May 2022 Recap

May has been a very full month. Lots of outside time, swimming, work events, birthday parties for kids, baseball games, and already pool time! World news is breaking my heart and it has also been a month of transition as daycare kept closing preschool and sent us looking for alternatives – guess how fun that is…

In the kitchen, we’re onto springy foods and faster meals.

My fav was this Mexican-inspired side dish with black beans, avocados, tomatoes, cheese, and a cilantro lime dressing. Loved it. This helped amp up taco night with a side that was a bit more special than just black beans, or just avocado.

The Three Bite Rule - Black Bean & Avocado Salad

For one of our apps-for-dinner nights I made some Lemon & Herb Deviled Eggs. They’re fresh tasting and filling and they hit the spot for variety amongst apps.

The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Herb Deviled Eggs

My passion for rice bowls runs deep- all the good bites with decadence (cheese & drizzles) with some fresh elements (greens! tomatoes!) and the filling aspects (veggie burger & brown rice). This burger rice bowl was a great lunch, it would pack well, and feels like a complete meal, all in a bowl!

The Three Bite Rule - Burger Bowl

June has me very excited for a weekend away, Mr. J’s birthday burger, and I have some strawberry and lemon aspirations.

The Little Girl:
She started a new preschool! I love how easy-going she is amongst changes in schedules. It is exciting for her. She is going to have a great swimming summer! Even in just 2 early pool times we’ve already seen how big she is, the confidence, and her willingness to try more than last year. It is very fun to see. I feel like she’s eating a bit more consistently and is loving cottage cheese and Ritz-Bits right now.

The Big Guy:
He’s having fun at baseball and overcame his hesitation for new environments for birthday parties this month – I’m really proud to see it. He is thrilled for shorts season. We’re glad he got some grandparent sleepovers and this season becomes being outside for all waking hours.

Goals:
Year of nail polish! I got a few Olive & June ones at once and this month was a coral one for April (this one)
More international food inspiration: Umm. Maybe not.
More soups/salads: this black bean & avocado salad!
More apps: Yes! Brie & Cranberry Cups!
More fun drinks: Not really, but tis the season for sangria and cocktails
Updating photos: Nope, not this month
What I’m reading: I’ve had a bit of a reading rut. I read Olga Dies Dreaming and looooved it. Then I read Beautiful Little Fools and was more into it than the OG Great Gatsby. I muscled through No One is Talking About This and I didn’t get it, do not recommend.
What I’m watching: Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy is back!!
What I’m listening to: ‘Sounds Like a Cult’ is my new fav podcast

Black Bean & Avocado Salad

This salad is perfectly served alongside tacos! It is flavorful, cool, and so so easy. I’m including a bunch of alternatives. We often have black beans or avocado on the side and this time was just a touch more special as a salad with dressing.

The Three Bite Rule - Black Bean & Avocado Salad

I loved it. I ended up scooping the remnants up with tortilla chips.

Black Bean & Avocado Salad
Ingredients: (side for ~4)

1 can black beans
1/2 avocado
1/4 cup cheese (cotija or feta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cilantro (chopped or from a tube or frozen cube)
1 teaspoon honey
lime juice from half a lime
salt & pepper

Directions:
Drain the black beans and add to a bowl with chopped avocado, chopped tomato, and cheese.

The Three Bite Rule - Black Bean & Avocado Salad

Then mix up the dressing – add olive oil, cilantro, honey, lime juice, salt and pepper and shake in a jar or whisk together in a bowl.

The Three Bite Rule - Black Bean & Avocado Salad

Add the dressing to the beans/avo/tomato and stir gently (too much stirring will mash up the avocado!).
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Black Bean & Avocado Salad

I loved this. Chopping everything smaller would make a good dip – or my littlest one put it inside her tortilla and ate it like a taco. Our bigger kid ate the avocado and tomatoes out of it but was more into the tacos.

Substitute the tomatoes for corn, or red onion, or bell peppers, or whatever you like! Skip the cheese if you need it dairy-free. The avocado means it can’t quite be made in advance but everything else could be ready and add the avocado before serving.

Lemon Herb Deviled Eggs

It has been a minute since I made some deviled eggs! These beauties are so springy with lemon and herbs.

The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Herb Deviled Eggs

Lemon & Herb Deviled Eggs
Ingredients: (for ~6 servings)

6 eggs
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice (half a lemon)
~4 chives
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt & pepper

Directions:
Hard boil and cool the eggs, then peal them.
Slice them in half and pop the yolks into a bowl.
Chop the chives.
Add in the mayo, mustard, lemon juice, chives, oregano, salt and pepper.

