffling.

I was itching for some this summer but thought it wasn’t the right time for lasagna or stuffed shells etc. I could eat it plain, by the spoonful, but that’s not a meal. My next thought was topping a pizza.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto & Ricotta Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza dough
1 chicken breast, marinated & grilled
1 cup ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ red pepper, sliced
1/3 cup pesto

Directions:

Pre-bake the pizza dough for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until it begins to get crispy, but not cooked the whole way. (pre-cooking it a bit helps get it cooked through without drying out the toppings.
Spread half of the pesto onto the crust, then top with shredded mozzarella, peppers, sliced chicken, and dollops of ricotta.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto & Ricotta Pizza
Drizzle the remaining pesto on top. Throw on any leftover shredded cheese.
Bake the topped pizza for another 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto & Ricotta Pizza

I adored this pizza. The creamy ricotta was a perfect pairing with some powerful pesto. These flavors definitely made this a special pizza. The chicken seems quite optional but I think it was integral to keeping the pizza fresh & not wintery. I also only used 1 chicken breast. They tend to be so big so with any other topping, one is plenty.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto & Ricotta Pizza

Playing Chopped at Home

Do you watch chopped? I love it. As I’ve said before, it is like the old school Ready Set Cook! for the modern day…and with real chefs. My sis and I play occasionally. It’s actually a super easy way to host without going crazy.

Playing Chopped at Home:

Invite 1-4 people to join you
ask them to bring your specified quantity of basket items (I usually do 3 per person)
stock your pantry if you don’t have some basic staples (i.e. rice, pasta, condiments, breadcrumbs, spices, milk, etc)
Then, come up with your meal together with the ingredients!

I don’t do basket items by course, but you could definitely do that. Or you could break your group by course if you have too many cooks in the kitchen.

There were only 2 of us so we went with just a few ingredients each. Here they are!
The Three Bite Rule - Play Chopped
me:
marinated chicken breasts
onion dip mix
all my pantry items

sis:
pepperoni
ah-so chinese sauce
limes

We made a dip/relish with tomato, corn, red onion, ah-so Chinese barbecue sauce (basket ingredient) and lime juice (basket ingredient). This was seriously tangy and neon pink but surprisingly tasty. We served this with tortilla chips as a starter.
The Three Bite Rule - Play Chopped

Then we chopped potatoes and mixed them with the onion dip (basket ingredient) and some olive oil then baked them to be crispy. While this wasn’t super inventive, it mayyy have been on the back of the package, it was a good use. I liked the extra salty flavor instead of just roasting potatoes with random herbs & spices. Leftovers also made great hasbrowns the next morning ;)
The Three Bite Rule - Play Chopped

For the chicken we decided to stuff it with pepperoni and needed something else. I had some goat cheese so we went fully decadent. I thought the tartness of the goat cheese and the fatty pepperoni was great to liven up some otherwise basic chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Play Chopped

Go ahead and try it. It is so fun and a great way to not overthink dinner (then send me a pic with what you came up with emily@thethreebiterule.com!

Restaurant Recreation: Chicken Cordon Bleu Calzone

In my world, there’s nothing better than take-out and DVR Friday nights. I’m old at heart and this is my ideal way to end the week. It feels so right to be lazy and loungy and doesn’t make me feel guilty at all. Saturday & Sunday mornings are a different story. I feel the need to get stuff done…immediately. Plus, in this heat do you really want to be crazy like me and crank your oven?

I don’t usually plan dinners for Friday night and Mr. J gives me a sly grin saying “how ‘bout we order something?”. I am the cheap one so often I’m the one who would eat something weird that I can come up with from the depths of the freezer or pantry rather than going out. Since we moved to the burbs our take-out delivery is slightly more limited. We tend to go with pizza or Chinese.

I got a chicken cordon bleu calzone from a local pizza joint and was stoked. Enough for lunch leftovers over the weekend! Woohoo! It was amazing and I wanted to recreate it.
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I made regular chicken cordon bleu and loved it but this calzone was definitely the easy way out.
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Ingredients:

4 breaded chicken tenders
8 oz shredded Swiss cheese
4 slices deli ham
Pizza dough
2 cups arugula
1 egg + 1 tbs water = eggwash

Directions:

Cook chicken according to directions (or bread and bake your own!)
Spread pizza dough onto a baking sheet.
Chop chicken, ham, and arugula.
Layer the chicken, cheese, ham, and arugula over the pizza dough.
Remember to include fillings almost to the edge and keep layering eventhough it will look like too much filling.
Close pizza dough over to seal shut.
Cut a few slits into the top and brush with eggwash (optional)
Bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing (or you’ll have an oozer)

Since I can’t pretend I made this idea up, I’m not tooting my own horn saying this was soooo good. I loved the swiss in there. That’s different than most of my calzones. I threw the arugula in since I had it and figured a little green never hurt anyone!
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The pre-made chicken tenders made it super simple. Those suckers are dirt cheap. Maybe that’s why there are so many kids who don’t know chicken in another form. Whatever. I’m not an 8-year-old but having these in the freezer reduced this recipe to purely an assembly project.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The calzone will look like it’s wayyy over stuffed but not enough filling is definitely a rookie mistake.

Cost:

4 breaded chicken tenders $1.14
8 oz shredded Swiss: $2.75
4 slices of ham: $0.75
Refrigerated pizza dough: $1.99
2 cups Arugula: $1.33
Total: $7.96 serves 4 for $1.99 per person
Total at my local pizza joint: small for $9.69 serves 2 for $4.84 per person

It is kind of crazy that I know I can make it for $1.99 per person and as frugal as I am I’ll still pay $4.84 per person for somebody to make it and bring it to me.  Whatever, don’t judge ;)

What I Ate: BBQ Ranch

Yup, I’m still trying to rock this what I ate series. Today I’m sharing a quick and easy sandwich with my bounty of the farmer’s market. Tis the season!

