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!

Gyro-style Wrap with Chicken

{originally published in 2017 and updated in 2021}

We love Mediterranean flavors so these wraps are inspired by a gyro, or souvlaki – using chicken sausage or this time- flavored ground chicken. The fries inside make it so fun.

Gyro Style Wraps with Chicken Sausage

Ingredients:  (for 2 wraps)

2 chicken sausages or ~1/3 pound ground chicken
2 cups/handfuls of frozen seasoned fries
2 wraps: tortillas, pitas, etc
1/2 of a cucumber
~3 tablespoons hummus
tomato
optional: lettuce, roasted red peppers, creamy caesar drizzle, feta

Directions:

Bake the fries, according to the package.
Pan sear the chicken sausages or the ground chicken into patties. Then slice.

Lay out the wrap and spread with hummus. Then top with tomatoes, chicken sausage/chicken burger pieces, and fries.

Roll and enjoy!

Wrap the bottom in wax paper or foil for street-food eatability. Is eatability a word? WordPress seems to think so and isn’t correcting me!

I liked the seasoned fries in there. It was a great use for an itty bit in we had in the freezer. These totally hit the spot and I think the fries + chicken sausage + hummus makes this – at least us grown ups thought so. The littles each ate elements disassembled. We had them with some orzo salad too. The fries only needed 20 minutes so in the time I plopped them into the oven, I then just cooked the meat and prepped the filling and they were done. Poof! Din-din!

Nutella Chia Pudding with Strawberries

While I’d be most likely to head savory for breakfast – this idea stuck with me for ease of prepping in advance, and I love love nutella.

The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Chia Pudding

I’m also into this because it wasn’t so so so sweet – and was something I could feel good about.

Nutella Chia Pudding with Strawberries
Ingredients: (serves 2)

1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon Nutella
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
~1-2 cups strawberries (mine were frozen, defrosted, sliced)
Sprinkle of sugar & sprinkle of water
whipped cream

Directions:
Mix together the cocoa powder, nutella, vanilla extract, and a splash of milk to mix into a paste. Then add more milk until completely mixed.
Add in the chia seeds and stir well.

The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Chia Pudding

Refrigerate overnight, or at least 3+ hours (give an additional stir after the first 30-minutes).
Slice the strawberries & add a sprinkle of sugar and water (can be done ahead).
Serve with strawberries & whipped cream.

The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Chia Pudding

Enjoy!

The nutella provides the flavor and sweetness and the cocoa powder adds to the chocolate flavor without being sugary.

Let’s talk about the texture – it is slippery and cool. It wouldn’t be for everyone. I need some variety in texture – the strawberries help that for me. This would be good topped with something crunchy like granola, nuts, cereal, etc. Frozen dark cherries would be delightful too!

Two servings is ideal so you aren’t committed to eating this all week. It is so much easier than baked oatmeal or anything that requires any cooking!

Thanksgiving Hot Wraps

Thanksgiving flavors are even more appreciated away from the holiday, don’t you think?! Burrito-izing the wrap, as in, wrapping and cooking on the griddle, makes the deli turkey, cranberries, stuffing, and arugula so delicious.

They’re special-enough to be dinner (I mean, anything can be dinner) but these are like a special lunch or easy-but-fun-dinner while hitting a few food groups.

The Three Bite Rule - Thanksgiving Hot Wraps

Thanksgiving Hot Wraps
Ingredients: (for 1)

1/2 cup stuffing mix
1/2 cup chicken broth
sprinkle of garlic powder & dried sage (optional)
1 flour tortilla
2-3 slices turkey
2 tablespoons cranberries (canned whole berry)
1 cup arugula (or spinach)

The Three Bite Rule - Thanksgiving Hot Wraps

Directions:
Prepare the stuffing according to the package. Add in the garlic powder and sage- if using.
Assemble the wraps with turkey, a smear of mayo if you wish, arugula, cranberries, and stuffing.
Preheat a skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil.

The Three Bite Rule - Thanksgiving Hot Wraps

Fold the sides inward, about 1-2 inches, then roll from the bottom away from you, tucking the sides in as you roll away.
Place the rolled wrap into the skillet, seam side down. Hold with tongs if it starts unrolling. Cook for ~2 minutes and rotate on each side.