The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Herb Deviled Eggs

Mash and mix well, beat with a hand mixer or stir and blend in a food processor.
Set up a zip-top bag to sand upright into a heavy drinking glass. Then spoon the filling into the bag.
Plate the egg halves, snip a bottom corner off the bag and pipe the filling into each one – fill each just to the top of each well, then go back and add a swirl to the top to ensure each has enough filling.
Sprinkle remaining chives and grate some lemon zest over the top. (I lost one half in the pealing process – RIP, it couldn’t be saved).

The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Herb Deviled Eggs

Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Herb Deviled Eggs

I loved these! They were definitely lemony (only too much according to the 7-year-old but don’t trust his palate, he loves sour candies so I’m not sure what he’s talking about). He ate one half quickly and had thoughts about another one. The little girl dipped her cheese and crackers into the filling of her deviled egg a few times then ate the egg white.

I’ll definitely repeat. I’m envisioning the summer when we have herbs growing in the garden out of control! I had chives but the other fresh herbs that are ready was sage & mint – either of those would be weird. I don’t care about parsley but go for it. Fresh oregano and thyme would be my other picks!

We had these with an appetizer dinner and I love that they’re easy to just make a few and have no leftovers. Leftovers are fine for these but if I did have leftovers, I’d chop them and serve it on toast for a savory breakfast or into a pita for lunch!

Burger Rice Bowls

A burger in a quick & packable form! I made these rice bowls as an easy meal and froze another portion to grab for lunch or to eat quickly on a busy night on the baseball sidelines.

Think of a burger on a bed of bacon rice topped with cheese, pickles, greens, tomatoes, and a final drizzle of special sauce and ketchup. It is perfectly scoop-able, filling, and nutritious.

The Three Bite Rule - Burger Bowl

Burger Rice Bowls
Ingredients: (for 2 servings)

1 1/2 cup brown rice prepared
2 tablespoons bacon bits
2 veggie burgers (or any patty)
2 slices white cheddar cheese
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1-2 cups baby arugula
2 teaspoons mayo
4 teaspoons ketchup
dash of garlic powder
pepper

Directions:
Cook the rice and stir in the bacon bits.
Pan fry (or grill) the burgers and top with cheese.
While the burgers are cooking, chop the tomatoes, arugula, and pickles.

The Three Bite Rule - Burger Bowl

Let the rice and burgers cool a few minutes.
Mix up the special sauce: 2 teaspoons ketchup with the mayo, garlic powder, and pepper.
Assemble with rice on the bottom, topped with burgers, cheese, greens, tomatoes, and pickles.

The Three Bite Rule - Burger Bowl

Drizzle with special sauce and ketchup and sesame seeds.
Enjoy!

I loved these! It gives you all the flavors you want from a burger – just with a fork. I love a bun but serving this on rice is actually easier to pack and eat in a hurry than as a burger. It wouldn’t replace a traditional burger for me, but I also wouldn’t pack a burger to be a work lunch.

The Three Bite Rule - Burger Bowl

The bacon brown rice is delicious. I used a veggie burger topped with white cheddar (but could be any burger or portabella cap) and the bowl gets all the burger toppings I had on hand. It was great. For me it is much more filling than as a salad, but you-do-you!

I scooped another serving of rice and chopped another veggie burger and froze it for a later date. One morning I’ll be so grateful to pull it out of the freezer, throw on some greens, veggies, pickles and some ketchup/mustard/mayo dressing on the side. When it is time to eat, I flip the non-cooked parts onto the lid, then I warm the rice & burger and pile on the raw veggies and a drizzle. It is just what I need mid-day – something delicious, nutritious, and appealing.

April 2022 Recap

April is going out with a bang – this last stretch of the month is so busy and full. The little guy just had a fun school vacation with a visit from the teen nephews, playing with the grandparents, and also some time home while we worked. Double duty is tiring. He’s starting baseball too. Work has so many things coming up – virtual and in-person events and then the timing of hitting deadlines and a lot to happen in prep for May & June ending Q4.

My favorite favorite food from the kitchen this month was these better-than-average Eggplant Parm Subs with fresh mozz and dressed arugula. So good.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Subs

I started an occasional apps for dinner theme, kicked off with cranberry & brie phyllo cups They couldn’t be easier and I included a whole bunch of alternatives and uses for leftovers. We did apps-as-dinner again on Easter after hosting brunch. It is also a great excuse to have lots of great cheese around.

The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Brie Cups

Lastly I “made” some Mocha Cinnamon Rolls for a fun but ohh so easy breakfast.

The Three Bite Rule - Mocha Cinnamon Rolls

May will definitely have some quick meals between baseball practices and nights we’d rather have after-work-playground time. Early spring flavors make me think of lemon and warm-and-cool.