I couldn’t NOT buy these English muffins (as in they even brought out a double-negative from me). They were better than any I’d ever had and made good olde Thomas pale in comparison. These were fluffy and doughy and crisped nicely when toasted but still held their shape.
what i ate muffin
Add some grilled chicken, tomatoes, ahhhrugula, and bbq ranch sauce and you’ve got this sandwich!
what I ate sandwich
The BBQ ranch sauce = 2 parts bbq sauce to 1 parts ranch dressing & shake. I put this on both English muffin pieces and even may have spread a bit on the chicken too.
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These were really good on a hot night!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Have you ever used corn tortillas? I guess I don’t know how to use them! I had an enchilada mishap I figured I’d share with you. Not that any of my meals are pefect but I think everyone needs a reminder that not everything goes to plan. The meals that do go to plan are just more fun to blog about.

They were super crumbly. I tried soaking them in water but they still cracked.
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Then I threw in the towel. I shredded the tortillas and made it casserole style.
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We ate it anyway. Ohh well.
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BBQ Chicken Pizza

I’ll never tire of pizza toppings. This is actually an oldie-but-goodie. It was the first meal I made for Mr. J. It was kind of a go-to meal since it was easy regardless of grill access. I can’t believe I haven’t blogged it for you before!

bbq_pizza_slice_590_390

Ingredients:

Pizza dough
4 chicken tenders (or 2 breasts)
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella
½ red onion
2 green onions

Directions:

Pre-bake pizza crust at 400-degrees for 15 minutes or until the edges start getting crisp.
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Brush chicken tenders with ½ the barbecue sauce and grill until cooked through.
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Shred the cooked chicken with 2 forks.
Top the pizza crust with a light layer of barbecue sauce, then cheese, then red onions.
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Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
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Remove from oven and top with chopped green onion and drizzle with bbq sauce.

I forgot how much I love this pizza. The sweet and tangy sauce with melty cheese…ohh so good. It is really good for leftovers too. Don’t let the 2 kinds of onions be intimidating. They are not overpowering. Topping this with a drizzle of sauce really makes it an impressive dinner.

On my trip to Chicago my colleague inspired a NEW pizza. Stay tuned for that one! Thanks Mrs. M!

Baked Coconut Chicken

Here’s an easy one that will actually be part 1 of 3. I’m crazy right now at work which has spiraled into the rest of my life. I’ve been saying that for awhile but the end is near. Think of all you stress at work, and condense that to 3 months. I’m not at all stressed 9 months of the year, then the insanity ensues. It is worth it…I think.

People ask all the time where I get inspiration. Everywhere! This time it was partially from pinterest when I saw some coconut shrimp. I ended up making them around Christmas. The coconut chicken idea was also from the appetizers at my wedding. I wish I had remembered that the coconut chicken at the wedding came with this really silky raspberry dipping sauce. Ohh well, next time!
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This was such an easy one to whip up. I had plans for the rest of the chicken but again, like I’m obsessed with, you could make a ton and freeze it. I baked these so they would be healthier and not as messy.

Ingredients:

4 chicken tenders or breasts cut into strips
1 egg + 1 tbs water
1 cup shredded coconut
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup cornstarch

Directions:

Set up your trio of dredges: 1st cornstarch, 2nd eggwash, 3rd breadcrumbs & coconut mixed.

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Dredge each chicken strip and put onto a cookie sheet with a cooling rack on top of it.
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Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping once.
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I loved the coconut flavor. It had a great crunch without being greasy. I served these coconut chicken strips with lemon risotto which felt super summery and some steamed broccoli.
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Stay tuned for part 2: the risotto and part 3: leftovers turned into a treat!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps, aka Everything Good In a Sandwich

We don’t eat a ton of sandwiches at our house but I’m working on changing that. I know, I know, I’ve said I don’t love sandwiches. I actually love them when they’re made-to-order. I adore breakfast sandwiches too. I only dislike sandwiches that have been sitting around sogging all day inside a high school locker or if I can’t tell what’s inside the sandwich.

I had a lengthy discussion at work about hummus on a sandwich…or hummus in general. Did you know the USA has a dried bean and lentil council? This is my worklife. Anywho, back to the sandwich subject at hand.

I made Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps and they were really tasty.
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Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup milk
¼ cup ranch dressing
1 tbs dried ranch dressing powder mix
1/3 cup panko & 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg + 1 tbs water, whisked
Wheat tortillas
Lettuce
Tomato
Shredded cheddar
¼ cup ranch dressing
4 strips of bacon

Directions:

Marinate the chicken in the milk, ¼ cup of the ranch dressing, and dried ranch powder for a few hours.
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Remove from the marinade and dredge in eggwash then breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
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Cook the bacon, then crumble it.
Assemble the wraps with lettuce, tomato, chicken, bacon, cheddar, and ranch.
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You don’t really need a recipe for this but I thought the marinade and breading was spot-on so I wanted to share it. I liked that these were filling and fresh but not fried. I have an aversion to frying foods. The wheat wrap and real lettuce (iceburg = not real) make this slightly healthier than your local pizza place’s version of the same thing since my chicken isn’t fried either.

Like most things I cook, the chicken could be prepped in advance and popped in to speed up the dinner, or prepped and frozen for next time.

If you’re lucky like me, when your sis comes to have these for dinner she’ll also bring treats from her favorite bakery!
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