Pizza Beans

December neeeeds easy dinner ideas, right? Pizza beans are such a hit here – we get the flavors of pizza in a warm and comforting dish. This busy time of year seems ideal for dinners that are easy and minimal cooking required. There are lots of ways to customize these which helps be a crowd pleaser – or to use random leftovers with some pantry basics!

The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Beans

White beans and tomato sauce are the base with all the toppings you love! They’d also be a great option for a pizza spread for a gluten-free or custom dietary options.

Pizza Beans
Ingredients: (for 3-4)

2 cans white beans
1-2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon parmesan
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
pepperoni

Directions:
Cook the beans, tomato sauce, garlic, and oregano over low heat for ~10 minutes until fully warmed through.

The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Beans

Serve and top while hot.

The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Beans

Top with shredded cheese, pepperoni, and any other toppings.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Beans


Toppings we love: crumbled sausage, chicken, roasted peppers, sauteed onions, chopped arugula, fresh mozzarella, dollop of pesto or alfredo, or whatever you like!

I love this. It is a great use for small amounts of cheese and tiny bits of any topping. It reheats well if packing for lunch or eating separately though beans aren’t always the best when frozen. The beans are filling and provide lots of fiber and iron. The kids love it – probably because it has familiar flavors and easy to chew.

This was a side-step from these Tomato Basil Polenta Bowls

The Three Bite Rule - Tomato Basil Polenta Bowls

Grab your beans and give it a Mexican twist with some roasted tomatoes, salsa, queso, roasted corn, etc – give it a Mediterranean twist with warmed beans mixed with caesar dressing, chicken, spinach, feta, etc. Add to your beans with ricotta and mini meatballs and call it a lasagna bowl! Bean bowls are fun – they just don’t have the same ring as some other names.

Bean & Mushroom Meatballs

Meatless meatballs don’t get everyone psyched, but these were so flavorful and filling. Also, if forming into meatballs isn’t your thing, they can easily be patties or pan fried all chopped up to be taco/burrito filling or for faux-Bolognese sauce!

The Three Bite Rule - Mushroom & Bean Meatballs

Mushroom & Bean Meatballs
Ingredients:

1/2 white onion, chopped small
1 pint (~2-3 cups) baby portabella mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1 can (15.5 oz) white beans (black beans would be good too & make them darker in color like any other meatball)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2/3 cup quick cooking oats
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt & pepper (I used a salt & garlic powder mix)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (or sub a teaspoon balsamic vinegar)
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1 egg (optional)

Directions:
Sauté the onions over medium heat until soft and translucent then remove from the heat and sauté the mushrooms in butter in that same pan – about 5 minutes over medium high heat.

The Three Bite Rule - Mushroom & Bean Meatballs

While the mushrooms cook (let them sit to caramelize before gently stirring), drain the white beans (and reserve some of the liquid). Add the beans, garlic, and a little liquid to a food processor blending until smooth.
Chop the mushrooms.
In a large bowl, mix together the bean puree, mushrooms, oats, onions, dried herbs, and worcestershire sauce. Mix well.

The Three Bite Rule - Mushroom & Bean Mea

Add in panko and egg (use the egg if forming into balls to better keep them together). Refrigerate 15+ minutes before forming into balls.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes & flip and bake for another 15 minutes. Or, air fry for ~15 minutes. They’re a bit soft to pan fry- mine didn’t stay together so I don’t recommend it! Air frying worked well as meatballs and as veggie burgers!

The Three Bite Rule - Mushroom & Bean Meatballs

These were good and super filling – the beans add some nice heft to keep you full and the mushrooms make them juicy. I made some into meatballs and served with sauce and garlic bread and froze a as patties to have as veggie burgers. They are soft so I cooked fully and cooled before freezing. I’m not sure if the meatballs would hold together if cooked in sauce for a long time.

When the pan-fried ones fell apart too much, I drained them all and broke them up further to be like a meat sauce!

Mushrooms aren’t everyone’s fav in my family so these will mostly be for me (I also don’t eat beef so I’d have these and everyone else could have beef meatballs).

November 2021 Recap

I love November – Thanksgiving is one of my favorites. I make fun-but-easy breakfast (cinnamon rolls from a tube & bacon!), and we watch the Thanksgiving Day parade in pjs, and I love the early-dinner and the food. The day has a casual mood and we all just mill about together. It is great. I do not do Christmas things until Black Friday, so it is fun for me to usher out one holiday to welcome in the next.