The Little Girl:
She is happy for bike rides and is looking forward to baseball spectating. Daily she envisions the beach trip. She’s definitely having her 3-year-old moments of resisting and digging her heels in. She never wants to take a bathroom break. She was a bit scarred from an Easter Egg event when it rained, then hailed, then was sunny, then rain, then hail. We raced to the car for the second round and she was not impressed. Meals have been a bit smoother.

The Big Guy:
He was thrilled to play nerf with the teen cousins. His fav home lunch is always always always peanut butter and nutella. He still loves hardboiled eggs. I love seeing him being so strong and confident on his bike. He had chosen his scooter over the bike for awhile but he’s got his confidence and I’m proud to see it.

Goals:
Year of nail polish! I got a few Olive & June ones at once but opened up a purpley one for April (this one)
More international food inspiration: Umm. Maybe not.
More soups/salads: not really
More apps: Yes! Brie & Cranberry Cups!
More fun drinks: I’m obsessed with this lemon loaf tea
Updating photos: Nope, not this month
What I’m reading: I read Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci, and Greenwich Park which was a little mystery, then I listened to An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination, and I read The Maid which seemed like a caricature for neurodivergence and was a bit obvious.
What I’m watching: I’m months behind but catching up on a Million Little Things.
What I’m listening to: 

Mocha Cinnamon Rolls

Breakfast upgrade with very minimal effort. I don’t mess with dough – especially first thing in the morning and a few touches made for a fun breakfast.

The Three Bite Rule - Mocha Cinnamon Rolls

Mocha Cinnamon Rolls:
Ingredients:

1 roll cinnamon rolls (with frosting)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 espresso shot (or 1-2 oz very strong instant coffee) cooled

Directions:
Separate out the cinnamon rolls into a baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Push the chocolate chips into the cinnamon coiled parts.

The Three Bite Rule - Mocha Cinnamon Rolls

Bake according to the package.
While the rolls are baking, Mix the espresso into the frosting.
Spread the frosting onto the baked rolls.

The Three Bite Rule - Mocha Cinnamon Rolls

Enjoy!

These were fun. I mixed up a double-y strong few tablespoons of instant coffee. It worked so well. Also, next time I’d go for full frosting- instead of the glaze that comes with it. That would be even better!

Better Eggplant Parm Subs

These eggplant parm subs are show-stoppers. They’re better than average – not because I made my own breaded eggplant, ohh no, but because there’s so much flavor and texture here. Arugula adds the freshness and crunch this needs and fresh mozzarella gives some bite and some melty pull you will just love.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Subs

Breading eggplant is tough to get right – I find it frozen at Trader Joe’s and Aldi, sometimes it is prepped in refrigerated areas at Wegman’s, and Costco has had it, but not regularly.

Eggplant Parm Subs
Ingredients:
(for 2 subs)
~4-6 small slices per sub breaded eggplant
2 small sub rolls
~1/2 cup tomato sauce
~4 oz fresh mozzarella
2 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons Italian dressing

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Subs

Directions:
Preheat the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer to 400-degrees. Bake/air fry the eggplant until golden brown and well crisped – about 10 minutes.
Warm the sauce, slice the cheese, and toss the arugula in dressing.
Slice the roll and spread some tomato sauce onto it then layer on the eggplant and fresh mozzarella.
Return to the oven/toaster/air fryer to melt the cheese.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Subs

Then top with greens and enjoy!

I loved this. As takeout, it is always so soggy. The sauce, crispy eggplant and the cheese make it comforting but the fresh crunchy greens with bright dressing bring life to it! Don’t skip the fresh mozzarella – it elevates this really nicely.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Subs

Subs are great to make one or two – all in the toaster oven or air fryer! I wouldn’t make them in advance, but everything but the greens could be frozen.

Brie & Cranberry Cups

Apps for dinner might be a new tradition here! I didn’t have an occasion so I just made these delicious bites for dinner with a few other snacks and it was so fun! Phyllo cups get filled with brie and whole berry cranberry sauce and just a bit of rosemary – just a little assembly required.

The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Brie Cups

Cranberry not your jam – lots of alternative ideas below!

Brie & Cranberry Cups
Ingredients: (app for ~6)

1 package phyllo cups (15 mini cups)
1/2 wheel of brie
1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1 sprig of rosemary
2 tablespoons butter

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Slice the brie into small pieces. Open and stir the cranberry sauce.

The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Brie Cups

Chop the rosemary while the butter is melting then stir together.
On a baking sheet, lay out the phyllo cups and fill each with 2 small pieces of brie (to mostly fill the cups but not over the top edge).
Spoon a tiny dollop of cranberry on top, then spoon butter/rosemary into the cups.
Bake for 5-8 minutes as the package indicates and until the brie melts.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Brie Cups

I had whole berry cranberry sauce and used it for these Thanksgiving Hot Wraps so I froze the remainder and here it is! These brie cups would be great with some raspberries or blackberries, out of the oven they could get a dab of jam (don’t bake that), or some pieces of bacon or caramelized onions.