I loved this! The stuffing makes it decadent. I wouldn’t be against some sharp white cheddar in there but I kept it quite traditional this time. Cooking the wrap is the game changer. The turkey and the stuffing want to be warm, right?

The Three Bite Rule - Thanksgiving Hot Wraps

Have leftover stuffing? Make:
Stuffing Waffles – freezes well too!
Thanksgiving Burgers – also uses your cranberry sauce!
Thanksgiving Meatballs

Have leftover cranberry sauce? Make:
Thanksgiving Nachos – with a cranberry crema
Thanksgiving Burgers – also uses your stuffing!
Turkey, Cranberry & Brie Melts Or ham would work well here too

My kiddos can eat their weight in jellied cranberry sauce so they wouldn’t care if it were alongside anything. I don’t know if they can be fooled with this canned whole-berry sauce, but we’ll probably give it a go for the leftovers – I think we grabbed it by accident.

I loooove these hot wraps. I did one with chicken, broccoli & rice and one with chicken, bacon, ranch and think they hit the spot – especially for dinner since they’re warm!

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Warm Wraps

February 2022 Recap

This month was quick which is great because March is my birthday month AND it edges us closer to spring. We wished for more pond ice skating this season but it just wasn’t cold for long stretches.

Our pink cookies were the best thing I made this month. The Strawberry Crinkle Cookies were perfect for Valentine’s Day!

The Three Bite Rule - Strawberry Crinkle Cookies

I love love love grain bowls and the inspiration for Cobb Salad Rice Bowls was to winterize a salad. Plus, the build-your-own aspect gives everyone a bit of what they like (me = arugula, littles = cucumber).

The Three Bite Rule - Cobb Salad Rice Bowl

We made these cute little Greek Chicken Turnovers for dinner with hummus, chicken, tomato, oregano, and creamy caesar dressing. We had them with a little orzo/tomato/cuke/feta salad.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Chicken Turnovers

The Little Girl:
She’s always packing backpacks with all the toys & books that’ll fit. We saw her do a lot of sock-skating around the house this month too. Lunches packed for daycare have been a struggle – she cannot be fooled with peanut-less pb.

The Big Guy:
He’s currently enjoying school vacation. He really likes school but appreciates getting to stay in pjs longer, and of course more play time at home. He’s 100% into hard boiled eggs right now. All of us have been enjoying nerf battles.

Goals:
Year of nail polish! I got a brick red (this one)
More international food inspiration: Greek turnovers & a little “international night” for the Olympics!
More soups/salads: We had blackbean soup that was so so easy.
More apps: some for the Olympics and some for the superbowl!
More fun drinks: tea – this one is my new obsession
Updating photos: nope
What I’m reading: I read Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu for bookclub – it was ok. Then I read Anne of Manhattan by Bria Starler which was more romance-novel-ish than I expected. Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley Ford was amazing, and powerful – a must read.
What I’m watching: all Olympics, all the time. We were grateful for more sleep once they ended.
What I’m listening to: showtunes with my workouts!

Cobb Salad Rice Bowls

Love a rice bowl – this inspiration was perfect for winter when we want something warmer than salad! Rice bowls are also filling and great to use leftovers! I subscribe to the goal of:
grain + protein + veg + drizzle = grain bowl

The Three Bite Rule - Cobb Salad Rice Bowl

Cobb Salad Rice Bowls
Ingredients: (serves 4)

1 1/2 cup rice/grain
4 breaded chicken tenders
4 hard boiled eggs
2 cups greens (I used arugula)
~3 tomatoes
~6 oz cheese
1/4 cup salad dressing

Directions:
Cook the rice and the chicken and hard boil the eggs. (My rice was in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes and my chicken went into the air fryer.)
While the rice, chicken, and eggs cook, chop the cheese, tomatoes, and greens.

The Three Bite Rule - Cobb Salad Rice Bowl

Assemble as you like and drizzle with dressing.
Enjoy!

Bacon, avocado, and pickles would all be great additions too but my avo decided a few days prior to this meal ‘it was now or nothing’.

The Three Bite Rule - Cobb Salad Rice Bowl

The kiddos had cukes versus greens, and they like theirs separate and to dip into dressing. I stirred some bacon bits into the rice when I made it the first time!

There’s a whole category (over to the right under “rice/grain bowls”). I pack them for lunch all the time too – I just scoop out the raw things and warm the rest and dump back on and drizzle. Voila!