This month I made Caesar Broccoli which is so so good and I hope it is on your future menu – it is perfect alongside any entrée. Make with ham! Grilled Chicken! Sausages! Pasta! You name it. The kids loved it once and didn’t care either way the next time, so give it a whirl!

The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Broccoli

If you’re planning your leftovers, whip up some Thanksgiving Nachos! In all honesty, I used roasted chicken when making these before Thanksgiving and can whole heartedly encourage either way!

The Three Bite Rule - Thanksgiving Nachos

I love a seasonal hot bev and this is tea with cider and it is spiked! Add it to your brunch or dessert with leftover pie or whatever!

The Three Bite Rule - Cider Tea Cocktail

My blog turned 11! I set a few new goals and awarded my own superlatives.

The Little Girl:
She’s becoming more self-sufficient all the time. I love seeing her grow up and it is funny to see old videos of her as a tiny toddler now that she’s such a kid. Decisions are based on whatever her brother has or is doing and she loves him so so much. I promised next year when she’s 4, we’ll go see the Nutcracker – then days later she asked about seeing the cracker show. 😉 She’s been pretty into hummus lately and has been eating quite well lately – knock on wood.

The Big Guy:
He finished his soccer season. It was fun and also endearing to see them improve (go the right direction/pay attention). I don’t mind a practice night and a game day off our schedules. He got his first vax dose! Hallelujah! He’s super into trading Pokemon cards on the bus and at school. This kid loves canned cranberry sauce more than anyone I’ve ever met. I had to ensure there was plenty for others at Thanksgiving. He normally eats some of everything so we’ll see what he’s into this year. For breakfasts he has been obsessed with hard boiled eggs.

Goals:
Year of nail polish! I got a deep redish one (this one – the bottle looks more purpley than it comes out to be)
More international food inspiration: does Diwali lunch at work count?
More soups/salads: I made a super quick tomato soup for dinner one night
More apps: Thanksgiving Nachos!
More fun drinks: Apple Cider & Vanilla Tea Hot Cocktail
Updating photos on some old posts: not yet, stay tuned!
What I’m reading: I read The Last Story of Mina Lee which was a mix of true-crime versus mother/daughter relations versus immigration story. It was pretty good. Bookclub read Midnight Library. I liked the fantastical element of between life & death and the themes of regret or what-if was pretty good. I didn’t love it like the masses did, but pretty good.
What I’m watching: We finished the Impeachment: An American Crime series. We were fascinated and it was fantastic. I loooove a deep dive into something that happened in my lifetime that I do not have the full story on. Next up will be Christmas movies!
What I’m listening to: loving the American Girls podcast to look at the literary merits or deficits of the books, and The Dropout because Elizabeth Holmes is mind boggling.

Apple Cider Vanilla Hot Cocktail

Fall in a cup! This hot cocktail came out of my love for fall hot drinks so I mixed vanilla tea and apple cider and spiked it. It was delightful!

The Three Bite Rule - Cider Tea Cocktail

Apple Cider & Vanilla Tea Hot Cocktail
Ingredients: (for 2)

1 cup cider
1 cup vanilla tea (or a tiny bit of vanilla extract into black tea)
1-2 shots vanilla vodka
~4 tablespoons whipped cream
sprinkle of cinnamon sugar

Directions:
Brew the tea and warm the cider.

The Three Bite Rule - Cider Tea Cocktail

Mix one part tea (1/2 cup) with one part cider (1/2 cup) and half the vodka and stir. Sweeten to taste – I left my tea unsweetened but normally sweeten when drinking it by itself!
Top with whipped cream and a cinnamon sugar sprinkle.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Cider Tea Cocktail

I loved this! It wasn’t so so sweet since I hadn’t sweetened the tea but could see it being good either way. Rim the glasses with cinnamon sugar and skip the whipped cream if you wish!

This one seems great with brunch since it is light, and would be great at Thanksgiving! These would work well as a big batch, like in a pitcher and guests could spike it (or not). Serve them for day-drinks or tailgating!

Thanksgiving Nachos

Plan now – these Thanksgiving inspired nachos are perfect for leftovers, or if you’re not the host and want to whip up something with Thanksgiving vibes leading up to the holiday!