We had these little cups as well as some crackers and dip, some caesar salad, and some ranch popcorn chicken. Everyone liked something and it was a fun meal.

March 2022 Recap

March is on the way out and in comes April. I’m excited for Easter and the next season and I love the daylight! I like to usher out one season for the next, but I loathe talking about the weather – moreso I guess I’m not interested in people complaining about the weather to me.

This month in a spirit of variety, I made these Thanksgiving Hot Wraps with deli turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and greens and the best part is burrito-izing it. So good – and much more appreciated outside of Thanksgiving time.

The Three Bite Rule - Thanksgiving Hot Wraps

I also made Nutella Chia Pudding with Strawberries which requires the make-ahead brainspace but it is breakfast your tomorrow will thank you for. I looove the nutella flavor with the strawberries.

The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Chia Pudding

I gave a revamp to Gyro-Style Wraps with hummus, chicken sausage, fries, and tomatoes.

To wrap up the month I did a mine vs. theirs for Pasta with Shrimp or Chicken and Blistered Tomatoes. I did shrimp, the rest had chicken. After I made it I thought about how good it would have been with a crunchy lemony breadcrumb topping. Do it! I’m envisioning that showing up another way.

The Three Bite Rule - Shrimp Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes

What’s next? Hmm I’m thinking about ideas for Easter brunch foods and I just did apps for dinner one night and feel like that might be a new tradition.

The Little Girl:
She’s psyched that it is sandbox season again! She’s awaiting picnic time and wants to eat at a restaurant. We’ve cut her off of Oreos since it is confirmed she just eats the filling. She’s very into the thermos lunches but said to stop with the cheeese sticks – where my girl, do you expect to get some protein?

The Big Guy:
He’s had fun playing with school-friends. I feel like it’s asking somebody on a date but worth it to see him connecting with others. He just started a lego extracurricular class – so legos, after school with other kids, what could be better?

Goals:
Year of nail polish! I got a new topcoat which I’m not sure yet if it lives up to the hype (this one)
More international food inspiration: More Mediterranean – gyro wraps
More soups/salads: Does salad-bar count?
More apps: nope, not this month
More fun drinks: ehh
Updating photos: I redid the photos for these gyro-like wraps
What I’m reading: I read The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute which was so interesting, and We Are the Brennans which was page-turning, I thought Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Story of Schitt’s Creek would be a coffee-table book but it actually had lots to read, then I read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue which was the best book I’ve read in awhile.
What I’m watching: Tournament of Champions
What I’m listening to: nothing new.

Pasta with Shrimp & Blistered Tomatoes

Pasta is a weekly must-have at our house and most often we rotate between a few basics like tomato sauce, pesto, alfredo, meatballs and we change up noodles, tortellini, or the occasional lasagna. This was a bit different and I did a shrimp or chicken topping option (I’m the only one who likes shrimp at the moment).

The Three Bite Rule - Shrimp Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes

The tomatoes burst and provide some sauce and the touch of cream and olive oil made it quick and light! Swap the protein for scallops or bacon or sausage or whatever you like!

Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes & Shrimp or Chicken
Ingredients: (for 5-6 servings)

1 pound linguine pasta
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
shrimp (pealed, deveined large shrimp) and/or roasted chicken (pealed, chopped)
1 tablespoon mixed herb seasoning (Todd’s Dirt is our fav, or Italian Seasoning, or Oregano + Garlic Powder)

The Three Bite Rule - Shrimp Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes

Directions:
Bring salted water to boil and cook the pasta.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the tomatoes in a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Give them a shake every few minutes – it will take ~5 minutes to pop and release some juice.
When the pasta is mostly cooked (~2 minutes less than the package instructs), drain it reserving a little pasta water and return the pasta to the pot. Add the butter, and cream in, plus a splash of pasta water (start with a few tablespoons) and toss together, then add the tomatoes in and continue to cook over low heat. Add more pasta water if needed.

The Three Bite Rule - Shrimp Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes

In the skillet used for the tomatoes, add another drizzle of olive oil in and bring to medium-low heat. Add the shrimp in the pan and sprinkle with herbs. Cook for just a minute or two on each side to turn pink but remain a C shape not an O shape. Remove from the heat promptly to avoid overcooking. (I did some chicken and some shrimp.)
Serve the pasta with chicken or shrimp on top and one last drizzle of olive oil.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Shrimp Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes

I always need a bit more sauce than I think so keep that pasta water or a splash of broth or more cream. The kids wouldn’t necessarily request this one, but everyone ate enough and I got to have shrimp so, win-win!