The Three Bite Rule - Thanksgiving Nachos

Thanksgiving Nachos
Ingredients: (serves ~4 as a meal, or ~6 as an app)
1 package waffle fries
2/3 cup jellied cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayo
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
~1 cup turkey (I used roasted chicken as it was before Thanksgiving)
~1 cup turkey gravy
6 sage leaves, chopped

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees (or as waffle fry package directs).
Bake the fries (or air fry, but like nachos, there will be toppings and continue to cook).
Blend together cranberry sauce, sour cream, and mayo. This can be prepped in advance and refrigerated.

The Three Bite Rule - Thanksgiving Nachos

Chop or tear the turkey into bite-size pieces and warm.
Mix or warm the gravy.
When the fries are cooked, top half with the cheese, half the chicken, and a drizzle of gravy. Then place the remaining fries on top with remaining cheese, and another gravy drizzle. Return to the oven for ~3-5 minutes to melt the cheese.

The Three Bite Rule - Thanksgiving Nachos

Remove from the oven and top with sage and a drizzle of cranberry sauce.
Enjoy and serve remaining cranberry sauce and gravy on the side.

We had it for dinner with some green beans on the side. It was so fun! The 1st grader ate it all – and took care of the remaining cranberry sauce. The pre-schooler ate the cranberry aoli-sauce by the spoonful and only took a few bites of the rest.

The Three Bite Rule - Thanksgiving Nachos

I loved the bites with everything together! They are kind of a fork-nacho but these would be fun with sweet potato fries too! They could be party friendly as mini “stacks” and maybe a toothpick to hold together to serve a portion. The subtle cranberry was really good and would be great on a sandwich or wrap for leftovers or on a turkey burger!

Add this to your leftovers – or make this if you’re not having a turkey dinner!

11th Blogaversary!

I’m shocked annually that the hobby has carried on. I’m still enjoying it so cheers to 11 years! Thanks for being here! I love hearing what resonates and what’s been good!

For each blogaversary I declare some superlatives and look forward with some new goals for the upcoming year.

Superlatives:
Most Popular: Breakfast Tot-chos these are breakfast with nod to those elements of nachos. Plus bacon makes everything better.

The Three Bite Rule - Totchos

Most Photogenic: Chicken Bacon Ranch Burritos are everything you love about a burrito mashed up with a wrap. (Pssst! These Chicken Broccoli & Rice Warm Wraps are along those same lines of a burrito-y wrap).

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Burrito

Most Insta-popular:
Not blogged, but the Olympics food was a hit on Instagram. Duley noted. Winter 2022 is coming right up and I have LOTS OF IDEAS.

Most Likely to Succeed: French Onion Soup Burger – this one is so so so good. There were a few burgers this year and this was the clear winner. French onion soup mix and caramelized onions plus some really great cheese made this additionally special.

The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Soup Burger

Most Popular: Pineapple Coconut Rice with a honey teriyaki drizzle. This is such a crowd pleaser and works great with pulled pork, chicken thighs, or kielbasa. I like the hint to a tropical vibe, but is so great year-round.

The Three Bite Rule - Pineapple Coconut Rice Bowls

Goals for next year:
Year of the ______: this past year has been year of fun mail. The year before I thought I’d do plants/flowers but quickly dropped that. It really became a year of treat for myself each month. This year, I’m going to do a year of nail polish! Some of mine are embarrassingly old. I loved some more elaborate ideas but want to stay true to easy to find and something for me – my kiddos are treated to things all the time.
More international food inspiration: take out or make my own.
More soups/salads: this is kind of seasonal so it seems useful to reach towards but might not always happen.
More apps: I’ve done this before and love it – esp when it becomes dinner 😉
More fun drinks
Updating photos on some old posts
What I’m reading: I read 40 books this year! Wow! I love books and keep adding to my list to always be ready for my next.
What I’m watching: maybe more movies?

Caesar Broccoli

Side dishes are never my strong suit- until this one! This could not be easier – just a few ingredients and a great supporting side dish. It comes together quickly and is quite hands off. The broccoli is roasted and dressed in some caesar dressing and topped with a crunchy breadcrumb topping to remind you of croutons! I even added a few short cuts to the end too!

The kids loved it the first time and didn’t pay much attention the next time – so who knows.

The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Broccoli

Caesar Broccoli
Ingredients (serves ~6):

2-3 broccoli heads
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons creamy caesar dressing
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees (or prep an air-fryer).
Chop the broccoli off into florets.
Spread the florets onto a baking sheet and drizzle on the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt & pepper.
Roast the broccoli for ~15 minutes, flipping once, until getting golden brown on each side.
While the broccoli cooks, in a dry skillet add the panko and toast over medium heat for ~1 minute until getting golden brown. Then add in the butter and 1 tablespoon of the grated parmesan. Mix well and remove from the heat.

The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Broccoli

Add the roasted broccoli to a mixing bowl and dressing with 1 tablespoon of the parmesan. Toss well.

The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Broccoli

Add sprinkle half the breadcrumbs to the broccoli and toss well. Then sprinkle the rest on top.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Broccoli

I really loved this and will make it again and again. It is so simple to multi-task while getting something else together. It goes well with anything and is a nice nod to fall/winter with the roasted veggie.

We had it alongside some burgers one night and another time we had it with chicken sausages. It would be good with chicken or dare I say- a side dish for Thanksgiving with turkey?

Want it to be even faster? Use an airfryer for the broccoli. Also, slip the breadcrumb topping and use some croutons chopped a bit. I thought the breadcrumbs were addicting, but the caesar vibe would stay in tact!

October 2021 Recap

October has been a whirlwind! Work has been super busy- pandemic alumni weekend and family weekend events are no joke- and our weekends have some more other things keeping us a bit busier than recent times as we do all the things outside! I’m grateful for some normalcy for tiny things like daycare painted pumpkins and leaf pile play. October was good in the kitchen too – just some of those days of: hmm. I planned soup but it is almost 80-degrees…

We made this super fun hot dog pizza that not all followers said they would try, but we thought was good and probably once-a-year fun:

The Three Bite Rule - Hot Dog Pizza

Then I did a chicken, bacon, ranch burrito that is just perfect. It feels filling from the brown rice and chicken then melty cheddar makes it burrito-y and of course there is ranch dressing and bacon for that perfect pairing, and some greens for freshness. So good. I froze some and already wish there were more stashed away. Make some now and you’ll thank me later on a busy weeknight. I defrost in the micro and toast in the toaster oven to finish for a much better packed lunch.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Burrito

Then I gave the Parisian Burger some photo updates from the original one in 2014. I had made it a bunch to practice the cooking competition timing and wasn’t interested in making it again anytime soon – and perhaps I was bitter that I didn’t take home the big prize.

The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger

Next month I have a side dish that was a winner once and neither of the kids cared the second time – so take that for what it is worth. Then I’ll blog a fun dinner that the kids gobble up and my blogaversary where I’ll set some new goals and declare some superlatives from the year.

The Little Girl
Her imagination is coming alive and I love the reasoning behind her made up play- from what dolls are doing to what she pretends in the leaf pile, it is too cute. She’s totally protested eating dinner a few times which I think it just the authority of being 3 years old. She loves pasta and can eat her weight in pizza. I was surprised that she was into sesame oil/rice vinegar cucumber salad one night. She’s excited for halloween but doesn’t remember trick or treating. That will make it even more exciting! Last year we didn’t go and the kids wore costumes and found candy hidden around the basement – a la easter egg hunt. Before that she was 1 1/2 so trick or treating was more of a spectator sport in the stroller for her.

The Big Guy:
Soccer is going well and he’s quite happy going to school and being home in the afternoons or whatever. He’s gotten better at communicating what he wants (or doesn’t want) his little sister to do. He looooves the leaf pile. His very fav fig bars were back at Costco which makes breakfast decisions so much faster. He lost his 2 front teeth! It is so so cute. He saved some dollars and picked out a few new hotwheels cars. Pokemon card trading is big time with the first graders at his school.

Goals:
Year of the fun mail! I thought of a card to get out just at the end of Oct!
More breakfasts: nope
Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance: I made a quiche and some burritos for the freezer which was helpful.
I’d like to get the house a bit neater: I’ve been clearing some surfaces, nothing major.
Bullet journal – yup, keeping a meals list.
What I’m reading: I read Know My Name for bookclub and looooved it – let’s get Chanel Miller famous for her writing instead of Brock Turner who got off easy for being a white male. I read Meet Me in Bombay and really flew through the story. I was “ehhh” on Things We Lost to Water.
What I’m Watching: Instead of MLB playoffs, I watched a CNN docuseries on Diana. I also devoured LulaRich and was fascinated! That one is a must-watch.

Parisian Burger

{originally published in 2014 and updated in 2021}

Ohh my goodness. This might have been one of my best burgers yet. Seriously. This burger itself packs some seriously sophisticated flavor with dijon and rosemary, and then the toppings just perfect it with truffle mayo & egg yolk. Peek down to the bottom for the award winning-ness of it. We ate it a bunch while I practiced and finally got around to updating the post.

The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger

Parisian Burgers with Truffle Mayo & Topped with an egg
Ingredients: (for 4 burgers)
1 pound ground pork
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
4 slices of swiss
4 rolls
4 eggs
3 tbs mayo
1 tsp truffle oil/truffle butter

Directions:
Preheat grill.
Mix together ground pork, rosemary, garlic, and mustard.

The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger

Gently form into patties sprinkling with salt & pepper on each side.

Grill until chicken is cooked through- at least 160 degrees. Top with cheese to melt.
Mix together mayo, truffle oil, salt & pepper.
Heat a skillet to medium high heat when the burgers are almost cooked.
Reduce pan to medium heat, and fry the eggs.
Cover the eggs with small pot lids to cook the white through, keeping the yolk intact, cooking for about 4 minutes.
Lay arugula onto the bottom bun, top with the burger, then add the fried egg, and spread truffle mayo onto the top bun.

Ooo la la. This was so good. The garlic and rosemary in the burger makes it really flavorful. I loooove peppery arugula. The yolk acts like a condiment. I almost did truffle ketchup which would also be good for some acidity. The decadence of this burger was not lost on us. Every flavor is rich, powerful, and spot-on.

The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger

This is one for the record books- speaking of….

I entered it into a burger competition – and won the regional division! It was hosted by a wine label to pair your burger with a wine. I thought maybe I could get some wine out of it.

The Three Bite Rule - Insta


That brought me to Napa Valley for the national final round: I didn’t win the $25K prize, but it was so fun and included a great wine pairing dinner the day before and the trip was awesome.

The Three Bite Rule - Build a Better Burger Finals

Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Burrito

What happens when you cross a wrap with a burrito? You get the flavors of a sandwich mixed with the textures you love from a burrito. There’s freshness from the greens, some decadence with the ranch and bacon and warm rice and cheese inside turns it into a burrito, plus the whole thing gets griddled. These freeze well and are ideal for lunch or a dinner on the go.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Burrito

Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Burrito
Ingredients (for 2)

1 chicken thigh or breast or 2 tenders grilled or ~1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package (mine was leftover but originally in the pressure cooker with chicken broth).
1/4 cup crumbled bacon (~3 strips)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
4 tablespoons ranch dressing
1/2 teaspoon ranch dressing powder mix
2 cups greens (baby arugula or spinach)
2 tortillas

Directions:
Chop the chicken and bacon and lightly warm the torillas for better flexibility.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Burrito

Lay the tortillas down and spread ~1 tablespoon of ranch dressing onto each one. Then layer onto each one with the rice, cheese, bacon, sprinkle on the dry dressing mix, chicken, greens, and remaining dressing.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Burrito

Warm a skillet to medium heat and roll up the burritos. (I fold the sides in, then keep those inward with my pinkys while using the rest of each hand to roll the whole thing away from me, tucking the sides in as I go.)

If freezing: individually wrap in plastic, label and freeze. Defrost in the fridge overnight or defrost in the microwave over low heat and pan fry or finish in a toaster oven to crisp the outside a bit.

Toothpick them closed before pan frying them if you wish! Put them in seam side down and use a cover or tongs to keep them from unrolling while pan frying them to get golden, crisp, and melting the cheese inside. Turn to warm each side.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Burrito

I loved these! It not only has some of my fav flavors but the rice in there really gives a good twist and makes it wayyy better than an everyday sandwich. It also uses up just a bit of leftover rice & chicken.

I rarely remember to defrost over night but our home microwave has the best defrost I’ve ever used so I’d do that – or maybe work lunch hangs out in your bag before heating? A whole bunch could go into the oven if feeding a crowd.

Skip the bacon and swap ranch for creamy caesar for a caesar salad burrito. Or go spicy for a buffalo chicken burrito! Basically the rice + any cheese + chicken + any dressing will change the vibe and I’m here for it.